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Desert Area Teaching American
History Institute

Resources for Learning About
18th Century Colonial America on the Internet

Colonial Williamsburg
This is a rich, well-researched resource with incredible photos of the colonial and revolutionary period and pages of facts about important people and events of early Virginia. This site is an essential resource for any classroom studying the 17th and 18th c. periods of American history. Standards 3.4.3 and 5.4.3-5.4.5

American Centuries
This virtual museum site from Deerfield Massachusetts provides users with over 1000 images of primary source artifacts organized into the following themes: Family Life, Native American Indians, African Americans, Newcomers, and The Land. The eras of the artifacts are grouped according to the following date ranges: 1680-1720, 1780-1820, and 1880-1920. Users may use the artifacts to compare and contrast life in the different eras or to compare the life and issues of importance to the different peoples of the time such as colonists, Indians and African Americans. An introductory essay places the images in historical context. Standard 5.4.0

Experience the Life in the 18th c.
Students ‘Experience Life in the 18th century’ at this Colonial Williamsburg site by learning about clothing, family life, manners, politics, trades, and the African-American life in colonial Virginia. These are largely photo albums featuring costumed interpreters supported by essays on the topics. This is a great site for whole class projection. Standard 5.4.0

Misfortune of Indentured Servants
This primary source copy of Gottlieb Mittelberger's 1754 description of the voyage to America will make you glad you live in the 20th century. Standard 5.4.5

Home of Thomas Jefferson: Monticello
This page gives a tour of the home of Thomas Jefferson. An interesting part of the site is the "A Day in the Life" which details Jefferson's activities at his country estate. Standard 3.4.6 and 5.5.4

Thomas Jefferson: Man of the Millennium
This site on Thomas Jefferson discusses his contributions to the founding of American freedom and includes eight pieces of his writing and one by Abraham Lincoln referring to Jefferson. The primary source writings include: Jefferson’s Instructions for his Tombstone; the Declarations of Jefferson and of the Congress (Declaration of Independence); Jefferson’s Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Fix the Site of the University of Virginia; the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; Jefferson’s Classification scheme for his library that became the Library of Congress in 1815; Jefferson’s sketch of Colonial Expansion ca. 1784 & Report on Government for Western Territory, March 1, 1784; Jefferson's First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1801; and a letter by Benjamin Rush to Thomas Jefferson. Standards 8.2.5, 8.4.1, 8.4.2, 10.2.1, and 12.1.3

Encyclopedia of Slavery
This Spartacus site has a wealth of information, all cross-linked among the names and topics, for anyone beginning research on a person or event related to slavery. Beginning with 32 slave accounts by people famous and obscure, the site then provides 14 articles on the slave system including the slave trade and life on different types of plantations. Following this are 14 articles on life in enslavement and 24 articles on events and issues from the Amistad Mutiny to Reconstruction. There is a huge list of campaigners against slavery both American and British with biographical information on each. Though most of the primary resources are for the 19th century, there is useful information on the colonial period, especially in the section on “The Slave system.” Standards 5.4.6, 8.6.4, 8.7 all, 8.9.1, 8.9.5, 8.10.4, and 8.11 all

Slave Songs of the United States
This electronic text is a facsimile of an 1867 book called Slave Songs of the United States by W. F. Allen, C.P. Ware, and L.M. Garrison. It is part of the "Documenting the South" project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the book are the words and sheet music for many spirituals, folk, and work songs of African Americans from the 19th century. Standard 5.4.6 and 8.7.2

A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings
This is a first person account of how a slave, Briton Hammon, escaped from his master and fled to Boston in the 1740s. Standard 5.4.6

Charter of Privileges Granted by William Penn,
esq. to the Inhabitants of Pennsylvania and Territories, October 28, 1701

What would your rights have been had you settled in Pennsylvania in the early 1700's? This document by William Penn lists them. The modernized spelling in this document makes for greater ease of use.
Standards 5.4.3, 5.4.5, and 5.4.7

World of Benjamin Franklin: Glimpses of the Man
Learn about Benjamin Franklin's contributions as a scientist, inventor, statesman, printer, philosopher, musician and economist. Included are links to a timeline and Poor Richard's Almanac, Standards 2.5, 3.4.6, 5.5.4, 5.5.3, 8.2.1 and 8.2.2

Benjamin Franklin: An Enlightened American
This student-developed site has a thorough biography of Benjamin Franklin, his writings, quotes and sayings, and a description of his major inventions. As with any student-developed site, this one should not be considered scholarly, but it has been recommended by the Franklin Institute. Standards 2.5, 3.4.6, and 5.5.4

Growth and Empire
Benjamin Franklin and Philadelphia took center stage as a merchant class grew to power in the northern colonies. In the meantime the southern colonies built their economy on the backs of the enslaved. This Biography of America site has an interactive key events chart, a map, a transcript of the video on which the site was built and a rich webography. Standard 5.4 general

A Colonial Family and Community
Meet the Daggetts -- a real family who lived on a farm in the town of Coventry, Connecticut, during the mid-1700s. Unlike other New England towns, it did not have a town center or village green, but was made up of farms scattered across the countryside. Mills, craft shops and taverns were located on people's farms. There were five members of the family Samuel and his wife Anna and their three children Asenath, Tabitha, and Isiah. Standards 5.4.3 and 5.4.5

Education in Colonial America: The School Upon a Hill
This site describes early American education through pictures and examples from texts. These show the strong influence of religion. Standard 5.4.3

History of Colonial Money
This resource from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is a short history of the evolution of money in the colonial period. It describes wampum, "country pay," foreign and domestic coins, bills of credit, and continental currency. You will be fascinated to learn that colonists sometimes encouraged pirates to come to their ports. This selection includes a short glossary of key terms. Standard 5.4.5

Life in the British Colonies
Teachers of English Language Learners will find both the visuals and the vocabulary support of the site extremely useful. Though nowhere near the content or technical quality of the sites mentioned above, the material here is great support for a general study of colonial America. Standards 5.4.0 and 5.4.2

Schooling, Education, and Literacy in Colonial America
Here are pictures of horn books, primers, and school rooms from colonial times. There are separate pages on education in New England, the Middle Colonies and the Southern Colonies. The large images project well for whole class discussion. Standards 5.4.0 and 5.4.3

Archiving Early America
Though this site has annoying and sometimes inappropriate advertising, it has a rich collection of materials on the colonial era of American history for educators. Teachers would be wise to collect and load resources for projection to the whole class such as ‘Famous Moments in Early American History’ which are short film clips on Benjamin Franklin, Washington, Paul Revere, etc. Standard 5.4 all

Colonial America 1600-1775 K-12 Resources
This is a well-indexed and organized source for primary documents, articles, timelines and more. Standard 5.4 all

Marquis de la Galissoniere,
Memoir on the French Colonies in North America, December 1750

This primary source shows the highly competitive nature of the colonial experience in North America. This shows the tension between France and England more than a decade before the French and Indian War. Standards 5.2.4 and 5.4.5

Hargrett Rare Map Collection - Colonial America
Here are historical maps from as early as 1625 showing the land and colonies of North America. Many are large so select print preview from the finder and then select page set up. Adjust the page size until it is appropriate for use or printing. Standards 5.2.3, 5.4.1 and 5.4.5

U.S. History Maps
This list of clear maps with in-depth annotations provides a summary of American history from colonial to modern times.

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