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After months of battling and compromises, the US Constitution was finally adopted on September 17, 1787. Still, America was embroiled in heated arguments over exactly how the government would work and what powers it could really exercise. Political parties soon developed as groups argued about the direction of the country. Alexander Hamilton became a leading voice of the Federalists who believed that the federal government needed to be strong. On the other side, Thomas Jefferson, a Republican, argued that too much power...
US Constitution, Our Documents
Finkelman, Paul. Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson. New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2001.
Why did the Founders find it necessary to provide protections for slavery in the US Constitution?Learning Objective ...
The Evolution of the US Constitution: The Preambles to the Articles of Confederation and the US Constitution
This lesson plan is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These resources were developed to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Through a step-by-step process, students will acquire the skills to analyze any primary or secondary source material.Overview
Students will have the opportunity to read, interpret, discuss, and compare portions of the Articles of Confederation and two versions of the...
January 1, 2013, marked the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This revolutionary document ushered in the Thirteenth Amendment and the end of slavery in the United States. These two great legal documents were the culmination of a long struggle that began in the colonial period with the arrival of the first African slaves in North America. The Great Emancipation of the 1860s cannot be understood without studying what is often called the “first emancipation”—the growing belief among many...
This lesson on the Electoral College is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These resources were written to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts and secondary sources of historical significance. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by answering questions that seek to measure their conceptual understanding of the topic as well as engaging them in thoughtful discussions. Students are required to express...
This unit is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core State Standards–based teaching resources. These units were developed to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Through a step-by-step process, students will acquire the skills to analyze any primary or secondary source material.
Over the course of three lessons the students will analyze text from three documents defining American democracy: the Preamble to the United States Constitution, the...