Lesson Snapshot

1. Engage: Students will read the infamous quote “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” and express their opinion about this via a brief freewrite.

2. Explore:  After a brief explanation of the concept of absolute monarchy, students will work in groups to research assigned European monarchs and determine the extent to which they fit the definition of an absolute monarch.

3. Explain: Students will present their findings to their classmates, who will record relevant information and give each monarch a grade for how well they fit the criteria for an absolute monarch. As a whole class, students will vote to rank the monarchs they investigated from least to most absolute.

4. Extend/Expand: Students will view the trailer for the documentary “Without the King” and read excerpts from a New York Times article about the last monarchy in Africa, Swaziland. With an elbow partner, students will discuss how well the king of Swaziland meets the criteria for an absolute monarch.

5. Evaluate: Students will participate in a “Four Corners” activity in response to the essential question. Students will be evaluated through the subsequent discussion and through their presentations.