George Washington became President—reluctantly—at a critical time in the history of the United States. The Confederation had threatened to unravel; the weak central government (which included a weak executive with the sole responsibility of presiding over meetings of Congress and no special power to initiate laws beyond that of any member of Congress, enforce laws, or check acts of Congress) created by the Articles of Confederation had failed.
After an overview of the events surrounding Paul Revere's famous ride, this lesson challenges students to think about the reasons for that fame. Using both primary and secondhand accounts, students compare the account of Revere's ride in Longfellow's famous poem with actual historical events, in order to answer the question: why does Revere's ride occupy such a prominent place in the American consciousness?
To what shared principles did the Founding Fathers appeal as they struggled to reach a compromise in the Constitutional Convention? In this lesson, students will learn how the Founding Fathers debated then resolved their differences in the Constitution. Learn through their own words how the Founding Fathers created “a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise."
Witness the unfolding drama of the Constitutional Convention and the contributions of those whom we have come to know as the Founding Fathers. In this lesson, students will become familiar with four important, but relatively unknown, contributors to the U.S. Constitution Convention: Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, William Paterson, and Edmund Randolph.
Ben Franklin, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution was also a philanthropist, a community leader, patriot, and Founding Father. Students create hats illustrating some of the many roles that Franklin played in his life—statesman, politician, scientist, father, community activist, printer, publisher, writer, and inventor.
Explore the philosophical contributions that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson made to the movement for American independence. The lesson introduces students to some of the important precursor documents, such as Franklin's Albany Plan of 1754 and Jefferson's Draft of the Virginia Constitution, that led to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
In this lesson students will learn about Abraham Lincoln the individual and the President. By examining Alexander Gardner's February 5, 1865 photograph and reading a short biography of Lincoln, students will consider who the man on the other side of the lens was. Students will demonstrate their understanding by writing an "I Am" Poem and creating their own multimedia portrait of Lincoln.
Why is James Madison such an important figure? Why is he known as the "Father of the Constitution"? How involved was James Madison in the most important events in America from 1775 to 1817? The answers to these questions provide context for understanding the importance of James Madison's opinions on constitutional issues.
One of the most famous political speeches on freedom in the twentieth century was delivered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his 1941 State of the Union message to Congress. This lesson examines the rhetorical use of "freedom" with the objective of encouraging students to glimpse the broad range of hopes and aspirations that are expressed in the call of—and for—freedom.