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Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799

Constitution Role Play: Whose “More Perfect Union”? and The Constitutional Convention: Who Really Won?

Teaching Activity. By Bill Bigelow. 23 pages. The U.S. Constitution endorsed slavery and favored the interests of the owning classes. What kind of Constitution would have resulted from founders who were more representative of the entire country—including enslaved people, workers, and farmers? That is the premise of this role play activity.
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class
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Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves (Teaching Activity) | Zinn Education Project: Teaching People's History

Reading Between the Lines: An Art Contest Helps Students Imagine the Lives of Runaway Slaves

Teaching Activity. By Thom Thacker and Michael A. Lord. 4 pages. An art contest is used as the basis from which students can examine primary historical documents (advertisements for runaway slaves) to gain a deeper understanding of the institution of slavery in the North.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play | Zinn Education Project

Rethinking the U.S. Constitutional Convention: A Role Play

Teaching Activity. By Bob Peterson. 14 pages. A role play on the Constitutional Convention which brings to life the social forces active during and immediately following the American Revolution with focus on two key topics: suffrage and slavery. An elementary school adaptation of the Constitution Role Play by Bill Bigelow. Roles available in Spanish.
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Slavery, Women's History
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Half a Revolution

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olson-Raymer. 16 pages. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 5 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on the Revolutionary War as "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight," as well as the failure of early Americans to complete a full revolution.
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Social Class
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Servitude and Rebellion

Teaching Activity. By Gayle Olsen-Raymer. Questions and teaching ideas for Chapter 3 of Voices of a People's History of the United States on the role and dissent of indentured servants in American colonial history.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Labor, Social Class
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Re-examining the Revolution

Background Reading. By Ray Raphael. 7 pages. Based on his book Founding Myths, Raphael critiques the textbook portrayal of the American Revolution. The textbooks say that "a few special people forged American freedom" which "misrepresents, and even contradicts, the spirit of the American Revolution."
Time Periods: 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Education, Laws & Citizen Rights
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Whitewashing Our First President

Article. By Clarence Lusane. 2014. Critical review of an upper elementary non-fiction book about George Washington and the people he kept in bondage.
Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery
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A Peoples History of the United States Book | Zinn Education Project

A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present

Books - Non-fiction. By Howard Zinn. 2005, with a new introduction by Anthony Arnove in 2015. 784 pages. Howard Zinn's groundbreaking work on U.S. history. This book details lives and facts rarely included in textbooks—an indispensable teacher and student resource.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, World War I: 1910 - 1919, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 2001 - Present, All US History
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Economics, Education, Immigration, Imperialism, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History
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Slave Nation: How Slavery United the Colonies & Sparked the American Revolution

Book - Non-fiction. By Alfred Blumrosen and Ruth Blumrosen. 2006. A detailed account of the role slavery played in the Revolutionary War and the writing of the U.S. Constitution.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899
Themes: Economics, Slavery
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Chains

Book - Fiction. By Laurie Halse Anderson. 2010. 336 pages. Historical fiction based on the life of an enslaved teenager during the Revolutionary War.
Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: African American, Slavery, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements
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Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence

Book - Non-fiction. By Gretchen Woelfle. Illustrated by Alix Delinois. 2014. Picture book about true story of Elizabeth Freeman, a woman who challenged the legality of her enslavement.
Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: African American, Democracy & Citizenship, Slavery, Women's History
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A People’s History of the United States: Highlights from the Twentieth Century (Audio)

Audio. By Howard Zinn. Read by Matt Damon. 2003. 8 hours, 44 min. Audio book version of excerpted highlights from A People's History of the United States.
Time Periods: Colonization: 1492 - 1764, 18th Century, Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799, 19th Century, Early 19th Century: 1800 - 1849, Civil War Era: 1850 - 1864, Reconstruction Period: 1865 - 1876, Industrial Revolution: 1877 - 1899, 20th Century, Turn of the Century: 1900 - 1909, World War I: 1910 - 1919, Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, Post-Civil Rights Era: 1975 - 2000, 21st Century, 2001 - Present, All US History
Themes: African American, Asian American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Immigration, Imperialism, Labor, Laws & Citizen Rights, Native American, Organizing, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class, US Foreign Policy, Wars & Related Anti-War Movements, Women's History
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Bill of Rights

Dec. 15, 1791: Bill of Rights Ratified

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the United States Bill of Rights, were ratified.
Time Periods: Revolution & Constitution: 1765 - 1799
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Laws & Citizen Rights, Racism & Racial Identity, Slavery, Social Class
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