The Right to Vote: The Role of States and the US Constitution is a multi-year project to develop a high school program on the role of the states in determining and protecting voting rights. As part of this project, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is producing a suite of resources for high school students, their teachers, and the general public on the history of voting rights, including

  • new lesson plans in our Teaching Civics through History model
  • historical background essays
  • a multi-panel traveling exhibition to tour at the Institute’s Affiliate Schools, Affiliate Libraries, and other partner organizations
  • a digital companion to the traveling exhibition

This resource suite will be made available here in May 2023, and will be rolled out alongside a series of professional development programs. The project will culminate in a Voting Rights Forum to be held in New York and livestreamed worldwide on September 15, 2023.

In support of this work, and to ensure that these resources can be used by a wide audience, we are assembling a pilot cohort of high school teachers in six states: Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York. This pilot will run from January through March 2023 and will involve a time commitment of approximately 10 to 15 hours (see complete list of activities below). Teachers will be notified about participation in the pilot program by November 2022.

Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania
This project is supported by the 2022 Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award, presented by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. The Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics Award aims to further an exemplary and ambitious project that would improve civics education in the nation’s elementary, secondary, or high school classrooms.


Civics Renewal Network
The Gilder Lehrman Institute’s project was selected from proposals submitted by some of the thirty-nine partners in the Civics Renewal Network (CRN), a consortium founded by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to strengthening civic life in the United States. The competition is open to organizations that are partners in CRN. (For more information on the award, you can read our full press release here.)