Web Resources | » Foundations
Virtual Tours at the Virginia State Capitol,
Commonwealth of Virginia
This website provides virtual tours of the past, present, and future of Virginia's State Capitol. With tour guides such as George Washington and members of the recent restoration team, users can explore different aspects of the Capitol's history and role in Virginia government.
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.
iCitizen Forum Video Library,
The iCitizen Forum is a project created by Colonial Williamsburg that "promotes understanding of the balance between rights and responsibilities in a historical context." The video library contains a number of interviews with scholars and other public figures about democracy and government in the United States. Those who are particularly technologically inclined can also follow the project's YouTube channel.
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.
Elections the American Way,
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress has created an excellent resource that both explains how the electoral process works and gives a historical perspective. The website offers an overview of candidates, voters, the party system, the election process, and issues throughout U.S. history. Quotations, pictures, and memorabilia from key Virginian presidents are scattered throughout the website. This is an excellent resource for understanding how the electoral system developed, and it has instructions for presidential craft projects.
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.
Searchable Virginia Constitution,
Virginia General Assembly
This website, maintained by the Virginia General Assembly, offers a quick reference to each article and section of the Virginia Constitution by keywords. For example, Article I Section 1 relates to “Equality and the Rights of Men.” This feature simplifies finding a relevant section of the Virginia Constitution, and complements the U.S. Constitution Guide. The website also contains a downloadable pdf of the current Virginia Constitution.
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.