Library of Congress
Teaching Civics with Primary Sources
Grant Project

Overview of Lessons

The Library of Congress Teaching Civics with Primary Sources grant project offers lessons and units for grades 9–12 that are aligned to the Delaware civics standards. Each lesson includes at least once primary source from the Libary of Congress.

Development of the lessons described here is sponsored in part by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Eastern Region Program, coordinated by Waynesburg University..

Staff from The Democracy Project are available to offer guided practice in the use of the lessons.

Civics Standard: One | Two | Four

These materials are viewable/downloadable in either Microsoft Word or Adobe Reader. (If you need help with viewing/downloading PDF files, see IPA’s instructions for viewing/downloading PDFs.)

top of pageCivics Standard One [Government]

Africa, administrative divisions, 1950

Structures of Government Case Study: Nigeria
Civics Standard One 9-12a
Lisa Prueter (Newark Charter School)

Students will analyze a timeline and thematic maps relating to the ideologies, cultures, values, and history of Nigeria and then recommend the best structure of government for the country. Finally, students will consider if Nigerians have been able to establish a successful government.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. Nigeria in Maps
2. Nigeria, Languages and Dialects in Maps
3. Nigeria’s Ethnic Groups in Maps

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

The original Rough draught of the Declaration of Independence, one of the great milestones in American history, shows the evolution of the text from the initial fair copy draft by Thomas Jefferson to the final text adopted by Congress on the morning of July 4, 1776.

Structures of Government
Civics Standard One 9-12a
Sara Faucett (POLYTECH High School)

Students will examine and analyze reasons for the structure of government of the United States. They will then role-play as representatives for an assigned interest group and explain the structure of government that would be most effective given the needs, history, culture, values, etc. of their group.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. American Treasures of the Library of Congress – Top Treasures

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

top of pageCivics Standard Two [Politics]

George Washington’s Rules of Civility Liberty and Civility: Rules for Citizens in a Democratic Society
Civics Standard Two 4-5b
Fran O’Malley (Institute for Public Administration, University of Delaware)
Taylor Domenici (Heritage Elementary School)

Students will examine George Washington’s Rules of Civility in preparation for learning how and why citizens in a free society are expected to exercise personal civility. Students then apply what they have learned to examples of incivility that are humorously illustrated in “Ricky Rude” comic strips.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. George Washington’s “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation”

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

In this first inaugural address President Jefferson reached out to heal the political wounds by appealing to non-partisan political unification.

Faction and Democracy
Civics Standard Two 9-12a
Michael Feldman (Smyrna School District)

The focus of this lesson is on understanding the inevitability of factions in a democracy and the extent to which they affect the competition for power in a democratic system of government. Students will explore three primary source documents to gain an understanding of the challenges factions presented for our founders during the infant stages of American constitutional democracy.


Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress

1. George Washington’s Farewell Address
2. Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural Address

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)


George Washington, first president of the United States

Considering the Need for Political Parties
Civics Standard Two 9-12a
Tim Hein (William Penn High School)

Students will analyze the goals, roles, principles, and purposes of political parties in the United States. They will then examine George Washington’s Farewell Address to consider the President’s views of parties. Finally, students will develop arguments around the question: To what extent are political parties necessary in the United States today?

 

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. George Washington’s Farewell Address

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)


A caricature of Andrew Jackson as a despotic monarch

The Formation of Political Parties
Civics Standard Two 9-12a
Erin Sullivan (Cab Calloway School of the Arts)

Students will work in small groups to investigate a case study centering around the question “Why do political parties form?” Students will then have an opportunity to compare case studies in search of generalizations.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. “Grand Democratic Free Soil Banner”
2. “People's Party Candidates for President and Vice President, 1892” Campaign Poster
3. “King Andrew the First”  Lithograph

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

Illustration, cover of Puck Magazine, shows an old man labeled Republican Reactionary and an old woman labeled Democratic Reactionary standing together, looking up at a dirigible labeled Progressive Policies

“Set in Their Ways” — Why Political Parties Rise and Fall
Civics Standard Two 9-12a
Fran O’Malley (Institute for Public Administration, University of Delaware)

Students will engage in a case study of the Progressive or “Bull Moose” Party to explore reasons why political parties emerge and collapse. The lesson focuses on reasons for the demise of political parties.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. Puck Magazine’s “Set in Their Ways

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

Constitution of the United States of America.. [With] Ratification of the constitution of the United States by the convention of the state of Rhode Island and Providence plantations ... In Convention, May 29, 1790

Who Gets the Vote?
Civics Standard Two 9-12b
Christina Gallo (Lake Forest School District)

Students will examine the Constitution to identify what it originally states about the right to vote and then examine primary source documents to understand how the right to vote has been interpreted and expanded over time. Specific areas of focus will be the expansion of the electorate with the addition of the 15th, 19th, and 24th amendments. Students are asked to consider why these changes were necessary and if there are currently other groups that are being excluded from the right to vote.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. United States Constitution, Article V

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 8a.

Executive Orders, Acts and Proclamations: A Dynamic Process
Civics Standard Two 9-12b
Scott Bacon (Mount Pleasant High School)

Students are introduced to the concept of the dynamic process of government through the use of executive orders, acts and proclamations over time. The big idea of the lesson is that, as the needs and desires of people change over time, Presidents have used their power to try and meet those needs.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. George Washington’s Thanks-giving Proclamation

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)

top of pageCivics Standard Four [Participation]

Lobbyists taboo at Capitol. Washington, D.C., Jan. 8. Rep. Alfred M. Phillips Dem. of Stanford, Conn. looks over the sign that hangs on his office door, saying that as yet no lobbyists has passed his portals. He would recognize a lobbyist by his talk the Congressman states

You Can’t Always Get What You Want
(But If You Lobby Sometimes, You Might Find, You Get What You Need)

Civics Standard Four 9-12a
Fran O’Malley (Institute for Public Administration, University of Delaware)

This lesson offers tools and strategies designed to teach students how to lobby effectively so that their chances of influencing public policy increase. The tools and strategies offered here include those used by professional lobbyists. Students will practice using those strategies.

Featured Primary Sources from the Library of Congress
1. “Lobbyist Taboo at Capitol”

Lesson Plan (Word) | Lesson Plan (PDF)