Lesson Plan: Government Responses to Address Inequality

The 14th Amendment

Author Gerard Magliocca talked about his book, American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment, in which he recounts the life of lawyer and Ohio Congressman John Bingham, responsible for drafting Section One of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution that guarantees equal treatment to all Americans.


In this lesson, students will view videos clips about how the government responds to inequality by looking at past examples of federal policies and court cases. This lesson will focus on the government policies and ask students to determine how successful those policies were. In the extension activity, students will be able to compare the responses of the past to today or evaluate these or other responses further.


  • Step 1:

    To begin the discussion of social movements and inequality, students will learn about equality and the 14th Amendment. Students will watch the 14th Amendment video clip and read an excerpt of the amendment. They will then use the handout to summarize and explain the importance of the amendment.

    Handout: The 14th Amendment and Inequality (Google Doc)

    To start, pose the question: “Has everyone been treated equally under the law?” Have students either write down their thoughts using the handout, share with each other, or as a whole class.

    Using the handout, students will then watch the video clip and read an excerpt of the amendment.

    Video Clip 1: 14th Amendment (3:00)

    After watching the video clip, either as a class, small groups, or individuals, have students describe the 14th Amendment in their own words. As a class, pairs, extended response, or through a discussion board, have students respond to any of following discussion questions:

    • Why was the passing of the 14th Amendment important?

    • How successful has the government been in addressing equality?
  • Step 2:

    Either as a class, small group, or individuals, have students match the definitions of five government responses using the first slide of the matching worksheet linked below. Students will match the example of the government response to its description Teachers should make a copy of this Google Slide and remove the answer key before sharing with students.

    HANDOUT: Matching Worksheet (Google Slides)

  • Step 3:

    After completing the matching activity, students will view the following video clips about different policies and court cases that address social movements. As they view the clips they can take notes on the Video Guide Worksheet linked below. This will ask students to identify the purpose of the response and rank how successful they believe it was.

    HANDOUT: Government Responses to Social Movements Video Guide Worksheet (Google Doc)

  • Video Clips:

  • Step 4:

    Have students complete the second slide of the Ranking Worksheet (Google Slide). They will rank how successful each of the movements were. Students should use their notes to address the question:

    • How successful has the government been in addressing inequality?
  • Extension Activities:

    Ask students to consider the notes they took during the lesson. Based on this, have students formulate an opinion on the success of government responses. Students can demonstrate their opinion through:

    • Class wide Socratic Seminar, using some of the articles as additional resources in the discussion.

    • Students researching current social movements and develop a government policy to address inequality.

    • Students writing to their representatives about addressing inequality.

Additional Resources


  • Abolition
  • Abridge
  • Athletics
  • Bill Of Rights
  • Civil Liberties
  • Civil Rights Act Of 1964
  • Discrimination
  • Equal Protection Under Law
  • Fourteenth Amendment
  • Franchise
  • Integration
  • Literacy Test
  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Polls
  • Privileges And Immunities
  • Right To Vote
  • Segregation
  • Title Ix
  • Unanimity
  • Voting Rights Act Of 1965


AP U.S. Government Key TermsCivil Rights & Civil LibertiesU.S. History


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