Guide to the State Statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection

The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is composed of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. The entire collection now consists of 100 statues contributed by 50 states. All 50 states have contributed two statues each. Thirty-five statues are displayed in National Statuary Hall while others have been placed in other parts of the Capitol including the Crypt, the Hall of Columns, and the Capitol Visitor Center.

The Supremacy Clause

Tension between the states and the federal government has been a constant throughout U.S. history. This video explores the supremacy clause in Article VI of the Constitution and key moments in the power struggle, including the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland. In McCulloch, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that the supremacy clause unequivocally states that the “Constitution, and the Laws of the United States … shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”

Grades 8, 9-12
Foundations of Democracy
Video

NHD Breaking Barriers: Americans and Native Americans

From the colonial era, relations between European settlers and Native American nations have been complicated. In 1803 Congress authorized and funded an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for exploration of the region and for better knowledge about American Indians of the Northwest in order to develop trade. About 30 years later, the United States forced the removal of Native Americans from their lands to make way for white American settlement. Congress and the president made treaties with Native American nations, but those treaties were not always respected as the United States continued to expand into the west. After Native Americans enlisted and served in both World War I and World War II, Congress passed legislation to begin to address longstanding Native Americans claims against the United States Government.

Starter Kit: Federalism Podcast

A tug of war, a balancing act, two dancers dragging each other across the floor. This is the perpetual ebb and flow of power between the states and the federal government. How can things be legal in a state but illegal nationally? Are states obstinate barricades to federal legislation? Or are they laboratories of democracy?
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

The Amendment Process: Ratifying the 19th Amendment

In this activity, students will analyze historical records of Congress and the U.S. government to understand the sequence of steps in the amendment process. Students will study each document and match it to the step in the process that it illustrates.
When put in proper sequence, the documents will show the process by which the 19th Amendment – prohibiting the federal government or states from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex – was added to the Constitution.
Then students will reflect on the process, and the roles that the people, president, Congress and the states play.

How Your State Gets Its Seats – Congressional Apportionment

The United States Senate consists of how many members? The answer is fairly simple: with two members apiece representing each of the fifty states, the total is one hundred. How about the House of Representatives? The answer is much more complicated. There are currently 435 voting members of the House of Representatives. How did this number come about and how is the number of Representatives per state determined?

Compromise at the Constitutional Convention

This activity is designed to help students understand the debates at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that shaped America’s legislative branch of government. The primary goal is for students to discover how a compromise balanced the needs of large states and small states and how this led to the
creation of the current House of Representatives and Senate. In contrast to the real convention, this activity is simplified and focused to come to a conclusion in a class period.

Founding Documents: The Constitution Podcast

After just six years under the Articles of Confederation, a committee of anxious delegates agreed to meet in Philadelphia to amend the government. The country was in an economic crisis — citizens couldn’t pay their debts, the government couldn’t really collect taxes, and rebellions were cropping up in states across the nation. The existing government had the potential to drive the country to ruin. So fifty-five men gathered to determine the shape of the new United States.
The document that emerged after that summer of debate was littered with masterful planning, strange ideas and unsavory concessions. The delegates decided they’d be pleased if this new government lasted fifty years. It has been our blueprint for over two centuries now. This is the story of how our Constitution came to be.
This short episode includes a one-page Graphic Organizer for students to take notes on while listening, as well as discussion questions on the back side.

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) stated, “Equality of Rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex.” This proposed amendment was passed by Congress in 1972 but failed to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. This lesson provides an overview of the proposed amendment, arguments for and against ratification and possible future steps toward ratification. This lesson can be used in a traditional or flipped classroom.

Grades 9-12
Federal Government
Interactives

Bill of Rights Overview

The Bill of Rights is the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. These amendments guarantee essential rights and civil liberties, such as the freedom of religion, the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, trial by jury, and more, as well as reserving rights to the people and the states. After the Constitutional Convention, the absence of a bill of rights emerged as a central part of the ratification debates. Anti-Federalists, who opposed ratification, pointed to the missing bill of rights as a fatal flaw. Several states ratified the Constitution on the condition that a bill of rights be promptly added. Pop over to the National Constitution Center’s learning module to discover more!