The following websites are by no means a complete representation of all of the information on the World-Wide-Web for each of the topics below.  Instead, it is a limited selection based on specific criteria.  The material below is designed to assist our Citrus County Social Studies teachers with additional resources for classroom use.  The criteria used for the website chosen for this page are as follows: 

  • The website was a highly informational site.

  • The website was one containing primary resources for use in the classroom in conjunction with our 2007 Primary Resources training.  These resources could include documents, photographs, newspapers, letters, etc.

  • The website contained appropriate lesson plans that could be adapted to meet the needs of our classroom and Sunshine State Standards.

It is the teachers responsibility to review any website prior to using it in class.

If you have any additional suggestions, broken links, etc., for this site please email it to Michael Ballard at ballardm@citrus.k12.fl.us

 

American History 1:  Age of Discovery - Reconstruction

 
     

General Resources

       Age of Discovery 1000 -1700 AD

    Colonial Era    1580 - 1763

      Creating a New Nation 1763 - 1800

         Expanding America     1800 - 1850

Civil War & Reconstruction 1850-1877

Florida Specific Topics 1500 - 1877

 

 

General Resources

General Resources (Economic) General Resources (Social) General Resources (Political) General Resources (Reference)

 

General Resources (Economic)

Title Description
 Fact Monster: United States Population "Every ten years, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, an agency of the government, counts how many people live in the United States and asks them questions about their lifestyle, families, jobs, income, age, ethnicity, childcare and other topics." Fact Monster explains the U.S. Census process, looks at its history with a timeline starting in 1787, and charts U.S. population by region and state. Search for "world population" to jump to the World Stats and Facts section.

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General Resources (Social)

Title Description
African American Odyssey This Library of Congress site showcases the library's collection of rare books, government documents, manuscripts, musical scores, plays, films and recordings related to the African American experience.
American Fact Finder This U.S. Census Bureau site is designed to make finding census information easier. Included are community profiles, reference and thematic maps, and population and housing facts.
Antique Corset Gallery Take a virtual tour through two and a half centuries of "corsetry" at this cool site. The Antique Corset Gallery explores the shape, fabric, color, construction and evolution of corsets and undersupports from the 1700's to the early 20th Century.  
At Home in the Heartland At Home in the Heartland" explores family life in Illinois from 1700 to the present & examines contributions of various cultural groups to the state. It includes maps, timelines, historical artifacts, & lesson plans for teachers Grades 3-12.
Authentic History This is an incredible site for image and sound resources.  From the site: “The Authentic History Center is comprised of artifacts and sounds from American popular culture. It was created to teach that the everyday objects in society have authentic historical value and reflect the social consciousness of the era that produced them.”
Brooklyn Children's Museum The oldest children's museum in the U.S., the Brooklyn Children's Museum, also boasts a Web site chock full of interesting collections, accessible exhibitions and thoughtful, age-appropriate interactivity. Visit Collections Central to search and view one of BCM's 27,000 cultural artifacts or natural history specimens. Or use your mouse to "draw" an object, then submit it to the site for possible posting. You can browse by exhibition, like Native American Artifacts or What's That Noise? (soundmakers from around the world), or search by category and country. In Under the Sea, for example, you'll find an emperor helmet shell with a cameo depicting a female warrior.
Lift Every Voice This University of Virginia site contains a breakdown of historic music into a topical arrangement, and has text, images, sheet music, and audio clips of the music that occurred throughout American History.
National Museum of African American History The National Museum of African American History and Culture may not have a physical building yet, but it is alive online and growing! Visit the museum's new website, where you can explore African American collections, learn about the progress of the museum, and share your personal stories and history in the Memory Book.
Old Magazine Articles This is a primary source site with PDF versions of magazine articles published from 1860-1922 covering topics including the American Civil War, World War I, Prohibition, fashion history, art history, immigration history, the sinking of the Titanic and much more, including World War II articles from Yank magazine.
Online Newspaper Archives This site, hosted by History Buff, provides an archival collection of newspapers from American History spanning the years from 1700 to 2004.  The original source is provided on the site, establishing a large collection of primary resources available for research.
Our Shared History, African American Heritage A comprehensive project of The National Park Service to preserve and interpret African American history.
Paleography: reading old handwriting 1500 – 1800: A practical online tutorial This site provides useful information and tutorials for use in deciphering the writing found in primary resources from the 16th – 18th centuries. From the site:  Paleography is the study of old handwriting. This web tutorial will help you learn to read the handwriting found in documents written in English between 1500 and 1800.
Patriotic Melodies Learn more about America's most beloved music at the Library of Congress's Patriotic Melodies web site.
Teaching with Historic Places -- African American Lesson Plans Created by National Park Service interpreters, preservation professionals, and educators, these lessons are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes.
The African Presence in the Americas: 1492-1992 Designed to introduce you to the dynamics and dimensions of the 500 year history of African people in the Americas. Four broad themes have been selected for exploration: Migration, Work, Culture, and Resistance.
The Church in the Southern Black Community: 1780-1925 From the site: “This compilation of printed texts from the libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill traces how Southern African Americans experienced and transformed Protestant Christianity into the central institution of community life.”
The History Makers-- African American History Archive Features a vast collection of resources that focus on slavery, the abolitionist movement, the civil rights movement, music, sports and entertainment.
Within These Walls This site tells the stories of five families who lived in this house over 200 years and made history in their kitchens and parlors, through everyday choices and personal acts of courage and sacrifice. Site by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

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General Resources (Political)

Title Description
100 Milestone Documents that Shaped America The People's Vote, co-sponsored by the National Archives and Records Administration, National History Day, and U.S. News & World Report, invited Americans of all ages and educational backgrounds to vote for 10 of 100 milestone documents drawn mainly from the holdings of the National Archives.
A Chronology of US Historical Documents This University of Oklahoma website provides transcriptions of American Documents from pre-colonial times to 2005.
GPO Core Documents of American History From the Articles of Confederation to a Statistical Abstract of the United States, if you're looking for an American historical document, you'll probably find it here.
Our Documents  …Links to 100+ important US documents in their original, hand-written form; the site also includes tips for teachers and library media specialists for use of these items in the curriculum and links to more information about the history and contents of the documents

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General Resources (Reference)

Title Description
American History AP Ms. Pojer, from Horace Greeley High School, Chappaqua, NY, has created an excellent, detailed website for AP American History.
American Memory American Memory from the Library of Congress is a gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections.
American Memory Learning Page-Library of Congress An excellent lesson plan introduces students to primary sources and presents activities that teach techniques for analyzing such materials.
America's Library This Web site is brought to you from the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the largest library in the world and the nation's library. "We hope you will find this Web site entertaining and fun to use. And, of course, we hope you will learn something from it. The site was designed especially with young people in mind, but there are great stories for people of all ages, and we hope children and their families will want to explore this site together."
America's Story from America's Library This easily navigable site is a great way to get kids interested in history. You'll find entertaining tales about Thomas Alva Edison, Meriwether Lewis, Hawaii's King Kamehameha, and many more. Jump Back in Time provides colorful detail from colonial America to the present. A fun section called See, Hear and Sing includes audio files of classic children's songs starting from 1939.
Archaeological Institute of America Homepage of the 8,000 member Archaeological Institute of America, which bills itself as "the oldest and largest archaeological organization in North America." This reputable Boston-based nonprofit promotes the field, educates the public, and lobbies in Washington. Here, you can learn about the group's touring lecture program, fellowships, annual meeting, and educational seminars. Want to get involved? Visit the Fieldwork section and volunteer for one of the more than 250 archaeological projects, ranging from an excavation on the Roman sanctuary and fortress near the town of Mezdra, Bulgaria to surveying Inca ruins in Maucallacta, Peru.
Connecticut History Online Although specifically designed around Connecticut history, this site demonstrates a very usable model that local and state historical societies could replicate; including over 14,000 digital artifacts, the lesson plans, information on primary resources, citation information, and additional resources can be both useful for your classroom and provide you with creative ideas for using the American Memory Collection from the Library of Congress or your own state/local digitized historical artifacts.
Digital History This University of Houston site  provides a U.S. history textbook, essays, documents, maps, photos, audio files, and more for teachers and students of American history in schools and colleges.
Documenting the American South Documenting the American South, housed at the University of North Carolina, is a digital collection of texts, images, and audio files related to Southern history.
Famous Trials This is an educational and non-commercial site maintained at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School. The Web's largest and most visited collection of materials relating to famous trials, from Socrates to Clinton. The site includes original essays, images, primary documents, maps, transcript excerpts, chronologies, video clips, court decisions, and other materials to aid readers in understanding the significance of historic trials.
First Nations History This site seems to relate mostly to American tribes.
Florida Memory Project-Florida State Archives The Florida Memory Project offers access to the state photographic collections, including a webpage for kids; highlights of Florida history represented by maps, documents, and posters; and lesson plans based on primary sources.
Historical Text Archives The HTA publishes high quality articles, books, essays, documents, historical photos, and links, screened for content, for a broad range of historical subjects. It was founded in 1990 in Mississippi and is one of the oldest history sites on the Internet. This site is dynamic with regular additions to its contents and its link collection.
History Matters Designed for high school and college teachers and students, History Matters serves as a gateway to web resources and offers other useful materials for teaching U.S. history.  Some excellent resources on this site.
Links to the Past Explore America's cultural resources - buildings, landscapes, archeological sites, ethnographic resources, objects and documents, structures and districts. This site by the National Park Service provides links containing information about people from the past and establish important connections to the present. They also provide evidence about important historical trends and events, reflect people's everyday lives and significant accomplishments and illustrate distinctive architectural, landscape, and engineering designs.
National Archives Of all documents and materials created in the course of business conducted by the United States Federal government, only 1% - 3% are so important for legal or historical reasons that they are kept by us forever. Those valuable records are preserved and are available to you, whether you want to see if they contain clues about your family’s history, need to prove a veteran's military service, or are researching an historical topic that interests you.
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) NARA is an independent Federal agency that helps preserve our nation's history by overseeing the management of all Federal records. NARA's mission is to ensure ready access to the essential evidence that documents the rights of American citizens, the actions of Federal officials, and the national experience. This site includes multiple links to NARA's nationwide holdings including: Records Management; Federal Register; Online Exhibit Hall; Digital Classroom; National Historical Publication and Records Commission Grants; and technical information for Archives and Preservation of Professional records.
National Archives Digital Classroom: Teaching With Documents  …a wonderful set of lesson plans, arranged by historical era, which include reproducible copies of many primary documents held by the US National Archives and Records Administration
National Museum of African American History The National Museum of African American History and Culture may not have a physical building yet, but it is alive online and growing! Visit the museum's new website, where you can explore African American collections, learn about the progress of the museum, and share your personal stories and history in the Memory Book.
POTUS: Presidents of the United States In this resource you will find background information, election results, cabinet members, notable events, and some points of interest on each of the presidents. Links to biographies, historical documents, audio and video files, and other presidential sites are also included.
Smithsonian Education: Lesson Plans Smithsonian lesson plans emphasize inquiry-based learning using primary sources and museum collections.
Smithsonian History Explorer From the site: Your gateway to innovative, standards-based online resources for teaching and learning American history, designed and developed by the National Museum of American History as part of Verizon's thinkfinity.org consortium. Explore the rich resources of the Museum and bring history to life with artifacts, primary sources, and online tools for the classroom, afterschool programs, and home.
Teaching with Historic Places Teaching with Historic Places uses properties listed in the National Park Services’ National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, and other subjects.  A variety of lesson plans are available with numerous visual resources for support.
The American President AmericanPresident.org is a non-partisan resource on the history and function of the American presidency published by the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs. You'll find great stuff for school reports on any particular president under Presidency in History. My favorite clicks are the presidential photos and bios. Information about the "function, responsibilities, and organization of the modern presidency" can be found in Presidency in Action.
The Avalon Project at Yale The Avalon Project includes digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy, and Government from the 18th to 19th centuries. The site includes a wide variety of documents, such as collections related to the American Constitution; Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Documents; the Cold War; Indochina; Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941; and the United States concerning Native Americans and Slavery.
The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: For Teachers & Students This page, for teachers and students, provides lessons, tips, and ideas for use of this collection of more than 60,000 primary source documents detailing the political and social history of the US from 1493 to modern times
Time Capsuler To begin your trip in this Time Capsule enter a date. You will be presented with your own customized page that includes all the information you've chosen, plus typical consumer prices from that year, Academy Award winners that year, etc. Site has data online for the years 1800 through 2002, although data for the years 1800 - 1875 is probably spotty.

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The Age of Discovery

 

 
 

Viking - Spanish Explorers

English - American Explorers

 

 

The Earliest Explorers - the Conquistadores

Title Description
1492: An Ongoing Voyage An online Library of Congress exhibit with six sections: What Came to Be Called "America"; The Mediterranean World; Christopher Columbus: Man and Myth; Inventing America; Europe Claims America; and Epilogue.
Age of Discovery Timeline PBS produced an excellent timeline of the Age of Discovery.
American Journeys American Journeys contains more than 18,000 pages of eyewitness accounts of North American exploration, from the sagas of Vikings in Canada in AD1000 to the diaries of mountain men in the Rockies 800 years later.
Ancient Images A multi-media mural emphasizing pre-Columbian Southeastern Native American culture created by Mount Pleasant Elementary School Fourth Graders and North Carolina sculptor Raymond Moose.
Columbus’s First Voyage Printable Columbus's First Voyage to the New World printable for use in the classroom.
Discovery and Exploration This category documents the discovery and exploration with both manuscripts and published maps. Many of these maps reflect the European Age of Discoveries, dating from the late 15th century to the 17th century when Europeans were concerned primarily with determining the outline of the continents as they explored and mapped the coastal areas and the major waterways.
European Voyages of Exploration This tutorial from the University of Calgary provides a comprehensive review of the causes, progress, and results of the Age of Discovery.
Exploration is Risky Business Exploration is risky business. That's what can be seen from the fate of the persons below. All of them died during one of their voyages of exploration.
Explorers on the Web The Webquest engages the students in the process of discovery and sharing the results of their investigation with their classmates.  Well laid out site.  Of special interest is the ‘resources’ section.
Map: The Americas on the eve of European conquest, c. 1500 This map provides a focus on the native American settlements in central and South America prior to European conquest of these areas.
New Spain – The Frontiers of Faith Interactive exhibits, games, timeline, and more on the Spanish influence in the Americas during the Age of Discovery.
The Conquest of North America Words and pictures illustrate the various aspects of Spanish exploration and acquisition in North America.
The Conquistadors An Online Learning Adventure on the Conquistadors for 6-12 grades. Sections: Timeline of Conquest (choose Events Timeline or Disease Timeline), Michael’s Journal (journal of producer of series who followed the trail of the Conquistadors), What Do You Think? (message forum-can read but not post), and Teacher’s Guide.
The Hall of Explorers A series of links on the explorers of North and South America.  Individual sites include both biographies and illustrations.

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English - American Explorers

Title Description
American Journeys From the site:  Everything teachers and students need for a successful National History Day project is available at www.americanjourneys.org — topic ideas, lesson plans, research advice, and thousands of pages of fully indexed eyewitness accounts of North American exploration. Follow famous explorers. Witness first contacts between cultures. See how the exchange of goods and ideas forever altered people’s daily life and ideas. Find out what “America” meant to the people who arrived here long ago and to the people who greeted them. Re-discover what it means to you.
Eyewitness Accounts of  Early American Exploration Read the words of explorers, Indians, missionaries, traders and settlers as they lived through the founding moments of American history. View, search, print, or download more than 150 rare books, original manuscripts, and classic travel narratives from the library and archives of the Wisconsin Historical Society. 

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Colonization to 1763

   
  Early America: 1500 - 1650 Developing Colonial Life: 1650 - 1725 The Colonies Mature: 1725 - 1763  

 

Early America

Title Description
About the Duties of Husbands and Wives Benjamin Wadsworth was the author of A Well-Ordered Family, published in Boston in 1712, which is the source of About the duties of Husbands and Wives.  This tome provides the background for understanding the social arrangements of the era, and should be able to provide good comparison to the world of today.
America’s First Families America's First Families is an Online Genealogy Society that honors our 1600s Ancestors.  At this site you can chose a name and follow a link to a biography about that individual.
American Life: A Comparison of Colonial Life to Today’s Life This site is a resource for information on colonial vocabulary, lesson plans with activities, and information on Plymouth and the Pilgrims.
Bradford’s History A partially complete text of On Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford.  Chapters 1 – 9 and 36 (which is the last chapter of the book).  The spelling has been modernized, though the text has been kept as the original.
Charter Of Massachusetts Bay The original charter of Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629.
Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh Why risk the dangers of exploration in the 16th and 17th Centuries?  The primary document found at this Yale Law School Avalon Project website provides the answer in the form of the English Crown’s Charter to Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584.
Chronology of American Slavery This site provides a timeline with extensive comments and links discussing American slavery, 1619 - 1789
Colonial Charters Primary resource site from Yale Law School including the charters of the 13 original colonies.
Colonial Currency This site is A Project of the Robert H. Gore, Jr. Numismatic Endowment, University of Notre Dame.  The site lists the original colonies, provides examples of currency from different years, and information about the money.  Interesting.
Colonial Era Webquest This Colonial Era Webquest was created around a seven-page printable packet (in Word format) with thirteen mini-assignments. "What were the names of the three ships that brought the first colonists to Jamestown in 1607?" Although a few of the resource links are no longer valid, the quality of the rest of the materials earns this site its stars. Best clicks include Colonial Era Timeline and 13 Original Colonies.
Colonial North America This site is part of Fordham’s Internet Sourcebook series.  It contains a multitude of links to primary resources – letters, published items, political documents – that show the formative thoughts taking place during the colonial era.  A worthwhile resource.
Colonial Rare Map Collection The University of Georgia posted online rare maps from the era of colonies in America.  The maps are a valuable primary documents resource for the classroom.
Colonial Williamsburg Games, research, online exhibits, all on the American colonial experience.  What more can one ask for?
Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library A digital library of documents from the colonial era including digital copies of the 18th century Virginia Gazette.
Colonial Williamsburg Trades Colonial Williamsburg lists information for a variety of trades typically found during the colonial era.
Description of the Indians in New England From the site: Thomas Morton was one of the founders of the settlement at Mount Wollaston (present day Quincy, MA, south of Boston), a renegade group of colonists who became the object of the ire and punishments of the Puritan colonies of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay.
Dressing the Part The Colonial Williamsburg website has a fascinating section on the role of clothes and society in the 18th century.  Well worth a look and use in the classroom.
Early American History Crossword Puzzle Here's your chance to test your knowledge of early American history by solving Archiving Early America's crossword puzzle.  The puzzle can be solved interactively online or printed for use.
Early Plymouth Letters A collection of 8 letters from the early settlers of Plymouth Colony.
Essay Against the Power of the Church To Sit in Judgement on the Civil Magistracy An early argument for separation of church and state, this primary resource document, originally written by John Winthrop, provides a look at the foundations of topics under discussion today.
Founding Vision for Georgia From the site: Georgia was the last English colony established on the North American mainland before 1763. Imperial officials wished to create a buffer colony between Carolina and Spanish Florida. Although the Crown invested considerable money toward founding this strategic colony, the founders or Trustees of the colony, led by James Oglethorpe, conceived of Georgia as a humanitarian refuge for English debtors and criminals, and wanted to establish the colony with the utopian goals of no rum, no slaves, and no large landed estates.
How Did America Begin? How Did It All Begin? Where did America begin? Who shaped the country that we live in today? Meet the history makers who had a hand in defining America in the American Origins online exhibition.
Jamestown Panorama A great panoramic view of the interior of Jamestown as well as additional photos and material.
Library of Congress Wise Guide: Thanksgiving This Library of Congress page introduces three "first Thanksgivings" that predate the 1621 celebration in Plymouth: those of 1541, 1564 and 1610. More about those early celebrations can be found by mousing over to the American Memory Learning Page (the link below the two illustrations) and then clicking on Thanksgiving Timeline. This illustrated timeline covers nearly five-hundred years of American Thanksgiving history.
Massachusetts Bay School Law (1642) The rule of law on education in early Massachusetts Bay, including responsibilities of parents and children. 
Mayflower Compact The complete Mayflower Compact of 1622,  open to students for analysis and discussion as to its effects on our government.
Mayflower History The story of the Mayflower and the effects of its voyage on America.  Good primary resource links are available.
Notification of the Purchase of Manhattan by the Dutch A translation of the original document citing the purchase of Manhattan by the Dutch.
Pilgrim Hall Museum: The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth  There are only two primary sources that mention Plymouth's autumn feast of 1621: Edward Winslow's "Mourt's Relation" and William Bradford's "Of Plymouth Plantation." Because seventeenth-century spelling can be difficult to decipher, the Pilgrim Hall Museum has published several paragraphs about the first Thanksgiving using modern spelling. To read them, following the First Thanksgiving link in the second paragraph of the first page. Other reasons to visit are the many articles about Pilgrims listed in the Pilgrim Story section.
Plea for Religious Liberty This is a Roger Williams essay that illustrates his belief in religious liberty for all religions of the day.  Published in 1644.
Portraits of Plymouth Founders From the site, hosted by the Winthrop Society: Personal art in 17th-century America was not especially common, and surviving works are rarer still. However, the people of Massachusetts Bay and the other New England colonies took care to preserve the memories of many of its more prominent leaders, many of whose portraits still survive to this day.
Reasons for the Plantation in New England From the site: The following document was found among the papers of Governor John Winthrop. Other abridged versions are known, and variously ascribed to Rev. John White, John Winthrop or Rev. Francis Higginson. While the true originator may never be known, suffice it to say that this copy was written in the hand of Forth Winthrop, son and sometime secretary of the future Governor, and has marginal notes by the elder Winthrop, dated 1629. It was evidently a widely distributed and influential piece of propaganda in furtherance of the proposed settlement of Massachusetts Bay, judging from the number of copies in various forms which are still extant, along with numerous responses pro and con penned by various interested worthies of the day. The Rev. John White probably conceived the initial nine arguments, but we suspect, due to the legal style of its arguments, that Winthrop has here substantially amplified it to its present form with the addition of the objections and answers. In any event, it is surely an expression of Winthrop's own views on the subject, and is of great significance in revealing the motivation of the colonists.
Recipes from Colonial Williamsburg Gingerbread, peanut soup, and shepherds pie are just a few of the 18th Century recipes found on this Colonial Williamsburg site.
Religion and the Founding of America A Library of Congress presentation of a variety of resources and articles exploring the role of religion in the founding of America, 1600 – 1800.  From the site:  This exhibition demonstrates that many of the colonies that in 1776 became the United States of America were settled by men and women of deep religious convictions who in the seventeenth century crossed the Atlantic Ocean to practice their faith freely.
Robert Cushman’s Sermon This is the full text of a sermon given by Robert Cushman to the Plymouth church on December 12, 1621.  Links provide additional background and the introduction to the sermon.  An excellent view of the culture of Plymouth.
Starving Time John Smith describes what became known as “Starving Time” at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609-1610.  The description has some very graphic descriptions, including cannibalism. 
The American Colonists Library An invaluable collection of historical works which contributed to the formation of American politics, culture, and ideals.
The Avalon Project:  Colonial Charters A wonderful list of primary resources from Yale Law School, centering on Colonial charters.
The Character of an Old English Puritan This is an 1646 article by John Geree, London, in which (from the siteJ Geree defends for his own time the scriptural platform upon which Puritans stood. And for us, who have become so muddied in our definitions of the same, Geree lays out the essence of a Puritan with grace and clarity .
The Colonial Williamsburg Almanack An interesting site with information from Colonial Williamsburg on clothing, colonial life, and much more.
The Examination of Mrs Anne Hutchinson at the Court at Newton. 1637 The text of the trial of Anne Hutchinson in 1637 for disturbing the Commonwealth.  Fascinating.
The First Thanksgiving The only two primary resources in existence on the events of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, 1621,  Included is a breakdown of the colonists.
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut From the site: In the spring of 1638 three Connecticut towns, Windsor, Hartford and Wethersfield, chose representatives and held a general court at Hartford. At its opening session the Reverend Thomas Hooker preached a powerful sermon on the text that "the foundation of authority is laid in the free consent of the people." On January 14 following, by the Julian calendar in use at the time, which would January 24, 1639, by today's Gregorian calendar, the constitution given here was adopted by the freemen of the three towns assembled at Hartford, and is usually named The Fundamental Orders. Nowhere in this great document is there a reference to "our dread Sovereign" or "our gracious Lord the King," — nor to any government or power outside of Connecticut itself. It did not even limit the vote to members of Puritan congregations. This appears to be the first written constitution in the Western tradition which created a government, and it is easily seen to be the prototype of our Federal Constitution, adopted exactly one hundred and fifty years later. 
The Geneva Bible The site hosts the online edition of the 1599 Geneva Bible, which the Puritans and other American colonists carried to America with them.  It was a revolutionary edition in the fact that it contained a commentary.
The History Place: Early Colonial Timeline A detailed timeline describing colonial events in America from 1000 AD to 1700 AD
The Hornbook Exercise Pilgrims & Plymouth Colony website includes an article on the hornbook as well as instructions for the student to make their own.
The Humble Request The 1630 request by Puritan leaders to the government and church they left behind in England contains interesting insights to the mood of the day.
The Pequot War (1637) Resources include John Mason’s book, maps, and additional links on this colonial conflict.
The Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony A detailed story of the life and times surrounding the early days of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony.
The White-De Bry Map of Virginia 1590 A portion of North America showing the areas that were known (or imagined) to Europeans in 1590.
Virtual Jamestown Jamestown Resources is a digital archive of images, artifacts, maps, rare documents, censuses, and other data for teachers, researchers, genealogists, students, and the general public who want to explore the meaning of Jamestown in the American experience.  Be sure to look under the Resources button
Westminster Shorter Catechism  The second most read document in the Puritan communities, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which was written in the 1640s.
What did the Colonists Eat? The Jamestown Rediscovery site starts this article with “The animal bones from food supplies found in a pit dating prior to 1610 reveal that the 104 men and boys who landed at Jamestown survived primarily on fish and turtles!”  Interesting site.
Williamsburg Podcast Interviews Colonial Williamsburg Web users now have Podcasts, delivered as RSS feeds. The popular, downloadable audio files are here featuring special interviews and presentations available only to our Web users. Listen to programs on your computer, or download and listen later on your MP3 player. Lloyd Dobyns is your host as you go “behind the scenes” to meet interpreters, chefs, tradesmen, musicians, historians, curators, and more.
Wills of the Mayflower Passengers With the exception of Peregrine White, Edward Winslow, William Mullins, and Mary (Chilton) Winslow, the original wills of all Mayflower passengers have been lost.  However, when wills were probated, the judge copied them into the court records.  The court records are still in existence, and so it is from them that these records originate.  Below are the transcribed contents of all known wills of Mayflower passengers.

Colonization to 1763     Return to Top

 

Developing Colonial Life

Title Description
A Look at Slavery through Posters and Broadsides This fourth grade lesson plan includes ideas and resources for looking at slavery through primary resources.
Agriculture and Education in Colonial America A 40-slide show with an overview of agriculture, education, and early colleges in colonial America.
Archiving Early America From the site:  Here at Archiving Early America, you will discover a wealth of resources — a unique array of primary source material from 18th Century America. Scenes and portraits from original newspapers, maps and writings come to life on your screen just as they appeared to this country's forebears more than two centuries ago. As you browse through these pages, you will find it easier to understand the people, places and events of this significant time in the American experience.
Broadside Announcing the Sale of Slaves The PBS site hosts supplemental materials to their production The Terrible Transformaton.  Among the material is a 1769 broadside announcing the sale of slave and dealing with the concerns of residents about the possibility of importing smallpox, a deadly disease of the era.
Chronicling Black Lives in Colonial New England A Christian Science Monitor article on this little known aspect of colonial history.
Colonial Family and Community Be a history detective. Go back in time and investigate the daily lives of the Daggetts, a colonial family from northeastern Connecticut. Collect clues to uncover answers to 7 questions about colonial life in the 1700s.
Colonial Furniture Take a virtual tour of the Hart room, an atypical abode of the mid-1600s.  Hosted by the Metropolitan Museum.
Colonial Games and Toys The Noah Webster House has an excellent page on the games that colonial children played
DoHistory  Constructed by the Film Study Center at Harvard University this is an experimental, interactive site where you can explore the process of piecing together the lives of ordinary people in the past. It features a case study based on the research that went into the book and film A Midwife's Tale, which were both based upon the 200 year old diary of midwife/healer Martha Ballard. Although DoHistory is centered on the life of Martha Ballard, you can learn basic skills and techniques for interpreting fragments that survive from any period in history.
Early American and Colonial Literature to 1700 Biographical information, e-texts, and lesson plan for Captain John Smith, Increase Mather, Cotton Mather, William Bradford, Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Edward Winslow, John Winthrop Mary Rowlandson, and John Dickinson.
Early American Paintings The Worcester Art Museum has created a timeline with examples of American art, from the early colonial period through 1830.
Indentured Servant Contract A copy of the form used as an indentured servant contract during America’s colonial era.  Site includes a summary of the responsibilities of the indentured servant and the master.
Indian Complaints about the English Settlers History Matters presents a primary resource on Indian complaints against white settlers during the colonial era in America.  The letter is from King Philip in 1675
Interactive Triangular Trade Route Map This site provides a large, interactive triangular trade route map that graphically represents the different components of the trade routes.
King Philip's War in New England “The bloodiest war in America's history, on a per capita basis, took place in New England in 1675.”  The History Place has a special presentation by Michael Tougias on America’s first major Indian war.
Mr. Nussbaum: Interactive 13 Colonies First must-see activity is the interactive thirteen colonies map. Click on any of the colonies or cities to view the annotation. For quizzes, crosswords, scavenger hunts, and fill-in-the-blank cloze exercises, look in the left-hand menu under Integration. "The thirteen colonies were British colonies ________ between 1607 and 1732." Related topics, such as biographies of the founding fathers, can also be found in the left-hand menu.
National Gallery of Art: Colonial Collection This National Art Gallery collection web page is centered on clothing during the colonial era of American history.  Pictures and commentary give a background on what people wore during that era.
Our Immigrant and Native Ancestors: What They Ate This University of West Florida site contains extensive information on the evolution of  Southern food, and looks specifically at the English, Scotch Irish, and slave influences on diet and recipes.
PBS: Colonial House It's reality TV meets Colonial America when two dozen "modern-day time travelers find out the hard way what early American colonial life was really like when they take up residence" in Colonial House for public television's history series of the same name. Best clicks are the ten interactive activities (filed under Interactive History), such as Dress Me Up and ‘Tis a Very Dirty Manner of Life. For Lesson Plans and classroom activities, follow the For Teachers link at the bottom of the page.
Polytechnic: American Colonies This one-page American Colonies chart from the Polytechnic School (Pasadena, CA) has lots of what students will need to know for tests, or will want to include in school reports. Each of the thirteen colonies is listed with columns for Year Founded, Region, Founder, Religion, Government, Original Purpose, Economics and a short Note. For example, Georgia was a "buffer for Spanish colonies. Originally outlawed slavery and restricted size of land grants to 500 acres."
Poor Richard’s This site contains digital copies of Poor Richard’s Almanack as well as 18th century Farmer’s Almanacks.  Interesting reading.
Portraits of Early Americans This Archiving Early America site makes available portraits of the colonial and revolutionary America eras.
Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archives Read court documents, personal letters, and trial records at the Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archives online.
Salem Witchcraft Testimony A complete copy of the testimony of the witnesses and accused at the Salem Witchcraft Trials of the 17th Century.  An excellent primary resource for use in analyzing the era.
The Flushing Remonstrance This was a proclamation issued in 1657 granting liberty to "Jews, Muslims, and Quakers" on Long Island, New York, on the grounds of New Testament graciousness. Extremely progressive for the American colonies.
The History Place: English Colonial Era A detailed timeline describing English colonial events in America, 1700 – 1763
The Thirteen Originals This site contains a wealth of material on the original 13 colonies, including maps, timelines, and many links to additional resources.
Understanding the Colonial Economy The National Council on Economic Education has produced a complete lesson plan designed to assist the student in understanding the basis, operation, and consequences of the colonial economic system.
Virtual American Biographies This excellent resource that provides short biographies on a wide variety of the well-known and not-so-well-known residents of America in its early years. From the site:  Over 30,000 personalities with thousands of 19th Century illustrations, signatures, and exceptional life stories.

Colonization to 1763     Return to Top

 

The Colonies Mature

Title Description
American Colonial Life in the Late 1700s: Distant Cousins This National Endowment for the Humanities lesson introduces students to American colonial life and has them compare the daily life and culture of two different colonies in the late 1700s. Students study artifacts of the thirteen original British colonies and write letters between fictitious cousins in Massachusetts and Delaware.
Ben Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette (1750) The January 2, 1750 issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette published by Benjamin Franklin. Look for Franklin's name as Post-Master at the bottom of the page!
Colonial Broadsides and the American Revolution Drawing on the resources of the Library of Congress's Printed Ephemera Collection, this lesson helps students experience the news as the colonists heard it: by means of broadsides, notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper that addressed virtually every aspect of the American Revolution.
Colonial Era Photos The photos at this site bring the words of a textbook to life.  A variety of  photos of early colonial America through the French and Indian War.  It also includes the North Church steeple – site of the lantern message that launched Paul Revere’s ride.
Colonial Hall- A look At America's Founders This site contains a transcription of the biographies of all the Signers of the Declaration of Independence from an 1829 collection by Rev. Charles Goodrich. The site includes a daily trivia question about the Signers, a Signer of the Day, and a forum for questions and discussions.
Diary of Albigence Waldo This site contains excerpts from the Diary of Albigence Waldo, Surgeon at Valley Forge, in. 1777.  Especially moving is the December 14 entry.
Fighting for a Continent This Archiving Early America site deals with newspaper coverage during the French and Indian War.  A worthwhile look at the role of the press in forming public opinion as well as informing the public.  Several digital images of original newspapers from the era are available.
Fort Necessity This site is dedicated to the opening battle in what became known as the French and Indian War.  Links connect to a London account of Washington’s surrender as well as to the surrender document.  Pictures and a history of the site are also available.
French And Indian War Primary resources, maps, and information on the French and Indian war.
Journey to Pennsylvania An eyewitness account of the difficulties, perils, and challenges of immigrating to America in 1750.
Reverend Peter Fontaine’s Defense of Slavery in Virginia From the site: Soon after the start of the French and Indian War, a Reverend Peter Fontaine, replying to a query from his brother Moses as to the Christian ethics of "enslaving our fellow creatures," wrote that "to live in Virginia without slaves is morally impossible."
Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God This site hosts the complete text of Jonathan Edwards famous July 8, 1741, sermon titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
Standing Orders, Rogers Rangers From the site:  One of the pocket reference cards we received before going into the field was a reprint of the standing orders issued by Major Robert Rogers to his Rangers in 1759.  More than two hundred years after Major Rogers wrote them down, they were still relevant to Vietnam.
The Curse of Cowardice From the site:  A renowned Virginia orator and educator, Samuel Davies preached this sermon to the militia of Hanover County, Virginia, on May 8, 1758, as that body sought new recruits for the war against French and Indian forces. Following are excerpts from that sermon.
The Great Awakening Comes to Weathersfield From the site: In the 1730s and 1740s many rural folk rejected the enlightened and rational religion that came from the cosmopolitan pulpits and port cities of British North America. Instead, they were attracted to the evangelical religious movement that became known as the Great Awakening. The English Methodist George Whitefield and other itinerant ministers ignited this popular movement with their speaking tours of the colonies. In this account farmer Nathan Cole described hearing the news of Whitefield’s approach to his Connecticut town, as fields emptied and the populace converged…
The Leslie Brock Center for the Study of Colonial Currency A collection of primary resources on colonial currency, including articles by Ben Franklin, William Douglass, and others.  Excellent resource and basis of understanding our currency today.
The Plains of Abraham 1759 is about the history Plains of Abraham and what led up to it and after.  It is all in French and English too.
The Proclamation of 1763 The Royal Proclamation forbidding colonists to move west of the Appalachian Mountains.
Washington in the French and Indian War Washington's early military career; includes excerpts from his letters.

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Creating a New Nation (1763 - 1800)

   
  Toward Revolution; 1763 - 1775 The American Revolution: 1775 - 1781 Establishing a New Nation: 1781 - 1800  

 

Toward Revolution

Title Description
A Report from London on the Gaspee The text from a London newspaper report on the destruction of the British schooner Gaspee in 1772. 
America in the 1700s This site looks at several revolutions that culminated in the 1770s during the events leading to the American Revolution as well as the time of the Revolution itself.  Among the topics investigated: the reading revolution, printing revolution, songs, and more.  This site is an excellent resource, including an extensive portion on reading the language and documents of the era.  It is a part of the E Pluribus Unum Project.
American Literature (1700-1800) Reason and Revolution The Internet School Library Media Center (ISLMC) website provides extensive resources which include history and criticism of the first flowering of American literature during the eighteenth century. The site includes history, criticism, some lesson plans and works of individual writers.  Easy to use with a lot of information.
Boston Massacre Historical Society This society website contains information on the Boston Massacre, the victims, a timeline, pictures, and more.
Boston Tea Party Historical Society This one-page story includes a first person account of the evening's activities by George Hewes. He describes how he dressed up like an Indian, arrived at the dock, and was organized into a small group lead by Leonard Pitt. "We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water."
British Colonial Trade Restricts Chart This progressive limitations placed on colonial trade are evident through the viewing of this chart.  It covers British legislation concerning trade and the American colonies between 1651 – 1766.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate Visit the beautiful and historical Mount Vernon estate of George Washington online, complete with a photo gallery, original papers, and online museum.
Political Cartoons from Boston A  collection of 5 Stamp Act colonial political cartoons depicting the increasing severity of British actions against Boston.
Project Albion A large collection of primary resources from ancient Greece through the 18th century dealing with documents that help form or Declaration of Independence and government.
Rules of Civility George Washington was about sixteen when he complied these Rules of Civility, dealing with creating a way of life when dealing with others.
The American Revolution: 1773 – 1774 This Library of Congress website on the American Revolution focuses on ‘the colonies move toward open rebellion, 1773-1774.  A number of primary documents are available for analysis.  It makes interesting reading.
The Boston Massacre This site contains the newspaper account of the Boston Massacre of 1770.
The Boston Massacre Trials Images, trial text, and much more are available in this investigation into the Boston Massacre trial.
The Burning of the Gaspee A 51-slide PowerPoint on the cause and effect of the burning of the British schooner Gaspee in 1772.
The King’s Speech A speech by King George III before the British Parliament, Nov. 1774, concerning the rebellious attitudes of New England.  Excellent primary resource for use in the classroom.
The Objections to the Taxation of our American Colonies An argument by Soame Jenyns, an English writer, against English rights to tax colonists.
The Quotable Franklin December 2007 marks the 275th anniversary of Ben Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack. Explore Franklin's quotes here!
The Road to Revolution The PBS website for the video Liberty contains a Road to Revolution interactive section that allows you (from the site) to test your knowledge about the American Revolution, and see if you can navigate your way to independence. Every correct answer gets you closer to liberty!  Great class starter!
The Stamp Act This site contains the text of the 1765 Stamp Act by George Grenville, which includes an extensive listing of the various items that had to receive (and pay for) a stamp.

Creating a New Nation     Return to Top

 

The American Revolution

Title Description
American Revolution: Midnight Ride of Paul Revere Paul Revere was a member of the secret revolutionary intelligence group known as the "Mechanics" or "Liberty Boys." Visit AmericanRevolution.com to learn more about their activities, to see a map of the "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," and to read the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem of the same title. "Listen my children and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, / On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; / Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year."
Archiving Early America: Paul Revere, Messenger of the Revolution "The Regulars are coming! The Regulars are coming!" Be sure to turn your speakers on before arriving at this animated slide show describing Revere's famous ride. "Paul Revere had an illustrious career as an engraver, silversmith, watchmaker and soldier, but above all we will always remember him as a patriot and folk hero in the name of freedom." Although there are no links to the rest of the Archiving Early America site from this page, you'll find more Paul Revere resources by visiting www.EarlyAmerica.com, and searching for "Paul Revere."
Archiving Early America: The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boone Boone's autobiography "The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon" was first published on his fiftieth birthday. It tells of his adventures in the Kentucky wilderness from May, 1769 to October, 1782, including "his capture by the Shawnee Indians, his adoption by Chief Black Fish as his son, and his daring escape on foot through the forests covering 160 miles in 4 days." Scroll down to the bottom of this introduction page for links to the book chapters..
Battle of Bunker Hill Battle of Bunker Hill. Composed by a British Officer, the day after the Battle, June 17, 1775.
Betsy Ross Home Page Betsy Ross would often tell her children, grandchildren and friends of the fateful day in May, 1776 when a secret committee from the Continental Congress asked her to sew the first flag. Today the historical accuracy of her story is debated point-counterpoint on her very own web site. Also included in this fun site is how to cut a five-pointed star with a single scissor snip, flag trivia, flag etiquette, and the opportunity to contribute your own thoughts about the American flag.
Betsy Ross House: History Now a museum, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia is the house where Ross is purported to have made her famous flag. Visit the virtual museum to learn about The Woman, The House, and The Flag. "The Betsy Ross story was brought to public attention in 1870 by her grandson, William Canby, in a speech he made to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Canby and other members of Betsy's family signed sworn affidavits stating that they heard the story of the making of the first flag from Betsy's own mouth."
Clothing in Revolutionary America Pictures and text on the clothing America wore during the tumultuous 1700s.
Common Place: How Betsy Ross Became Famous Common Place is a site exploring early American history that calls itself "a bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine." This illustrated article by Harvard history professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich explores the oral tradition that made Betsy Ross famous. He explores why Americans have become so enamored with her story, despite the skepticism of historians. "To the general public, details about the flag are unimportant. It is Betsy they care about."
Common Sense Published anonymously by Thomas Paine in January of 1776, Common Sense was an instant best-seller, both in the colonies and in Europe. It went through several editions in Philadelphia, and was republished in all parts of United America. Because of it, Paine became internationally famous.  This site has both images of the original publication as well as a more modern text copy.  An excellent primary resource.
Common Sense The complete text of Thomas Paine’s 1776 publication titled Common Sense, divided by section.
Documents from the Continental Congress The Library of Congress collection highlights primary resource material surrounding the Constitution.  Especially useful is the “Browse collection by subject”. 
Evolution of Authorship: Declaration of Independence Students can follow the changes made in the Declaration of Independence from the original draft through the final draft.  Included is an excellent link to an annotated Declaration of Independence with explanatory notes on many of the concepts involved.
Eyewitness Account of the Boston Tea Party This site hosts George Hewes eyewitness account of the 1773 Boston Tea Party.
Eyewitness to History: Boston Tea Party This one-page story includes a first person account of the evening's activities by George Hewes. He describes how he dressed up like an Indian, arrived at the dock, and was organized into a small group lead by Leonard Pitt. "We then were ordered by our commander to open the hatches and take out all the chests of tea and throw them overboard, and we immediately proceeded to execute his orders, first cutting and splitting the chests with our tomahawks, so as thoroughly to expose them to the effects of the water."
Freedom:  A History of the US As you celebrate Independence Day, make sure to take a virtual tour of some of the most influential documents relating to freedom in America. After circulating the country as a traveling panel exhibition for display at schools, libraries, and historic sites, Freedom: A History of US is now available online. Visit our online exhibition page to see this and other interactive features.
General Sir William Howe’s Orderly Book June 1775 – May 1776 was a period of significant challenges for the British Army in New England.  This is a copy – reprinted in this booklet from the original in 1890 – showing an immense amount of information of the situations faced by the British during the time of the roots of the Revolutionary War.
George Washington Quiz Test your knowledge of the events of this remarkable man's life in this biographical quiz.
George Washington: A National Treasure at the Smithsonian Resources are available from the Smithsonian Institute on the papers of Washington, and interactive portrait by Gilbert Stuart of Washington, and games and puzzles.
Give Me Liberty The complete text of Patrick Henry’s famous Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech of March 23, 1775.
God Save the Thirteen States American History Through Music hosts this song and lesson plan from the era of the American Revolution.
I Am The Flag Ruth Apperson Rous tome titled “I Am The Flag”, describing the meaning of the different parts of the flag.  Can be read or listened to.
Independence Hall: International Symbol of Freedom Independence Hall: International Symbol of Freedom recounts the history of the building in Philadelphia where the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence and where, a decade later, delegates to the "Philadelphia Convention" formulated the Constitution: the Pennsylvania State House. The Pennsylvania Assembly, which had been meeting in homes and taverns, moved into the building in September 1735. It was considered the most ambitious public building in the colonies.
Interpreting Thomas Jefferson Clay Jenkinson, "one of the nation's leading interpreters of the life and achievements of Thomas Jefferson," performs costumed first-person portrayals of Jefferson on stage and radio. You can listen to his weekly national radio show "The Thomas Jefferson Hour" (you'll need the free RealAudio player), or visit the bulletin board and chat room devoted to Jefferson and his ideals. The best way to navigate is via the site map you'll find near the upper right-hand corner. Teachers and homeschoolers will appreciate the lesson plans and project ideas found on the Especially for Young People page.
Jefferson’s Story of the Declaration Thomas Jefferson’s writings on the behind the scenes story of the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
Loyalist Songs of the American Revolution A collection of Loyalist songs that were popular during the American Revolution.
Maps from the Revolutionary War This Library of Congress site has put together a collection of maps that were made during the American Revolutionary War.  They cover the some of the towns, battles, and the nation – as well as the West Indies – where the fighting took place.
Monticello Jefferson's first use of the name "Monticello" for his Virginia plantation appears in his August 3, 1767 Garden Book entry: "inoculated common cherry buds into stocks of large kind at Monticello." In 1809, Jefferson retired from politics and returned to Monticello for a life of family, reading, writing, farming, entertaining, science and philanthropy. What was life like back then? Find out by joining Jefferson on a typical (but virtual) Monticello day (look in the Jefferson sub-menu). Be sure to also visit About Us/Special Projects, where you'll find "Getting Word," an online exhibit exploring the oral history of the Monticello slaves, and a variety of lesson plans.
Monticello Podcasts Historic landmarks and museums like Monticello and the Boston Freedom Trail are using podcasts to reach a far-flung audience and hopefully boost attendance. Colonial Williamsburg, in Virginia, for example, hired former NBC News anchor Lloyd Dobyns to conduct podcast interviews with its artisans, historians and tour guides.
Mount Vernon Virtual Tour Take a trip – visit George Washington’s famous home with a virtual tour through all three levels of the home.
Mount Vernon: Meet George Washington "No estate in America is more pleasantly situated than this," declared Washington, speaking of his eight-thousand acre home, Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon has changed very little over the last 200 years, except now you can tour it from the comfort of your home computer. If you begin at Meet George Washington, you will be guided through the entire web site: an interactive quiz, a Washington biography, the Mount Vernon tour, and an essay on Washington and slavery. This outstanding resource includes lesson plans for teachers.
Music of the Revolution We often hear that Cornwallis’s men surrendered at Yorktown playing The World Turned Upside Down.  What did that sound like?  This site contains several examples of music from the Revolutionary War era that can be played on your computer.
NARA – Am. Revolution Lesson Plans The National Archives provides lesson plans based on the use of primary resources.  This lesson on the American Revolution provides eight primary sources made up of letters, documents, and engravings from Ethan Allen in 1775 to the Treaty of Paris signature page.  Additionally, lesson resources are provided.  Excellent resource.
NARA - Launching the New U.S. Navy The National Archives provides lesson plans based on the use of primary resources.  This lesson on the launching of an effective U.S. Navy provides five primary sources made up of letters, documents, and engravings from Washington through Adams.  Additionally, lesson resources are provided.  Excellent resource.
National Archives Original Documents Download facsimiles of the original Declaration of Independence and other charter documents from the National Archives.
On the present state of America Chilling words from the King of England in Feb., 1775, concerning the rebellious attitude of the Massachusetts colonials.  “that all the Bostonians who signed it have committed an over-act of high treason”.
Papers of George Washington The Papers of George Washington was established in 1969 to compile and publish a complete edition of Washington's correspondence. There are 135,000 Washington-related documents held in photographic form in the project's offices. This website covers highlights from the project and includes a few excerpts such as his farewell address and Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789. Be sure to peruse the Educational Resources which include two slide shows, a "mini-lesson", and a George Washington webquest.
Paul Revere Virtual Museum Ride with Paul Revere across the Charles River, and Music of the Revolutionary War. Activities and resources are covered in each exhibit hall.
Rediscovering George Washington "Why should young Americans who care about their country and aspire to do something worthwhile with their lives be interested in the greatness of George Washington? For at least two reasons: First, although knowing what is worthwhile and what is possible is essential to living a good life and doing some good for our country, we are not born knowing these things." Explore Washington's great legacy with a biography, timeline, gallery of primary documents, and half-dozen of Washington's letters read by Charlton Heston.
Revere Speaks "I, Paul Revere, of Boston, in the colony of the Massachusetts Bay in New England; of lawful age, do testify and say; that I was sent for by Dr. Joseph Warren, of said Boston, on the evening of the 18th of April, about 10 o'clock ..." Read about the events of April 18, 1775 as written by Revere himself. The colonial language can be a bit difficult to follow, but as you read this, consider how Revere's account of that night differs from the Longfellow poem.
Revolutionary War Archives: Betsy Ross While admitting that historians agree that there are no primary sources to support the Ross tale, the Revolutionary War Archives present the "overwhelming circumstantial evidence in support of Betsy." Click on over for a Betsy Ross biography ("Betsy's Great-Grandfather, Andrew Griscom, migrated to New Jersey and then Philadelphia in 1680."), the story of the Betsy Ross flag, and a pro and con presentation of the "Did Betsy Ross sew the first American flag?" debate.
Revolutionary War Diary Moses Sleeper of Newburyport, wrote the entries written in pencil from June 10, 1775 to September 7, 1776. It begins with the Siege of Boston and ends with the Battle of Long Island and Washington's retreat from New York City.  Pictures of the original diary are available as well as transcribed text.
Revolutionary War Weapons A nice National Park Service site centered on exhibits at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.  Pictures and text.
Spy Letters of the American Revolution From the site: The exhibit is based on spy letters from the William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The Gallery of Letters provides a brief description of each letter and links to more information about the stories of the spies in the letter or the secret methods used to make the letter.  Enjoy!
The American Revolution Nicely organized into Battles, Important People, Historical Events, Historical Documents and a Timeline, this site has lots of concise American Revolution information for homework and school reports. Best clicks are transcripts of many primary source documents, such as George Washington's first inaugural address and Patrick Henry's famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech.
The American War for Independence The decision of Britain's North American colonies to rebel against the Mother Country was an extremely risky one. In this unit, consisting of three lesson plans, students will learn about the diplomatic and military aspects of the American War for Independence.
The Birth of the Nation:  The First Federal Congress From the site:  This exhibit provides an overview of the work of and issues faced by this seminal Congress, which was a virtual second sitting of the Federal Convention, fleshing out the governmental structure outlined in the Constitution and addressing the difficult issues left unresolved by the Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence Read the Declaration of Independence online in its entirety - includes further reading resources and downloads.
The Declaration of Independence The Declaration of Independence with pictures and biographies of all of the signers
The Founders Almanac This Heritage Foundation website offers extensive information on the founders of the United States.  Timeline, primary documents, quotes of the founders on a wide variety of topics, and more are all found in a searchable data base.
The George Washington Picture Gallery The History Place provides a selection of images of George Washington.
The History Place: American Revolution This easy-to-peruse time line starts with the early explorers ("1000 A.D. - Leif Ericson, a Viking seaman, explores the east coast of North America and sights Newfoundland, establishing a short-lived settlement there.") and continues to the early years of our new nation ("July 10, 1790 - The House of Representatives votes to locate the national capital on a ten square-mile site along the Potomac, with President George Washington choosing the exact location.") Don't miss their Five Tips on writing a better history report.
The New England Primer This is the 1777 edition of the best-selling textbook used by children in the colonial period. Millions of copies were in print. Filled with Calvinist principles, the influence of this little document is inestimable.
The Papers of George Washington The site provides access to the University of Virginia's collection, "The Papers of George Washington." It includes letters written to Washington as well as letters and documents written by him.
The Shot Heard Around the World This Early America site hosts a multimedia presentation on the Shot Heard Round the World – the opening shots of the American Revolution.
The Stars and Stripes An accumulation and presentation of the various flags that have over the United States since the original 13-star flag.  Also included are links to flags of the Revolution as well as flags of the Confederacy.
U.S. Census Bureau: The Fourth of July 2007 In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, triggering the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.
Understanding the Declaration of Independence This lesson plan looks at the major ideas in the Declaration of Independence, their origins, the Americans’ key grievances against the King and Parliament, their assertion of sovereignty, and the Declaration’s process of revision. Upon completion of the lesson, students will be familiar with the document’s origins, and the influences that produced Jefferson’s “expression of the American mind.”
Washington’s Farewell Address to the Army The complete text of George Washington’s 1783 Farewell Address, given at Rocky Hill, NJ.
Webquest - Considering Independence This is a webquest that asks students of U.S. History to assume the roles of several constituencies (a patriot/separatist, a tory/loyalist, a slave, and a native American), to research the political, cultural and economic issues of the late Colonial period, to evaluate the information, and then to make a judgment whether Virginia should take the final steps toward independence. The aim is that students will be able to explain the viewpoint of the role, project themselves into and empathize with that role, and act within the perspective of that role.

Creating a New Nation     Return to Top

 

Establishing a New Nation

Title Description
Adams Electronic Archive: Correspondence between John and Abigail Adams John and Abigail Adams exchanged over 1150 letters during their courtship and marriage. "These warm and informative letters include John's descriptions of the Continental Congress and his impressions of Europe while he served in various diplomatic roles, as well as Abigail's updates about their family, farm, and news of the Revolution's impact on the Boston area." This archive shows both an image of the original letter, and a transcription. This is a fascinating archive of primary source documents that provide a unique insight into the man and the times.
All Hands On Deck Comprehensive lesson plans, information, and pictures of the USS Constitution.
American Experience: John and Abigail Adams Although you can't watch the this PBS special online, you can read the transcript, and enjoy a handful of special web-only features such as The Choice for Revolution. "John Adams was born in the American colonies, and grew up as a subject of Great Britain. Beginning in the 1760s, soon after he had finished his legal studies, a series of political events forced him to question Britain's rule, and think hard about the rights of American colonists." Other highlights are an illustrated time line, and audio narrations from letters written by John and Abigail Adams.
ClassBrain: John Adams ClassBrain gives us a simple one-page biography, with a set of links for further research, and two book lists: one for kids, and one for teens and grownups. Elsewhere on the ClassBrain website, is a transcription of the Alien Act, one of four approved by President Adams giving the government the power to deport aliens based on public safety. Proponents of the acts said they protected America from foreign enemies, while the opposition said they were unconstitutional. Of the four acts (known jointly as the Alien and Sedition Acts) only the Alien Act is still enforce today.
Congress for Kids: Constitution Published for grades four through twelve by The Dirksen Congressional Center, Congress for Kids tells the story of the Constitution starting with the Constitutional Convention of 1787. "It includes information about the writing the Constitution, the Great Compromise, the Constitution's signers, the Bill of Rights, the Amendments to the Constitution and what they mean to Americans, and much more." In addition to the illustrated lessons, each section includes a related quiz or a game.
Constitution Day Resources The National Constitution Center, the Bill of Rights Institute, the Civic Mission of Schools, and other organizations have teamed up to offer downloadable copies of the Constitution, an interactive feature that allows students to simulate the signing of the document, and a live public reading of the Constitution on Sept. 17, the day designated by Congress for schools to commemorate the founding document.
Constitution Day:  Justice Learning This site provides resources (sign up by Sept. 8) and lesson plans to assist teachers in celebrating Constitution Day.  Videos, lesson plans, and more are available on this site.
Constitution Facts Offers crossword puzzles, IQ quizzes, word finds, treasure hunts, and a variety of other resources for recognition of Constitution Day.
Constitution Facts Quiz A chance to discover your (or your students’ Constitutional IQ.  Great to project on the screen as an opener and discussion starter.  From ConstitutionFacts.com
Constitution Timeline The Centuries of Citizenship: A Constitutional Timeline is an online experience highlighting some of the key dates and events that mark more than 200 years of our constitutional history. These timeline entries, taken as a whole, tell the evolving story of the U.S. Constitution and the continuing role that it plays in our lives
Constitutional Resources Consource is a free, fully-indexed library of constitutional sources.  Primary documents, quotes, and more are available to search and use to understand the true meanings found in the Constitution of the United States.
Debates in the Constitutional Convention James Madison’s notes on the debates that occurred during the 1787 Constitutional Convention are online at this site.
First Prayer in the Continental Congress This documents contains the words of the First Prayer offered in Congress September 7, 1774 by Jacob Duche.
George III's Letter on the Loss of America The precise date of this letter by King George III is unknown, but it is believed that he wrote it in the 1780s.
Introduction to the Free Speech Clause This site focuses on the concept of free speech as evidenced by the Peter Zenger case in 1735. From the Constitutional Conflicts site:  The issues: What events influenced the thinking of the framers about the right of free speech?  What is the original understanding of the First Amendment?  What values does the Free Speech Clause serve?
Last Will and Testament of George Washington It is interesting to read and analyze what George Washington wrote in his last will and testament shortly before his death and to apply it as a measure of this icon of American History.
Lesson Plans on the Constitution This Primary Source Set includes images, documents, maps, sound files and analysis tools to help teach about the United States Constitution.
Madison Debates This Yale Law School Avalon Project site includes the text from the debates that occurred during the Constitutional Convention.  Excellent primary resource.
Martha Ballard Diary From the site:  Martha Ballard wrote in her diary nearly every day from January 1, 1785 to May 12, 1812 (27 years) for a total of almost 10,000 entries. Her diary is an unparalleled document in early American history.
NARA: Constitution of the United States: A History This illustrated history of the Constitution by Roger A. Bruns is available in web and print versions. "May 25, 1787. Freshly spread dirt covered the cobblestone street in front of the Pennsylvania State House, protecting the men inside from the sound of passing carriages and carts. Guards stood at the entrances to ensure that the curious were kept at a distance. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, the financier' of the Revolution, opened the proceedings with a nomination -- Gen. George Washington for the presidency of the Constitutional Convention."
National Archives:  Constitution The National Archives has assembled an array of resources on its Teaching With Documents site, including links to core historical papers, suggestions for classroom activities, a simulation of the writing of the Constitution, and other materials.
Plan for the City of Washington DC A drawing of the original layout for our new national capital, Washington
Primary Documents: Alien and Sedition Acts This Library of Congress website includes commentary, transcribed and original copies of the law, and much more.  A wonderful primary resource.
The Constitution Online An excellent site, with hyperlinked Constitution, embedded glossary, pictures of our founding documents, as well as hyperlinked copies of the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, and others.  In addition, a copy of the Constitution of China is included for compare and contrast purposes.
The Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection The Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) dates from 1786 to 1789 and includes documents relating to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, extracts of proceedings of state assemblies and conventions relating to the ratification of the Constitution, and several essays on ratification.  Just click on “Subject” in the box on the left and the titles of all of the articles appear.
The Constitutional Convention Lesson Plan This site includes a lesson plan activity that actively engages the students in the study and understanding of the Constitutional Convention.
The Continental Congress Broadside Collection From the Library of Congress:  The Continental Congress Broadside Collection, consisting of 256 titles, includes material relating to the work of Congress, dating from 1774 to 1788. Items are predominantly extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, committee reports, proclamations, treaties, and other congressional proceedings. These broadsides provide a significant supplement to the Journals of the Continental Congress.  Just click on “Subject” in the box on the left and the titles of all of the articles appear.
The Federalist Papers This Library of Congress site contains facsimiles of the original Federalist Papers for use as a primary resource in the classroom.
The Massachusetts Centinel From the site: The Massachusetts Centinel was published by Benjamin Russell. George Washington was Russell's idol, and his paper soon became the leading Federalist champion, its first great cause the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Numerous ads here identify the needs and wants of Americans during the early days of Washington's presidency.
The President's House in Philadelphia The Independence Hall Association presents text, pictures, history, and current archeological projects to explore the first official President’s House of the President of the United States, located in Philadelphia between 1790 and 1800.
The Sentiments of a Labourer From the website: "The Sentiments of a Labourer": William Manning Inquires in the Key of Liberty, 1798.  Many ordinary Americans entered into political debates in the revolutionary era and its republican aftermath. While the innovative political ideas that appeared during the constitutional debates in Philadelphia are well known, creative thinking at the grassroots level is harder to locate. William Manning, a farmer, revolutionary foot soldier, and political theorist, became agitated during the postwar political debates and economic crisis. In 1798, he completed a treatise called “The Key of Liberty.” Manning hoped to take advantage of the growing availability of newspapers and pamphlets during the post-revolutionary period to distribute his ideas. “The Key of Liberty” outlined a plan for a national association of American laboring men and their political allies, and also offered a broader historical commentary on the social origins of American politics. The Billerica, Massachusetts, farmer wrote several drafts but failed in his efforts at publication. Family members later deposited his papers in the Harvard University library.
The Unwritten Constitution From the site:  The unwritten constitution are those processes of our government that are considered an essential part of the system yet they are not actually in the Constitution. These are customs and precedents that have been doing for so long that many citizens think these are, in fact, laws yet they are not.
The Whiskey Flags Sympathy for the 1791 Whisky Rebellion was far more extensive than is often portrayed in the history books.  This site investigates the extent of the Whiskey rebellion, and uses the flags designed by those supporting an end of this form of taxation as a launching point for discussing the era.
Things that are NOT in the Constitution A listing of a wide variety of items that people think are in the Constitution, but really are not in the Constitution.  Great discussion starter.
USS Constitution This is the official site of the USS Constitution.  Schematics of the ship lead to extensive resources on the various components of the ship.
Washington’s Constitution Notes Site contains a printed copy of the Constitution with George Washington’s notes in the margin.
Washington’s Obituaries A collection of obituaries concerning the death of George Washington.

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Expanding America (1800 - 1850)

Jeffersonian America: 1800 - 1824 Jacksonian America: 1824 - 1840 Manifest Destiny, War, & Peace: 1835 - 1850 Reform Movements in America: 1800 - 1850
 

Jeffersonian America (1800 - 1824)

Title Description
A Day in the Life of Thomas Jefferson This interactive is filled with text, pictures, and short videos on the life of Thomas Jefferson and his home at Monticello.
Aboard Old Ironsides This website is designed for teacher-use all about the ship that is affectionately referred to as "Old Ironsides."
American Life: 19th Century This site, hosted by Kingwood College, provides text and numerous links to primary resources expounding a variety of topics centering on each decade of the 19th century.  The topics include: art & architecture; business & the economy; books & literature; migration and immigration; education news and events; music & theater; pastimes; science & technology; and social movements.
Discovering Lewis & Clark long before Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation and was immortalized in the annals of history for his famous Gettysburg Address, the sixteenth president of the United States made a name for himself as a lawyer in small-town Illinois. "
Discovering Lewis & Clark: The Faces of Sacagawea "There is no known image of Sacagawea that was made of her during her lifetime, so no one can be sure what she really looked like. Yet because the Shoshone woman has been the subject of so many sculptures and paintings, especially since about 1900, we have a rich heritage of artists' conceptions to contemplate." Visit Discovering Lewis & Clark to explore a dozen artistic renderings of Sacagawea, but don't miss the "interpreter" link embedded in the intro, which leads to an excellent three-page Sacagawea bio titled "The Interpreter's Wife."
Encyclopedia Smithsonian: Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812 From the History & Culture section of the Encyclopedia Smithsonian, this entry is full of important stats about the original star-spangled banner that "inspired Francis Scott Key to write the song that would become our national anthem." For example, it was sewn in Baltimore, Maryland by flagmaker Mary Pickersgill, and it was thirty feet by forty-two feet. Unfortunately, age has shrunk it to just thirty-four feet across. Visit for quick access to all the facts you need to start a school report or project.
Go West Across America Lewis and Clark, the great American explorers, need you to go on their historic expedition with them. You’ll have to make important decisions along the way that will affect the course of your journey. This National Geographic site offers an exiting problem-solving journey.
Idaho Public TV: The Journey of Sacagawea "More mountains, lakes and streams bear her name than any other North American woman." Although the entire one-hour public television special is not available online, you can watch seven RealPlayer snippets of The Journey of Sacagawea, a Idaho Public TV production. Other reasons to visit include the commentary from historians and descendants such as David Borlaug, President of the Lewis and Clark Heritage Foundation: "She simply was a great presence. An Indian woman with a child on her back for all these other Indian Tribes to take note of. This could not be a war party, it had to be a party of peace".
Idaho Stateman: Sacajawea This multimedia, seven-chapter picture book is the story of Sacajawea told by her people, the Lemhi-Shoshone Indians, and my pick of the day. "Some of her tribe´s interpretations of her story differ from long-accepted facts of the story. They are presented as accurate in the sense that they reflect the oral history and opinions of the Lemhi people." Highlights include audio clips from her tribesmen, a glossary of Lemhi words, and three printable handouts for the classroom: review questions, classroom activities, and a word scramble.
Interactive Map of the War of 1812 Follow the overall development of the war as you scroll year by year though this interactive map.
Journals of Lewis and Clark Follow easy to navigate links for access to the Lewis and Clark Journals.  Excellent primary resource material.
Lewis & Clark: Mapping the West Imagine a time when no one knew what vast stretches of our country looked like. Traders hoped there was a water route across America to the Pacific Ocean. Two explorers headed West with the best map available – and it was mostly blank. Lewis and Clark provided America with a picture of itself.  Excellent Smithsonian website.
Lewis & Clark: Mapping the West This site includes a variety of lesson plans for various grade levels as well as original (though digitized) maps.
Lewis & Clark: The National Bicentennial Exhibition In celebration of Lewis and Clark's bicentennial anniversary, the Missouri Historical Society took their museum exhibit on a coast-to-coast tour. But you don't need to live near any of the five tour cities to enjoy the virtual exhibit. Like Lewis and Clark, you will get to meet people different from you ("in mind and time") and learn from them. Most unique clicks are the ten themes (such as World of Women and Discovering Language) and the searchable image gallery.
Lewis and Clark: Teaching with Documents The National Archives exhibit and lesson plans for the Lewis and Clark expedition.  Includes numerous primary resources for use in the classroom.
Montana Kids: Sacagawea For elementary and middle-school students, Montana Kids provides a single-page illustrated Sacagawea bio, with a link to the U.S. Mint page about the Sacagawea golden dollar coin. "In 2000, Sacagawea's face was minted onto a dollar coin, following in Susan B. Anthony's footsteps. The coin depicts the Shoshone woman Sacagawea, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, carrying her son Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.."
Music of the War of 1812 Sound clips of the musical sounds that communicated orders and marching rhythm to the British army…. And that the Americans would have heard as the British approached.
National Geographic Magazine: Sacagawea "What we know about her: She was a teenage mother and a valued interpreter for Lewis and Clark. What we don't know about her: Almost everything else." To read the complete text of this National Geographic article for high-school students and grownups, click on the full article link just below the intro quote. Writer Margaret Talbot follows Sacagawea's life as it is recorded in the journals of Lewis and Clark, and combats common misconceptions with help from Sacagawea expert Amy Mossett and historian Carolyn Gilman.
National Geographic: Lewis & Clark This Lewis and Clark site is chock full of adventures for explorers of all ages. Elementary kids should head directly to Go West Across America for a virtual Lewis and Clark expedition based on the children's book of the same name. Others will enjoy the cyber campfires, which provide a snapshot into the explorer's world. "The whol face of the country was covered with herds of Buffaloe," noted Lewis on April 25, 1805. Can you imagine the plains covered with 60 million bison?
Songs and Oaths: The Star-Spangled Banner For elementary grades, Ben Franklin tells the story of how Francis Scott Key was held overnight by the British during the bombing of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. In the morning light, when Key saw the huge American flag still flying over the fort, he knew that the Americans were victorious. The poem that he scribbled down in gratitude that morning, become the lyrics to our national anthem more than one hundred years later.
The Dolly Madison Project Click on the link “Exhibition” to see letters, images, and more on the wife of the 4th President of the United States.
The Journals of Lewis and Clark An online version of the Journals of Lewis and Clark, chronicling their explorations west to the Pacific Ocean, than back to St. Louis. 
The Star Spangled Banner The story behind the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, including pictures of the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry during the 1814 attack.
The Star-Spangled Banner Project This illustrated slide show and timeline tells the story of the our country's flag, with interesting tidbits along the way that turn out to be important later. For example, in 1766 a group of amateur musicians formed a singing and drinking club called the Anacreontic Society. Their club song, To Anacreon in Heaven, became so famous that people started writing their own words to it. It was this tune that Francis Scott Key borrowed for his ditty "The Defence of Fort M'Henry," and is known today as The Star-Spangled Banner.
Thomas Jefferson History.com's Thomas Jefferson exhibit is part of their American Presidents series. Highlights include an eight-part biography (from Early Life to Notable Staff), a timeline, an image gallery, and transcripts of his two inaugural speeches. My favorite clicks are found in Video Gallery and Quiz. "Who did not help draft the Declaration of Independence: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, or Benjamin Franklin?"
Timeline of the Life of Jefferson A timeline that covers both the personal and public life of Thomas Jefferson.
War of 1812: White House Burned Lesson Plan Excellent lesson plan using primary resources to discuss the role of Dolly Madison saving White House treasures during the British raid that culminated in the burning of the White House.
West Point Atlas, War of 1812 Several detailed maps illustrating the various developments of the War of 1812 are provided at this site.

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Jacksonian America (1824 - 1840)

Title Description
America's First Look into the Camera: Daguerreotype Collection A collection of mid-19th century daguerreotypes.
Andrew Jackson This PBS site provides a number of resources for researching the presidency of Andrew Jackson, including primary resources, video resources, and more.
Black Hawk Remembers Village Life Along the Mississippi From the History Matters website: Black Hawk or Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak, was born at Saukenuk, a Sauk village at the junction of the Rock and Mississippi Rivers. When the United States took over the area in 1804 after the Louisiana Purchase, several Sauk and other tribal leaders signed a treaty that ceded Indian lands east of the Mississippi River, but allowed the Indians to stay as long as the territory remained the property of the federal government. Fearful of the land hungry Americans, Black Hawk and others joined the British in the War of 1812. Encroaching settlers pushed the Sauks into a confrontation with the American government, and Black Hawk’s refusal to abandon his homelands led to the Black Hawk War in 1832. Defeated, the chief was taken East upon orders of President Andrew Jackson. He dictated his life story the following year to a government interpreter. Edited by a local newspaperman, it was the first Indian autobiography published in the United States.
Boatmen on the Missouri A lesson plan centered on George Caleb Bingham’s 1846 painting, Boatmen on the Missouri.
Campfire Stories with George Catlin This site takes students on a virtual journey with the artist and ethnologist George Catlin to meet Native Americans of the 1830s. His portraits, scenes of American Indian life, and writings depict cultures prior to U.S. expansion into tribal territories
Census Data for the Year 1830 What was America like in 1830?  This site allows you to look at statistical data from the 1830 census using a variety of variables.
Census of 1840 The census of 1840 is graphically presented in a series of topical maps
Cherokee Indian Removal Debate The Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia, provides the text of two senators’ debate concerning the Cherokee Indian Removal act.
Davy Crockett: Advice to Politicians From the site: Like Andrew Jackson, Davy Crockett was from the frontier state of Tennessee. He had even fought under Jackson in the Creek War in 1813 and 1814. He was a former congressman as well as a famous frontiersman, and his advice to politicians reflects the new political culture of the Jacksonian era.
Democracy in America This University of Virginia site contains the full text of Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, documenting American thought, traditions, beliefs, life, and hopes after 50 years of self-government.  Original illustrations are included.
Diaries of John Quincy Adams This website presents images of the 51 volumes of John Quincy Adams's diary in the Adams Family Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Adams began keeping his diary, more than 14,000 pages, in 1779 at the age of twelve and continued until shortly before his death in 1848.  The diary can be searched by date or by using the detailed timeline. Because there is no transcription of the diary, it is not possible to search the text by keyword.
European Travelers to the United States: 1830 – 1840 A look at America through the eyes of a variety of foreign travelers in the 1830s.  There is a focus on a variety of areas, including American character and American education. 
Exploring Democracy in America A site highlighting the America visited by Alexis de Tocqueville in the 1830s.
Jackson and the Nullifiers This Library of Congress broadside contains the original document and a typed reproduction of the words from this 1831 popular song.
Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable! In his second reply to Hayne in 1830, Daniel Webster coined the famous phrase “Liberty and Union, Now and Forever, One and Inseparable!”  This site, hosted by Dartmouth College, contains the entire speech, giving a flavor of the era.
Living in 1831 What was life like in 1831?  Using de Tocqueville as a resource, this site provides pictures and information on clothing, housing, work, recreation, and more, providing a fascinating picture of America in 1831.
President Andrew Jackson's Message to Congress on Indian Removal, 1830 This site reprints Jackson’s 1830 Annual Message to Congress which had a large section on the success of Indian Removal.
President Jackson's Proclamation Regarding Nullification, December 10, 1832 Yale Law School’s Avalon Project presents the full proclamation concerning South Carolina’s nullification efforts.
President Jackson's Veto Message Regarding the Bank of the United States; July 10, 1832 The full text of Jackson’s veto on the Bank of the US.
Rebellion From the site: Explore the story of John Horse and the Black Seminoles, the first black rebels to beat American slavery and leaders of the largest slave rebellion in U.S. history—an original history written & designed for the Web.
Rules for Husbands and Wives Matthew Careys 1830 publication highlights the ideal of the marriage relationship during the first half of the 19th Century.  The original document and questions for students are on this site, hosted by Houghton Mifflin.
Schooling in Early 19th Century America The Digital History site has transcribed two letters from teachers describing conditions of teaching in Connecticut prior to the educational reforms that were soon to occur.
South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification The Yale Law School Avalon Project contains the full text of the South Carolina Nullification Proclamation from November 4, 1832.
The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson Changes in voting qualifications and participation, the election of Andrew Jackson, and the formation of the Democratic Party—due largely to the organizational skills of Martin Van Buren—all contributed to making the election of 1828 and Jackson's presidency a watershed in the evolution of the American political system.  This National Endowment for the Humanities lesson plan provides primary resources, handout masters, and directions for showing the effect of the 1828 election.
The Alamo This official Alamo site is my pick of the day because of its overall quality. Excellent clicks abound, but here are few of my favorites. Letters home and first-hand battle accounts written by members of the Alamo garrison can be found in In Their Own Words. Just for Kids is a collection of online Alamo games, such as word search and sliding puzzles. History Hunt is a fill-in-the-blank quiz found in Educational Resources/Visiting the Alamo. The Battle recounts history, with a chronology, a page about The Defenders, and a section exploding Myths and Misconceptions.
The Erie Canal This site contains a beautiful illustration of the Erie Canal by John William Hill.
The Oregon Trail Learn more about the Oregon Trail: "This web site is brought to you by teachers Mike Trinklein and Steve Boettcher, creators of The Oregon Trail, the award-winning documentary film which aired nationally on PBS."
The Perilous Condition of the Republic Was the United States heading toward a civil war in 1830 as the standoff between Calhoun and Jackson reached a peak?  This primary resource from the Library of Congress provides the opinion of an 1831 issue of the New England Magazine on the topic of The Perilous Condition of the Republic, providing a fascinating first-hand look at the concerns and fears of the nation.
The Removal of the Cherokee Nation This site contains a lesson plan for exploring the various aspects of the background, events, and results of the removal efforts toward the Cherokee Nation.
The Trail of Tears This National Park Service site provides a lesson plan for teaching the Trail of Tears: The Forced Removal of the Cherokee Nation.  The lesson plan includes all resources necessary for enhancing the knowledge of the student on this topic.
Tocqueville’s America: A Virtual Tour A site recreating de Tocqueville’s tour of America.  Maps, descriptions of the journey, and much more can be accessed at this site.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary This site contains the first dictionary produced in America, Noah Webster’s dictionary.  Webster through his variety of writing and publications, established a system of rules to govern spelling, grammar, and reading.  At the age of 43, Webster began writing a comprehensive dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, which would take twenty-seven years to complete. To supplement the documentation of the etymology of the words, Webster learned twenty-six languages, including Anglo-Saxon and Sanskrit. Webster hoped to standardize American speech, since Americans in different parts of the country spelled, pronounced, and used words differently.  This is an excellent resource that is still in use 180 years after its publication.

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Manifest Destiny, War, & Peace (1835 - 1850)

Title Description
A Trip Across the Plains The Library of Congress presents California: A Trip Across The Plains, made up of excerpts from a diary by James Abby during his 1850 trip from Indiana.  Click on the book navigator link for more of the diary.
Across the Plains in 1844 Catherine Sager Pringle’s diary entries showing the harsh reality of traveling and living in the West during the 1840s.
Age of Progress Songsheet This American Memory site has the text and broadside from a song celebrating America’s Age of Progress, c. 1860.
America’s First Look Into the Camera This Library of Congress site provides images from the earliest photographic efforts, the daguerreotype.  Included are portraits, street scenes, and more.
Annexation of Texas This Yale Law School Avalon Project provides the 1845 Joint Resolution of Congress for the Annexation of Texas.  An interesting primary resource.
Art of the Gold Rush The Oakland Museum of California presents images of paintings created during the California gold rush.
Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library: Alamo History "It began as a simple Spanish mission, run by Franciscan missionaries, strategically placed on the El Camino Real - the King's Highway." This five-page timeline charts Alamo history from 1716 (when the Viceroy of New Spain authorized the relocation of the Mission of San Francisco Solano from the Rio Grande to the San Antonio River) to 2005 (when the Daughters of the Republic of Texas celebrated their centennial year as the Alamo's stewards.) This concise chronology is a great resource for school reports.
Diaries, Narratives, and Letters of the Mountain Men From the site: “These documents are accounts of the Rocky Mountain fur trade during the first half of the 19th century. Most of these are either primary or secondary historical sources; that is, either written by, or as told by those who were actually there.  These documents have been transcribed from printed or manuscript form. The resulting text files have been manually checked and edited to conform to the original source. In most cases, any spelling or grammatical errors from the original have been retained.”
Discovery of Gold in California Discovery of Gold in California is an article published in 1857 by Hitchings California Magazine by John Sutter describing the conditions and events surrounding the discovery of gold in California in 1848.
Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin The PBS site has several primary documents and text on the development and significance of the cotton gin.  Included are such resources as Whitney’s letter of petition for a patent; a picture of the cotton gin; and more.
First Telegraphy Message This American Memory site shows the original document upon which the first telegraph message was recorded in 1844.
George Catlin Artwork A large portrait of Buffalo Bull, a Pawnee Warrior.
Gold Miners This site contains a picture of White and Chinese miners hoping to strike it rich during the California Gold Rush at Auburn Ravine in 1852.
Indian Gallery George Catlin was one of the noted artists who document the American Indians through paintings.  This site provides a wide collection of his artwork as well as informative text.
John Tyler’s Home Virtual Tour Sherwood Forest was the name given to President John Tyler’s home.  This site provides a virtual tour of the home, which is privately owned by Tyler’s descendents.
Letter from the Commandancy of the Alamo This site contains the text of William Travis’ Feb. 4, 1836 letter from the Alamo.
Manifest Destiny Lesson Activity From the website: “In this lesson, students grapple with the idea of manifest destiny and after analyzing reasons in support of the idea as well as reasons against the idea, formulate an opinion about its validity.”
Marshall Gold Discovery Discover 60 pictures dealing with the people and the place where gold was discovered in 1848:  Sutter’s Mill.  Hosted by the California State Park System.
Mexican War Maps Wikimedia provides a number of maps on various aspects of the Mexican War.
NARA – The Cotton Gin The National Archives provides lesson plans based on the use of primary resources.  This lesson centers on Eli Whitney and his patent of the Cotton Gin.  It provides primary sources made up of letters, documents, and engravings from his patent application.  Additionally, lesson resources are provided.  Excellent resource.
Native American Values This Four Directions interactive video teaches about Native values...
Oregon Trail Diaries A collection of diaries and letters concerning travel and experiences on the Oregon Trail, 1825-1877.  Excellent primary resource on portraying the era through the eyes of those who lived it.
Prairie Settlement "Prairie Settlement: Nebraska Photographs & Family Letters" illustrates the story of settlement on the Great Plains. Family letters of one homesteader express personal insight into the joy, despair, & determination in his struggle to establish a home on the prairie.
Presidential Voting by State: 1844 – 1860 The site has posted a chart listing the major parties in the American Political Scene, 1844 – 1860, and the votes received by each party in each state during the Presidential elections.
Primary Resources from California The OAC (Online Archives of California) brings together historical materials from a variety of California institutions, including museums, historical societies, and archives. Over 120,000 images; 50,000 pages of documents, letters, and oral histories; and 8,000 guides to collections are available.
Railroad Growth Chart A graphic chart illustrating the growth of railroads between 1840- 1860 as well as the region of the country where the railroads were located.
Samuel Chamberlain’s Recollections of the Mexican War From the website: “In the mid-nineteenth century, many Americans were eager to acquire the Mexican land of California and New Mexico, enough to provoke a war with Mexico. In 1845 U.S. President James K. Polk sent envoys who offered to buy Mexican territory and stationed federal troops in the border areas. Naval forces patrolled the Gulf coast and American consuls in California stirred up annexation fever. When the presence of those troops brought an anti-American government to power in Mexico in 1846, Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor and his troops to the Rio Grande and declared war. Taylor pursued retreating Mexican forces 100 miles into Mexico to the heavily fortified city of Monterrey. New Englander Samuel Chamberlain was eager to do battle against the Mexicans and expand the American empire. This excerpt from his illustrated manuscript, “My Confessions: Recollections of a Rogue,” described his participation in the fierce house-to-house battle for Monterrey in September 1846.”
Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Eli Whitney's Patent for the Cotton Gin This National Archives site provides a lesson plan and resources dealing with Whitney’s patent for the cotton gin.
Teaching with Historic Places: American Indians To celebrate American Indian Heritage and generate public appreciation for diverse cultures, Teaching with Historic Places has posted on the web the following lesson plans that consider important aspects of American Indian history. These lessons, based on sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, are free and ready for immediate classroom use by students in history and social studies classes.
Texas Treasures: Battle of the Alamo The Texas State Library hosts this site that contains information on the Alamo as well as the stirring last letter by Travis.
The Alamo This site has information and images on the Alamo and it’s defenders.
The Dignity and Importance of History Daniel Webster’s 1852 speech before the New York Historical Society on the importance of embellishment and ornamentation in making history interesting and instructive – as long as it was built on a basis of truth.  He also call for more social history and a call for Union.
The Donnor Party This site includes lesson plans, web-based resources, and more for studying the Donnor Party.  From the site: “The plight of the Donner Party remains one of the most poignant episodes in the history of westward expansion during the 19th Century. "Donner Online" is a type of Web-based activity in which you learn about a topic by collecting information, images, and insights from the Internet, and then you "paste" them into a multimedia Scrapbook (a HyperStudio stack or a Web page) to share your learning with others.”
The Gold Rush Chronicles This site has a variety of links providing a wide range of information on the California Gold Rush, including a detailed timeline.
The Hastings Emigrant Guide A transcription of Lanford Hastings 1845 Emigrant Guide provides a fascinating primary resource on the westward migration of the mid-19th Century.  Site includes images, text, and more.
The Miner’s Song A song from the gold fields of California expressing the hopes and desires of the 49ers.
The Miner’s Ten Commandments A popular list written by James Hutchings in 1853.
The Visit of Saint Nicholas A broadside of the popular C.C. Moore poem about Christmas.  Printed in 1842.
To the West The Library of Congress presentation involves a rousing song titled To the West!  The original music sheet is shown, as well as a transcribed version.
Tracking the Buffalo This National Museum of American History site puts students in the role of historians as they examine a buffalo hide painting and click on areas that reveal clues to the painting's story. The story helps students understand the role of the buffalo in the lives of the American Indians of the northern plains.
William Porter's Oregon Trail Diary 1848 This diary has a lot of information on the expenses incurred while travelling the Oregon, as well as the distances travelled each day.  An eye-opener for the reader.

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Reform Movements in America (1800 - 1850)

Title Description
A Lecture on the Importance of Education We said it in 1837, and we’re still saying it today, over 170 years later:  the importance of education.  The Library of Congress site provides both the digitalized original broadside of this 1838 lecture.
Abolition, Anti-Slavery Movements, and the Rise of the Sectional Controversy This Library of Congress site contains a collection of writings by the leading abolitionists of the 1830s – 1840s.
Abolitionism: 1830 – 1850 This site hosts a collection of images and articles concering both pro- and anti-slavery arguments in a variety of forms.
American Slavery As It Is This site contains the complete text of Theodore Weld’s American Slavery As It Is, published in the North, but researched by using the South’s own words – advertisements and news articles from a variety of Southern newspapers.  A telling account of the brutality of slavery in the 19th Century.
An 1836 Account of a Visitor to Lowell This 1836 account looks at the working conditions in the Lowell Mills.
An American Slave Market This site has an oil painting titled An American Slave Market, from 1852.  From the PBS site: “ This 1852 oil painting depicting the scene of a slave market was created five years before the sale of 436 of Pierce Butler's slaves.  One of the slave's greatest fears was to be sold off and separated from loved ones. According to Mortimer Thomson, a newspaper correspondent who covered the Butler sale, "The expression on the faces of all who stepped on the block was always the same, and told of more anguish than it is in the power of words to express."”
Angelina Grimké Weld's speech at Pennsylvania Hall This PBS site hosts the entire speech of Angelina Grimke on slavery and abolition in Pennsylvania, 1830s.
Anti-Slavery Broadsides This American Memory project site has a collection of broadsides - a printed flyer - dealing with antislavery.  This is an excellent primary resource.
Appeal To The Christian Women of the South Angelina Grimke’ was a Southern-born lady who became an anti-slavery Quaker (and later a women’s suffragette) and appealed to her fellow Southerners to end the bonds of slavery.  The article is from 1836.
Colonization of Liberia A Library of Congress exhibit that provides text, images, documents, and primary resources on the American Colonization Society’s efforts to establish a colony in Liberia.
Daily Wage Rates Chart This site presents a graph showing the daily wage rate for laborers and carpenters who were working on the Erie Canal, 1845 – 1870.
Demand for a 10-Hour Day From the site: “The 1830s and 1840s saw a major movement arise for the restriction of labor hours -- limiting the working day to 10 hours. Boston artisans were in the forefront of this movement. Below is an excerpt from a circular they issued.”
Emeline Larcom Letters From the site: “Emeline Larcom was the sister of Lucy Larcom (a well known New England poet, essayist, and editor). One of ten children, she grew up in the Massachusetts coastal town of Beverly -- located just north of Boston. Her father was a sea captain who was often away from home. With his untimely death in 1832, his wife, Lois Larcom, was forced to seek out employment to maintain her large family; she found it in the mill town of Lowell. She relocated to the community with her younger children in 1835, and took charge of a boardinghouse, working for the Lawrence Manufacturing Company. Soon, four of her daughters also took up employment with the firm – working inside the mills. Emiline was one of them. Sometime between 1837 and 1840, Lois Larcom returned to Beverly. Several of her daughters, including Emiline, remained in the mill. Emiline worked for the Lawrence Company until her marriage in 1843.”
Exposure of the American Colonization Society William Lloyd Garrison’s 1832 pamphlet in which he champions abolition, and attacks the American Colonization movement.
Fifty Years In Chains The site presents Charles Ball’s autobiography, Fifty Years in Chains, or The Life of an American slave (1859) digitally and completely.  Excellent resource.
Frederick Douglass This site includes photographs of Douglass; original writings by him; and additional resources for the study of slavery in America.
Frederick Douglass: Escape from Slavery A reprint of the story of Douglass’ escape from slavery to the north.
Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period This Library of Congress collection contains a collection of writings by the leading free blacks living in the North in the 1830s – 1860s.
Freedom’s Journal The Wisconsin Historical Society has put online the original first African-American newspaper in America, Freedom’s Journal.  The first year – 1837 - is online in its original form.
From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection From the Library of Congress website: “From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1822-1909 presents 396 pamphlets from the Rare Book and Special Collections Division, published from 1822 through 1909, by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics. The materials range from personal accounts and public orations to organizational reports and legislative speeches. Among the authors represented are Frederick Douglass, Kelly Miller, Charles Sumner, Mary Church Terrell, and Booker T. Washington.”
Godey's Lady Book Online From the site: “Godey's Lady's Book was one of the most popular lady's books of the 19th century. Each issue contained poetry, beautiful engraving and articles by some of the most well known authors in America.”
Grand Demonstration of Petticoatdom at Worcester This Boston Daily Mail report on the 1850 Women’s Rights Convention held in Boston in 1850 provides an interesting look at the prevalent attitudes concerning women’s suffrage in the 19th century.
Improving Women’s Education Emma Willard’s 1819 publication Mrs. Willard’s Plan for Female Education is transcribed and provide a unique look into the social situation of women in the first half of the 19th century.
Kidnapping a free Negro to be sold into slavery "Kidnapping a free Negro to be sold into slavery": comment from the website: “This woodcut from 1834 depicts a free black being kidnapped by slavers. The demand for slaves to labor on southern cotton plantations made kidnapping of free persons a common practice.”
Letters on the Equality of the Sexes Sarah Grimke’ was a precursor of the women’s equality movement in the United States.  This site hosts several of her letters from 1837 on the issue, and her justification of her stand for all women. 
Loom and Spindle The entire 1898 publication is produced at this Oberlin College website.  Loom and the Spindle or Life among the Mill Girls was written by Harriett Robinson and reviews the history and working conditions for the girls at the Lowell Mills.  Interesting reading.
Lowell Factory Rules A copy of the Lowell mills factory rules, c. 1848.
Lowell Mills Timetable The 1853 timetable regulating the day of the workers in the Lowell mills gives times and activities for the average 11-hour day.
Lowell Women Workers Protest Poems Two short poems from the 1830s about the conditions that existed for the female workers at the Lowell factories.
Protesting the Railroad Poster The National Archives presents a complete lesson plan and poster illustrating the anti-railroad propaganda against the building of a railroad in Philadelphia.  Excellent resource.
Railroad Mileage Chart A graph representing the miles of railroad tracks in the various regions of the United States, 1850 – 1860.
Remarks on the Slave Trade This broadside was provides a detailed analysis of the ships that was typically used in the African slave trade as well as to their human cargo.
Runaway Slave Newspaper Accounts A collection of advertisements from Southern newspapers in the 1830s advertising for the return of runaway slaves.  Very detailed descriptions of the runaway slaves, illustrating the cruelty of slavery during this era.
Slave Trade Book This site contains a review by the Christian Register and Boston Observer of a book in 1839 on the slave trade.  The site comes with questions for use with the article.
Slave Voices This Duke University collection has text and digitized images of original documents dealing with slavery in the South during the 19th century.
Slaveowning Population, 1850 This chart provides a graphic representation portraying the number of slaves owned per family in the South in 1850.
Slavery and Liberty--'E. Pluribus unum!' This Library of Congress website hosts an 1844 broadside advocating an abolition of slavery.  The original as well as a transcript are available on the site.
Slavery, a Positive Good John Calhoun – US Vice President, Senator from South Carolina – wrote an article titled Slavery, a Positive Good in 1837, in order to effectively portray the Southern view of slavery in the face of increased abolitionist activity in the Northern press.
Slaves and the Courts A description from this Library of Congress website: “Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860 contains just over a hundred pamphlets and books (published between 1772 and 1889) concerning the difficult and troubling experiences of African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States. The documents, most from the Law Library and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress, comprise an assortment of trials and cases, reports, arguments, accounts, examinations of cases and decisions, proceedings, journals, a letter, and other works of historical importance.”
Sojourner Truth: Ain't I A Woman? This message was delivered in 1851 at a Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, by Sojourner Truth.  A short message, but to the point on portraying conditions in the America of the mid-19th century.
Statistics of Lowell Manufactures This American Memory site provides a selection of sStatistics of Lowell manufactures, January 1, 1835. It was compiled from authentic sources and includes information on health, pay, and more.
Ten-Hour Circular A circular from Boston, circa 1835, that advocates a 10-hour day for workers.
The Alabama Supreme Court on Slaves A fascinating look at the legal thoughts in the Southern states concerning slavery.  The information is well presented, and is broken down into manageable topics.
The American Colonization Society This 1833 article on the American Memory website is from The New England Magazine and explores the legislative, social, economic effects of the question on what to do with slaves, former slaves, and free blacks.  An interesting perspective for use as a primary resource from almost 200 years ago.
The Blessings of Slavery The Blessings of Slavery is an editorial response by the Plain Dealer (New York) on February 25, 1837, to comments make during a US Senate debate on slavery.  Very illuminating portrayal of the continuing drifting apart of the Northern and Southern interests.
The Crime of the Abolitionists This Library of Congress site transcribes William Garret’s speech to the New York Anti-slavery society in 1835.  The site contains both the original broadside and a transcription.
The Face of Slavery: A Photographic Collection A collection of photographs relating to slavery through the post-Civil War era:  1855 – 1905.
The Mill Girls This National Park Service pdf file provides text, quotes, and illustrations on the Lowell Girls from the first factories in Lowell in 1823 through the early 20th century.
The Slave Trade This site has some pictures, text, and audio on the topic of the slave trade from Africa to the Americas.
The Treatment of the Help in Those Days Was Cruel: Hiram Munger Remembers Factory Life From the History Matters site: “After the War for Independence small-scale industrial activity spread throughout the northeastern states. Saw and grist mills had long been features of colonial life, processing local wood and grain for the rural population. In 1790 Samuel Slater, an English immigrant, set up machines for spinning cotton yarn in Pawtucket Falls, Rhode Island. New England’s abundant water power drove many small textile mills. Family labor was very important in those early mills as small children often tended the machines while their parents wove the yarn into cloth. Hiram Munger worked in a small cotton factory in Massachusetts. Born into a family with scant means, Munger only worked in a textile mill for a short while, but when he recorded his autobiography forty years later he remembered the experience vividly. Hiram Munger worked at a series of manual occupations most of his life, eventually becoming an itinerant Methodist lay preacher.”
The Turner Rebellion This PBS website contains the comments by the The Richmond Enquirer on Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831.  A primary resource that can be used to encourage intense discussion on the role of the press and possible agendas on the public and public perceptions.
The Underground Railroad This site has a number of resources on the Underground Railroad, including biographries, photos, maps, and more.
The Underground Railroad This interactive website by National Geographic creates a text and photo tour of the travels and perils associated with the Underground Railroad.
The Working Men's Declaration of Independence From the site: “Written in 1829 by George H. Evans (1805-56), this document appeared in the Working Man's Advocate of New York and the Mechanic's Free Press of Philadelphia. Evans helped found the Working Man's Party in New York City during 1829.”
Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture This site, hosted by the University of Virginia, as extensive resources concerning the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin, including the ability to search for texts, images, songs, 3-D objects, film clips, and more.
Understanding Slavery Discovery Education hosts this site made up of interactive pictures and text dealing with the concept of slavery and what could be done about it in pre-civil war America.  Special topics include The World of Slavery; Slavery on Three continents; and Witness to a Slave Auction.  Teacher tips and lesson plans are included at the site.
Women in America This site is loaded with primary resources on a wide variety of topics concerning Women in America in the early 19th Century, including such topics as courtship, travel, education, employment, and religion.

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Civil War and Reconstruction (1850 - 1877)

   
  Road to War: 1840 - 1860 The Civil War: 1860 - 1865 Reconstruction: 1865 - 1877  

Road to War (1840 - 1860)

Title Description
Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison Admits of No Compromise with the Evil of Slavery From the website about this 1854 article: “William Lloyd Garrison was one of the most prominent abolitionists. He was founder and publisher of the anti-slavery newspaper, "The Liberator," and was also a founder of the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833) and its president (1843-65). The text is taken from the collection "Lend Me Your Ears, Great Speeches in History" by William Safire, and is provided by Mr. Bob Butler.”
Alfred Whital Stern Lincoln Collection The Library of Congress  has an American Memory link for the Alfred Whital Stern Lincoln Collection.  From the site:  “Alfred Whital Stern (1881-1960) of Chicago presented his outstanding collection of Lincolniana to the Library of Congress in 1953. Begun by Mr. Stern in the 1920s, the collection documents the life of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) both through writings by and about Lincoln as well as a large body of publications concerning the issues of the times including slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and related topics.”
American Slave Narratives The University of Virginia hosts a collection of transcripts from the WPA (Work Progress Administration) project to interview former slaves.  The interviews were conducted between 1936 and 1938.
Anti-Slavery Songs This Library of Congress website contains both the transcript and digital facsimile of a collection of anti-slavery songs that was distributed at the 1859 New England Anti-Slavery Convention.
Before Brother Fought Brother: Life in the North and South 1847-1861 More Americans lost their lives in the Civil War than in any other conflict. How did the United States arrive at a point at which the South seceded and some families were so fractured that brother fought brother?  A National Archives lesson plan of three sections.
Bleeding Kansas The Kansas Collection presents a collection of letters and diary entries from the Bleeding Kansas years.
Born in Slavery These narratives are part of the heritage of the people of the United States. First, they record the remembrances of African Americans living in the 1930s that had been born into slavery. Second, they were collected in the 1930s as part of the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration.
Campaign Songs of 1856 This site contains two pages of a book illustrating Republican songs during the 1856 campaign.
Charleston Mercury, 1860 – 1862 A collection of transcribed articles from the Charleston Mercurybetween July 1860 and December 1862.  It provides an interesting picture of Charleston during this turbulent era.
Chronology of the Secession Crisis This graph illustrates the secession crisis from January 1860 – April 1861 provides a clear and concise picture of the events.  Several of the events have links to additional resources on the topic.
Cotton is King Cotton is King is a phrase used by James Hammond in a pro-slavery speech before Congress in 1858 on the admission of Kansas as a state. 
Digital Library: The Narrative of Sojourner Truth Although Sojourner Truth never learned to read or write, she dictated this autobiography to Olive Gilbert, a white abolitionist. Published in 1850, it tells the story of a Dutch-speaking slave child who transformed herself into a traveling speaker, abolitionist and women's right advocate. "The following is the unpretending narrative of the life of a remarkable and meritorious woman – a life which has been checkered by strange vicissitudes, severe hardships, and singular adventures."
Dred Scott Editorials A collection of over 20 newspaper editorials from around the nation representing differing views on the 1857 Dred Scott decision.
Dred Scott: Supreme Court Opinions This site has the transcripts of the comments by the individual Supreme Court judges on the Dred Scott case decision of 1857.
Editorials on Dred Scott Primary resource materials as exemplified by newspaper editorials from a variety of resources on the 1857 Dred Scott Decision provided the instructor with an excellent resource for student involvement and analysis. 
Editorials on John Brown's Raid Over 50 editorials from a variety of newspapers representing all of the regions of the United States commenting on the 1859 raid by John Brown on Harper’s Ferry.
Editorials on the John Brown Raid The Furman University Secession Project website hosts a series of 1859 editorials from a variety of U.S. newspapers on the John Brown Raid.
Election of 1860 Results History Central’s website has a number of resources for the results of the election of 1860: graphs, text, and more.
Free State Battery This PBS site contains a daguerreotype of one of the first Free-State batteries in Kansas during the era of ‘bleeding Kansas”.
Fugitive Slave Law Broadside An 1850 broadside that is presented with both the original document and transcribed.
House Divided From the website: “Lincoln delivered this famous speech, noted for the phrase "a house divided against itself cannot stand," when accepting the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Illinois in June of 1858”.
Impending Crisis An online edition of the book Impending Crisis of the South by Hinton Helper, 1857.  This was an earth-shattering an prophetic book at the time it was written.
John Brown Interview A transcript of an interview after the Harper’s Ferry Raid with Senator Mason and others.  Very interesting primary resource to further delve into the mind and actions of John Brown.
John Brown Raid Headline The PBS site has a facsimile of the 1859 Harpers Ferry newspaper headline announcing John Brown’s raid.
John Brown’s Body This PBS site includes the history of the song John Brown’s Body as well as audio files of the song.
John Brown's Speech to the Court at his Trial Contains the words of John Brown at his sentencing after the failed raid on Harpers Ferry.
Kansas Nebraska Act Editorials This site contains editorial from over 20 newspapers on the passage and effects of the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854.  Most of the editorials are from Northern newspapers.
Know Nothing Party Examination Questions The Library of Congress American Memory Project provides a transcript as well as a copy of the original document that contains the examination questions used to determine if one could join the Know Nothing Party in 1854.
Know Nothing Party Platform 1856 The party platform of 1856:  interesting reading on this little known party.
Making of America Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. Just click on ‘subject browsing’ and review hundreds of primary resources.
Matrix Collection of Humanities Resources and Archives This site is a digital history project sponsored by the Virginia Center for Digital History. The Valley of the Shadow Project documents two communities, one Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. The project is a hypermedia archive of thousands of sources for the period before, during, and after the Civil War for Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Those sources include newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records, population census, agricultural census, and military records. Students can explore every dimension of the conflict and write their own histories, reconstructing the life stories of women, African Americans, farmers, politicians, soldiers, and families. The project is intended for secondary schools, community colleges, libraries, and universities.
National Democratic Platform (Breckinridge) This site contains the 1860 Democratic Party (supporting Breckinridge) Platform.
National Democratic Platform (Douglas) This site contains the 1860 Democratic Party (supporting Douglas) Platform.
North American Slave Narratives This site is part of a collection under the heading Documenting the American South and is hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  A plethora of primary resources concerning slavery in the United States.
Picturing Uncle Tom’s Cabin From the History Now site:  “When Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852, it ignited a great debate over the practice of slavery in America. A best seller that sold more than one million copies, the novel tells the stories of Tom, a field slave, and Eliza, a household servant, and how they dealt with the horrors of slavery. The book exposed the brutality of slavery to readers in the United States and in other countries. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s fictional portrayal of slavery damaged the claims of southern plantation owners who said slaves were happy with their lives.  The scenes in this slideshow, inspired by scenes in the novel, appeared on a banner printed in 1852, the same year as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s sensational book was published.”
Political Cartoon: Dividing the National Map A political cartoon from 1860 showing the sectional appeal of the four parties who ran candidates for President in 1860.
Preston Brooks Resignation Speech The speech by Preston Brooks before the US House of Representatives on July 14, 1856, in which he explained and justified his attack on Senator Charles Sumner and provided his resignation from the House.
Ratio of Slaveholders to free families, 1860 Statistical breakdown of free/slave-holding families in the southern states in 1860.
Reward The University of Virginia library provides digitized poster advertising for the return of 3 slaves.  Both a printed version and the original poster are available for viewing.
Secession Era Editorials Project Few Americans were more involved with the coming of the Civil War than the newspaper editors whose words have been collected here. Circulation-hungry and fiercely devoted to the political parties that sustained them, these writers were passionate and nearly inflexible in their views. The editorials they wrote remind us that the people of the era experienced events not with the comprehensive hindsight and revealed secrets of the historian but rather through the disconnected and opinionated fragments supplied by these journalists.  Three events (Nebraska, Dred Scott, and Harper's Ferry) were chosen for this project for their universal prominence in historical writing.
Sojourner Truth in Ulster County Sojourner Truth was born in Ulster County, upstate New York at the end of the eighteenth century. On the campus of the State University of New York at New Paltz, a three-story library is dedicated to her. "It may seem ironic that a library is named for a woman who could not read or write. It is just as ironic that this great communicator is one of the most famous persons to come from Ulster County. She often said ‘I can't read books, but I can read the people.'" This one-page illustrated biography was penned by librarian Corrine Nyquist.
Sojourner Truth Institute: Sojourner's Biography The Sojourner Truth Institute of Battle Creek, MI, has a terrific collection of resources for students of all grade levels. Best clicks include Legacy of Faith (an illustrated narrative biography for middle school and older), a four-part timeline of her life, In Her Times (a timeline of American history during Sojourner Truth's lifetime), and the puzzles in Test Your Knowledge. For teachers, there is a third-grade lesson plan (look for the link on the main biography page.)
Sojourner Truth Memorial: History of Sojourner Truth In 1843, Sojourner Truth moved to Massachusetts where she lived in and near Florence for eight years, and where she now has a memorial statue. Visit for a short biography and the history of her memorial. "Born a slave in upstate New York in approximately 1797, she labored for a succession of five masters until the Fourth of July, 1827, when slavery was finally abolished in New York State. Then Isabella - as she had been named at birth - became legally free."
Southern Chivalry This site provides a lithograph portraying the caning of Senator Sumner by Representative Brooks.
Southern Populaton Chart 1860 This chart presents the white population of the South broken down into categories of non-slave owners through the % of families with more than 20 slaves.
The Constitutional Party Platform, 1860 A facsimile of the Constitutional Party Platform for the election of 1860.
The Crime Against Kansas This site contains the text of Charles Sumner’s 1856 speech to the U.S. Senate on The Crime Against Kansas.
The Editorial Response to the Caning of Charles Sumner After the caning of Senator Charles Sumner, newspapers both North and South erupted in a frenzy of editorials representing the perspective of their geographic region.  This site hosts the editorials of over 50 editorials representing a wide range of beliefs and comments.  Excellent primary resource for use in the classroom.
The Fugitive Slave Act From the Modern History Sourcebook: “The Fugitive Slave Act mandated the return of runaway slaves, regardless of where in the Union they might be situated at the time of their discovery or capture. Along with the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the ratification of Kansas' admission for free statehood, this legislation is part of the chain of events which culminated in the American Civil War.”
The Irrepressible Conflict William Seward spoke in New York in October 1858, concerning the irrepressible conflict emerging between the Northern and Southern philosophies.
The Republican Party Platform of 1856 The Republican Party Platform is presented at the website.
The Republican Platform (Lincoln) The Republican platform for the 1860 election.
The Terrors of Submission The Charleston Mercury editorial on the upcoming election of 1860.
The Underground Railroad A great link for teachers who wish to have their students learn more about the Underground Railroad.  The site includes an interactive  'escaped slave' experience for students to take on a role and make choices on a journey on the Underground Railroad.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin This American Civil War Preservation Trust website provides a lesson plan to help students further understand the content and impact of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Voice from the Days of Slavery Voices from the Days of Slavery: Former Slaves Tell Their Stories provides the opportunity to listen to former slaves describe their lives. These interviews, conducted between 1932 and 1975, capture the recollections of twenty-three identifiable people born between 1823 and the early 1860s and known to have been former slaves. Several of the people interviewed were centenarians, the oldest being 130 at the time of the interview. The almost seven hours of recordings were made in nine Southern states and provide an important glimpse of what life was like for slaves and freedmen.
What Is the True Issue? This site has an article from The Daily Picayune, New Orleans dated Nov. 4, 1860 – the eve of the Presidential election.
Women in History: Sojourner Truth Biography This biographical vignette is published by Women in History, a non-profit project that brings history to life with live performances of historical monologues and online biographies. "Sometime around 1815, she [Isabella Baumfree] fell in love with a fellow slave named Robert, who was owned by a man named Catlin or Catton. Robert's owner forbade the relationship because he did not want his slave having children with a slave he did not own (and therefore would not own the new 'property')."

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The Civil War (1860 - 1865)

Title Description
A Million Men in the Field Broadside The Library of Congress has an exhibition with the Stephen Foster song showing the manpower advantages of the North.
Abraham Lincoln on the American Union The National Endowment for the Humanities provides a lesson plan that has students examining Lincoln's three most famous speeches—the Gettysburg Address and the First and Second Inaugural Addresses—in addition to a little known fragment on the Constitution, union, and liberty, students trace what these documents say regarding the significance of union to the prospects for American self-government. This National Endowment for the Humanities lesson plan provides primary resources, handout masters, and directions for the lesson.
Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 20,000 documents. The collection is organized into three "General Correspondence" series which include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material. Most items are from the 1850s through Lincoln's presidential years, 1860-65.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Includes interactive timeline, exhibit information and additional links to other Lincoln related sites.
Abraham Lincoln Quiz Test your knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and watch your score add up as you choose the correct answer.
Abraham Lincoln Research Site This website has a variety of URL's covering Mr. Lincoln's life, family, and assassination.
Abraham Lincoln: Republic, National Union Party-16th President Get all the details of Lincoln's life and legacy.
Abraham Lincoln's Classroom Includes cartoons, maps, web links, online quizzes and lesson plans on Abraham Lincoln. Sponsored by the Lincoln Institute and Lehrman Institute.
Advance and Retreat This site has portions of JB Hood’s memoirs, Advance and Retreat.
African American Soldiers During the Civil War This Library of Congress Memory Project looks at the role of the African American in the Northern military during the Civil War.  Primary documents include letters, articles, and maps.
Africans in America: The Civil War and Emancipation This section of Africans in America (a PBS special on the history of slavery) covers the Civil War years and Abraham Lincoln's presidency. It provides a succinct summary of the events leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation and the effect it had on the war effort. "The proclamation allowed black soldiers to fight for the Union -- soldiers that were desperately needed. It also tied the issue of slavery directly to the war." For the document text (and an image of it), follow the Emancipation Proclamation link at the bottom of the page.
Alice Williamson Diary The Special Collections Division of Duke University provides the Alice Williamson Diary, a pro-southern 16 year old living in Union occupied Gallitan, Tennessee.  This 36 page diary covers from February to September 1864.
American Civil War Field Fortifications Learn more about the American Civil War with the Civil War Field Fortifications site: "It is the object of the Civil War Field Fortifications Website to provide sound basic information concerning the design, construction, and use of field fortifications during the American Civil War and middle period of the nineteenth century in general."
Archives.gov: Featured Document: The Emancipation Proclamation "Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states." The National Archives& Records Administration exhibits the five-page document, and explains its significance. The site also includes links to off-site resources, articles and audio interviews that will be helpful to those writing school research papers.
Ben's Guide: The Emancipation Proclamation "The proclamation paved the way for the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (December 1865), which ended slavery in the United States. Today, the original Emancipation Proclamation resides at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C." Ben's Guide to the U.S. Government is an educational service of the U.S. Government Publishing Office. This Emancipation Proclamation section is part of the grades 9-12 site. Slightly simpler versions also exist for grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. To find them, click on the appropriate grade-level kite (in the header graphic) and choose Historical Documents.
Calvin Shedd Papers This University of Miami site hosts papers and pictures from Calvin Shedd, and New Hampshire soldier serving in Florida during the Civil War.
Camp Life: Civil War Collections from Gettysburg Step back in time, and try to imagine yourself a soldier in the Civil War. Where do you sleep? How do you pass the time? What personal items did you bring from home? Camp Life reveals the daily life of both Union and Confederate soldiers with an online exhibition of common everyday items. Learn what a "housewife" is, and why infantrymen were only issued half a tent. By focusing on these simple, useful items, the Gettysburg National Military Park gives us unique insight into the life of a Civil War soldier.
Carrie Berry Diary From the site:  The following passages were taken from the Diary of Carrie Berry, a 10 year old resident of Atlanta, Aug. 1, 1864 - Jan. 4, 1865. They provide a first hand account of war through the eyes of a child. A typed copy of the original manuscript was provided by the Atlanta History Center to Duke University.”
Civil War Graphs Several Civil War graphs are available, comparing the North and South with a variety of standards.
Civil War History of John Ritland The remembrances of a Union veteran from Iowa.  A powerful story.
Civil War Photograph Album This Library of Congress American Memory Project webpage hosts the James Wadsworth Family Collection, which includes over 200 photos of individuals from the Civil War era.
Civil War Photographs This Library of Congress site contains a huge collection of Civil War era photographs where one can search by keyword or by browse by subject index.  Excellent resource for use in the classroom.  From the site:  “The Selected Civil War Photographs Collection contains 1,118 photographs. Most of the images were made under the supervision of Mathew B. Brady, and include scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, and battle after-effects. The collection also includes portraits of both Confederate and Union officers, and a selection of enlisted men.”
Civil War Small Arms The National Park Service at Gettysburg hosts this site that has examples and information on the shoulder weapons carried by the soldiers who fought there.
Civil War Soldier’s Letters This online exhibition is adapted from an exhibition of original Civil War soldiers’ letters currently on display at the new Museum and Visitor Center at Gettysburg National Military Park.  The letters are drawn from the Gilder Lehrman Collection (on deposit at the New-York Historical Society), which contains more than 12,000 Civil War soldiers’ letters, most of them never before seen by the public.
Civil War Soldier’s Stories This Library of Congress Learning Page hosts seven soldiers stories – both North and South – as well as a collection of photographs from the Civil War.
Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System The Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System is a computerized database containing very basic facts about servicemen who served on both sides during the Civil War. The initial focus of the CWSS is the Names Index Project, a project to enter names and other basic information from 5.4 million soldier records in the National Archives.
Civil War Soldiers Stories Heartfelt and passionate stories written in letter/diary form during the war are the focus point of this American Memory project.
Civil War Treasures A huge collections of photographs assembled by the Library of Congress on all aspects of the Civil War.  Click on Subjects or Names for links to the photographs. 
Comparative Troop Strength Chart This colorful chart clearly illustrates the manpower situation of both the North and the South, 1862 – 1865.
Crisis at Fort Sumter This site has several links discussing the background through attack on Ft. Sumter, launching the Civil War.  Some pictures and maps, but largely text.
Declaration of Succession Yale Law School Avalon Project has listed four of the succession ordinances online.
Diary from Dixie Documenting the American South provides an electronic edition of Mary Chestnut’s Diary From Dixie which provides a view from Virginia on the effects of the Civil War during the entire 4 years of war.
Diary of William Addison Bushnell William Bushnell was a volunteer in California, enlisting in 1864 and continuing his diary though his post-war enlistment (1866).
Everyday Life for the Civil War Soldier The Gettysburg National Park website hosts an exhibit of images of everyday items used by soldiers during the Civil War.
Fredericksburg Christmas Letter (1862) The Civil War at Charleston website hosts this letter home by Tally Simpson from the trenches around Fredericksburg on Christmas day, 1862. 
Gettysburg Address: A Reading National Public Radio (NPR) provides a 3 minute, 1 second reading of the Gettysburg Address.
Heroes of July From the New York Times Archives comes this front page of the dedication ceremonies of the cemetery at Gettysburg.  An account of the ceremony is provided, as well as the text of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
James M. Randall Library James M. Randall was born in Canton, Ohio and enlisted his services in the Union Army in October of 1861 at the age of twenty. Initially enlisting in Co. "B" of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, he was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant of the 21st Wisconsin in July of 1862 where he rose to the rank of Captain. Assigned to forces under Ulysses S. Grant, in Tennessee, Randall maintains his diary from Shiloh to Sherman's campaign through the Carolinas. His detailed observations of the war are also mentioned in letters to his wife, which are included in his diary.
Jefferson Davis Chronology A pdf file containing the significant dates of Jefferson Davis’ life.
Letters, Telegrams, and Photographs Illustrating Factors that Affected the Civil War This National Archive site provides a complete lesson plan and the primary resources needed to accomplish the plan.
Lincoln and Liberty A campaign song for Lincoln from the 1860 election campaign.
Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation The Bill of Rights Institute provides primary resource material and lesson plans concerning Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
Lincoln Assassination This site has photographs, text, and more concerning the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln Letters Lincoln Online has a collection of letters and speeches by Abraham Lincoln available online.
Lincoln/Net Long before Abraham Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation and was immortalized in the annals of history for his famous Gettysburg Address, the sixteenth president of the United States made a name for himself as a lawyer in small-town Illinois. "Lincoln/Net," from the Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project at Northern Illinois University, is an online collection of early speeches and biographical materials chronicling Lincoln's boyhood during the early years of Illinois' statehood, his thoughts and experiences during the Indian and Mexican Wars, his law practice, and his campaign for president. Rather than simply document Lincoln's career on a timeline, the site provides several historical documents and interactive features designed to help students explore and analyze the Civil War president's social and political influence on American society. It focuses on eight major themes: frontier settlement; Native American relations; economic development; women's experience and gender roles; African-Americans' experience and American racial attitudes; law and society; religion and culture; and political development. A special section for teachers provides lessons plans pertaining to the Lincoln-Douglas campaign of 1858, the anti-slavery movement, the Dred Scott decision, slavery, the Black Hawk War, Indian conflicts, and more. 
Love letters of the Civil War From the website: “When he wasn't marching, fighting, or setting up camp, the Civil War soldier might take a few moments to write to his loved ones at home. These letters often contain accounts of battles, life in camp, and general news. But many soldiers, as they marched off to face the enemy, had left behind a wife or sweetheart, and to them they would compose sweet, poignant, and occasionally funny letters that give life and personality to the participants in this great national conflict.  The Special Collections Department holds many Civil War era (1861-1865) manuscript collections, several of which include letters written by soldiers to their loves, and a few from the ladies to their soldiers. These letters show their sorrows of being apart, fears that the soldier would not return home, and hopes for the future after the war's end.”
MapMachine: Civil War Edition A special by the National Geographic MapMachine project. This site allows you to explore an interactive map of over 5,200 U.S. Civil War battlefields and historic sites. You can get detailed descriptions of 384 major battlefields and view the 25 sites most in danger of being lost.
Memoirs of General Sherman This site has a portion of the Memoirs of General Sherman which cover from Shiloh to Memphis, March – July 1862.
Mr. Lincoln’s Whitehouse A collection of images and historical information as to how the Whitehouse look like and who came and when in Lincoln’s day. Pages are printable.
Music of the American Civil War A collection of midi’s with accompanying words of some songs sung by the North and the South during the American Civil War.
Northern Editorial Reaction surrounding the Secession Movement This site, hosted by Furman University, has a selection of newspaper responses to the secession crisis of 1860-1861.  Some word issues with words used in the historical context of the time.
Order Number 11 Site contains George Caleb Bingham’s famous Order Number 11 painting (1862) and commentary.
Personal Memoirs This site has a portion of Ulysses S. Grant’s Personal Memoirs concerning his role in the Civil War.
Rebel States Currency This site houses images and text showing the development of the paper currency of the CSA as well as local state issues during the Civil War.
Rose O'Neal Greenhow Papers This Duke University site includes letters from Rose O’Neal Greenhow (Confederate spy) to a variety of individuals during the Civil War.
Select Civil War Photographs A collection by the Library of Congress of over 1000 Civil War photographs.
Soldier’s Vocabulary A list of terms used by the Civil War soldier.  Terms like housewife (a small sewing kit); pepperbox (a pistol); and quickstep (diarrhea) make an interesting list for use in the classroom.
Teaching With Documents: The Civil War as Photographed by Mathew Brady A lesson using primary resources (photographs by Matthew Brady).
The Battle Hymn of the Republic The University of Oklahoma College of Law hosts this website with the words to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The Civil War This site host a comprehensive collection of information dealing with the American Civil War including sections with battle maps, timelines, personalities, African-American role, and much more.
The Civil War Home Page This extensive collection of articles, 1100 photos, battle maps, battle reports, 1860 census records, and Civil War links is a great resource for high school reports. The most fascinating documents are the primary sources, such as letters and diaries from the battlefield, slave narratives from interviews done in the 1930's, and transcribed battle reports. The most useful page, however, is probably the Timeline of Events Leading Up to The Civil War. "1619 - English settlers in Virginia purchase 20 Africans from a Dutch ship."
The Civil War Site An up-to-date site that contains a multitude of links to websites dealing with specific topics of the Civil War era, from Abolition to Medical to War Casualties.  This excellent site is maintained by George Hoemann, University of Tennessee.
The Civil War Zone Site includes a potpourri of information from the Civil War era, including recipes, songs, primary resources (including Jefferson’s resignation letter from the Senate), and more.
The Constitution of the Confederate States of America The Yale Law School Avalon Project website provides the Constitution of the Confederate States of America.
The Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary From the site: “The Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary, 1864 - 1865 is the Civil War diary of Lt. (later Capt.) Cornelius C. Platter, of the 81st Ohio Infantry Volunteers, from November, 1864 - April 27, 1865. Platter's diary details Sherman's march through Georgia from Rome to Savannah and the march north through the Carolinas. He gives dates, times, and lengths of marches and describes the weather, locale, scenery, and food as well as orders, rumors, positions, troop morale, and administrative duties. The diary also includes a description of the burning of Columbia, South Carolina, the news of the Confederate surrender, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.”
The Crisis of the Union The University of Pennsylvania History Department provides “an electronic archive of documents about the causes, conduct, and consequences of the American Civil War.”  The links are well described, and simple to follow, leading to documents, pictures, and more.  This site is a well done resource.
The Gettysburg Address The Library of Congress site has a facsimile of the draft, as well as the speech, that Lincoln made in Gettysburg on Nov. 19, 1863.
The Hampton Roads Battles and their aftermath: Confederate From the official files of the Confederate Navy:  the action reports on the sea battle at Hampton Roads – the Monitor and the Merrimack.
The Hampton Roads Battles and their aftermath: Union From the official files of the Union Navy:  the action reports on the sea battle at Hampton Roads – the Monitor and the Merrimack.
The John and James Booker Civil War Letters This University of Virginia site contains a collection of letters from .  An exceptional aspect is that the letters are transcribed in the original wording as well as in more modern wording, as well as being able to view a facsimile of the original document.  The letters are arranged chronologically, July 14, 1861 – 1864, and by author.
The Music of the American Civil War The music – in midi files – and words – in text – of popular Civil War era songs.
The North During the Civil War This Library of Congress project focuses on the effects of the Civil War on the North.  While the North was not as much physical damage to the North during the war as there was to the South, there were still battles and raids to deal with.  This site provides primary resources dealing with the war in the North.
The North During the Civil War From this Library of Congress website:  “The Civil War had less devastating effects on the North than the South. The reason for this statement is simple: most of the combat of the Civil War occurred on Southern soil (see the brief essay that introduces the South During the Civil War). Even so, it is difficult to imagine a civil war that does not affect all portions of the society in which it takes place. As the documents listed to the right suggest, the Civil War affected the North and its civilians in many ways.”
The South During the Civil War From this Library of Congress website: Most of the fighting during the American Civil War took place on Southern soil. In part, this was the result of the war strategies of both sides. To win the war, the South had only to survive. On the other hand, for the North to win, the Union had to be restored. Thus, Union forces had to conquer the South in order to win the war. War action around their homes created many hardships for Southerners.”
The South During The Civil War This Library of Congress project focuses on the effects of the Civil War on the South.  It provides primary resources dealing with the war in the South.
The Southern Homefront, 1861 – 1865 From the website: “"The Southern Homefront, 1861-1865," presents documents related to all aspects of Southern life during the Civil War. In particular, government and civilian publications demonstrate the Confederate States of America's unsuccessful attempt to create a viable nation state. This collection includes over four hundred Civil War era maps, broadsides, photographs, printed works, Confederate currency, and manuscript letters and diaries.”
The US Civil War A huge collection of links on the American Civil War by Internet Modern History Sourcebook that is very organized.  Well-done resource for use in the classroom.
Valley of the Shadow This Civil War site comes alive with documents like battle communiqués and personal journals. Many documents are presented as typed text rather than as scanned pictures. Events are documented in two opposing communities--Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Penn.--before, during and after the war. The design for both includes newspapers, letters (such as one describing the burning of Chambersburg), diaries, photographs, maps and military records. Click on the Image Collection for a searchable database (by battle or place) of more than 600 original photographs and drawings.
What Do You See? This online Library of Congress lesson plan involves student analysis of a picture from the Civil War with the objective of analyzing the Civil War as a catalyst to America's industrial development.  Well done lesson using primary resources and student involvement.
What was life as a soldier like in 1863? From the National Park Service webpage: The life of a soldier in the 1860's was a arduous one and for the thousands of young Americans who left home to fight for their cause, it was an experience none of them would ever forget.
William Cooley Letter From the site:  “This letter, dated 22 June 1862, was written by William Cooley to his parents in Connecticut. A member of the Connecticut Volunteers, Cooley recounts the horror of assaulting fixed Confederate positions near Hilton Head, South Carolina. Wounded in the fight, Cooley describes the scene as a "slaughter pen."”
William Francis Brand Civil War Letters The University of Virginia Special Collections Department hosts this exhibits of William Francis Brand’s Civil War Letters which are to his wife and friends from his home town.  Brand served in the Army of Northern Virginia.  Letters are transcribed into both original and modern versions, and facsimiles of the original letters are also available.

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Reconstruction (1865 - 1877)

Title Description
An Account of the Susan B. Anthony Trial A site with several links to the trial of Susan B. Anthony, a trial held because of her attempts to vote in the 1872 election.
Andrew Johnson Impeachment: New York Times The New York Times archives provides this news report of the impeachment of Johnson.  Interesting reading, and contains the speeches of “Messrs. Stanbery, Bingham, Butler, Nelson, and Others”
Andrew Johnson: Presidential Impeachment Proceedings The History Place provided this website of information on Andrew Johnson and the Impeachment Trial.
Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment Trial This site provides a sketch of the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson in 1868.
Black Americans in Congress This site hosts a collection of Congressional biographies of the African-Americans who have ever been elected to the US Senate or House of Representative
Closing Arguments of Thaddeus Stevens Thaddeus Stevens’ remarks summing up the prosecutions viewpoint during the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868 is printed in full at this website.  An excellent primary resource for discussion and analysis.
Debate in the House on the Impeachment Resolution This is the New York Times article from February 24, 1868, detailing the debate held in the House of Representatives on the question of whether or not President Andrew Johnson should be tried by the Senate.  The site also contains a facsimile of the front page of the New York Times on that day.
Effect of the Vote on the 11th Article of Impeachment This site provides a Thomas Nast political cartoon expressing his thoughts on the effect of the Senate vote at the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
Hayes-Tilden: The Electoral College Controversy of 1876-1877 This website familiarizes students with the controversial events that took place during the election of 1876/1877 through the use of materials from Harper’s Weekly magazine.
History of the American West "History of the American West, 1860-1920" features more than 30,000 photographs that illustrate Colorado towns & landscape, document the place of mining in the history of Colorado & the West, & show the lives of Native Americans from more than 40 tribes living west of the Mississippi River.
Impeachment Ticket This Library of Congress site has a copy of a ticket of admission to the impeachment proceedings for President Andrew Johnson in 1868.
Impeachment! The New York Times headlines on March 23, 1869 told the story of President Andrew Johnson’s replies to the charges levied against him by the Congress.  A primary source that makes interesting reading and discussion, especially when used in conjunction with other, similar, sources.
Man with the Carpet Bag This classic Thomas Nast cartoon portrays the view of the Carpetbagger in the post-Civil War South.
Map: Black Population in 1880  An online map showing the geographic location of the Afro-American population in the United States in 1880.
Presidential Election of 1868 This site provides statistics, maps, and issues for the election.
Presidential Election of 1872 This site provides statistics, maps, and issues for the election.
Presidential Election of 1876 This site provides statistics, maps, and issues for the election.
Proclamation Declaring the Insurrection at an End Andrew Johnson’s proclamation ending the Civil War and re-establishing civil government in all of the states.
Reconstruction The Atlantic Online hosts this website with an article from their Atlantic Monthly archives:  Reconstruction by Frederick Douglass, written in December 1866. 
Special Field Order No. 15 The site contains the text of General Sherman’s 1865 ‘Forty Acres and A Mule’ Special Field Order No. 15.
Street Life in New York This site hosts the complete text of a Horatio Alger story, Ragged Dick, or , Street Life In New York.
Supreme Court Decision on the Right of Women to Vote This 1874 U.S. Supreme Court ruling was a unanimous statement that the Constitution did not guarantee women the right to vote.  This site has the complete opinion of the Justices in the Minor vs. Happersett case.
Teaching With Documents: The Sioux Treaty of 1868 This National Archives Teaching With Documents web site examines Native American sovereignty and the Constitutional power granted to the president and the Senate to make treaties with foreign nations. The site presents the Treaty and related documents, including a photograph of the Indian leader, Spotted Tail. Explanatory text, materials for teachers, and links to further resources accompany the documents.
Tenure of Office Act This is the opportunity to read and discuss the Tenure of Office Act which set the stage for the impeachment of President Johnson.
The Creation of the Fifteenth Amendment This website uses the pages of Harper’s Weekly magazine to tell the story through words and images of the creating of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution which ended slavery.
The First Vote The Smithsonian hosts this webpage on voting.  Of particular interest is the first article on the first vote of former slaves in the South during Reconstruction.   The picture is on the cover of Harper’s Weekly
The Great Chicago Fire The year: 1871.  The place: Chicago, Illinois.  The event:  a great fire that destroyed a large portion of the city.  This site, hosted by the Chicago Historical Society, provides text and primary material on the causes, the event, and the effect of the Great Chicago Fire.
The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson From the leading weekly newspaper of its time, HarpWeek presents exclusive online access to Harper's Weekly coverage of the historic 1868 Johnson Impeachment — with over 200 excerpts from 1865-1869 — selected specifically for this site.
The Negro Exodus The University of Virginia Library hosts an Atlantic Monthly 1879 article by James Ruunion concerning the movement of African Americans from the deep South.  It explores the reasons for this with a series of interviews, revealing the attitudes of the era.
The Travails of Reconstruction The aftermath of any war is difficult for the survivors. Those difficulties are usually even worse after a civil war. Such was certainly the case in the period after the American Civil War.  This Library of Congress American Memory Project provides primary documents and text on the difficulties of Reconstruction in the South.

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Florida Topics

Title Description
A Short History of Florida The USF Exploring Florida website has links to lesson plans and resources on the history of Florida.
Central Florida Memory The Central Florida Memory project provides a number of visual resources for studying the past of central Florida.  From the site:  “Central Florida Memory is a unique digital collection of material contributed by partner institutions to create a virtual place where visitors can discover what Central Florida was like before theme parks and the space program. Diaries and letters describe the region and how people survived day-by-day in this extreme and rugged environment.”
Colonial Florida Maps The following maps were selected to show aspects of early Florida settlement.  Maps are printable at 8½ x 11 inch paper in either color or black-&-white.
Exploring Florida The University of South Florida hosts this site on Exploring Florida.  Many educator resource links are included.
Exploring Florida: Maps The Exploring Florida Maps collection contains over 2,500 historic and contemporary Florida maps that support all subject areas in the K-12 classroom. A friendly license allows teachers and students to use up to 25 maps in non-commercial school projects without further permission.
Exploring Florida: Photos A collection of over 4000 photographs and drawing in JPEG or GIF format for use by the classroom teacher.  Tremendous resource.
First Families of Florida First Families of Florida, hosted by the Museum of Florida, contains information on the governors of Florida, their families, and their lives.  Topics include a ‘family album’, campaigning, life in the Governor’s Mansion, and more.
Florida Digital Newspaper Library This University of Florida site provides digital editions of newspapers from Florida cities and towns from the mid-1850s through more current time.  The Chronicle’s 1963 editions are available.
Florida Folklife from the WPA The Library of Congress hosts this site that deals with the WPA (Works Progress Administration) data collection during the 1930s.  Loads of primary resources.
Florida Fun Facts The Census reports of 1990 and 2000 are compared in a variety of categories to provide some comparative data of Florida’s population statistics.
Florida Governor’s Portraits Portraits and information on all of Florida’s governors since it became a US territory.  Hosted by the Museum of Florida History.
Florida Governors Portraits    A collection from the Museum of Florida History illustrating the various men who have served as governor of the state.
Florida Heritage History Timeline  The Florida Heritage Collections presents a comprehensive timeline of Florida history with links to extensive information on the event.
Florida Heritage Month Quiz  A brief quiz (10 questions) is available on this Florida Heritage Month website to see what you know about some of  Florida’s history.
Florida History Collection From the University of Florida web site:  “The 'Florida History Collection' contains primary and secondary sources documenting Florida’s history, culture, arts, literature, and social sciences. Thematic areas in this growing collection include Native American and minority populations, exploration and development, tourism, the natural environment, and regional interests.”
Florida in the Civil War   Florida Heritage provides extensive text and images on the complete history of Florida in the Civil War, including pictures and maps.
Florida Indians Interesting site with links to Florida Indian ‘coffee’; a tribal map; the earliest tribes; and more.
Florida Kids Resources are available for our younger generation on state symbols, Florida history, the Seminole Indians, and much more.
Florida Map: 1895 This site provides a color map of Florida in 1895.  Counties are highlighted.  Many place names are visible.
Florida Memory Audio Collection Gospel, county, and bluegrass are available to download from historic presentations at various festivals around the state.  From the State archives and the Florida Memory Project.
Florida Memory Online Classroom Florida Memory, from the State Archives, presents educational units on various aspect of Florida history with lesson plans
Florida Memory Project The Florida Archives have created a powerful multimedia collection of Florida photographic, audio, film, and document artifacts from Florida history.
Florida Memory Project Lesson Plans From the Florida Memory Project site:  What were Civil Wars solders doing in Pensacola, Florida? What do you do when primary source documents about the same event tell different stories?  Students use Civil War diaries, an essay from Zora Neale Hurston, and advertisements from World War II to examine the raw materials of Florida history. These lesson plans for grades 4-12 are correlated to the Sunshine State Standards.
Florida of the Conquistador  Text and images on the background and accomplishments of the conquistadors who landed in Florida.
Florida Photographic Collection This Florida Memory site offers over 155,000 digitized photos of various aspects of Florida’s history.  An interesting trip back through time.  Short videos are also offered.
Florida Primary Resources The Florida State Archives presents this site on Florida primary resource documents.  From the site: Highlights of Florida History provides images of historically significant documents from the State Library and Archives of Florida's collections. These documents represent some of the formative events in Florida history and offer an important resource to researchers and students.
Florida Symbols Images and textual information on the variety of official symbols for the state of Florida, from the State bird to the State flower.
Florida Then and Now Florida Then & Now is a set of reproducible readings, questions, and activity sheets for an upper elementary study of Florida History. The PDF files are designed to print and photocopy well. Most of the reading passages are two pages with alternating margins so they can be printed front and back and hole-punched. Each reading is accompanied by a page of "FCAT-like" questions.
Florida Timeline A timeline of Florida history from c. 12,000 BC through the present.  Occasional links provide more information on a subject.
Florida’s Historic Flags This Florida Heritage site provides visual illustrations of 24 flags that have flown over Florida in the last 500 years.
Floripedia Floripedia is a collection of online primary resources dealing with the history of Florida.
French Teenager in 16th Century Florida From the website: “Maytime”: A French Teenager Writes Home about Life in Florida in 1564.  Provided courtesy of the University of Alabama Press from Laudonnière & Fort Caroline, History and Documents, by Charles E. Bennett, copyright 2001. All rights reserved. This reading is provided for classroom use. Reproduction of this reading for sale or for commercial purposes is a violation of copyright.
Heritage of the Ancient Ones This site provides a concise history of Florida’s Native Americans.
Highlights of Florida History The Florida Memory Project provides digital copies of documents that have influenced the course of Florida history, from 1589 – 2007.  Great primary resources.
Historic Florida Maps The University of Florida hosts a wide variety of well chronicled and labeled maps from a variety of eras of Florida’s history.  Great for discussion and analysis.
Historic Florida Maps The University of South Florida hosts a wide variety of maps from Florida History.
History of the Seminole Indians The Seminole Tribe of Florida website hosts the history of the Seminole Indians, with text and illustrations.
Le Moyne's Illustrated Florida This site has a collection of illustrations of people, places, and things from the St. Augustine/Spanish conquistador era.
Lesson Plans on Florida History A collection of lesson plans designed to meet state standards.
My Florida Digital Warehouse My Florida Digital Warehouse provides a rich collection of audio, clipart, photographs, maps, movies, and VRs for student projects and teacher presentations. Use these media assets to enrich classroom instruction and build online learning objects to share with others.
Name Origins of Florida’s Places   Florida Heritage provides a list of the meaning of the names adopted by many towns, or given to our rivers and lakes.
Osceola Biography A well done biography of Osceola, with text and images.
Pioneer Teachers of Fortitude What was it like to teach and live in the mid-19th century Florida?  This book excerpt from Google books paints a poignant picture of the era.
School Rules in Spanish St. Augustine This site contains 26 Rules for Schools from colonial Spanish St. Augustine.
The Florida Channel This WFSU site provides the Florida Channel, with legislative sessions broadcast online.  Interesting viewing for the current status of legislative items.
The Floridians An interactive textbook on the people, places, and history of Florida.
Timeline of Florida This timeline compares Florida history to the rest of the Colonies/United States, 1492 – 1823.
Virtual Library The Orange County Public Library presents a web page on the history and culture of Florida’s native Americans.  Lots of information on the site.
Virtual Library The Orange County Public Library presents an interactive Florida Cracker house that allows viewers to find in-depth knowledge about the areas highlighted on the image of the house.

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Continuing Topics

Title Description
A Guide to American Flags Created at the University of Oklahoma College of Law, this site is a collection of stars and stripes from Betsy Ross to present day. Best of all, permission is granted to use these graphics for personal, non-profit purposes (such as a school report.) See the Flag FAQ for details. The collection also includes flags of the American Revolution, Confederate flags, and flags of all fifty states.
A History of the American Suffragist Movement Consisting of excerpts from Doris Weatherford,'s book of the same title, this site is both well-illustrated and well-written. In addition to the chapter excerpts and primary source documents, you'll find a timeline that begins in 1637 ("Anne Hutchinson is convicted of sedition and expelled from the Massachusetts colony for her religious ideas.") and ends with the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment on August 26.
American Documents Center The University of Michigan Documents Center has American documents arranged in topical order from African Americans to the Love Canal, and more.
Animated Map of the Boundaries of the United States A animated map showing the growth ownership of the territory known as the United States.
First Lady's Gallery This White House Web site presents information on the lives of all U.S. President's wives, from Martha Dandridge Custis Washington through Laura Welch Bush, our current first lady.
Flags over America A collection of images from americanrevolution.org on the flags that have flown over America, including Colonial times and the American Revolution.
From Revolution to Reconstruction Think of this Web site as an online textbook for students, covering the entire length and breadth of U.S. history, from the pilgrims to the current election.
From Slavery to Civil Rights: A Timeline of African-American History Contains hundreds of items documenting African-American history. The "For Teachers" links will help you extend this activity for your students. Included are links to specific collections or exhibits as well as links to several excellent resources.
Historical Thinking Matters Welcome to Historical Thinking Matters, a website focused on key topics in U.S. history, that is designed to teach students how to critically read primary sources and how to critique and construct historical narratives.
New York Public Library The New York Public Library provides a tremendous number of digital resources for studying history.  Good source for primary resources.
Using Primary Sources: Letters from the Presidents This site provides a lesson plan for analyzing letters from Presidents, providing an opportunity for students to critically examine letters as historical documents.

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