Educator Notes: GG07

Michigan Governors - Educator Notes

The four biographies presented in this lesson are tied to 4 pivotal event in Michigan’s history.

Stevens T. Mason, often referred to as the Boy Governor, was Michigan’s first governor. His aggressive action that led to statehood caused Michigan to become embroiled in the Toledo War. The results of the Toledo War led to the acquisition of the Upper Peninsula, a trade that even today adds wealth to the state.

Austin Blair, the War Governor, was a great contributor to the Civil War effort. He is known for his progressive ideas about slavery that let him to propose that any reference to race be removed from the state constitution relating to voting rights – two decades before the Civil War. His patriotic zeal drove Michigan’s extraordinary participation in the Civil War and his nickname, the Soldier’s Friend came from the time and attention he devoted to writing and visiting soldiers and widows of the war.

Frank Murphy’s experiences as a teacher for new emigrants ignited in him a desire to help the poor and weak. His strong political beliefs led him to take an unprecedented position in support of unions at a critical time in their development enabled the UAW to be successful during the Flint Strikes.

George Romney is an example of a self made man, successful entrepreneur, who also had a successful political career. His volunteerism that helped create a new state constitution and his participation in a committee drew attention to the problems faced by the Detroit Schools. He left his position as Chairman of American Motors to Governor of Michigan just in time to face the Detroit riots of 1968.

Our materials consist of:

Governor Timeline: using chronological navigation, students can read about each Governor.

Gameshow: Each Governor asks multiple-choice questions about themselves to the student based on their timelines.

Each of these men faced tough, trying times in there terms which demanded their full attention. The decisions they made during these times shaped their careers and legacy.

Making these decisions relied on these Governors using their Core Democratic Values. These values were used to do what these men cosidered the correct choice for the good of the State of Michigan. Had the men chosen different routes during these times, the history of the State may have been much different.

Use these materials to create a debate in your classroom. This debate should weigh these decisions and students should explore alternate routes.

Here's a sample of such a debate:

Debate Issue: "Should Governor Murphy have instructed the National Guard to remove the sit-down strikers from General Motors property?"

  • You may either support or oppose the position of removing the strikers from the plant.
  • Position Statement: A typical approach to beginning this sort of "debate" question is:
    ‘My position is that ……………..
    ‘Support for position: I am taking this position because the facts show that …………….
  • Core Democratic Values: Use of one or more Core Democratic Values, or constitutional rights and liberties is necessary to receive full credit for the answer. Personal property rights, equal protection under the law, common good, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are all constitutional rights that could be used to defend points of view on this debate topic.
  • Evidence from supplied data: The activities provide ample factual data and historic perspectives that can be used to defend either a positive or negative argument. The debater must use at least two pieces of evidence to support the argument.

You will be graded on the following criteria, so be sure your statement includes each of the elements listed below:

  • A clear and supported statement of your position
  • Supporting information using a core democratic value of American constitutional democracy
  • Supporting knowledge from history, geography, civics, or economics that you already know (It is not enough to state only your opinion)
  • Supporting information from the Flint Strike Archive available from you teacher

Remember to:

  • Use complete sentences.
  • Explain your reasons in detail.
  • Explain how the core democratic value you use connects to your position.
  • Write or print neatly.