Ranking our Rights

AP US Government and Politics

Of the following rights, which do Americans think is the least important: freedom of speech, the right to vote, the right to privacy, freedom of religion, the right to own guns?

AP US Government and Politics

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this data tell?

  3. Why do you think that is?

  4. What most surprised you about this information?

  5. What is one consequence of Americans' enduring love of freedom of speech?

  6. The right to own guns is relatively unessential Americans' sense of freedom. How do you think that impacts the recent national debate about gun reform?

  7. According to this poll, which Constitutional Amendments are deemed as essential?

  8. WHat other Amendments (not listed above) would you personally describe as indispensable to your sense of freedom?

  9. How would you personally rank these five freedoms on a scale of most to least essential to your freedom?

  10. Explain how differently you think the average American Republican and Democrat would rank these five freedoms:

  11. If you were an autocratic government, determined to take away citizens' rights (think Putin) explain which of those five rights would you first take away.* This is hypothetical - don't actually do this!!!!!

  12. What's wrong with Americans that we no longer consider our Third Amendment Freedom from having to quarter soldiers as essential to our freedom????

  13. That Third Amendment right, which seemed essential in 1787 is more or less obsolete today. The Framers also were concerned about an overreaching national government and thus protected the right of states to form militias (2nd Amendment). Do you think that this idea is equally obsolete?

  14. Imagine Americans wanted to abolish the 2nd and 3rd Amendment (we've abolished amendments before) What steps could Americans take to do this?

Learning Extension

Read the Pew research Report on The Five Freedoms.

Action Extension

Share the following ranking with any ten people. Share the results in class or online.

Create your own user feedback survey

AP Pugament and Pugatics

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Drag Extension


Trump v. NFL

AP US Government and Politics

President Trump said that the NFL should fire athletes who kneel during the national anthem. What percentage of Americans agree that the NFL should fire these athletes?

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How surprising is this information?

  3. What is the big story the data tells?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. How does political party identification impact the data?

  6. Do you personally think the NFL should fire the athletes who kneel during the national anthem?

  7. Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who, starting in 2016, had been kneeling during the pre-game singing of the national anthem said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick explained. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Why do you think these athletes are kneeling?

  8. Do you think that peaceful non-violent protest is a good way to call attention to important issues?

  9. Voltaire has been credited with saying, "I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it." Whether or not you agree with why the athletes are kneeling, do you agree with their right to kneel?

  10. Last Friday, at a rally for Alabama senatorial candidate Luther Strange, who the President endorsed and who subsequently lost the primary election runoff, Donald Trump said, "Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out? He’s fired,’” He continued. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s gonna say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it. They don’t know it. They’re friends of mine, many of them. They don’t know it. They’ll be the most popular person, for a week. They’ll be the most popular person in the country.” Why do you think Trump took such a strong position against the NFL players who kneel during the national anthem?

  11. You may disagree with me, but before Trump weighed in on this issue last Friday, kneeling before a football game seemed to be slowly fading away. In fact, in the weekend before Trump's comment only 4 players kneeled or sat during the national anthem, and only two raised their fists. Now almost the entire league and owners are kneeling. Do you think Trump was wise to reignite this debate, and do you think he is winning the fight?

  12. Would you say that by calling a peaceful nonviolent protester a "son of a bitch," Trump is acting presidential?

  13. Should politicians talk about sports; also, should athletes talk about politics?

  14. Whether or not you agree with the NFL kneelers, do you think that their tactic worked and drew attention to their cause?

  15. Why do you think so many NFL owners, even some who had donated millions of dollars to the Trump campaign, kneeled with their players in solidarity?

  16. Explain your own decision about whether to kneel during the Star Spangled Banner?

  17. What is the national anthem about anyway?

  18. Do NFL owners have the right to fire their employees for political speech?

  19. Should NFL owners have the right to fire their employees for political speech?

  20. How has this issue impacted your own school or community?

  21. Is it fair to say that if most of the original kneelers had been white, Trump would not have attacked them?

  22. Explain whether Colin Kaepernick is more of a hero or a traitor:

  23. Do you think that Colin Kaepernick would be playing quarterback in the NFL right now had he never kneeled during the national anthem?

  24. How do you think the following demographics impacted opinion on this issue?

  • political party affiliation

  • age

  • race

  • gender

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Learning Extension

Read and listen to the Star Spangled Banner. Did you kneel?

Action Extension

The next time you go to a sporting event, notice who kneels (on the field or in the stands) during the national anthem. Ask five people why they didn't kneel and ask five people why they did kneel (if that many did), and share your observations in class or online.

Cartoon Extension

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Bonus Cartoon Questions

  1. What is the cartoonist's opinion?

  2. Do you agree with the cartoonist?


A little history from our friends at 538.com

Marches for civil rights during the 1960s were generally seen negatively at the time. As the Washington Post noted last year, most Americans didn’t approve of the Freedom Riders, the March on Washington in 1963 or other similar protests. In fact, many Americans thought that these protests would hurt the advancement of civil rights. In addition, but many Americans held mixed-to-negative views of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. In a 1966 Gallup survey, 63 percent of Americans gave King a negative score on a scale from -5 to +5. Now, the civil rights marches are viewed as major successes, and just 4 percent of Americans rated King negatively on that same scale in a 2011 Gallup poll.