The New Nation

Letter from President Millard Fillmore to the Emperor of Japan (Teaching with Documents)


--Marvin Pinkert and Lee Ann Potter
A letter from President Fillmore plays a key role in overcoming Japan’s “closed country” policy.

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Documents and Civic Duties (Teaching with Documents)


—Lee Ann Potter
A one-sentence letter from school boy Anthony Ferreira to President Ford stating, “I think you are half right and half wrong ” is one of several primary sources featured in this article that highlight for students the value of responsible citizenship.

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Teaching Civics with Primary Source Documents (Teaching with Documents)


—Lee Ann Potter
Thomas Jefferson was shocked when war veteran Jacob Koontz wrote to him asking for presidential help seven years after Jefferson’s presidential term had ended. A look at Jefferson’s letter noting Koontz’s lack of civic awareness highlights for students the importance of civic literacy.

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Connecting with Our Pioneer Past: Letters from the Homestead


—Gary Fertig
In the process of creating homestead dioramas and writing letters from the perspective of pioneers, students learn how geography and natural resources affect the economics and social relations of a community.

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Picturing Women: Gender, Images, and Representation in Social Studies


--Christine Woyshner
Photographs and drawings of nineteenth-century dress reformers provide an excellent jumping off point for studying images of women in history.

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Resolution and Letter to Congress from the Constitutional Convention (Teaching With Documents)


Lee Ann Potter
The U.S. Constitution is one of the most influential and most enduring constitutions in the world. Two little-known documents from the Constitutional Convention shed light on the Constitution's evolution.

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Constitution Day: Start the School Year with Civics (Lesson Plan)


—Eli J. Lesser
This Constitution Day lesson plan looks at the influence of specific thinkers and their writings on the Constitution.

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Population Estimates Used by Congress During the Constitutional Convention (Teaching with Documents)


—Lee Ann Potter
The featured document enables students to consider the role population estimates played in determining the structure of the U.S. Congress.

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The Constitution In Action (Teaching with Documents)


By Lee Ann Potter
Students take on the roles of archivists and researchers when they study primary documents at the Constitution in Action Lab.
(Includes an 1847 credential certificate naming Sam Houston as an elected Senator from Texas.)

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Letter by Stephen Decatur and Painting by Thomas Chambers Related to the War of 1812 (Teaching with Documents)


Lee Ann Potter and Elizabeth K. Eder
This article pairs a textual document with a painting of the related 1812 sea battle, underscoring the value of visual images in fostering new insights about historic events, people, and ideas.

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