• Was There an Industrial Revolution? Americans at Work Before the Civil War

    Image Courtesy of American Memory.

    In this lesson, students explore the First Industrial Revolution in early nineteenth-century America. By reading and comparing first-hand accounts of the lives of workers before the Civil War, students prepare for a series of guided role-playing activities designed to help them make an informed judgment as to whether the changes that took place in manufacturing and distribution during this period are best described as a "revolution" or as a steady evolution over time.

  • Lesson 4: The Monroe Doctrine: Whose Doctrine Was It?

    John Quincy Adams played a crucial role in formulating the Monroe Doctrine when  he was Monroe's Secretary of State.

    In what ways did John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson contribute to the formulation of the Monroe Doctrine?

  • Lesson 1: The Monroe Doctrine: U.S. Foreign Affairs (circa 1782–1823) and James Monroe

    Portrait of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States, by Gilbert  Stuart.

    What was the Monroe Doctrine? What principles of foreign policy did this Doctrine establish? What were the significant events in U.S. diplomacy before 1823? What diplomatic roles had James Monroe played before he became president? Here, a careful examination of the document anticipates what is to come.

  • Lesson 1: An Early Threat of Secession: The Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Nullification Crisis

    Created July 18, 2010
    Henry Clay, author of the Missouri Compromise.

    Americans affirmed their independence with the ringing declaration that “all men are created equal.” But some of them owned African slaves, and were unwilling to give them up as they formed new federal and state governments. So “to form a more perfect union” in 1787, certain compromises were made in the Constitution regarding slavery. This settled the slavery controversy for the first few decades of the American republic, but this situation changed with the application of Missouri for statehood in 1819.

  • Lesson 2: The Campaign of 1840: The Candidates

    John Tyler, 10th President of the United States (1841–1845)

    Many accounts portray Harrison's image as manufactured and Van Buren's image also open to criticism and ridicule. This lesson offers students the opportunity to reflect on the nature of the candidates in 1840. Though intended for the teacher, all or part of the following background information may be useful for some students.

  • Lesson 3: The Campaign of 1840: The Campaign

    A cream pitcher campaign memento from the Harrison-Tyler campaign of 1840.

    Many accounts portray the campaign of 1840 as almost exclusively about image, and manufactured images at that. This lesson gives students the opportunity to reflect on that point of view as they analyze campaign documents and accounts. Though intended for the teacher, all or part of the following background information may be useful for some students.

  • Lesson 3: The Election Is in the House: Was There a Corrupt Bargain?

    Henry Clay did not win the 1824 presidential election

    Students examine John Quincy Adams' win of the 1824 election.

  • Lesson 3: The Monroe Doctrine: A Close Reading

    Thomas Jefferson played a role in the development of the so-called Monroe  Doctrine.

    To what events in United States and European foreign affairs does the Monroe Doctrine refer? What was the primary purpose behind the Monroe Doctrine?

  • The Panic of 1837 and the Presidency of Martin Van Buren

    Martin Van Buren—8th President of the United States—took office at a turbulent  time for America's economy.

    President Martin Van Buren inherited “the severe downturn in the American economy that began in 1836.” In this lesson, students will analyze period political cartoons as they study the causes of the economic downturn, Van Buren’s response as president, and the reaction to his measures.

  • Lesson 1: Factory vs. Plantation in the North and South

    Anti-slavery poster form the 1850s

    Students develop a foundation on which to understand the basic disagreements between North and South.