How did Thomas Jefferson help to shape the ideals and growth of the young American republic from 1776 until the time of his death in 1826? Examine the primary sources provided on the web site and select four that, in your opinion, provide the best evidence of Jefferson’s influence on the new nation. One of the four sources should be a visual depiction of Jefferson himself. For the other three sources, consider his views and influence on politics, slavery, religious freedom, education, and national expansion, among other topics. Once you have identified at least four sources, you and your partner will create a digital poster that presents your sources and summarizes Jefferson’s impact on shaping American society.
Students will be able to identify how Jefferson influenced the development of American society in the early years of the American republic. The lesson fits well with our study of the “Young Republic” era from 1789 to 1841, during which American national identity and institutions grew and sectional conflicts took hold. The activity will follow a lesson on the rise of the first political parties and paves the way for a subsequent lesson on the competing forces of nationalism and sectionalism. The activity also provides students with an opportunity to review material from the previous unit “Birth of the Republic” which examines the American Revolution and creation of the Constitution. The digital posters will help students understand the development of America’s ideals during this critical period.
The lesson is designed to fit within a 90-minute block but can be easily expanded.