Core Documents Collection: Documents and Debates 1493-1865

The Core Documents Collection – Documents and Debates is structured around a series of topics, each based on a question for debate. For each topic, there is a collection of documents that, together, form the basis of argument over that topic – from those who debated it at a given point in American history. Volume One covers 1493-1865, and Volume Two covers 1865-2009.
The goal is to explore a series of critical moments in American history by asking questions for which there are not simple yes/no answers, but instead call for informed discussion and rational debate. The Documents and Debates readers also include appendices of additional documents, and together are a perfect fit for any American History survey course, including AP U.S. History.

  • Resource Type: Primary Sources
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

The Constitutional Convention: Four Founding Fathers You May Never Have Met

Introduce your students to four key, but relatively unknown, contributors to the U.S. Constitution — Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, William Paterson, and Edmund Randolph. Learn through their words and the words of others how the Founding Fathers created “a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.”

  • Resource Type: Essays, Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit), Research (Digests of Primary Sources)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8

The Civil War (CKHG Unit)

This unit explores the political, historical and cultural causes and consequences before, during and after the Civil War, one of our nation’s greatest crises. Across 24 lessons, students engage with the material through primary sources and consider the influence of abolitionists and other intellectual as well as military and political figures.

This unit includes 24 lessons that are about 45 minutes each.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

American Reformers (CKHG Unit)

This unit (the second part of Early Presidents and Social Reformers) focuses on the efforts to improve American society in the early 1800s. Across 6 lessons, students learn about the temperance movement, free public education, the abolitionists’ crusade to abolish slavery, and the early women’s rights movement. The unit explores early reformers’ legacy in ongoing modern-day struggles for equality and civil rights.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: Rights and Responsibilities
  • Grades: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

The Thirteen Colonies (CKHG Unit)

This unit explores the development of three regions of English colonies using primary source documents and imaginative narratives. Across 35 lessons, students explore Jamestown, labor by indentured servants, and the reliance on enslaved workers in the southern colonies, look at the motives influencing the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England and the financial and religious reasons for settling the Middle Colonies.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Making One Out of Many: A Lesson on “The Namesake” by Willa Cather

Of what use is the American flag in promoting national attachment? Explore the meaning of the flag as a symbol of the nation as editors Amy A. Kass, Leon R. Kass, and Diana Schaub discuss Willa Cather’s story with William Schambra. Includes a discussion guide and model conversation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Primary Sources, Video
  • Subject: Citizenship
  • Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12

Created Equal

The Created Equal project uses the power of documentary films to teach about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America. The five films that are part of this project – “The Abolitionists,” “Slavery By Another Name,” “Freedom Riders”, “Freedom Summer” and “The Loving Story” – tell the remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo, from slavery to segregation.

  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Video
  • Subject: Federal Government
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12