10 Primary Source Lessons Every American History Teacher Should Teach

  1. The Declaration of Independence: Analyze the primary source document that declared the United States’ independence from Britain and discuss its historical context and significance.
  2. The Gettysburg Address: Examine Abraham Lincoln’s famous speech and explore the impact it had on the Civil War and American society.
  3. The Emancipation Proclamation: Study the document issued by President Lincoln, which freed slaves in the Confederate states during the Civil War, and examine its implications for the abolitionist movement.
  4. The Seneca Falls Declaration: Dive into the primary source document from the women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York, and discuss its role in the fight for gender equality.
  5. The Articles of Confederation: Analyze the first constitution of the United States and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses that led to its eventual replacement by the U.S. Constitution.
  6. The Federalist Papers: Explore a selection of these essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay and analyze their arguments in support of the newly proposed U.S. Constitution.
  1. The Monroe Doctrine: Examine President James Monroe’s foreign policy statement and its impact on the United States’ relations with European powers during the early 19th century.
  2. The Japanese Internment Executive Order: Study this primary source document issued during World War II and analyze the government’s decision to intern Japanese Americans and its implications for civil liberties.
  3. Brown v. Board of Education Decision: Dive into the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on racial segregation in schools and discuss its significance in the civil rights movement.
  4. The Watergate Tapes: Analyze excerpts from the secret recordings that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon and discuss their role in shaping public trust in government.
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