Is Our Democracy in Trouble?

According to many scholars, modern liberal democracy has advanced in waves. But liberal democracy has also had its setbacks. Some argue that it is in trouble in the world today, and that the young millennial generation is losing faith in it.

Choosing to Make a Nation: Constitutional Convention Simulation

The Choosing to Make a Nation Curriculum Project developed by award-winning author Ray Raphael is a student-centered, primary source-rich approach to teaching about American history and our nation‘s founding documents.

An 8-lesson simulation in which students become delegates from specific states and address the same issues the framers faced. Unit includes the following lesson plans –

(1) Reform or Revolution?
(2) Composition of Congress
(3) Creating an Executive Branch
(4) Should Judges Judge Laws?
(5) Balance of Powers
(6) Slavery and the Constitution
(7) Amendments and Ratification
(8) To Sign or Not to Sign?
Option A: The historical Constitution
Option B: Student-generated constitution

George Washington and the Founding of the U.S. Government

The founding of the United States government is intimately intertwined with George Washington’s own biography. This web page offers resources for teachers to use in their classrooms associated with Washington’s role in the creation of the government. Included are primary and secondary sources, as well as essential questions for teaching the founding, lesson plans and classroom ready activities.

Voting and Elections in Early America

Google Cultural Institute exhibit by Constitutional Rights Foundation & Barat Education Foundation’s Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. Long before the pilgrims landed, voting and elections were taking place in America. For example, the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, a powerful alliance of Native American tribes who inhabited territory west of the Colonies, had established a system of representative government sometime around 1500 that lasted until the Revolutionary War. Women played a prominent role in choosing its political leaders.

George Washington and the Revolution

This short video examines the role played by George Washington in the defeat of the British during the American Revolution. From the moment he assumed command, Washington emphasized the importance of union to the war effort, in spite of challenges faced while commanding forces that were ill-fed, ill-supplied, and ill-served by the Confederation Congress. Professor W. B. Allen concludes that Washington’s leadership held both the military and the nation together during this tumultuous period.

George Washington and the Constitutional Convention

This short video discusses George Washington’s “infinite care in preparing the Constitution for posterity.” As Chair of the Constitutional Convention, Washington was most often silent, but he did cast a crucial vote in the Virginia delegation, resulting in the adoption of the Connecticut Compromise. Professor W. B. Allen emphasizes the role played by Washington in providing leadership and structure as the principles of the Constitution were argued and articulated.

George Washington in Retirement

This short video describes the “retirements” of George Washington. He threatened to retire while serving in the colonial militia, but did walk away from the military in 1783 and from the Presidency in 1796. Professor W. B. Allen notes that Washington’s life-long involvement with Mount Vernon enabled him, in 1796, to immediately resume efforts to provide for his family and for the enslaved people who would be freed upon his death.

George Washington and James Madison

This short video tells the story of the “peculiar relationship” between George Washington and James Madison. Throughout their long years of collaboration, they were “intimate yet distant” in their common effort to create and sustain the American republic. Professor W. B. Allen emphasizes that, though their political differences ultimately led to estrangement, they remained united in their chief goal: making the Constitution work.