Personal Experiences of World War I

Today’s post comes from Judy Luis-Watson, manager of volunteer & education programs at the National Archives at College Park.

Written by WWI servicemen after their return from the front, 2,300 narratives in the holdings of the National Archives document the experiences of the Lone Star Division during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Twenty-two boxes of Personal War Experiences were discovered during a volunteer project to preserve these old and often fragile records housed at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. Included are the personal stories of the men who served in the 132nd and 142nd Machine Gun Battalions, and the 141st, 142nd, and 143rd Infantry Regiments. These narratives were recently digitized and are now searchable in the National Archives Catalog.

These documents can be difficult to read because of the aging and faded records. Most are handwritten on YMCA or Salvation Army note paper or scrap paper. Many are detailed and moving stories; some are peppered with humor, while others are evidence of men struggling to write.

They come from a series called Records of Divisions (National Archives Identifier 301641), from the Records of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), that includes the service of each combat division during its participation in World War I. Of the 59 Divisions that were formed, with 28,000 personnel in each Division, only the 36th Division – known as the Lone Star Division, formed by men from the Texas and Oklahoma National Guard – contains Personal War Experiences.

The servicemen were asked to write about their experiences presumably to keep them busy. But is it possible that the very act of writing helped them to process often horrific experiences; and their stories might have offered the leadership some insight into the final Allied offensive of WWI.


Private Dave Faris, Co. I, 141st Inf., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Private Dave Faris, a runner, had 15 minutes to deliver a very important message about an attack. He ran a quarter of a mile through the “enemy’s bursting shells.” His journey back was even more harrowing as he searched for his unit which had started on the attack.

Corporal Harry S. Hovey Co. E, 142nd Inf., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal Harry S. Hovey’s brief chronology of his unit’s activity gives his first impression of France and of war.

Corporal W. P. B. Otho, Co. L, 141st Inf., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal W.P.B. Otho dressed the wounds of soldiers and was in the thick of trench warfare for 22 days. With no opportunity for a bath, he wore the same clothes for about 40 days and lived to write about his war experience.

Corporal Eugene S. McLain Co. D, 132nd M.G. Bn., 36th Div. 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal Eugene McLain found parts of the war “exciting.” He was glad he had the experience and was “also glad when it ended. Because honestly it is Hell.”

Captain Clark Owsley Co. B, 142nd Inf. 36th Div., 1918, 236.33.61

Captain Owsley describes his first experience of going over the top, and his different reactions to seeing dead American and enemy soldiers.

Corporal Joe R. Robinson 142nd Inf. Band 36th Div., 1918, 236.33.61

Corporal Joe Robinson, member of the 142nd Infantry Regiment Band, was part of the clean-up crew, picking up U.S. Government property left by soldiers. He only experienced the front when “he was detailed to go get us some pistols,” and then was hit by a “G2 can explosion.”


Find more Personal War Experiences in the National Archives Catalog.

This post was cross-posted on our sister blog, The Text Message Blog. An earlier post related to The Lone Star Division can be found on The Text Message BlogThe Blue Arrowhead.

In our sister blog, The Unwritten Record, the last post in a series by volunteer Jan Hodges featured the art of Harvey Dunn, one of the AEF’s official artists. Excerpts she selected from the Personal War Experiences provide context for the war art and the combination creates documentation of the Meuse-Argon Offensive that is even more powerful and memorable.

Many thanks to the team of dedicated volunteers and staff at the National Archives who worked to preserve and make these WWI records available online!

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The “Write” Stuff at the National Archives on June 2nd

Today’s post comes from education specialist Amber Kraft.

This summer we’re hosting award-winning authors Gennifer Choldenko (author of “Al Capone Does My Shirts”), Christopher Paul Curtis (“Bud, Not Buddy”), Brian Floca (“Moonshot: The Flight Of Apollo 11”) and Jim Murphy (“An American Plague”) for the 2018 “Write” Stuff festival celebrating writing and research.

Visitors looking at books and photographs

Inspiring young authors, parents, teachers, and others are all invited to the festivities at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, on Saturday, June 2.

All activities are free and are designed especially for upper elementary and middle school audiences.

From 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., join us in the McGowan Theater or online for a conversation with all four authors, followed by questions from the audience.

Author panel on stage

Author panel during the 2017 “Write” Stuff festival

From 1:30 – 4:00 p.m., the program moves to the Boeing Learning Center with activities for the whole family! Highlights include:

Discussion with author

Author workshop from the 2017 “Write” Stuff festival

  • Meeting one-on-one with the award-winning authors
  • Discovering how research can impact stories
  • Enjoying hands-on activities
  • Exploring authors’ work and getting your book copies signed
  • Engaging with DC Public Library and National Archives staff members

Tell your students, fellow educators, librarians, and friends — and bring your family to the “Write” Stuff festival. To find out more about the day, read author bios, or reserve a seat for the morning author conversation, visit www.archivesfoundation.org/the-write-stuff.

Download the flyer and bookmarks:

Write Stuff Flyer Write Stuff Bookmarks

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Summer Professional Development Around the National Archives

Workshop

This summer, join us for one of our professional development workshops for educators.

Native American Professional Development Series Webinars

Programs in our Native American professional development series feature new resources for locating and using Federal records related to American Indians and Alaska Natives:

  • New American Indian & Alaska Native Resources and Programs, May 17
  • Bringing Native Voices into the Non-Native Classroom, June 14
  • The Making of American Indian Treaties, July 12
  • And more programs throughout the year

Find more information about each webinar and register on our Professional Development Webinars page.


Social Justice: On the Field and in the Classroom

LBJ Presidential Library
Austin, Texas
June 25 – 27

During this three-day educator institute, we will examine the relationship between organized sports, education, and the on-going fight for social justice in American society. Through lectures and conversations with experts in the fields of education, sociology, sports, history, and law, educators will be able to explore social justice movements as they relate to their curriculum as well as their students’ lives. This workshop is being presented in conjunction with a temporary exhibit at the LBJ Presidential Library, Get In The Game: The Fight for Equality in American Sports. The exhibition highlights the significance and contributions of minority athletes to the fight for social justice in American society from the late nineteenth century until the present day.

Learn more and register.


National History Day Teacher Institute

National Archives
Washington, DC
June 26 – 28

Learn about resources and primary sources available from the National Archives for teaching and guiding students working on National History Day projects. The institute will take place from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. To register, email missy.mcnatt@nara.gov with subject line “DC NHD Institute.”


American Studies Summer Institute: Memory Matters: Constructing America’s Past

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Boston, MA
July 9 – 20

This intensive two-week program, co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston American Studies Department and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, includes thought-provoking lectures and discussions led by distinguished scholars and guests. We will explore how America’s past has been defined and redefined by a range of agents – from memorials, museums, monuments, and other tourist sites, to textbooks, family stories, communal observances, and popular culture.

Register and learn more.


Primary Sources and Project-Based Learning: A Hybrid Summer Institute

The National Archives at College Park
College Park, MD
July 23 – 27

K-12 educators working in Maryland schools are invited to a hands-on research experience. Participants will spend three days at the National Archives in College Park, and will participate remotely for two days. Choose a research topic and explore primary sources from the Library of Congress and the National Archives. Work with electronic resources, learn about the National History Day 2019 theme, and complete your own mini research project to take back to your classroom.

THIS WORKSHOP IS FULL Register and learn more. Updated 4/2/18


Clinton Presidential Library Workshops Available Upon Request

Clinton Presidential Library
Little Rock, Arkansas

“What is a Presidential Library?”
Participants will learn about the resources available through the National Archives and the Presidential Libraries, including programming available for students at the Clinton Presidential Library. A tour of the museum exhibits is included in the workshop.
Credit: 3 hours professional development credit

President Clinton and Arkansas
President Clinton’s Arkansas childhood is explored through a primary source analysis activity. Artifacts and photographs are compared to excerpts from his autobiography, “My Life.”
Credit: 2 hours Arkansas History professional development credit

To request a workshop, email education specialist Kathleen Pate at kathleen.pate@nara.gov or call 501-244-2704. The Clinton Presidential Library is an Arkansas Department of Education approved provider.

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Focus on Reconstruction: New Teaching Activities

Today’s post comes from social studies teacher Andrew Zetts, who was an education intern at the National Archives at Philadelphia during the summer of 2017.

As a United States history teacher whose curriculum covers Reconstruction to the present day, I often find myself fumbling and rushing through the years of history immediately following the Civil War. The beginning of any school year is hectic—there are seating arrangements to fuss over, new names to learn, and the daunting task of quickly making a dent in the enormous curriculum—and I often struggle to give the Reconstruction unit its due diligence.1

Sumner Civil Rights Bill

Excerpt from the Sumner Civil Rights Bill that became the Civil Right Act of 1875

But during my summer internship with the National Archives in Philadelphia, I was able to rediscover the importance of this period of American history and reconfigure it as a cornerstone in my approach to teaching my entire United States history curriculum.

Delving deeply into Reconstruction with my U.S. history classes this school year allowed me to introduce the mechanisms of government that influenced the tension between continuity and change in the United States for years to come. With debates over equal citizenship, reconfigurations of constitutional boundaries, and the agency of citizens exercised in public and private arenas, my Reconstruction unit now allows my students to see more accurately how history unfolds and how some debates in our history have recurred in every generation.

A major part of the change in my perception of Reconstruction came from the time I spent reading through primary source documents made available on the National Archives’ online teaching resource, DocsTeach. The sources I accessed on DocsTeach provided me with countless historical voices I could use to create activities for my students. By the end of my summer internship, I made three activities on DocsTeach which are all related to Reconstruction and are now available for you to use!

Navigating the Rails

Students engage with the intersection of race and gender in this activity. It follows Lola Houck, an African American woman from Texas, who was brutally harassed on the railroad when trying to visit her family. By interacting with her court testimony, students are enlightened about the different racial and gender norms that someone like Lola Houck had to be mindful of as she engaged in the post-War South.

Navigating the Rails Screen Shot

Enforcing Civil Rights Legislation During Reconstruction

Screen Shot from Enforcing Civil Rights Legislation During Reconstruction

This activity has students evaluate the hope and frustrations that Reconstruction carried with it. Students read the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which provided African American citizens the ability to take businesses to federal court if they were denied services based on their race. Students then see how this legislation impacted Fields Cook, an African American minister visiting Philadelphia. In the end, students see how courts’ different interpretations of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 impacted how the law was enforced.

Reconstruction and the Constitution

Screen Shot from Reconstruction and the ConstitutionThe primary focus of this activity is for students to review the sequence and significance of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. It also has students consider the male-centricity of the amendments from the Reconstruction Era by having them read a proposal for a Sixteenth Amendment that will provide women with the right to vote.

The beauty of DocsTeach is that if you would like to use any of these activities, you can — and you can also modify them to fit your class’s particular needs.


Two sources that helped me in recognizing and articulating this problem were Ric Doringo’s “We Need the Lessons of Reconstruction” and Hannah Rosen’s “Teaching Race and Reconstruction.”

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“The Struggle for Voting Rights” Workshop on February 21

If you’re in the Austin, Texas, area, join us at the LBJ Presidential Library for an engaging one-day teacher workshop: “The Struggle for Voting Rights: From the 15th Amendment to Today.” The workshop will take place on Wednesday, February 21st from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., and focuses on the history of minority voting rights in the United States.

Register online. The workshop is free for current classroom teachers.

Voter Registration Drive

Voter Registration Drive, 9/1973. From the Records of the Environmental Protection Agency. www.docsteach.org/documents/document/voter-registration-drive

Engage with subject matter experts on the past and present struggle for the right to vote. Create interactive lessons using primary sources with DocsTeach.org, the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives. And leave with lesson plans and resources for the classroom provided by the LBJ Library.

Schedule

  • 8:30-9 a.m. – Welcome and breakfast
  • 9-10:30 a.m. – Dr. Dwight D. Watson, Associate Professor of History, Texas State University
  • 10:45 a.m.-noon – Dr. Peniel Joseph, Professor of Public Affairs, Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values, and founder of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin
  • 12-12:45 p.m. – Lunch
  • 12:45-1 p.m. -LBJ Library resources for educators
  • 1-3:30 p.m. – Using Primary Sources with DocsTeach and the National Archives

Please bring your own device (preferably a laptop) for the DocsTeach session. TEA-approved Continuing Professional Education hours will be received upon completion.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Registration is required. Sign up online.

For more information or questions, contact the education department at education@lbjlibrary.org.

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American Indian Boarding School Workshop on January 29

If you’re in the New York City area, join us for the workshop “American Indian Boarding School Experience” on Monday, January 29th from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York.

Chiracahua Apache Students at Carlisle Indian School

Registration is required: www.facinghistory.org/calendar/pe2018ny1-smithsonian-institute-national-museum-american-american-indian-boarding-school

What is the legacy and impact of American Indian boarding schools?

Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in New York, Facing History and Ourselves, the National Archives at New York, and Dr. Lori Quigley (Seneca Nation, Wolf Clan) to investigate the history and multi-generational legacy of two all-Indian boarding schools: Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania and Thomas Indian School in New York. We will consider the complex issues of identity, particularly the differences between how a group defines itself compared to how others perceive it.

Gain a deeper understanding as Dr. Quigley shares her research, scholarship, and personal narratives on multi-generational and historical trauma from her family’s boarding school experiences at Thomas Indian School, Cattaraugus Territory, Seneca Nation.

Coffee, breakfast, lunch, and a free copy of the book Stolen Lives is included with the $10 registration.

Images above:

Chiracahua Apaches Arriving at the Carlisle Indian School, 1886, From the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (available at https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/chiracahua-apache-arriving-carlisle)

Chiracahua Apache Indians After Training at the Carlisle Indian School, 1886, From the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer (available at https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/chiracahua-apache-at-carlisle)

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Help Us Unlock History During Citizen Archivist Service Week!

In the spirit of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, we’re launching a week-long citizen archivist challenge from January 15-19.

Citizen Archivist Week of Service January 15-19, 2018

We invite you and your students to join us!

Help us unlock history by tagging and transcribing primary source documents in the National Archives Catalog. As you add tags or transcriptions to these records, those words are added to our catalog – improving search results. The added benefit is that we’re unlocking the sometimes difficult to read text for all to understand. By adding this metadata to our Catalog, it also becomes searchable in Google and other search engines, which helps to make our records more discoverable online. We like to say that as we tag and transcribe, we are unlocking history.

Together with our virtual volunteers, we can make the records of the National Archives more discoverable online. Our goal is to tag or transcribe 2,018 pages during Citizen Archivist Service Week. Can you and your students help us meet this challenge?

Get started by visiting the Citizen Archivist Dashboard beginning January 15. During that week, we’ll have lots of missions and featured records waiting to be transcribed. For our new volunteers, you’ll also find instructions on how to create an account and get started.

Encourage Service Week in your classroom!

A great way to get students involved is by playing the tagging game. It’s a head-to-head or team-versus-team challenge to list as many keywords (Tags) that describe or identify items in an image. After one minute of writing keywords, teams compare their lists and scores are awarded. Before moving on to the next image, the game host adds all the keywords as tags into the Catalog description.

You can find more information and resources for both tagging and transcription on our dashboard.

Stay in touch!

Send us a tweet @USNatArchives using the hashtag #CitizenArchivistServiceWeek to let us know what you’re working on and what you find in the records.

Follow us throughout the week to keep up with our progress. We’ll post updates on the Citizen Archivist Dashboard, and on social media.

We look forward to your contributions during our Week of Service – and always! Thank you for helping us unlock history for students and learners of all ages.

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Free Online Programs on Presidential Legacy Begin January 18th

“Presidential Powers with Documents from the National Archives” – a free distance learning program for grades 6-12 – kicks off the 2018 Presidential Primary Sources Project on Thursday, January 18!

Join us at 11 a.m. ET or 2 p.m. ET to explore the executive branch and powers of the President through primary sources. We’ll examine presidential appointments, pardons, treaties, and more from the holdings of the National Archives that illustrate these powers. Register online for this and other programs. Each program will also be live streamed (no registration necessary) and recorded for free on-demand viewing.

The Presidential Primary Sources Project is a collaborative program sponsored by historic sites and museums, the National Park Service, the National Archives and Presidential Libraries and Museums, and the Internet2 community. Programs in the series connect K-12 students across the country with park rangers and educators for live interactive distance learning programs via the BlueJeans cloud-based video platform.

The 2018 series focuses on “Presidential Legacy” and features more than a dozen online presentations from Presidential Libraries and Museums and other national historic sites.

Register online for some or all of the following programs:

  • The National Archives – Presidential Powers with Documents, Jan. 18
  • White House Historical Association – Presidential Legacies at the White House, Jan. 24
  • National Mall and Memorial Parks & Ford’s Theatre – The Stages of President Lincoln’s Legacy, Feb. 8
  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial – Forging Greatness: Lincoln in Indiana, Feb. 13
  • Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site – The Mystery of William Jones, Feb. 15
  • Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, Feb. 22
  • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace – Lincoln’s Lasting Legacy, March 1
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, March 7
  • General Grant National Memorial – President Grant and the Fight for Civil Rights, March 8
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage – What is liberty? Abraham Lincoln’s Brave Idea, March 13
  • Theodore Roosevelt Center – Theodore Roosevelt: Legacy of a Modern Presidency, March 14
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site – Theodore Roosevelt and the Antiquities Act of 1906, March 21
  • Harry S. Truman Presidential Library – President Truman: Ending the War in Japan, March 28
  • Federal Hall National Memorial – George Washington and the Whiskey Rebellion, March 29

Download the 2018 Presidential Primary Sources Project brochure (PDF).

Download flyers for individual programs (PDF).

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Titanic Traveling Trunks Available

The National Archives and Presidential Libraries have several trunk- or object-based learning programs available! Today’s post comes from Carina Morgan, education specialist at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Trunk with ObjectsThe Ronald Reagan Presidential Library’s education team has developed Titanic traveling trunks for schools to reserve. The trunks aim to teach students how to examine artifacts, and to compare the past to the present. A few of the items included in the trunks are a kerosene lamp, a second-class dinner menu, a pocket watch, and sheet music.

The Titanic at the Reagan is a special exhibit at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, that will run through January 7, 2018. The exhibit is a fascinating look at the Titanic, combining real artifacts with the real stories of the people on board the ill-fated ship. The 10,000 square foot exhibition reunites hundreds of Titanic artifacts that have not been together since the ship’s fateful night in 1912 with material and artifacts from the 1984–1985 discovery of the Titanic, as well as with items from the 1997 movie.

The Titanic was found in 1985 during President Reagan’s administration, and quickly became a dive site for companies and explorers trying to get a piece of history. To protect the site and preserve it for generations, Reagan issued the R.M.S. Titanic Memorial Act of 1986 to designate the wreck as an international maritime memorial.

Though none of the artifacts displayed in the exhibit were salvaged from the Titanic wreck itself, the Titanic trunks allow a class to imagine that it has found a floating trunk from the Titanic and must evaluate the contents. They are popular with teachers as an educational tool, giving students the chance to learn about artifacts and how documents are handled. Schools can rent the trunks for one or several classes.

The idea for the program came from wanting to take the Titanic exhibit into the classroom. The trunk primarily uses documents and activities pulled from DocsTeach (the online tool for teaching with documents from the National Archives), National Archives social media channels, and the holdings of the National Archives at New York City. Additionally, teachers who rent a trunk receive a lesson on using the National Archives Catalog to create mini-trunks and lessons of their own.

Responses to the program have been overwhelmingly positive. “This was an excellent, well-organized program,” wrote one teacher. “My students were very engaged and loved the items in the trunk. It brought it all to life for my students.”

While the Titanic trunks include plenty of information about the disaster itself, the goal of the program is not to teach about the Titanic, but how to compare the past to the present, and how to examine artifacts for information.

The motto of the Reagan Library education team is to “Engage, Excite, Educate.” What can you learn by looking at something – like an oil lamp, a pocket watch, or wooden toothbrush? How do you analyze and read documents? The goal isn’t necessarily to become experts on the Titanic, but to test theories and learn more.

Are you interested in participating in a National Archives trunk program? National Archives locations with trunk- or object-based learning programs include:

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: Examine the source! The ​National Archives traveling trunk program about the Titanic is for K – 6 educators. Trunks include a complete curriculum for grades K-6 based on the new CA HSS Framework. ​Educators may reserve a trunk for their classroom, school or district. Trunks are available for one week for ​$25, two weeks (​$50), or four weeks ($100). This curriculum is available by reservation, please email ReaganEducation@nara.gov for more information.

William J. Clinton Presidential Library: Object-based onsite learning programs (in Little Rock, AR) create an educational atmosphere in which artifacts become central to the lesson. Each program includes classroom activities, as well as a tour of the exhibits, and lasts one hour and 15 minutes. Special objects are available, providing multiple ways to connect students’ thoughts with the subject matter. Email Clinton.Library@nara.gov for more information.

George W. Bush Library: Two available traveling trunks – Saving Our Seas! The President and Mrs. Bush Marine Conservation Resource trunk (recommended for K-12) and Raiding the Attic: Exploring History with Nana’s trunk (recommended for K-3) – were built on the concept of engaging students in primary sources. The trunks can supplement textbooks in new and exciting ways to interest students. While each trunk focuses on using primary sources in the classroom, they can be used outside of the social studies classroom and in cross-curricular instruction. For trunk availability or more information, contact Bush43Education@nara.gov.

National Archives at New York City: The Titanic trunk at the National Archives at New York City is used in special onsite activities and programming in the learning center.

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Bill of Rights Day

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day, which commemorates the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

These two eBooks, created by us at the National Archives, are useful for teaching about the creation of the Bill of Rights and for how the protections afforded by the first 10 amendments have been put to the test over the course of our nation’s history.

Putting the Bill of Rights to the Test

Putting the Bill of Rights to the TestThis student workbook helps students explore some of the core concepts, or protections, found in the Bill of Rights, and how they’ve been tested throughout American history.

  • iTunes – Download with iBooks on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac; and with iTunes on your computer.
  • ePub File (20.5MB) – This standard eBook format works with eBook apps on your phone or tablet, your eReader device, or with an ePub reader for your computer or web browser.
  • PDF File (9.5MB) – View the PDF on your computer or mobile device, or print it out for students. This version includes blank spaces for student responses.

Each chapter leads students to consider the implications of one core concept and includes:

  • Background Information
  • A key question or questions to frame students’ thinking
  • Questions to help them analyze the document
  • A primary source document or documents
  • Discussion questions to help students consider the impact or importance of the concept

Concepts covered include:

  • No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof (First Amendment)
  • Freedom of Speech (First Amendment)
  • Freedom of the Press (First Amendment)
  • Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble (First Amendment)
  • Right to Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances (First Amendment)
  • Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms (Second Amendment)
  • Unreasonable Searches and Seizures (Fourth Amendment)
  • Deprived of Life, Liberty, or Property, Without Due Process (Fifth Amendment)
  • The Right to Counsel (Sixth Amendment)
  • Cruel and Unusual Punishments (Eighth Amendment)

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights

Congress Creates the Bill of Rights eBook

Within the half-billion pages of records in the care of the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives, there are some special treasures from the First Congress that show how the ratification of the Constitution necessitated the creation of the Bill of Rights, and how the creation of the Bill of Rights, in turn, completed the Constitution.

This eBook focuses on James Madison’s leadership role in creating the Bill of Rights, effectively completing the U.S. Constitution. Starting with the crises facing the nation in the 1780s, the narrative traces the call for constitutional amendments from the state ratification conventions. Through close examination of the featured document, Senate Revisions to the House Proposed Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the reader goes inside the First Congress, as Madison and the leaders of rival political factions worked in the House and Senate to formulate amendments to change the recently ratified Constitution.

The eBook is available for download on our website  and available in iTunes for your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac. The book is accompanied by a mobile app (for the iPad and for Android devices) and online resources for teachers and students.

For more information on events and resources at the  National Archives, visit our Bill of Rights Day website.

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