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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Constitution Day


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 Closer Look at the Constitution | Resources for Teachers | One Day in the Creation of the Constitution

Constitution Resources for Teachers

Following are links to educational resources that can be used in the classroom. These links are from the Library of Congress, National Archives and the National Constitution Center.

NEW! American Memory has created a Constitution Primary Source Set to provide you with a varuety of resources for the classroom. The collection features maps, documents, images and audio.

From the Thomas branch of the Library of Cngress website be sure to visit their resources at

Interactive Constitution from the National Constitution Center - To understand and appreciate the Constitution you may use a search box to search for keywords in the text of the Constitution. Readers may also select a topic and discover how the Constitution relates to more than 300 indexed topics from school prayer to civil rights. Finally, Supreme Court decisions are identified and the Constitution may be searched for relevancy.

From the Library of Congress America's Story Web Site
(for early elementary)

 Jefferson places the Declaration before the Continental Congress

The presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress.

Meet Amazing Americans

James Madison's Contribution to the Constitution - James Madison's contribution to the overall creation of the Constitution earned him the nickname "Father of the Constitution" later in life. Learn more here!

Thomas Jefferson - The Declaration of Independence - Learn how events such as the creation of the Declaration of Independence led to the Constitution.

Jump Back in Time

The New Nation - The new United States of America adopted the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of American citizens. Do you know them?

From the Library of Congress American Memory Collections

A Century of Lawmaking For a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates - Beginning with the Continental Congress in 1774, American's national legislative bodies have kept records of their proceedings. This collection includes Journals of the Continental Congress, Letters of Delegates to Congress, Elliot's Debates, Farrand's Records, Statures and Documents, House Journal, Senate Journal, Debates of Congress and more.

Documents from the Continental Congress and Contitutional Convention

Signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention 1774-1789 - These collections contain 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journal of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports and early printed versions of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. A number of these items contain many script annotations not recorded elsewhere that offer insight into the delicate process of creating consensus. In many cases, multiple copies bearing annotations are available to compare and contrast.

The James Madison Papers - These documents reflect the life of the man who came to be known as the "Father of the Constitution" through correspondence, personal notes, drafts of letters and legislation, an autobiography, legal and financial documents and more.

Don't miss "James Madison and the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787."

American Memory Timeline!

The New Nation, 1783-1815 - The United States Constitution features an overview and links to documents such as a draft of the Constitution, Address to the People of the State of New York, Elbridge Gerry's Reasons for Not Signing the Federal Constitution and the Order of Procession.

 Broadside annotated in the hand of William Samuel Johnson.

Broadside annotated in the hand of William Samuel Johnson.

Library of Congress

American Treasures - American Treasures are ongoing exhibits in the Library of Congress. Exhibits vary because these rare and fragile documents can be displayed for limited periods of time. However, they are always available digitally in the online American Treasures Exhibitions. From the Top Treasures Gallery you can see "A Map of Philadelphia and Paris Adjacent with A Perspective View of the State House from 1752", a "Report of the Committee of Detail" with annotations in the hand of William Samuel Johnson and more.

The Charters of Freedom, A New World is at Hand - The National Archives Experience team has created a site that focuses on the Constitution of the United States. You may view, read, and download images of the Constitution and read in-depth articles.

Lesson Plans

The Constitution: Counter Revolution or National Salvation? - A look at the controversy surrounding the ratification of the Constitution of the United States from the eyes of the public of the late 18th century.

In Congress Assembled: Continuity and Change in the Governing of the United States - This unit includes four lessons using primary sources to examine continuity and change in the governing of the United States.

Especially for Researchers

The Library of Congress Virtual Services Digital Reference Team has gathered a variety of resources.

Access is available to the analysis and interpretation of the U.S. Constitution through the U.S. Government Printing Office, as well as print, text or pdf versions or you can order copies of the U.S. Constitution.

Image References

Jefferson places the Declaration before the Continental Congress. Savage, Edward, engraver, based on painting by Pine, Robert Edge. "The presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress." The Library of Congress.

U.S. Capitol paintings. Signing of the Declaration of Independence, painting by John Trumbull in U.S. Capitol, detail III. Washington As It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, (LC-H8-CT-C01-063-A DLC.)

Broadside annotated in the hand of William Samuel Johnson. Philadelphia: Claypoole and Dunlap, August 6, 1787, Manuscript Division

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