In the period between 1765 and 1789, the course of the world was changed forever.
Those 24 years tell a story of the foundation of the United States, its separation from British rule and the beginnings of a country that has become a world superpower.
It was a time where the Sons of Liberty rallied against King George III and the taxes that were being imposed upon the thirteen American colonies by the British Government.
The Boston Tea Party took place, the Declaration of Independence was signed and George Washington became the first president of the United States of America.
Intrigued and inspired by this important period in history, Dr Charles Margerison decided to immortalise its value in We The People, an educational resource for children and a stage musical.
Named from the first three words in the US Constitution, We The People is a collection of 17 episodes that reflect the challenging journey on America’s road to independence.
Each episode is a five-minute story of a significant event in the formation of the United States. They can also combine to become a feature length musical.
“I became very interested in how a set of thirteen colonies became the richest and most powerful country in the world,” says Dr Margerison.
“I wrote a series of episodes based on what happened between the years 1765 and 1789; I decided it would be fascinating and useful to develop these episodes so that teachers could go into a classroom and start a lesson by playing five minutes of a musical to reflect the major events."
In the classroom
We The People has been designed as a transmedia experience for younger children.
Each episode is supported by a variety of learning tools, such as quizzes and other interactive elements that teachers can use to engage the class in an enjoyable and meaningful way.
Kids are invited to become immersed in the world of colonial America.
“They aren’t just getting a video or a lecture,” explains Dr Margerison.
“We give them a five-minute musical experience with visuals of the events that took place so that children can hear the music of the time, experience the story of the time and study the lyrics."
“They can also begin to participate in terms of representing their own questions of what it would be like to be involved.”
For example, one of the We The People activities encourages students to participate as if they were the rebel group, known as the patriots, or the defenders of the union, the loyalists.
They must work in groups to consider the position of each side and present real and persuasive arguments against their opposition, using actual scenarios from the period.
“The kids can really learn from the people who were involved at the time,” says Dr Margerison.
“They took risks, they were a minority, they had few resources. But the one thing they did have is that they were determined to be free.”
“Students can learn a lot about the principles, the politics and the practices that you need to engage in if you want a better life.”
On the stage
We the People is what some might call the American equivalent of Victor Hugo’s French Revolution tale Les Misérables.
This is a timeless classic, adapted for the stage, which has transformed the reputations of directors and actors around the world.
“We the People is a story which has the same magnitude,” says Dr Margerison.
“It is an event that has changed the course of world history and, to my knowledge, no one has portrayed it in a musical form for children in classrooms.”
It is Dr Margerison’s hope that We The People captures one of the world’s greatest stories of revolution, a period of history which has had repercussions that continue to ripple through time.
“We have an opportunity to present this in a classroom in an interactive educational way, but also commercially in a way that can achieve major success worldwide.”
To find out more about We The People and its applications in the classroom, contact Monica at email@example.com.