Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful.
~John Marshall Harlan (Dissenting opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896)
Source Set includes images, documents, maps, sound files and
analysis tools to help teach about the United States Constitution.
Creating the United States - (Exhibition) Learn how the nation’s founding documents were forged and the role that imagination and vision played in the unprecedented creative act of forming a self–governing country. Themes include Creating the Declaration of Independence, Creating the Constitution and Creating the Bill of Rights.
Finding Franklin: A Resource Guide - (Library of Congress Bibliography) This online bibliography links to Benjamin Franklin resources across the Library of Congress Web site and beyond.
George Washington Papers Timeline - (Special Presentation) This timeline links to selected documents covering the Colonial Period, the American Revolution and the Early Republic.
George Washington: A Resource Guide - (Library of Congress Bibliography) Link to digital materials related to Washington such as letters, broadsides, government documents, books, and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.
Guide to the Law Online - (Internet Resources) An annotated guide to government and law information available online prepared by the Law Library of Congress.
Guide to Washington, D.C., A - (Library of Congress Bibliography) This guide consists of materials relating to the history of Washington, D.C. from the Library of Congress sites and other related web sites.
Inaugurations - (Feature) Through images and written accounts, observe the pageantry of presidential inaugurations. The inauguration of the President represents the beginning of a new era for the Executive branch of the US government.
Introducing ... THOMAS! - (Learning Page Activity) Learn about the Web site: THOMAS, Legislative Information on the Internet.
James Madison: A Resource Guide - (Library of Congress Bibliography) Link to digital materials related to Madison such as manuscripts, letters, broadsides, government documents, and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.
James Monroe: A Resource Guide - (Library of Congress Bibliography) Link to digital materials related to Monroe such as manuscripts, letters, broadsides, government documents, and images that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site.
Madison’s Treasures - (Exhibition) Explore handwritten documents from the Madison collection – many related to the drafting and ratification of the Constitution and the amendments that became the Bill of Rights.
Presidents as Poets - (Library of Congress Bibliography) Explore this guide to the poetic endeavors of U.S. presidents.
State and Local Governments - (Internet Resources) A Library of Congress collection of internet sites related to state and local governments.
Thomas - (Legislative Resource) Thomas provides links to legislative information. View this site dedicated to archiving the day-to-day activiites of the United States Congress.
Thomas Jefferson Papers - (Special Presentation) View Thomas Jefferson (1743-1827) and Virginia Records (1553-1743) timelines with links to selected images and documents from the Thomas Jefferson Papers.
Thomas Jefferson's Library - (Exhibition) This exhibition reveals how books were vital to Thomas Jefferson’s education and well–being and how his personal library provided Jefferson with a broad knowledge of the contemporary and ancient worlds. Exhibition themes include Memory, Reason and Imagination and feature opportunities to explore pages from a selection of books in each category.
Web Guide: The American Founders Online - (Library of Congress Bibliography)The digital resources described in this guide provide online access, in varying degrees, to the personal papers and/or publications of the major founders of the American Republic.
American Treasures: The Federalist - (Exhibition) The eighty-five Federalist articles, originally published in the daily newspapers in New York City, analyzed the system of government presented in the Constitution.
Use these lesson plans (created
by educators for educators) to explore American government and civics
with your students in your classroom:
Created Equal? - (Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12) Students argue Thomas Jefferson's intentions in stating Students gain an appreciation of Thomas Jefferson's efforts to deal with the complex issues of equality and slavery in the Declaration of Independence.
In Congress Assembled - (Grades 6-12) Students look at the Constitution and link early legislative debates to issues of today.
Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union , The - (Grades 9-12,) This lesson focuses on the drafting of the United States Constitution. George Washington’s annotated copy of an early draft of the Constitution lets students analyze changes to the draft and explore the evolution of the final document.
Suffragists and Their Tactics - (Grades 9-12,) Students use primary sources to explore strategies and challenges of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States.
Thomas Jefferson’s Library: Making a Case For a National Library - (Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12,) Students examine a Thomas Jefferson letter and identify techniques he used to persuade Congress to purchase his personal library. Students then consider a selection of those books and write their own persuasive letters urging the books' purchase.
Minerva Mosaic of the Library of Congress: Taking a Closer Look, The - (Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8,) Students take a close look at the historic Minerva mosaic from the Great Hall of the Library of Congress and discover what it can tell them about the Library’s mission. They perform a basic primary source analysis and discuss the mosaic’s symbolism.
Bill of Rights: Debating the Amendments , The - (Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12,) Students examine a copy of twelve possible amendments to the United States Constitution from 1789, and debate and vote on which of these amendments they would ratify to produce a Bill of Rights.
From Jim Crow to Linda Brown - (Grades 9-12) Students explore the era of legalized segregation. Students simulate the National Afro-American Council that met in Washington, D. C. in 1898.
George Washington - (Grades 8-12) Students engage in three lessons examining George Washington's leadership. Lessons two and three relate to Washington’s role in the development of American government and his tenure as president.
Great Depression and the 1990s, The - (Grades 7-11) Students gain a better understanding of why the government takes care of its people and how welfare programs started. Lessons one and three relate to current issues in government.
All History is Local - (Grades 9-12) Creating an archive of primary source materials constitutes the principal activity of a year-long American Studies class focusing on historiography and the use of primary sources. Students understand and articulate the interplay between national, state, local, and personal history.
Conservation at a Crossroads - (Grades 9-12) Two separate lessons for students to investigate and debate the controversies inherent in conservation programs. Students research federal laws related to conservation.
Reservation Controversies - (Grades 6-8) Students are confronted with two real world problems regarding Native Americans, which have no preconceived right or wrong answers. In Scenario 2, students explore the effects of laws regarding Indian reservations.
Voices for Votes: Suffrage Strategies - (Grades 4-6) Students create original documents encouraging citizens to vote in current elections. Students stage mock elections and design ephemera to influence public opinion.
a title (or two) that you always read to (or with) your students
when teaching about American government and civics? Are there invaluable
reference books that you use when working with this theme? Staff
from The Library of Congress have generously donated favorite titles
for the "We The People..." theme. We hope you will
your favorite titles to our growing bibliography!
Early Virginia Religious Petitions - (Summary Only) This collection includes 423 petitions on a variety of topics submitted to the Virginia legislature between 1774 and 1802.
Evolution of the Conservation Movement: 1850-1920, The - (Summary and Teaching Resources) Of particular interest to this month's theme are the items from the Law Library of Congress which include over 140 statutes and 360 presidential proclamations on conservation related issues.
Hannah Arendt Papers at the Library of Congress, The - (Summary Only) Of paticular interest to this month's theme is the Adolf Eichmann File (1938 - 1968) which contains correspondence, reports, transcripts, notes, reviews, clippings and related material concerning the trial of Adolf Eichmann.
Slaves and the Courts 1740-1860 - (Summary and Teaching Resources) This collection is comprised on an assortment of trials, cases, decisions, proceedings and other works of historical importance related to the experiences of the African and African-American slaves in the American colonies and the United States.