Mr. Garrison tells his students that there is walkout scheduled today to protest the war. If the students are against the war, they are free to go out and join the protest, if they are for the war they must stay in class. Regardless of how the children really feel about the war, getting out of class is more desirable to them than staying in class is. Outside of school, the anti-war protest is in full swing. The boys are given protest signs by Mr. Mackey and then a television reporter asks them how they feel about the war. The boys don't really know how to respond, so they recite the words that appear on their signs. Meantime, the pro-war demonstrators arrive of the scene and the boys find themselves in the middle of a debate about what the founding fathers would think about this protest. When the boys are quizzed by the TV reporter on what they think about the founding fathers position they (actually Cartman) respond by indicating that they don't know who the founding fathers are. Mr. Garrison is disgusted that the children don't know about the founding fathers, so he assigns all the children (in study groups of 4) a report on 1776 and the founding fathers. The boys start studying for their report, with the exception of Cartman who keeps trying to have a flashback to 1776 as a way to get out of the work. In the streets of South Park, the townspeople decide to try and divide town in half. Each side of town on the opposite side of the war issue; after realizing how fruitless this proposition is, they go back to beating the crap out of each other. Stan, Kyle and Kenny witness Cartman attempting to knock himself out in order to flashback to 1776. The pro and anti-war protestors go to the mayor's office, each protesting the other's use the town square on Saturday. Cartman tries to drown himself and a Tivo full of history programming into setting off his flashback to 1776. This time to his delight, it actually works. He encounters a man who is on his way to Thomas Jefferson's house to pick up an important document. He joins the man on his journey and sings a song about the fact that he is in 1776, without Stan and Kyle.
At the hospital, Cartman is in a coma and the doctor believes he won't recover. Stan and Kyle are pissed off that Cartman has gotten out of helping out with their report. In 1776, when Cartman finds out that he can't meet founding father Thomas Jefferson, he kills the messenger boy and takes his place. He gets the Declaration of Independence from Jefferson, with instructions to deliver it to the Continental Congress. Stan, Kyle and Kenny are trying to work on their report, when the anti-war protesters (led by Randy and Gerald) decide the might be able to use the boy's report at their peace protest. The pro-war group (featuring Jimbo, Ned and Kenny's dad) arrive on the scene. Kenny's dad takes him away, leaving Stan and Kyle to work on their report alone. Their fathers tell them they are counting on their report to show that the anti-war protest is something the founding fathers would agree with them. In 1776, Cartman delivers the document which is read completely in front of the Continental Congress (including an addendum by Cartman about free ice-cream every Thursday). Back in the present, both sides of the war issue are protesting in town square. The mayor reminds them that they must share the stage. Randy Marsh gets into a rock (anti-war) / country (pro-war) duet with the leader of the pro-war group. Back in 1776, a divided Continental Congress debates going to war with England, while Cartman watches.
Stan and Kyle are brought on stage to present their report, but they confess for a number of reasons why they didn't do their homework. It doesn't mean anything to the protesters anyway, as they just start beating the crap out of each other again. In 1776, the debate rages on until Benjamin Franklin makes his feelings known. He believes they could become a country that could go to war, but at the same time also make it appear like we don't want to go to war by allowing people to protest. "…an entire nation founded on saying one thing, and doing another." Cartman gets it now, and wakes from his coma. Cartman goes to town square and makes his report. Both sides realize that Cartman is right. Stan and Kyle are disgusted that Cartman has actually saved the day. Both factions come together for a rousing song climatic song that eventually concludes, "For the war, against the war. Who cares? 100 episodes!"