We the People Initiative

subhead 1 | subhead 2 | subhead 3 | subhead 4 | Featured Lessons | Featured Websites | About the Image

preamble, ConstitutionJoin EDSITEment in support of the National Endowment for the Humanities We the People initiative, announced by President Bush in the fall of 2002. With over one-hundred EDSITEment lessons focused on some aspect of U.S. history, literature, or culture, and with panel-reviewed websites providing unprecedented access to primary documents and artifacts, EDSITEment offers you and your students a wealth of resources for studying the historical origins and core ideas and values of the American Republic.

For example, The Federalist Debates: Balancing Power Between State and Federal Government provides students with a richly detailed historical context for considering what has been and continues to be a central debate in American political life: how should power be distributed between states and the federal government? As do many other EDSITEment lessons on U.S. history, this lesson involves direct engagement with primary historical texts and other documents and artifacts central to the American story. Also providing historical background for framing topics for the We the People initiative are such EDSITEment lessons as 1) The Constitutional Convention: What the Founding Fathers Said; 2) The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met 3) Jefferson and Franklin: Revolutionary Philosophers; 4) Jefferson and Franklin: Renaissance Men 5) The Boston Tea Party: Costume Optional? 6) Revolutionary Tea Parties and the Reasons for Revolution. In addition, these lessons provide teachers with useful tools, such as interactive timelines and downloadable graphic organizers that can help students to comprehend the concrete details of American history.

EDSITEment lesson plans designed for younger students also raise challenging questions about the founding principles of this nation. For example, lessons such as Declare the Causes: The Declaration of Independence, and The Preamble to the Constitution: How Do You Make a More Perfect Union? bring alive the principles of democratic self-government established in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights, and can be adapted for older students engaged in the study of primary documents. In Balancing Three Branches at Once: Our System of Checks and Balances, students analyze primary documents to demonstrate the challenges facing those forming a new government. Finally, the continuing significance of the founding principles of the American Republic can be explored in lessons such as The First Amendment: What's Fair in a Free Country, which helps students to learn about individual liberty and responsibility through the study of Supreme Court cases.

After exploring some of EDSITEment's U.S. history lessons your students may want to try online research through EDSITEment websites such as American Memory Project the Oyez Project, and the Digital Classroom of the National Archives and Records Administration, which provide unprecedented access to historical documents and electronic archives. These and other EDSITEment-reviewed resources on U.S. history and culture are great places for students to discover the people who contributed to the principles of democratic self-government and the roles they played in our nation's history. Students will then have a much clearer sense of who “We the People” are.

Online Primary Documents on EDSITEment web sites for reference: Declaration of Independence
Digital Classroom, NARA support

U.S. Constitution
Avalon Project, Yale University Law School
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/constpap.htm

Avalon Project at Yale Law School
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/rights1.htm

Emancipation Proclamation
Digital Classroom, NARA
http://www.archives.gov/exhibit_hall/featured_documents/
emancipation_proclamation/
emancipation_proclamation_transcript.html

Gettysburg Address
American Memory Collection, Library of Congress
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/gadd/gadrft.html

EDSITEment Lesson Plans on American History, Government, Literature, and Culture:

Grade Level 9-12

Attitudes Toward Emancipation
/lesson-plan/emancipation-proclamation-freedoms-first-steps

Congressional Committees and the Legislative Process
/lesson-plan/congressional-committees-and-legislative-process

 Critical Ways of Seeing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in context
/lesson-plan/critical-ways-seeing-adventures-huckleberry-finn-context

Cultural Change (Woman Suffrage Movement)
/lesson-plan/cultural-change

Dramatizing History in Arthur Miller's The Crucible
/lesson-plan/dramatizing-history-arthur-millers-crucible

Edgar Allen Poe, Ambrose Bierce and the Unreliable Biographer
/edgar-allan-poe-ambrose-bierce-and-unreliable-biographers

Evaluating Eyewitness Reports (Chicago Fire, & Civil War Diary)
/lesson-plan/evaluating-eyewitness-reports

Families in Bondage
/lesson-plan/families-bondage

Folklore in Zora Neal Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God
/lesson-plan/folklore-zora-neale-hurstons-their-eyes-were-watching-god

George Washington: The Living Symbol
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Hawthorne: Author and Narrator
/lesson-plan/remember-ladies-first-ladies

Images at War (World War II posters from Library of Congress)
/lesson-plan/images-war

Jazz and World War II: A Rally to Resistance, A Catalyst for Victory
/lesson-plan/jazz-and-world-war-ii-rally-resistance-catalyst-victory

Life on the Great Plains
/lesson-plan/life-great-plains

 Lincoln Goes to War
/lesson-plan/lincoln-goes-war

Mark Twain and American Humor
/lesson-plan/mark-twain-and-american-humor

Ordinary People, OrdinaryPlaces: The Civil Rights Movement
/lesson-plan/ordinary-people-ordinary-places-civil-rights-movement

Other Worlds: The Voyage of Columbus
/lesson-plan/other-worlds-voyage-columbus

 Perspective on the Slave Narrative
/lesson-plan/perspective-slave-narrative

The Red Badge of Courage:A New Kind of Courage
/lesson-plan/red-badge-courage-new-kind-courage

The Red Badge of Courage: A New Kind of Realism
/lesson-plan/red-badge-courage-new-kind-realism

Regulating Freedom of Speech (Looking at applications of the constitution)
/lesson-plan/regulating-freedom-speech

Scripting the Past (Exploring Women's History through personal accounts)
/lesson-plan/scripting-past-exploring-womens-history-through-film

The Secret Society and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
/lesson-plan/secret-society-and-fitzgeralds-great-gatsby

Spirituals
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Voices of the American Revolution
/lesson-plan/voices-american-revolution

Walt Whitman to Langston Hughes:Poems for a Democracy
/lesson-plan/walt-whitman-langston-hughes-poems-democracy

Walt Whitman's Notebooks: The Sweep of the Universe
/lesson-plan/walt-whitmans-notebooks-and-poetry-sweep-universe

Was There an Industrial Revolution? New Workplace, New Technology, New Consumers
/lesson-plan/was-there-industrial-revolution-new-workplace-new-technology-new-consumers

Was There an Industrial Revolution? Americans at Work Before the Civil War
/lesson-plan/was-there-industrial-revolution-americans-work-civil-war

Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion (Constitutional crisis & Washington's diary)
/lesson-plan/washington-and-whiskey-rebellion

What Portraits Reveal (Presidential portraits)
/lesson-plan/what-presidential-portraits-reveal

Who Was Cinque?
/lesson-plan/who-was-cinque

Worth a Thousand Words: Depression Era Photographs
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Grade Level 6-8

The Boston Tea Party: Costume Optional?
/lesson-plan/depression-era-photographs-worth-thousand-words

Colonial Broadsides and the American Revolution
/lesson-plan/boston-tea-party-costume-optional

Colonial Broadsides: A Student-Created Play
/lesson-plan/colonial-broadsides-student-created-play

The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met
/lesson-plan/constitutional-convention-four-founding-fathers-you-may-never-have-met

The Constitutional Convention: What the Founding Fathers Said
/lesson-plan/constitutional-convention-what-founding-fathers-said

Edgar Allen Poe, Ambrose Bierce and the Unreliable Narrator
/lesson-plan/edgar-allan-poe-ambrose-bierce-and-unreliable-narrator

Eve of the Civil War: Factory vs.Plantation in the North and South
/lesson-plan/eve-war-north-vs-south

The Industrial Age in America: Robber Barons or Captains of Industry?
/lesson-plan/industrial-age-america-robber-barons-and-captains-industry

The Industrial Age in America: Sweatshops, Steel Mills, and Factories
/lesson-plan/industrial-age-america-sweatshops-steel-mills-and-factories

Jack London's The Call of the Wild: Nature Faker?
/lesson-plan/jack-londons-call-wild-nature-faker

Jefferson vs. Franklin: Renaissance Man
/lesson-plan/jefferson-vs-franklin-renaissance-men

Jefferson vs. Franklin: Revolutionary Philosophers
/lesson-plan/jefferson-vs-franklin-revolutionary-philosophers

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
/lesson-plan/legend-sleepy-hollow

Listening to History (Looking at family history to understand U.S. history)
/lesson-plan/listening-history

Martin Luther King and the Power of Non-violence
/lesson-plan/martin-luther-king-jr-and-power-nonviolence

Metaphorical Gold: Mining the Gold Rush for Stories
/lesson-plan/metaphorical-gold-mining-gold-rush-stories

Not Only Paul Revere: Other Riders of the American Revolution
/lesson-plan/not-only-paul-revere-other-riders-american-revolution

On the Oregon Trail
/lesson-plan/oregon-trail

Poems that Tell a Story: Persona and Narrative in the Poems of Robert Frost
/lesson-plan/poems-tell-story-narrative-and-persona-poetry-robert-frost

The Poet's Voice: Langston Hughes and You
/lesson-plan/poets-voice-langston-hughes-and-you

Revolutionary Tea Parties and the Reasons for Revolution
/lesson-plan/revolutionary-tea-parties-and-reasons-revolution

The Statue of Liberty: Bringing the 'New Colossus to America'
/lesson-plan/statue-liberty-bringing-new-colossus-america

Voting Rights for Women: Pro-and Anti-Suffrage
/lesson-plan/voting-rights-women-pro-and-anti-suffrage

Who Were the Foremothers of Women's Equality?
/lesson-plan/who-were-foremothers-womens-equality

Why Do We Remember Revere? Paul Revere's Ride in History and Literature
/lesson-plan/why-do-we-remember-revere-paul-reveres-ride-history-and-literature

Women in the White House (history of First Ladies)
/lesson-plan/women-white-house

Women's Suffrage: Why the West First?
/lesson-plan/womens-suffrage-why-west-first

Grades 3-5

American Colonial Life in the 1700's: Distant Cousins
/lesson-plan/american-colonial-life-late-1700s-distant-cousins

Balancing Three Branches at Once: OurSystem of Checks and Balances
/lesson-plan/balancing-three-branches-once-our-system-checks-and-balances

Born on a Mountaintop: Davy Crockett, Tall Tales, & History
/lesson-plan/davy-crockett-tall-tales-and-history

Declare the Causes: the Declaration of Independence
/lesson-plan/declare-causes-declaration-independence

Dust Bowl Days
/lesson-plan/dust-bowl-days

The First Amendment: What's Fair in a Free Country
/lesson-plan/first-amendment-whats-fair-free-country

Go West: Imagining the Oregon Trail
/lesson-plan/go-west-imagining-oregon-trail

History in Quilts
/lesson-plan/history-quilts

I Do Solemnly Swear: Presidential Inaugurations
/lesson-plan/presidential-inaugurations-i-do-solemnly-swear

I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Someone a Letter(Reading historic letters)
/lesson-plan/im-gonna-sit-right-down-and-write-someone-letter

I've Just Seen a Face: Portraits
/lesson-plan/portraits-ive-just-seen-face

Jamestown Changes
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A Landmark Lesson: The United States Capitol Building
/lesson-plan/landmark-lesson-united-states-capitol-building

Let Freedom Ring: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
/lesson-plan/let-freedom-ring-life-legacy-martin-luther-king-jr

Music From Across America
/lesson-plan/music-across-america

Oh Say Can You See What the Star Spangled Banner Means
/lesson-plan/oh-say-can-you-see-what-star-spangled-banner-means

On the Home Front
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On this Day with Lewis and Clark
/lesson-plan/day-lewis-and-clark

The Preamble to the Constitution: How Do You Make a More Perfect Union?
/lesson-plan/preamble-constitution-how-do-you-make-more-perfect-union

Remember the Ladies: The First Ladies
/lesson-plan/remember-ladies-first-ladies

Slave Narratives: Constructing U.S. History Through Analyzing Primary Sources
/lesson-plan/slave-narratives-constructing-us-history-through-analyzing-primary-sources

The Statue of Liberty: The Meaning and Use ofa National Symbol
/lesson-plan/statue-liberty-meaning-and-use-national-symbol

Thomas Edison's Inventions in the 1900's and Today: From "New" to You
/lesson-plan/thomas-edisons-inventions-1900s-and-today-new-you

Traces: Historic Archaeology(historic U.S. places)
/lesson-plan/traces-historic-archaeology

We Must Not be Enemies: Lincoln's First Inaugural Address
/lesson-plan/lincolns-first-inaugural-address-we-must-not-be-enemies

What Makes a Hero?
/lesson-plan/what-makes-hero

Grades K-2

Dr. King's Dream
/lesson-plan/dr-kings-dream

If You Were a Pioneer on the Oregon Trail
/lesson-plan/if-you-were-pioneer-oregon-trail

Like Father Like Son: Presidential Families (George W. Bush & John Adams)
/lesson-plan/father-son-presidential-families

Picturing First Families (Looking at presidential families)
/lesson-plan/picturing-first-families

Portrait of a Hero
/lesson-plan/portrait-hero

The President's Roles and Responsibilities: Communicating with the President
/lesson-plan/presidents-roles-and-responsibilities-communicating-president

The President's Roles and Responsibilities: Understanding the President's Job
/lesson-plan/presidents-roles-and-responsibilities-understanding-presidents-job

Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic in the One-Room Schoolhouse
/lesson-plan/reading-writing-and-rithmetic-one-room-schoolhouse

Stars and Stripes Forever: Flag Facts, Flag Day
/lesson-plan/stars-and-stripes-forever-flag-facts-flag-day

Stories in Quilts
/lesson-plan/stories-quilts

Then and Now: Early America
/lesson-plan/then-and-now-life-early-america-1740-1840

Traditions and Languages of Three Native Cultures, Tlingit, Lakota, and Cherokee
/lesson-plan/traditions-and-languages-three-native-cultures-tlingit-lakota-cherokee

What is History? Timelines and Oral Histories
/lesson-plan/what-history-timelines-and-oral-histories

Featured Lessons

Featured Websites

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ABOUT THE IMAGE

Preamble to the Constitution
Courtesy of The National Archives.