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and for U.S. citizens.Pair “The Bill of Rights” with “The Code of Hammurabi” and instruct students to compare these historical documents—how are they similar? How do they differ? Consider whose rights are not secured in either documents, and ask the students to discuss how this compares to their concept of fairness.
Excerpts from Leviathan
- Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1697) was an English philosopher, best known for his political philosophy. In this famous work, Hobbes discusses the concept of the “social contract,” the idea that humans benefit from a common rule of law; otherwise, they fall into disorder and violence. In social contract theory, Hobbes proposes that humans consent to surrender some of their freedoms in order to secure their remaining rights.Pair “Excerpts from Leviathan” with “The Code of Hammurabi” and ask students to further explore why humans create legal systems, keeping social contract theory in mind. How do these systems become legitimate and/or on what basis do we accept them?
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.Hammurabi’s code is one of oldest preserved legal documents of its kind. Its origin is Babylonian and it dates back to around 1772 B.C. It contains a detailed list or laws along with the punishments for breaking them. It seems that the Code of Hammurabi provided the basis for the Babylonian society of its day. From it we gain much insight into both the Babylonian’s cultural sense of justice and their social systems.
- Susan Glaspell
Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actress, journalist, and a pioneering feminist writer. Trifles was first performed by the Provincetown Players at the Wharf Theatre in Provincetown, MA on August 8, 1916. In this one-act play, two women solve a mystery that the men cannot, uncovering some chilling secrets about the lives of their neighbors.Pair “The Code of Hammurabi” with Trifles and ask students to discuss the crime and punishment. Did Mr. Wright deserve a similar death to the one he committed? Is Mrs. Wright’s possible acquittal justice for being trapped in a “lonesome” household?
‘You Have the Right to Remain Silent’: A History of the Miranda Rights
- Jessica McBirney
Discover the meaning and history behind the phrase, “you have the right to remain silent,” in this informational text.Pair “The Code of Hammurabi” with “’You Have the Right to Remain Silent’: A History of the Miranda Rights.” The law needs to be known and Hammurabi and the United States both got the word out in two different ways. Why is it important to know the law, and to know one’s rights? How do both of these texts relate to fairness?
The Fertile Crescent
- Joshua J. Mark
In the article, a brief summary of the significant cultural achievements of the area known as the “Fertile Crescent” is provided.Pair “The Fertile Crescent” with “The Code of Hammurabi” and ask students to discuss what they learned about life in ancient Mesopotamia. Ask them to compare and contrast the Code of Hammurabi with the current American legal system. How was the Code of Hammurabi a sign of progress in the region?