LegalTimelines.org is an interactive, educational site designed to teach middle and high school students about the historical evolution of U.S. laws on important contemporary legal issues. The site currently features three timelines that take students through the legal history of suffrage, federalism, and the legal rights of the accused. Each timeline is rich with engaging
George Washington and the Pursuit of Religious Freedom
George Washington and the Pursuit of Religious Freedom is based on a 15-minute film that covers religion in early America, the defeat of the British Empire, and the steps leading up to the passing of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Accompanying resources, such as an interactive map and an interactive timeline investigate the history of religion in early America, Washington’s interactions with various religious groups, and his role in securing religious freedom. Teacher resources include graphic organizers, vocabulary sheets, and additional information to guide inquiry.
The War on Terror and the Debate Over Torture
This 13-minute video and lesson plan are designed for students to analyze the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the public debate over the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by U.S. officials and government contractors. Students will evaluate multiple perspectives from a mix of resources (video clips, a short film, documents and political cartoons) and classify arguments as being supportive, neutral or critical of government action.
Voting Rights in America Timeline
Supplement your students’ understanding of voting rights in the United States with this free downloadable timeline. This visual guide breaks down the history of voting rights across identities, and gives context to efforts to expand and limit voting access over time, through the lenses of our three branches of government and our federal system.
The 19th Amendment and the Road to Universal Suffrage
In this activity, students will explore the struggle for universal suffrage long after both men and women constitutionally had the right to vote. Following a progressive timeline, primary sources highlight voting problems that arose for minority groups throughout the 20th century. Students will answer questions as they work through the documents to reflect on if and when universal suffrage was ultimately achieved.
Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment
The American Bar Association Dialogue program provides lawyers, judges and teachers with the resources they need to engage students and community members in a discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions. This Dialogue on the Fourteenth Amendment is composed of three parts:
Part 1: Equal Protection and Civil Rights – Participants discuss the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and consider how Congress, through federal legislation, has worked to help realize its constitutional promise.
Part 2: Incorporating the Bill of Rights examines the concept of incorporation. Using a case study of Gitlow v. New York, this section provides a guide to how courts have applied the Bill of Rights, selectively, to the states using the 14th Amendment.
Part 3: Ensuring Equality and Liberty explores how the 14th Amendment has been interpreted by courts to protect fundamental freedoms, including individuals’ right to marry.
The Earliest Americans (CKHG Unit)
Across 17 lessons, this unit introduces some of the different peoples who populated America many years before the arrival of European explorers—some as early as thirty thousand years ago along the Pacific Coast, and others who traveled from Asia across Beringia, the land bridge. Students explore how these early peoples spread across North and South America, adapted to their environments and developed unique cultures. Each lesson is designed to last 30 minutes.
Native Americans: Cultures and Conflicts (CKHG Unit)
Across 7 lessons, this unit explores the ways of life of diverse Native American peoples and how their cultures were disrupted, displaced, and profoundly altered by westward expansion and American government policies and practices in the 1800s. Some of the content of this unit is tied to the “Pathway to Citizenship,” an array of civics-focused knowledge, questions, and activities.
Westward Expansion After the Civil War (CKHG Unit)
This unit focuses on the westward movement of Americans in the later 1800s, which often led to conflict with Native Americans displaced from long inhabited lands. Across 7 lessons, students learn about the lure of gold or silver, or the land offered through the Homestead Act. Students explore the transcontinental railroads, the “Wild West,” the purchase of Alaska, and the “closing of the American frontier.”
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.