Leather Apron Men: The Junto and Civic Improvement

 

Grades 9-12

Objectives

  • Students will learn about the impact the tradesmen of Philadelphia had on the culture and growth of the city
  • Student will explore the nature and meaning of civic responsibility, by means of their own Junto

Materials

  1. Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is available at PBS.
  2. Pre-read about Franklin's Junto, present day Juntos and the rules for the forming Franklin's Junto.

Approach

Note: While all of the Junto's rules are available to the teacher, we have chosen to narrow the assignment down to 6 rules. The teacher should modify according to his/her classroom goals.

Present a brief overview of Benjamin Franklin's leather apron background. Students will act as a Junto and reflect on and discuss the following questions. 

  • (6) Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy action, deserving praise and imitation? Or who has committed an error proper for us to be warned against and avoid?
  • (11) Do you think of anything at present, in which the Junto may be serviceable to mankind? To their country, to their friends, or to themselves?
  • (13) Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?
  • (15) Have you lately observed any encroachment on the just liberties of the people?
  • (18) Have you lately heard any members character attacked, and how have you defended it?

    The teacher should instruct the class to apply the above questions to themselves and the class as a Junto. They should think about:
    What might result from the serious discussion of these kinds of questions?
    What might this mean to the class or school?
    What did it mean for Franklin's Junto and the city of Philadelphia?

    Project

    • Research 5 actions / projects of Franklin's Junto that had a lasting effect on life in Philadelphia.
    • Write an essay including a paragraph on each of the 5 researched actions and what the long term effect was.
    • Write a proposal for a course of action for your class Junto to pursue. Students should work in small groups to choose a cause, construct a supporting argument for that cause, and propose it to the class as a whole. The class might debate which action is most viable for them or which might have the greatest long term good for the community.

    PA HISTORY STANDARDS

    8.1 (B,C); 8.2 (A,B,C,D); 8.3 (A,B,C)