America's Founding Fathers — Delegates to the Constitutional Convention
The National Archives online exhibit about the founding fathers
James Madison’s Letter to George Washington
Madison writes about the political situation in the state of Virginia
Learn About the New Nation
A historical overview, documents, films, images, and teaching resources from Digital History
The Writings of George Washington
Digitalized letters from the Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library
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Watch video clips from previous programs.
December 9, 2010 & September 16, 2011 · Grades 9-12
Fractured Union examines the complex and often tumultuous relationships between our founding fathers. Historical interpreters — portraying Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Mason — offer high school students a close look at the statesmen engaged in heated discussions.
Commentaries from leading historians show why the first presidents’ perspectives led to heated debates. Our guest historians include: Stuart Leibiger — Associate Professor and Department of History Chairman at La Salle University and author of Founding Friendship: George Washington, James Madison, and the Creation of the American Republic; Peter Henriques — Associate Professor Emeritus of History at George Mason University and a member of the editorial board for the George Washington Papers and of the Mount Vernon committee of George Washington Scholars; Ed Lengal — Associate Professor of History at the University of Virginia and Associate Editor of “The Papers of George Washington”; and William Ferraro — Assistant Editor of “The Papers of George Washington”.
WATCH FRACTURED UNION ONLINE.
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Washington becomes President
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the challenges faced by the new nation by a) identifying the weaknesses of the government established by the Articles of Confederation; b) describing the historical development of the Constitution of the United States; c) describing the major accomplishments of the first five presidents of the United States.
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues involved in the creation and ratification of the Constitution of the United States and how the principles of limited government, consent of the governed, and the social contract are embodied in it by a) explaining the origins of the Constitution, including the Articles of Confederation; b) identifying the major compromises necessary to produce the Constitution, and the roles of James Madison and George Washington; c) examining the significance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in the framing of the Bill of Rights; d) assessing the arguments of Federalists and Anti-Federalists during the ratification debates and their relevance to political debate today.
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the political philosophies that shaped the development of Virginia and United States constitutional government by a) describing the development of Athenian democracy and the Roman republic; e) analyzing the natural rights philosophies expressed in the Declaration of Independence; f) examining George Mason's Virginia Declaration of Rights, Thomas Jefferson's Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and James Madison's leadership role in securing adoption of the Bill of Rights by the First Congress.
The student will demonstrate knowledge of the Constitution of the United States by a) examining the ratification debates and The Federalist; b) identifying the purposes for government stated in the Preamble; c) examining the fundamental principles upon which the Constitution of the United States is based, including the rule of law, consent of the governed, limited government, separation of powers, and federalism.
The student will demonstrate knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights by a) examining the Bill of Rights, with emphasis on First Amendment freedoms; c) explaining selective incorporation of the Bill of Rights; d) exploring the balance between individual liberties and the public interest.
Standards in History for Grades 5-12 Era 3: Standard 3A
The student understands the issues involved in the creation and ratification of the United States Constitution and the new government it established. Grades 7-12: Analyze the alternative plans considered by the delegates and the major compromises agreed upon to secure approval of the Constitution.
Era 3: Standard 3B
Grades 7-12: Evaluate the arguments over the necessity of a Bill of Rights and explain Madison's role in securing its adoption by the First Congress. Grades 5-12: Analyze the significance of the Bill of Rights and its specific guarantees.
Contents of Historical Thinking Standards for Grades 5-12 Standard 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation
A. Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas. B. Consider multiple perspectives. C. Analyze cause-and-effect relationships and multiple causation, including the importance of the individual, the influence of ideas.