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Our Documents,

National Archives and Records Administration, National History Day, US Freedom Corps

This website highlights 100 primary source documents that shaped United States history. Documents include the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Plan, the Civil Rights Act, and the Executive Order establishing the Peace Corps. Each source has detailed information about the document, an image of the original document, a document transcript, and high-resolution pdfs. The website also contains Tools for Educators, with guides on integrating these important documents into the classroom. Want to know what James Madison’s handwriting looks like, and why what he wrote was important? This is the place for you.

Marbury v. Madison (1803),

U.S. Supreme Court

This document provides the text of the landmark Supreme Court case, Marbury v. Madison (1803), the first Supreme Court case which declared an act of Congress illegal. That action created a legal precedent of Judicial Review.

Monticello Classroom,

Thomas Jefferson Foundation

The Monticello Classroom offers extensive information about Thomas Jefferson, Virginia history, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and other important aspects surrounding the founding of the United States. The website also allows visitors to log in and create projects, design lesson plans, or do homework. It also features fun information, such as why Thomas Jefferson is on the nickel, and how to make ice cream the colonial way.

Stickman Game: Virginia History,

Office of the Governor

There are several games on the Kid’s Commonwealth website, which cover issues such as Famous Virginians and the Executive Mansion. The most prominent game is the “Stickman Game,” a flash game that offers a tutorial on Virginia History based on the SOLs. Try it, and learn something new about the founding of the United States or Virginia’s first African American governor.

Electoral College Policy Brief to the Governor,

Georgia Leser, Loudoun County Public Schools

Since ratification of the Constitution, the Electoral College has been the method used for electing the President and Vice President of the United States and is outlined in Article II of the Constitution. The Electoral College elects the President,…

Federal v. Consolidated Government: Patrick Henry, Virginia Ratifying Convention,

Patrick Henry

"Founding Father" Patrick Henry gave a moving speech before the Virginia Ratifying Convention in 1788, as the commonwealth tried to decide whether to approve the U.S. Constitution. In his speech, Henry voiced many concerns about adopting a federal…

Constitutional Issues: Separation of Powers,

National Archives and Records Administration

The National Archives website features a lesson plan about the separation of powers on a federal and state level that revolves around a history of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s court packing during the 1930s. It includes background information on the time period, as well as a primary source document in which a newspaper publisher warns that FDR’s actions may lead to “absolutism and complete dictatorial power.” The website also features a document analysis worksheet and teaching activities.

U.S. Constitution Guide,

NPR's Justice Talking and The New York Times Learning Network

This website provides a point-by-point explanation of the U.S. Constitution. Each page includes the text of an article or amendment, as well as an in-depth explanation of the meaning and historical context. It can be very helpful for anyone trying to understand the sometimes dense text of the U.S. Constitution. Another useful learning technique is contrasting the development and text of the U.S. Constitution with the Virginia Constitution.

Impartial Judiciary, Speech by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr.: Video,

Judiciary NOW

In a speech before the American Law Institute, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, Jr. discusses the importance of an impartial judiciary. An impartial judiciary is both independent from other branches of government and unswayed by…

Panel Discusses Judiciary, Judges and Judicial Independence: Video,

Judiciary NOW

This panel discussion at Georgetown Law School highlights the importance of an independent judicial branch. The U.S. constitution legislated a judicial branch that was free from influence by the executive branch and the legislative branch of…