- ›› Eras and Sub-Eras : The New Nation, 1783-1815
Labeling an era in history as revolutionary implies that research of the period in question exposed substantial change. Indeed significant change did occur during the American Revolutionary era—a colonial power lost a vital piece of its empire, a unified nation emerged, and a new republic was created. These are the major transformations of the Revolution but certainly not the only shifts that took place before the war or after and as a result of the war. It is the more subtle adjustments,...
Those who labor in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made His peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.
—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1787Reading 2
While we have land to labour then, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a workbench, or twirling a distaff . Carpenters, masons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry: but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our workshops remain in...
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...
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, 1776Background
The concept of “Liberty” is one that many hold dear. However, what liberty means to each individual may vary depending on his or her situation. During the American...
The American Revolution, a byproduct of events both on the North American continent and abroad, unleashed a movement that focused on egalitarianism in ways that had never been seen before. Even John Adams commented on these changes in a letter to his wife Abigail. He wrote, “We have been told that that our Struggle has loosened the bands of Government everywhere. That Children and Apprentices were disobedient—that schools and Colledges were grown turbulent—that Indians slighted their Guardians and Negroes grew insolent...
I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776Reading 2
How could our Founding Fathers balance the needs of the states as we created a national government?Materials The Virginia Plan, 1787 (PDF). Source: Virginia (Randolph) Plan as Amended (National Archives Microfilm Publication M866, 1 roll); The Official Records of the Constitutional Convention; Records of the Continental and...
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...