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Rights and the Wyandotte Constitution


Civil rights granted by the Wyandotte Constitution

Grade Level:

7th - 8th

Clarina Nichols Overview:

The purpose of this lesson is to explore the fundamental civil rights granted to Kansans under the state’s constitution, the Wyandotte Constitution. To fully understand this it is necessary to understand the context in which the constitution was created. See the Student Reading included in this lesson for an explanation of the process a constitution went through when being developed. Although the Wyandotte Constitution made slavery illegal in Kansas, it did not guarantee equal rights to everyone. The Wyandotte Constitution is a complex document. This lesson deals only with how peoples’ civil rights differed because of race and gender according to the constitution. This portrait of Clarina Nichols can be found on Kansas Memory.

Standards addressed:

Kansas History, Government and Social Studies Standards:

Standard 2: Individuals have rights and responsibilities.

  • Benchmark 2.1: The student will recognize and evaluate the rights and reponsibilities of people living in societies.

KCCRS Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • RH.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.



  • understand the purpose of a state constitution
  • have a basic understanding of the Kansas territorial period
  • can define the term “civil rights.”


  • graphic organizer
  • organizing information
  • compare and contrast
  • primary sources

Essential Questions:

  • What is the Wyandotte Constitution?
  • How did the civil rights guaranteed to Kansans
    in the Wyandotte Constitution differ by gender
    and race?


  • graphic organizer


  • Introduce the Wyandotte Constitution through the student reading.
  • Explain that the class will be examining the fundamental civil rights granted to people under the Wyandotte Constitution.
  • Use the worksheet “Reading the Wyandotte Constitution” to identify what rights Kansans were guaranteed under the state constitution of Kansas.
  • Use the graphic organizer “Civil Rights and the Wyandotte Constitution” to compare and contrast people’s rights by race and gender.

Download the Complete Lesson Plan

This lesson plan was originally prepared by the Education and Outreach Division, Kansas State Historical Society for Territorial Kansas Online. The standards cited in the pdf form of the lesson plan were those from the 1999 Kansas State Standards. On this preview of the lesson we have made every attempt to match them to the 2013 Kansas History, Government, and Social Studies Standards and Kansas College and Career Ready Literacy Standards.