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Rich Men North of Richmond

High School Lesson Plan: Analyzing Social and Economic Issues in "Rich Men North of Richmond" Lyrics

Grade Level: High School

Duration: 3 class periods (45 minutes each)


Students will analyze the lyrics of "Rich Men North of Richmond" by Oliver Anthony to explore themes of political disconnect, taxation, historical context, and economic challenges. Students will also consider the impact of these issues on society.


Lyrics of "Rich Men North of Richmond" by Oliver Anthony

Projector or whiteboard for displaying lyrics

Copies of the grading rubric for each student

Handouts with relevant historical information on taxation and representation

Day 1: Introduction and Analysis of Lyrics (45 minutes)

Introduction to the Song and Objective (10 minutes)

Play the song "Rich Men North of Richmond" by Oliver Anthony.

Discuss the song's themes and potential connections to real-world issues.

State the lesson objective: to analyze the lyrics for themes related to political disconnect, taxation, and economic challenges.

Lyric Analysis and Discussion (25 minutes)

Display the lyrics on the projector or whiteboard.

Divide the class into small groups and assign sections of the lyrics to analyze.

Have groups identify and discuss lines that address political disconnection, taxation, and economic struggles.

Encourage groups to share their findings with the class and facilitate a class discussion on the themes identified.

Reflection on Themes (10 minutes)

Lead a discussion on the relevance of the identified themes to current events and society.

Encourage students to consider whether these issues are still prevalent and how they impact individuals and communities.

Day 2: Historical Context and Discussion (45 minutes)

Introduction to Taxation Without Representation (15 minutes)

Provide handouts with information about the historical concept of taxation without representation and its role in the founding of the United States.

Discuss how this concept is reflected in the song's lyrics and its relevance to American history.

Group Discussion on Taxation and Representation (20 minutes)

Divide students into groups and have them discuss the impact of taxation without representation on the colonial population.

Encourage groups to draw parallels between historical and modern instances of feeling disconnected from political decisions.

Class Sharing and Reflection (10 minutes)

Have each group share their insights and discussions with the class.

Facilitate a class discussion on the importance of representation in government decisions and the potential consequences of political disconnect.

Day 3: Economic Impact and Discussion (45 minutes)

Discussion on Economic Struggles (20 minutes)

Lead a discussion on the economic challenges mentioned in the lyrics, such as low wages, welfare, and economic inequality.

Encourage students to consider how these challenges can impact individuals and society as a whole.

Analysis of Economic Impact (15 minutes)

Have students work individually or in pairs to analyze the potential consequences of economic struggles highlighted in the song, such as the cycle of poverty, mental health issues, and societal divisions.

Group Sharing and Class Discussion (10 minutes)

Have students share their analyses with the class.

Facilitate a discussion on potential solutions and actions that can address economic challenges and political disconnect.


Participation in group discussions (30 points)

Individual reflection and analysis (20 points)

Relevance of historical context (15 points)

Engagement in class discussions (15 points)

Total: 80 points


As homework, students can write a short essay exploring the modern implications of taxation without representation and its relevance to current political and economic issues.

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