Office of Secondary Social Studies
U.S. History and Government Resource Links

Lesson Plans from Baltimore County Teachers

Baltimore County Public School Teachers participating in the Teaching American History Grant program run cooperatively by BCPS and the Center for History Education at UMBC wrote these lesson plans that focus on the use of primary sources and cover American history from European exploration through post WWII United States.

Government & Elections [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

Web Portal for the US Government

http://www.usa.gov
The official web portal of the US federal government, this site offers access to more than 51 million government webpages and is a good first step for information.

FedStats

http://www.fedstats.gov/
The gateway to statistics from over 100 US federal agencies. This site includes data about agriculture, health, military, and other subjects.

Bureau of Labor Statistics

http://stats.bls.gov/
This site provides access to thousands of statistics on labor and economics including inflation, wages, unemployment, and more.

Census Bureau: US Fact Finder

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/BasicFactsServlet
This website is a source for population, housing, economic, and demographic data.

Thomas

http://thomas.loc.gov/
This web page covers legislation, congressional record, and committee information. The page is updated constantly to inform the user of what is happening currently in the House and Senate.

CongressLink

http://www.congresslink.org/
This website provides historical information on the American Congress as well as information on today’s Congress. It also includes primary source based lessons on topics ranging from the line item veto to the War Powers Act.

The U.S. House of Representatives

http://www.house.gov/
This site provides the user with a breakdown of the legislative process. The schedule for committee hearings and activities on the floor of the House is available here, as well as the full text of bills, and roll call votes. Representatives can be contacted via email through this site.

The U.S. Senate

http://www.senate.gov/
This site provides the session schedule, the schedule for committee hearings, and information on active legislation. It also provides access to interviews from an oral history project on life in the Senate. Senators can be contacted via email through this site.

Federal Judiciary Home Page

http://www.uscourts.gov/
This site provides information on federal courts at all levels, including procedures, appointments, and jurisdiction.

Supreme Court Collection

http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/index.html
This site archives the full text of Supreme Court decisions, searchable by date, author, topic, or parties.

Oyez: Supreme Court Multimedia

http://www.oyez.org/oyez/frontpage
This website allows searches of Supreme Court cases by date, subject, title, or citation.

City of Baltimore

http://www.baltimorecity.gov
Information about the government and services of the City of Baltimore. A special feature of this site is a crime mapping searchable database.

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

Presidents of the United States (POTUS)

http://www.potus.com/
This site provides information about each president, including election results, events during the presidency, biographies, and primary sources about the administration.

The Presidents

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/presidents/indexjs.html
This site gives an overview of the presidential record of each president. A summary is provided of any given president's domestic policy, foreign policy, politics, and the era in which they led our nation. 20th century presidents are covered in much more detail, and audio clips are available for some presidents.

The White House

http://www.whitehouse.gov/
This site provides information about the issues the president is currently addressing. There are also pages that focus on specific topics, such as defense, education, and energy.

Project Vote Smart

http://www.vote-smart.org/index.phtml
This site offers objective information on candidates and elected officials. The site provides information on voting records, campaign issues, background, and previous experience.

Rock the Vote

http://www.rockthevote.com/home.php 
Rock the Vote is a non partisan organization that engages youth in the political process. This site explores issues in which young adults are interested.

 Primary Source Documents in American History [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

Maryland State Archives

www.TeachingAmericanHistoryMD.net
This site contains numerous primary source document packets that were developed in alignment with the Maryland VSC.

Our Documents

http://www.ourdocuments.gov/ The American public voted on the 100 most significant documents in American history, which were then posted on this website. For each document you will find a digital image, transcript, background information, and lesson plan.

National Archives

http://www.archives.gov/
The National Archives provides digital access to the records of the Federal Government, from our most celebrated milestones to little-known surprises.

American Memory- Learning Page

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html
Historic maps, photos, documents, audio, and video from the Library of Congress. Collections can be browsed by topic or searched by keyword.

From Revolution to Reconstruction …and What Happened Afterwards

http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/index.htm
This site provides documents, essays, and biographies from the 13th to the 21st centuries categorized by topic and time period.

A Biography of America

http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/
This website supports a telecourse and video series that presents American history as a living narrative. This series web site lets you delve further into the topics of the video programs of the significant events in our nation's history. 

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm
The Avalon Project is dedicated to providing access via the World Wide Web to primary source materials in the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government. Documents from pre-contact through modern day are available.

A Chronology of Historical Documents http://www.law.ou.edu/hist/
The University of Oklahoma has gathered documents such as inaugural addresses, famous speeches, and significant legislation and placed them in an easy to use timeline.

Maryland Historical Society

http://www.mdhs.org/
This site has a lot of resources for teachers-tours,
traveling trunks, guest speakers, historical en-enactors,
and primary sources.

MD State Archives: Museum Without Walls

http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/educ/
exhibits/html/exhibit.html
This site is a primary resource treasure trove with images and documents of important and influential Marylanders and the way in which they shaped and changed Maryland's history.

 Colonial America, Revolution, and Republic [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

The Constitutional Convention

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/
This site from Ashland University gives teachers ideas on ways to keep students connected with the arguments that often change during the course of the convention.

Archiving Early America: The Whiskey Rebellion

www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/whiskey/
Primary source documents describing the first challenge to the federal government are available on this site.

Monticello

http://www.monticello.org/
This national historic landmark home of President Jefferson provides a wealth of information on one of our nation's greatest presidents.

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

The Jamestown Online Adventure

http://www.historyglobe.com/jamestown/
Imagine traveling back to colonial times, at this site you can; learn to make all the decisions needed to found a colony. This simulation lets you decide where to land, what to do when they get there, and even how many will be required to do hard labor.

America in 1607: Jamestown and the Powhatan

http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/jamestown/
This interactive site by National Geographic allows students to compare Jamestown to the Powhatan village of Werowocomoco.

A Virtual Tour of the American Revolution

http://www.ushistory.org/march/
A step by step journey through the eyes of those who experienced the battle for our nation’s independence first hand.

The American Revolution

http://www.multied.com/Revolt/index.html
This site provides information on the causes and major battles of the Colonial struggle for independence.

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

http://www.impeach-andrewjohnson.com/
This site allows the user to examine the proceedings of the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson through Harper's Weekly, a leading media outlet of the time. The issues, arguments, legal questions, and players in the impeachment trial are chronicled. This site also includes political cartoons from the time period.

Sectionalism and Slavery [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

Conflict of Abolition and Slavery

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam007.html
Dual perspectives on the issue of slavery are contained in this site.

From Slavery to Freedom

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aapchtml/aapchome.html
This site provides a wealth of primary sources by African-American authors and others who wrote about slavery, African colonization, Emancipation, Reconstruction, and related topics

North American Slave Narratives

http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/
The primary sources on this site from the University of North Carolina document the individual and collective story of African Americans' struggle for freedom and human rights in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Africans in America

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/home.html
America's journey through slavery is presented at this companion site to the PBS series. This site provides historical information, stories, and images, and a teacher’s guide.

The Making of America

http://moa.umdl.umich.edu/
This site is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

American Slave Narratives

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/wpa/wpahome.html
This site provides a set of oral histories before and after freedom. Some of the oral histories contain pictures and audio clips.

American Visionaries: Frederick Douglass

http://www.cr.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/douglass/
This site features items owned by Frederick Douglass and highlights his achievements.

 Civil War and Reconstruction [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

The Valley of the Shadow

http://valley.vcdh.virginia.edu/
The Valley of the Shadow Project takes two communities, one Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. There are a number of essential links for this time period and lesson plans for teachers.

Confederate Military History

www.civilwarhome.com/confederatemilitaryhistory.htm
This site expresses the Southern opinion on the legal basis for secession, the war, the reconstruction plans of the government, the racial question, and reunification.

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

The Civil War Homepage

http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/warweb.html
This site has been developed to provide a variety of primary and secondary sources on the Civil War. A visitor can browse through a photographic array of battles, leaders, and civilians during the war.

Letters from an Iowa Soldier in the Civil War

http://www.civilwarletters.com/home.html
A great primary source to understand the daily living conditions of the Civil War told through the perspective of a soldier and his wife.

Dakota State University-The Civil War

http://homepages.dsu.edu/jankej/civilwar/civilwar.htm
This site provides academic links to sub topics on the Civil War. Information that is hard to find through a normal search engine can be found here. The topics are balanced between the Union and Confederacy.

 Westward Expansion [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

Indian Removal

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4p2959.html
This site from PBS contains a summary of the issues surrounding Indian Removal, and primary source documents from the events of the time.

History Now: The American West

http://www.historynow.org/09_2006/index.html
This Gilder Lehrman Institute site provides several historians’ perspectives on westward expansion, along with model lessons and a wealth of resources. It also allows students to explore a “virtual” west on the computer.

 

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

Discovering Lewis and Clark

http://www.lewis-clark.org/
A site focusing on issues, values and visions relating to the Lewis & Clark Expedition, its preludes, and its aftermath up to the present time.

Lewis and Clark: Inside the Corps

http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/inside/index.html
In 1803 Thomas Jefferson won approval from Congress for a visionary mission to explore the west. Over the next four years, the Corps of Discovery would travel thousands of miles, experiencing lands, rivers and peoples that no Americans ever had before. This website has three sections: Circa 1803, To Equip an Expedition, and the Corps.

Lewis & Clark

http://www.pbs.org/lewisandclark/index.html
This is a companion site to the PBS series by Ken Burns. This site can stand alone without the companion video. It provides information into the reasons, the trip, the interactions with the Native Americans, and more.

Indian Removal and the Politics of Westward Expansion

www.bcps.org/offices/lis/models/indianremoval/index.html
This research model from BCPS asks students to understand how the treatment of a minority group impacts a nation as a whole.

The Oregon Trail

http://www.isu.edu/%7Etrinmich/Oregontrail.html
The "The Oregon Trail" web site tells the story of the great western journey. 

Turnpike to Golden Spike

www.bcps.org/offices/lis/models/transportation/index.htm
Students explain how the development of transportation impacted westward expansion in order to complete this BCPS research model.

Gold Rush: California’s Untold Stories

http://www.museumca.org/goldrush/
This virtual exhibit from the Oakland Museum of California contains photos and stories about the Gold Rush and its impact on prospectors, California natives, Chinese immigrants, and the environment.

New Perspectives on the West

http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/
Explore the people, places, and events of the American West at this site. Lesson plans can also be found at this site.

 Industrial America and Immigration [top]

Student Resources

Site

Description

Lower East Side Tenement Museum

http://www.tenement.org/research.html
This site contains research about and a virtual tour of New York tenements that were built in 1863-64. The site and museum tell the story of urbanization.

Lowell Documents

http://www.kentlaw.edu/ilhs/lowell.html
A collection of primary sources related to working conditions in factories.

Harriet Robinson: Lowell Mill Girls

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/robinson-lowell.html
This web page features an autobiography of Harriet Robinson, a female factory worker. The autobiography describes the reasons many Lowell girls sought out work at the turn of the century. Related issues of factory work covered in her biography are daily life, family, and recreation.

The History Place- Child Labor In America

http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/
This site contains photos documenting life for children during the years 1908 – 1912.The photos illustrate child labor conditions as well as offer a glimpse into the family life and pastimes of children at the turn of the century.

The History Channel's Ellis Island

http://www.historychannel.com/ellisisland/index2.html
Do you know what it is like to immigrate to a strange new country? You will when you stop by this History Channel site. This is an online exhibit that allows the user to actually experience what an immigrant would experience when sailing into New York's harbor. You will see photos movies, and hear actual recordings of immigrants as they disembark onto Ellis Island.

 Imperialism and WWI [top]

Student Resources

Site

Description

"The Age of Imperialism"

http://www.smplanet.com/imperialism/toc.html
The purpose of this site is to explore the United States expansion in the late 19th and early 20th century. This site provides detailed, readable information for students on Pacific expansion, the Spanish American War, the "Maine," the Boxer Rebellion, and the Panama Canal.

The Great War and Shaping American History

 http://www.pbs.org/greatwar/
The Great War provides a comprehensive site to America’s first engagement in W.W.I. Encompassed in this site is maps, interviews, and an interactive timeline.

20th Century Authoritarianism and Propaganda

http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/models/propaganda/
This BCPS research models addresses the essential question: How did political groups use propaganda to gain and maintain control of various countries in the first half of the twentieth century?

 1920s and 1930s [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

The Monkey Trial

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/monkeytrial/
One of the greatest legal debates in history by two wonderful orators is explained at this site.

Brother, can you spare a dime?

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpedu/lessons/98/
Teacher and student resources on the effects of the
New Deal on the Great Depression.

Prosperity and Thrift: The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/coolhtml/coolhome.html
Lessons and resources on Coolidge and the prosperity of the 1920s.

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

New Deal Network

http://newdeal.feri.org/
This web site offers feature articles, an image library, and lesson plans related to the people, policies, and
events of the New Deal era.

 WWII [top]

Student Resources

Site

Description

The History Place- WWII- Europe

http://www.historyplace.com/worldwar2/timeline/
This site analyzes a tumultuous time in world history. The user can examine a timeline, information, and photos of W.W.II.

World War 2 Database

http://www.worldwar2database.com/
The World War II Multimedia Database has 1850 photos, 93 video clips, and a virtual radio about the war that changed the world.

Biographies of WW2

http://www.eduscapes.com/42explore/ww2bios.htm
Personal accounts of people in WW2.

Women Come to the Front

http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/wcf/wcf0001.html
This site explores the women, war, and opportunity during W.W.II. Many women are featured as journalists, photographers, and broadcasters.

 Civil Rights [top]

Student Resources

Site

Description

National Civil Rights Museum

http://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/
This online museum contains descriptions of events and history of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. There is also a virtual tour available.

Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement

http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/civilrights/
This is an extensive site that provides information on the African Americans struggle for Civil Rights from the Underground Railroad to Martin Luther King Jr. This site provides information on historic places.

Post WWII [top]

Teacher Resources

Site

Description

Modern History Sourcebook

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/modsbook.html
Follow this link to more links and lessons about contemporary history.

Daryl Cagle's Pro Cartoonist's Index

http://cagle.slate.msn.com/
An enormous site full of political cartoons and comics. The site provides easy access with selection available topics. Teaching guides are available for elementary, middle, and high schools.

 

Student Resources

Site

Description

The Korean War

http://www.multied.com/korea/index.html
This site gives you insight into the true tale of the Korean War.

National Security Archive

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/
This site provides documents on international affairs through a library and archive of declassified U.S. documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

 

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