by Henry William Elson
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
The Bill of Rights
- James Madison
Adopted December 15th, 1791, “The Bill of Rights” refers to the first ten amendments made to the United States Constitution. This document grants and secures a number of freedoms for the federal government, the states, and for U.S. citizens.Pair “The Bill of Rights” with “Puritan Laws and Character” and ask students to discuss the evolution of government from the colonial period to the very beginning of the United States. How would Puritan governors have responded to the First Amendment, especially regarding the separation of church and state?
The Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments are a set of Biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, playing a central role in Christianity and Judaism.Pair “The Ten Commandments” with “Puritan Laws and Character” and ask students to discuss the role of Christian doctrine in Puritan and New England life. Elson states in “Puritan Laws and Character” that the Puritans took more inspiration from the Old Testament that the New Testament. As an important passage from the Old Testament, how do the Ten Commandments help students understand the Puritans?
Witchcraft in Salem
The informational text “Witchcraft in Salem” recounts how mass hysteria gripped the town of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692-1693, a period now known as the Salem Witch Trials.Pair “Puritan Laws and Character” with “Witchcraft in Salem” and ask students to discuss the lives and culture of the Puritans. How did Puritan religious beliefs influence their society and laws? How does understanding the typical Puritan mindset inform the students’ understanding of the Salem Witch Trials?