Government and Civics

The essays in this section have been written by leading scholars of American history. They provide additional depth on events and ideas referred to in the introductory essay and, in some cases, different interpretations by historians looking at the same events. These essays are particularly useful in introducing your students to one of the most exciting aspects of studying history—understanding the past from a variety of perspectives.

Cover of Puck, November 25, 1903. (Library of Congress)

A History of the Thanksgiving Holiday

Author: Catherine Clinton Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Ford Local 600 of the CIO in the Labor Day parade in Detroit MI, 1942. (LOC P&P)

Labor Day: From Protest to Picnics

Author: Joshua B. Freeman Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
US Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, LOC)

The Form and Function of the Supreme Court

Author: Charles Anthony Smith Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Destruction of the statue of George III in New York, 1776. (GLC)

The Invention of the Fourth of July

Author: David Waldstreicher Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
John Marshall and Roger B. Taney (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs)

The Marshall and Taney Courts: Continuities and Changes

Author: R. B. Bernstein Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The Supreme Court Then and Now

Author: A. E. Dick Howard Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail of a broadside promoting women’s suffrage. (GLC08963)

Why We the People? Citizens as Agents of Constitutional Change

Author: Linda R. Monk Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The County Election, based on a painting by George C. Bingham, 1854. (Gilder Leh

Winning the Vote: A History of Voting Rights

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+