Features: History & Social Studies
A naval battle of the Revolutionary War, 1779

Advanced Placement U.S. History Lessons

EDSITEment, from the National Endowment for the Humanities is a partnership with the National Trust for the Humanities, and the Verizon Foundation, which brings online humanities resources directly to the classroom through exemplary lesson plans and student activities. EDSITEment develops AP level lessons based on primary source documents that cover the most frequently taught topics and themes in American history. Many of these lessons were developed by teachers and scholars associated with the City University of New York and Ashland University. These online lessons include:

Transatlantic Encounters and Colonial Beginnings

  • Magna Carta: Cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution
    Magna Carta served to lay the foundation for the evolution of parliamentary government and subsequent declarations of rights in Great Britain and the United States. In attempting to establish checks on the king's powers, this document asserted the right of "due process" of law.
  • Images of the New World
    How did the English picture the native peoples of America during the early phases of colonization of North America? This lesson plan enables students to interact with written and visual accounts of this critical formative period at the end of the 16th century, when the English view of the New World was being formulated, with consequences that we are still seeing today.
  • Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción and the Spanish Mission in the New World
    In this Picturing America lesson, students explore the historical origins and organization of Spanish missions in the New World and discover the varied purposes these communities of faith served. Focusing on the daily life of Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, the lesson asks students to relate the people of this community and their daily activities to the art and architecture of the mission.

Colonial North America

  • Colonizing the Bay
    This lesson focuses on John Winthrop’s historic "Model of Christian Charity" sermon which is often referred to by its "City on a Hill" metaphor. Through a close reading of this admittedly difficult text, students will learn how it illuminates the beliefs, goals, and programs of the Puritans. The sermon sought to inspire and to motivate the Puritans by pointing out the distance they had to travel between an ideal community and their real-world situation.
  • Mapping Colonial New England: Looking at the Landscape of New England
    The lesson focuses on two 17th century maps of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to trace how the Puritans took possession of the region, built towns, and established families on the land. Students learn how these New England settlers interacted with the Native Americans, and how to gain information about those relationships from primary sources such as maps.
  • William Penn’s Peaceable Kingdom
    By juxtaposing the different promotional tracts of William Penn and David Pastorius, students understand the ethnic diversity of Pennsylvania along with the "pull” factors of migration in the 17th century English colonies.
  • Understanding the Salem Witch Trials
    In 1691, a group of girls from Salem, Massachusetts accused an Indian slave named Tituba of witchcraft, igniting a hunt for witches that left 19 men and women hanged, one man pressed to death, and over 150 more people in prison awaiting a trial. In this lesson, students explore the characteristics of the Puritan community in Salem, learn about the Salem Witchcraft Trials, and try to understand how and why this event occurred.

 

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American Revolutionary Era

 

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The Early Republic

 

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The Transformation of Politics in Antebellum America

 

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The Transformation of the Economy and Society in Antebellum America

 

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The Crisis of the Union

 

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The Civil War

 

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Reconstruction

 

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Industrial America in the Late Nineteenth Century

 

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The Emergence of America as a World Power

 

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The New Era: 1920s

 

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FDR, The Great Depression, and the New Deal

 

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The Second World War

 

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The Cold War

 

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The Turbulent 1960s

 

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The United States in the Post-Cold War World

 

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ABOUT THE IMAGE

B.F. Leizalt. "Combat memorable entre le Pearson et Paul Jones. Augsburg: 1779 1780." Engraving after a painting by Richard Paton. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (54)