The single most annoying thing about teaching American government is the apparent impossibility of getting some students past those trite unexamined beliefs that we’re taught all good patriotic Americans hold. Some are obstinately resistant to actually re-thinking them–Bartleby students.
So for example, in answer to the short answer question of what the framers of the Constitution were trying to achieve, i get, “They were giving power to the people, not the government.” This, despite repeated explanations that under the Articles of Confederation there was no true central government, that agreeing to the Constitution meant the states had to give up authority to a new government, and that the Bill of Rights was added after the fact because so many people were concerned about just how much power had been given to this new government.
None of it matters. We all know the genius of America is that we gave political power to the citizens instead of to the government. Unless, of course, it’s phrased as “power to the people,” in which case it’s a filthy left-wing lie.
[Side note: Thanks for continuing the discussion on the other threads in my absence. I haven’t read them yet, but after grading, I’ll try to get caught up on the discussions.]