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Internet Resources for Learning About the Constitution

Documents and Symbols of American Freedom
http://score.rims.k12.ca.us/score_lessons/symbols_freedom/
Explore the content and meaning of key documents in American history such as the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Learn the importance of major symbols of American freedom such as the Bald Eagle, the 4th of July, the Star Spangled Banner, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Uncle Sam, Lady Justice and the Statue of Liberty. This is a useful web museum for English Learners at all grades. Standards K.2, 1.3.3, and 3.4.3

The Constitution of the United States of America
http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.overview.html
This Cornell Law School version of the Constitution is divided into sections by article and amendment. Each section is annotated to identify the contents of that part of the Constitution. Standards 5.7.2, 5.7.4, 8.2.2, 8.11.5, 11.1.0, 11.7.5, 12.1.0, and 12.4.0

The Preamble
http://www.school-house-rock.com/Prea.html
Sing your way to learning along with America Rocks as you learn about the U.S. Constitution. Standard 3.4.3 and 5.7.4

A New System of Government
http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/prog05/index.html
This Biography of America website describes the struggle of early America to create a new government and a constitution. Learn about the conflicting ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton and decide which has had the most lasting impact. There is a map, a primary source picture, an interactive timeline and the transcript of the video on which the site is based. Standards 5.5.4, 5.7, 8.3.4, 11.1.2, and 12.1.3

To Form A More Perfect Union
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/continental/intro01.html
Thumbnail engravings illustrate the history of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. Links in the material lead students to more information about key people, events, and ideas. Standards 5.5.2 and 8.2.2

Documents of the Continental Congress and Constitutional Convention
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/bdsds/bdsdhome.html
Here are 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Standards 8.2.2, 8.2.3, 11.1.3, and 12.1.4

Articles of Confederation - 1777
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/content.php?page=document&doc=3
On June 11, 1776, the Second Continental Congress appointed three committees in response to the Lee Resolution. One of these committees, created to determine the form of a confederation of the colonies, was composed of one representative from each colony with John Dickinson, a delegate from Delaware, as the principal writer. Learn about the type of government organization that this committee developed as the first constitution of the United States. Standard 5.7.1 and 8.2.2

Magna Carta and Its American Legacy
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/
This is a fairly long but clearly written explanation of the history and impact of the Magna Carta on the U.S. Constitution. Standards 8.2.1, 10.2.2, and 11.1.2

United States Constitution Search
http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDERAL/usconser.html
This is a subset of the Emory University Founding Documents website. This resource allows a user to easily find constitutional references to key ideas. After entering a key word such as "religion," press "search," and specific articles and amendments related to the topic appear with the keyword bolded. Standards 4.5 all, 5.7 all, 8.2 all, 8.3.3, 8.3.6, 8.10.3, 8.11.5, 11.1.2, 11.1.3, 11.2.9, 11.5.3, 11.5.4, 11.10.7, 11.11.4, 12.1 all, 12.2 all, 12.4 all, 12.5 all, and 12.7 all

Virginia Plan (1787)
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/content.php?page=document&doc=7
On May 29, 1787, Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph proposed what became known as "The Virginia Plan." Written primarily by fellow Virginian James Madison, the plan traced the broad outlines of what would become the U.S. Constitution: a national government consisting of three branches with checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power. In its amended form, this page of Madison's plan shows his ideas for a legislature. It describes 2 houses: one with members elected by the people for 3-year terms and the other composed of older leaders elected by the state legislatures for 7-year terms. Both would use population as a basis for dividing seats among the states. Standards 5.7.4 and 8.2.3

Constitution
http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/subjects/constitution.htm
Specially written for students, this site examines the making of the Constitution, biographies of the signers, and the text of the Constitution. Then there is Constitution trivia called Fascinating Constitution Facts and a chart comparing the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution. Standards 5.7.1, 5.7.2, 5.7.3, 5.7.4, 8.2.2 and 8.2.3

Constitution for Kids
http://www.usconstitution.net/constkids4.html
Here is basic information written for students in grades 4-7 or 8-11 about the Constitution including the key concepts and history of its development. The place of women and the issue of slavery in the Constitution are also discussed. Lastly, there is a section on how the government works, separation of powers, checks and balances, how a bill becomes a law, and the cabinet. Standards 8.2.2, and 8.2.6

James Madison: Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, June 8, 1789
http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/P/jm4/speeches/amend.htm
This is a speech by James Madison on June 8, 1789 proposing amendments to the constitution including those that later became the Bill of Rights. The list under Madison's "Fourthly" may be compared to the wording in the amendments ratified by the states as the Bill of Rights. Standards 8.2.3, 11.1.2, and 12.1.6

Interactive Constitution
http://www.constitutioncenter.org/constitution/
Discover how the Constitution relates to more that 300 indexed topics from school prayer to civil rights. Search the Constitution by key word or Supreme Court decision. Standards 5.7.3, 8.2.6, 8.11.5, 11.1.3, 12.4.1, 12.4.2, 12.4.4, 12.4.5, 12.4.6, 12.5.1, 12.5.3, 12.5.4, and 12.7.4

Explore the Constitution
http://www.constitutioncenter.org/explore/BasicGoverningPrinciples/index.shtml
This discussion of the basic governing principles found in the U.S. Constitution includes information about individual rights, judicial review, federalism, separation of powers and a system of checks and balances, rule of law, and popular sovereignty. Standards 5.7.3, 5.7.4. 8.2.4, 8.2.7, 11.1.3, and 12.1.5

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
http://www.constitutioncenter.org/explore/FoundingFathers/index.shtml
Delegates hailing from all the original states except Rhode Island gathered in the Pennsylvania State House in 1787 to participate in the Constitutional Convention. Who were these men? Many of the delegates had fought in the American Revolution and about three-fourths had served in Congress. The average age was 42. Learn more here. Standards 5.7.0, 8.2.4, and 8.2.5

United States Founding Documents
http://www.law.emory.edu/erd/docs/usconst.html
Description: Here is a searchable index of information ideal for cross-referencing constitutional topics and Founding Documents. Standards 8.2.1, 8.2.2, and 12.2.1 civics

John Locke
http://www.philosophypages.com/ph/lock.htm
As the key philosopher of the Enlightenment and the American Constitution it is important that the ideas of John Locke are understood. Here is a clear explanation linked to sections of his writings that further expand on his ideas. Standard 7.11.5, 8.2.4, 10.2.1, 11.1.2, and 12.1.1

Hamilton and the U.S. Constitution
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/sfeature/hamiltonusconstituion.html
This clearly written PBS document outlines Alexander Hamilton's contributions and ideas in the Constitutional Convention. His work to promote ratification and efforts in setting up the new government persuade readers that the Constitution would not have been ratified without Hamilton. Standard 5.7.2 and 8.2.4

Charters of Freedom
http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/charters.html
These are the copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights found in the National Archives. Standards 3.4.3, 5.5.3, 5.7.2, 8.1.2, 12.1.3, and 12.1.6

Biographies of the Founding Fathers
http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters_of_freedom/constitution/founding_fathers.html
This site by the National Archives has short biographies plus good portraits of the 55 delegates indexed by state. Ones who did not sign the constitution are designated. Standards 3.4.6, 5.7.2, 8.2.4, 11.1.2, and 12.1.4

The Constitution of the United States of America
http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.overview.html
This Cornell Law School version of the Constitution is divided into sections by article and amendment. Each section is annotated to identify the contents of that part of the Constitution. Standards 5.7.2, 5.7.4, 8.2.2, 8.11.5, 11.1.0, 11.7.5, 12.1.0, and 12.4.0

The Constitutional Amendment Process
http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/constitution/
The authority to amend the Constitution of the United States is derived from Article V of the Constitution. After Congress proposes an amendment, the Archivist of the United States, who heads the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), is charged with responsibility for administering the ratification process under the provisions of 1 U.S.C. 106b. Learn about this process here and link to Constitutional Amendment Information in the Treasures of Congress Exhibits: The Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10 and 27); The 13th Amendment (Prohibiting Slavery); The 17th Amendment (Direct Election of Senators); and The 19th Amendment (Granting Women the Right to Vote) Standards 8.11.5 and 12.4.2

Federalist 10 and 51 (1787-88)
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=10
The Federalist Papers were a series of 85 essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay to persuade the people of New York to ratify the new Constitution. The essays featured here are Federalist No. 10 and Federalist No. 51. The former, written by James Madison, refuted the belief that it was impossible to extend a republican government over a large territory. It also discussed special interest groups. The later emphasized the importance of checks and balances within a government. Standards 8.1.3, 8.2.4, 10.2.2, 11.1.2, and Government 12.1.4, 12.1.5

To Form A More Perfect Union
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/continental/intro01.html
Thumbnail engravings illustrate this history of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. Links in the material lead students to more information about key people, events, and ideas. Standards 5.5.2 and 8.2.2

13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865)
http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=40
The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." It passed the Senate on April 8, 1864, and the House on January 31, 1865. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures. The necessary number of states ratified it by December 6, 1865. Standard 8.11.5

A New System of Government
http://www.learner.org/biographyofamerica/prog05/index.html
This Biography of America website describes the struggle of early America to create a new government and a constitution. Learn about the conflicting ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton and decide which has had the most lasting impact. There is a map, a primary source picture, an interactive timeline and the transcript of the video on which the site is based. Standards 5.5.4, 5.7, 8.3.4, 11.1.2, and 12.1.3

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