|Part II, Lesson 2 (continued)|
4. Each group should
present its "news report" on how the convention seems to be going. The
report should include four to eight statements (one or two by each student)
and show some of the images to present a range of viewpoints by and about
a particular group. The report should include a prediction of how the delegates
will decide on the second and third questions mentioned in Step 2; the
group reading about the African Americans should also predict what will
be decided about the first question (Should California be a free (non-slave)
state or a slave state?).
5. After all groups have made their presentations, post the excerpts and images on the bulletin board. Place them far enough apart and at eye level so that students may walk around and examine the pictures and the statements.
6. Ask the entire class to again discuss and to predict what the delegates to the State Constitutional Convention will decide about the issues. Each group will have had access to information that others did not, which might add to the discussion.
Note to teacher:
You might also remind the students that the delegates want to submit a constitution that they feel will be approved quickly by the California voters and by Congress. Therefore, it must be a document that will appeal to both groups of decision makers.
7. After the class has made its prediction about each of the three issues, tell them what really happened (or have students read the information to the class).
How the Issues Were Decided:
Should California be a free state or a slave state? There was not much debate on this issue; the delegates voted to be a free state. Many southerners from slave-holding states were in California, but they also voted against slavery because slaves were expensive and those who could afford to own slaves would have an unfair advantage over those who could not.
Who should be allowed to vote? Opinion was divided on this issue; most were opposed to allowing blacks to vote, but there was more division about the Indians. Some delegates believed that even "civilized" Indians would vote only as their employer instructed them; other Indians, they felt, should not even be considered. But if Indians were citizens under the Mexican constitution, would it go against the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo if they were denied the right to vote?
In addition, questions came up about who is a "white" person. (Since there were few Chinese in California at the time, that issue did not arise.) Eager to gain statehood so that they could get on with their lives, the
Part II, Lesson 2