Primary Source Lessons for
Ancient American Civilizations To American Reconstruction

Ancient American Civilizations

  1. Inca Fortification (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. The Natchez and the Mounds of Mississippi (Newsela, free account)


Pre-European Contact American Indians (Before 1492)

  1. Celebrating Native American Heritage Month (Newsela, free account)


Three Worlds Meet (1492-1600)

Interactions between Europeans and American Indians
  1. Columbus reports on his first voyage, 1493 (Gilder Lehrman)
  2. Pocahontas Basic and Pocahontas Advanced (CK-12)
  3. Primary Sources: Powhatan Exchanges Views with Captain John Smith, 1608 (Newsela, free account)
  4. Differing Accounts of Spanish Colonization (Newsela, pro account)
  5. Who Is Lying? Different Accounts Of Christopher Columbus’ Arrival (Newsela, pro account)


Colonial America (1600-1750) 

Early Colonial Establishments
  1. Primary Sources: John White Searches for the Lost Colonists of Roanoke (Newsela, free account)
  2. The Mayflower Compact (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. Early Maps Basic and Early Maps Advanced (CK-12)
  4. The Virginia Company (Beyond the Bubble)
  5. Under Colonial America (1600-1750), Colonial Religion, there are resources that focus on New England Religion and the groups of people that settled there.
Similarities and Differences of American Colonial Regions: Southern Colonies, Middle Colonies, New England Colonies
  1. Passenger Lists to the New World Basic and Passenger Lists to the New World Advanced (CK-12)
  2.  Video Resource: Primary Source Analysis-Creating Questions from Passenger Lists of the New World (History Forge)
  3.  Video Resource: Primary Source Analysis (Contextualization)-Part I (History Forge)
  4.  Video Resource: Primary Source Analysis (Contextualization)-Part II (History Forge)
Native American Perspectives and Relations
  1. Portrait of an Iroquois Leader (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. The First Thanksgiving (Beyond the Bubble)
Colonial Religion
  1. The Salem Witch Trials Basic and The Salem Witch Trials Advanced (CK-12)
  2.  Video Lecture: Primary Source Analysis: Monitoring/Questioning the Salem Witch Trials (History Forge)
  3. The First Great Awakening Basic and The First Great Awakening Advanced (CK-12)
  4. The Puritans Basic and The Puritans Advanced (CK-12)
Science and Technology
  1. Plague Doctor (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Primary Sources: Benjamin Franklin Flies a Kite and Catches Lightning (Newsela, free account)
Military History
  1. King Philip’s War Basic and King Philip’s War Advanced (CK-12)


Revolutionary America (1763-1789)

French and Indian War
  1. Seven Years’ War (Beyond the Bubble)
  1. Stamp Act (Ck-12)
  2. The Stamp Act of 1765 (Newsela, pro account)
Patriot vs. Loyalist 
  1. The American Spirit-Nationalism (History Forge)
  2. Loyalists during the Revolution (CK-12)
Declaration of Independence
  1. The Declaration of Independence (CK-12)
  2. Declaration of Independence and the Rights of Man (Newsela, Pro account)
  3. The Legacy of the Declaration of Independence (Newsela, pro account)
  1. Forcefull Moments of the American Revolution (Newsela, pro account)
  2. War and Propaganda During The American Revolution (History Forge)
  3. Teaching Civic Ideals Using Primary Sources: The Origin and Evolution of the Bill of Rights (Library of Congress)
Armed Conflict
  1. The Battle of Lexington (CK-12)
  2. Experiences of Soldiers in War (History Forge)
  3. Battle of Brooklyn (Newsela, pro account)
Founding Fathers
  1. Primary Sources: Washington Sells a Runaway Slave to the West Indies (Newsela, free account)
  2. “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death!” (Newsela, pro account)
  3. God King George Washington (History Forge)
  4. Primary Sources: George Washington’s Farewell Address (Newsela, free account)
  5. A New Leader (Newsela, pro account)
Myth & Memory
  1. Washington Crossing the Delaware (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Commemoration of Battles (History Forge)
  3. The American Spirit-Nationalism (History Forge)
  1. English Map of the Island of Grenada (State Historical Society of Iowa)
  2. Cotton Gin and Expansion of Slavery (DPLA)
Science, Technology, and Mathematics
  1. Mathematics and Primary Sources: Historic Codes, Ciphers, an Computational Thinking (Library of Congress)


Constitution and Politics (1776-1810)

Articles of Confederation
  1. The Articles of Confederation (Newsela, free account)
  2. Shay’s Rebellion (CK-12)
Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
  1. Protecting Democracy (Newsela, pro account)
  2. Federalists and Anti-Federalists (CK-12)
  3. The Federalist Papers (Newsela, pro account)
  4. Federalist Paper No. 10, November 22, 1787 (The State Historical Society of Iowa)
Breakdown of the Constitution
  1. Slavery in the Constitution (CK-12)
  2. The Constitution (Newsela, pro account)
  3. First Draft On Religious Freedom (Newsela, pro account)
  1. Primary Sources: George Washington’s Farewell Address (Newsela, free account)
  2. Hamilton vs Jefferson (CK-12)
  1. Jefferson and Slavery (Newsela, free account)
  2. Jefferson and Washington on Slavery (Newsela, pro account)
  1. Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Charles Thomson Estimating Imports to the United States (State Historical Society of Iowa)
  2. Tax Rates on Common Imports to United States (State Historical Society of Iowa)


Western Expansion and International Relations (1800-1850)

Lewis and Clark (Men, the Myths, the Legends)
  1. Lewis and Clark (CK-12)
  2. Primary Sources: Jefferson’s Message on the Lewis & Clark Expedition (Newsela, free account)
Land Acquirement
  1. Louisiana Purchase (CK-12)
  2.  Manifest Destiny (CK-12)
  3. Texas Independence (CK-12)
 War of 1812- Journals/Canadian Schools textbook
  1. The War of 1812 (Beyond the Bubble)
Native Americans
  1. Trail of Tears (CK-12)
  2. Native Perspective of American Conquering (History Forge)
  3. How Native American slaveholders complicate the Trail of Tears narrative (Newsela, free account)
  4. Traders in the West (Beyond the Bubble)
  5. Cherokee Removal and Federalism (Library of Congress)
The American West
  1. Primary Sources: Life at a Mining Camp During the California Gold Rush
  1. Clay’s American System (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Primary Sources: The Monroe Doctrine (Newsela, free account)
  3. Chapter X: Parties in the United States” from Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835 (State Historical Society of Iowa)
Antebellum South
  1. Nat Turner’s Rebellion (CK-12)
  2. Antebellum South (Beyond the Bubble)


Work, Labor, and the Industrial Revolution (1840-1900) (Southern Economy)

  1. Labor History (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. African American Workers (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. 1877 Railroad Strike (Beyond the Bubble)
Slavery Institution
  1. Legal Divisions (Newsela, pro account)
  2. Lincoln and Race (CK-12)
  3. Great Debates Over Slavery (Newsela, pro account)
  4. Exposing Slavery (Newsela, free account)
Slave Perspective
  1. The People behind the name- Primary sources
  2.  Primary Sources: Excerpts from Harriet Jacobs’ Slave Narrative, Part One (Newsela, free account)
  3.  Primary Sources: Excerpts from Harriet Jacobs’ Slave Narrative, Part Two (Newsela, free account)
  4. Slave Quarters (Beyond the Bubble)
  5. A Perspective on Slavery (Beyond the Bubble)
  1. John Brown (CK-12)
  2. John Brown’s Legacy (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. John Brown (Beyond the Bubble)
  4. Primary Sources: Conductor on the Underground Railroad Part One (Newsela, free account)
  5. Primary Sources: Conductor on the Underground Railroad Part Two (Newsela, free account)
  1. Irish Immigration (CK-12)


Civil War and Reconstruction (1860-1880)

Battles-Soldiers accounts on the battles
  1. Attack on Fort Sumter (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Morale after Fredericksburg (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. Pickett’s Charge (Beyond the Bubble)
  4. Experiences of Soldiers in War-Civil War (History Forge)
  5. Gardner’s Civil War Photography (Beyond the Bubble)
The Home Front
  1. The New York City Draft Riots (CK-12)
  2. Women in War-Civil War (History Forge)
President Abraham Lincoln
  1. Primary Sources: Lincoln Declares Thanksgiving a National Holiday (Newsela, free account)
  2. Primary Sources: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (Newsela, free account)
African American Freedom
  1. The Political Cartoons of Thomas Nest (CK-12)
  2. Sharecropping  (CK-12)
  3. Reconstruction Riots (Beyond the Bubble)
  1. President Grant and Horace Greeley (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Changing the U.S. Constitution-15th Amendment (Newsela, free account)
  3. Reconstruction: Great Help Or Epic Fail? (Newsela, free account)
  1. The KKK in the 1870s (Beyond the Bubble)
  1. Women’s Rights (Beyond the Bubble)


Progressive Era, Imperialism, and the Nadir of American race relations (1880-1920)

  1. Creating Columbus Day (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Primary Sources: Plessy v. Ferguson (Newsela, free account)
  3. Changing The U.S. Constitution-19th amendment (Newsela, free account)
  4. Anarchism and the Haymarket Affair (Beyond the Bubble)
  5. Haymarket Aftermath (Beyond the Bubble)
Immigration, Class and Racism
  1. Immigration (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Chinese Immigration (CK-12)
  3. Friends of the Indian (CK-12)
  4. Jacob Riis (Newsela, free account)
  5. Jacob Riis (CK-12)
  6. Jacob Riis (Beyond the Bubble)
  7. Jacob Riis’s Urban Photography (Beyond the Bubble)
  8. Primary Sources: W.E.B. Du Bois’ Criticism of Booker T. Washington (Newsela, free account)
  9. Mexican Immigration in the 1920s (Beyond the Bubble)
  10. Native American Rights (Beyond the Bubble)
Memory of Antebellum South
  1. Post-Civil War South (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. “To My Old Master” (Newsela, free account)
  1. Letter from a Kansas housewife to Thomas Edison (Newsela, free account)
  2. Edison and the Kansas Housewife (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. The Role of Women (Beyond the Bubble)

Labor History
  1. Standard Oil Company (Beyond the Bubble)
  2. Photographs of Working Children (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. Children Working in Mines (Beyond the Bubble)
  4. The Rockefeller Foundation (Beyond the Bubble)
  5. Lewis Hine (Beyond the Bubble)
Military History-Imperialism
  1. Explosion of the USS Maine (Beyond the Bubble) 
  2. Connections to the Philippine-American War (Beyond the Bubble)
  3. Opposition to the Philippine-American War (Beyond the Bubble)
  4. American Imperialism (Beyond the Bubble)

Native American History
  1. The Case of the Clock (Beyond the Bubble)
Environmental-Science History
  1. The Conservation Movement (Beyond the Bubble)