August 16, 2018

Timely Connections: James Madison & Slavery

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Noah Feldman, a Harvard law professor and the author of the book The Three Lives of James Madison: Genius, Partisan, President, discusses the dichotomies between Madison's moral views of slavery and his actions. Delving into the past, he contends, can provide us with lessons in racism for today. The tension between Madison’s aspirational beliefs and his highly constrained actions continues to be America’s own tension. Like Madison, contemporary United … [Read more...]

Timely Connections: Foundational Lessons in Democracy & Civil Discourse

"Conspiracy theories run amok. Fear of spies and meddling in American politics at the highest levels by foreign powers. A bipartisan divide so bitter that the federal government moves to muzzle what many politicians believe to be a biased, out-of-control news media."Current events? Actually, the excerpt paints a picture of the political climate during John Adam's tenure as president of the United States and is the lead paragraph of a book review from the Christian Science Monitor of Friends … [Read more...]

Primary Source Learning: U.S. Constitution

Primary source lesson plans & activitiesAmerican Memory Timeline: Primary Source Excerpts and Discussion Questions Related to the Constitution The Constitution: Counter Revolution or National Salvation? The Constitution: Drafting a More Perfect Union The U.S. Constitution: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States Preamble to the Constitution Image Sequencing What was the purpose of the Preamble? Collection ConnectionsDocuments from the … [Read more...]

Today in History: Washington’s Continental Congress Correspondence

Today in History–March 24–the Library of Congress features a letter George Washington wrote to the Continental Congress on this date in 1776, one week after British troops evacuated Boston but remained nearby. In the letter General Washington expressed his surprise and disappointment at the situation and went on to describe the exploits of the British in the area. During the Revolution, Washington maintained frequent correspondence with Congress. Learn more by visiting the Today in … [Read more...]

Today in History: John Jay

Today in History–December 12–the Library of Congress features founding father John Jay, born on this day in 1745. Jay had a long, full political career including president of the Continental Congress, author of several Federalist Papers, and first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Learn more about John Jay by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access related primary sources.John Jay, One of the Nation's Founding Fathers, Was Born from … [Read more...]

Today in History: U.S. Constitution

Today in History–September 17–the Library of Congress features the U.S. Constitution. After much debate and compromise, the members of the Constitutional Convention signed the final draft of the Constitution on this day in 1787. It would take just over nine months to ratify this document that would become the supreme law of the land. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section and by delving into the extensive list of U.S. Constitution teaching resources & primary … [Read more...]

Today in History: The Federalist Papers

Today in History–October 27–the Library of Congress features the Federalist Papers, the first of which was published on this day in 1787. This series of essays, 85 in all, were published in newspapers under the name of Publius but were actually written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Their purpose, in essence, was to argue for the necessity of checks and balances in the new government. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section and accessing the resources linked to … [Read more...]

Today in History: Hamilton & Burr Duel

Today in History–July 11–the Library of Congress features the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that took place on this date in 1804 and resulted in the death of Hamilton. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to learn more about these two men and the once-legal practice of dueling.The Burr and Hamilton duel, 11 July, 1804, at Weehawken, N.J. printTranscripts of Hamilton's correspondence with Aaron Burr and an account of the duel by … [Read more...]