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Freedom Matters! is a project of the Bush Institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Developed in cooperation with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and with generous support from the John Templeton Foundation, this supplemental curriculum aims to help high school grade students connect the foundations of freedom to today’s global struggles for liberty. The content is particularly relevant to global studies and world history courses. These inclusive, teacher-led lesson plans combine the personal stories of dissidents and democracy advocates featured in the Freedom Collection with broader, universal concepts of freedom, rule of law, limited representative government, and the protection of individual political, economic, and personal rights. The lesson plans correspond to essential knowledge and skills students are exploring in the classroom.

Click here for a detailed TEACHER’S GUIDE.
The Freedom Matters! curriculum materials and interactive timeline are best experienced on a desktop or tablet. Download PDFs of the Curriculum on your mobile device below.
Click here for a detailed Teacher’s Guide.
  • Watch this short video exploration of the concept of freedom. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and other leaders and activists from around the world discuss freedom, rights, and democracy.
  • An unprecedented transformation in the condition of world freedom has taken place since the end of World War II. This interactive timeline of freedom and democracy tracks the struggle for liberty since then.
  • Unit 1 deepens students’ understanding of freedom by introducing them to its historical and philosophical origins, as well as its contemporary champions.
  • Unit 2 draws on America’s founding documents as well as testimonies from the Freedom Collection to explore the role of government in securing political, economic, and personal rights in the United States and around the world.
  • Unit 3 investigates totalitarian governments of the 20th century, as well as the freedom movements that resisted them. With the help of video interviews from the Freedom Collection, students will investigate efforts to advance individual rights in three case studies: China, Poland, and South Africa.
  • Unit 4 looks at the state of freedom in the 21st century, paying special attention to those parts of the world where the struggle for human liberty and democracy continues.  Working in groups, students will learn about the status of freedom in four case studies: Burma, China, Cuba, and Tunisia.