Right to Petition Exhibit

Dutch Colonial Petitions

Dutch Colonial Petitions

Flushing Remonstrance

Compelling Question: What is the difference between religious tolerance and religious freedom?

Setting the Stage: Students read the following article and discuss religious tolerance vs. religious freedom in the modern era. Viewpoint: Religious freedom is not religious tolerance

Supporting Question #1: What motivated the inhabitants of Flushing to write a remonstrance to the director-general?

Supporting Question #2: What were the inhabitants of Flushing requesting from the government of New Netherland?

Supporting Question #3: What events occurred as a direct result of the writing of the Flushing Remonstrance?

For a complete lesson plan and links to all the resources for this lesson click here

For more primary sources related to Dutch Colonial Petitions click here.


Eighteenth Century Petitions

Petition of Sarah Robins

Petition of Sarah Robins

Compelling Question: How did the right to petition impact the lives of women and American Indians during the Colonial Era?

Document Analysis

1. To whom is this document written? 

2. What type of document is this? 

3. What is Sarah Robins’ legal status? 

4. How do the men listed here treat her? 

5. Why did Sarah Robins send this document? 

6. What choice was Sarah given to be made free? 

7. What does Sarah ask of the reader of this document? 

8. When was this written? 


Nineteenth Century Petitions

Petition from the Citizens of the Town of German Flatts

Petition from the Citizens of the Town of German Flatts

Compelling Question: Why do some people oppose improvements in society?

Document Analysis

1.     Who are the citizens of Germanflatts writing to?

2.     What is a feeder?

3.     What happens to the feeder when there's "ice, frost, freezing and the fall raines"?

4.     What do the citizens of Germanflatts think needs to be done to fix their problem?

5.     Based on the information in this letter, are the citizens of Germanflatts happy about the Erie Canal going through their community? Why?


Twentieth Century Petitions

Hillburn Petition

Hillburn Petition

Compelling Question: How do individuals change society?

Setting the Stage: 

Overview of Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka (1954) 

Discuss segregation and inequality in education
Discuss the role of the individual in bringing about change

Supporting Question #1: What problem was identified by the citizens of Hillburn, New York in 1943 and what action did they take?

Supporting Question #2: How did the New York State Commissioner of Education respond to the citizens of Hillburn?

Supporting Question #3: How did the people of New York State respond to the Commissioner’s decision?

For a complete lesson plan and links to all the primary sources, click here. 

To see more petitions from the twentieth century, click here.