Guiding Question:

How did immigrants participate in bringing about change in their government?

How are struggles of mid-19th century U.S. Chinese and current Latin Americans comparable to that of the experience of Ancient Athenian citizens and non-citizens?

Introduction

 

 

When immigrants become citizens, what challenges do they face? What can we learn from the example of ancient Athenian democracy?

Let's compare the model of citizenship -- ancient Athens -- to two groups in the United States history: Chinese immigrants in the mid-19th century and Latin American immigrants of today.

You will examine who could be a citizen, what their rights were as citizens and what they did to bring about change in ancient Athens. You will examine the exclusion of Chinese immigrants to the United States and the problems then faced by those who had already become citizens in the United States. You will also examine the current situation of Latin Americans particularly in Arizona and decide what they can learn from previous groups to confront opposition to their citizenship. Then you will write an editorial letter comparing the current experience of the Latin Americans to the past of the Chinese and Athenians.

Here are some of the questions we will explore:

  1. What challenges did each group face when trying to become citizens?
  2. How did Chinese American immigrants go about bringing change in their government to better their situation?
  3. How can present day Latin American immigrants do the same?
  4. How are these two groups' struggles comparable to that of the experience of Ancient Athenian citizens and non-citizens?

Background Image: Parthenon, retrieved from Wikimedia Commons