Creating a New Government

The essays in this section have been written by leading scholars of American history. They provide additional depth on events and ideas referred to in the introductory essay and, in some cases, different interpretations by historians looking at the same events. These essays are particularly useful as informational texts to introduce your students to one of the most exciting aspects of studying history—understanding the past from a variety of perspectives.

James Madison, by A. Newsam, Philadelphia, 1846. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-30581)

James Madison and the Constitution

Author: Jack Rakove Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail from the Preamble to the US Constitution, 1787. (GLC03585)

Ordinary Americans and the Constitution

Author: Gary B. Nash Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The fugitive slave clause in Article 4, Section 2 of the US Constitution. (Gilde

Race and the American Constitution: A Struggle toward National Ideals

Author: James O. Horton Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Essays from Other Sub-Eras

“Washington and Lafayette at Valley Forge,” by Brown & Bigelow, 1907. (LOC)

Advice (Not Taken) for the French Revolution from America

Author: Susan Dunn Curriculum Subjects: World History Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Dolley Madison (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Dolley Madison: First Lady and Queen

Author: Catherine Allgor Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
GLC04315

Early America’s Jewish Settlers

Author: Eli Faber Curriculum Subjects: Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels:
Abigail Adams, engraving by John Sartain, n.d. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

First Ladies’ Contributions to Political Issues and the National Welfare

Author: Betty Boyd Caroli Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
“His Excel: G: Washington,” by C. W. Peale, 1787.(LC-DIG-ppmsca-17515)

George Washington and the Constitution

Author: Theodore J. Crackel Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Inventing American Diplomacy

Author: R. B. Bernstein Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Martha Washington. Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Martha Washington Creates the Role of First Lady

Author: Patricia Brady Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Recueil des loix constitutives des colonies, 1778 (GLC01720)

The Declaration of Independence in Global Perspective

Author: David Armitage Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
US Supreme Court Building, Washington, DC (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, LOC)

The Form and Function of the Supreme Court

Author: Charles Anthony Smith Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Destruction of the statue of George III in New York, 1776. (GLC)

The Invention of the Fourth of July

Author: David Waldstreicher Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Resolutions for amending the Constitution . . . , 1800. (GLC00927.02)

The Presidential Election of 1800: A Story of Crisis, Controversy, and Change

Author: Joanne B. Freeman Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“Entrance of the American Army into New York, Novr. 25th, 1783,” published by Vi

The Social and Intellectual Legacy of the American Revolution

Author: Gary B. Nash Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The Supreme Court Then and Now

Author: A. E. Dick Howard Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The US and Spanish American Revolutions

Author: Jay Sexton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:
Note of 1 shilling, 6 pence, printed in the colony of New Jersey, 1776. (GLC)

The US Banking System: Origin, Development, and Regulation

Author: Richard Sylla Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Thomas Jefferson and Deism

Author: Peter S. Onuf Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
“Bostonian’s Paying the Excise-man” (London: Philip Dawe, 1774). (GLC04961.01)

Unruly Americans in the Revolution

Author: Woody Holton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail from a World War I poster. (GLC09522)

Why Immigration Matters

Author: Thomas Kessner Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail of a broadside promoting women’s suffrage. (GLC08963)

Why We the People? Citizens as Agents of Constitutional Change

Author: Linda R. Monk Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The County Election, based on a painting by George C. Bingham, 1854. (Gilder Leh

Winning the Vote: A History of Voting Rights

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+