The National Constitution Center is the first and only institution in America established by Congress to “disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people.” The Constitution Center brings the United States Constitution to life by hosting interactive exhibits and constitutional conversations and inspires active citizenship by celebrating the American constitutional tradition.

Collection Contents

13th Amendment - Congressional Copy - Primary Source with Discussion Questions

by Education Department National Constitution Center

This handwritten congressional copy of the amendment that banned slavery is signed by President Lincoln, Vice President Hannibal Hamlin, and over 150 members of Congress.
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Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads is a classroom activity designed to support the National Constitution Center’s online game of the same name and the nationally touring exhibition “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” The online game is intended for advanced middle- and high-school students. It invites them to learn about Lincoln’s leadership by exploring the political choices he made. An animated Lincoln introduces a situation, asks for advice, and prompts players to decide the issue for themselves before learning the actual outcome. Using this resource, students will work collaboratively to compile results and ultimately be assessed on their findings. There are two variations on this activity. The first is designed to have students experience and use the Lincoln’s Crossroads online activity to gather and synthesize information. The second is to use the Lincoln’s Crossroads online activity as an introduction to the museum exhibit “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” currently on national tour.
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Articles of Confederation - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

The first charter, or constitution, adopted by the 13 states following the American Revolution.
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BILL OF RIGHTS

by Education Department National Constitution Center

This lesson, which includes a pre-lesson and several post-lesson ideas, is intended to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Bill of Rights show. Together, they provide students with first-hand experience about one of our nation’s most important documents. In this lesson, students begin by learning about the specific rights and freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights. In order to understand the preamble and ten amendments clearly, they also work in small groups to “translate” the Bill of Rights into student-friendly language. Finally, students begin making connections between the ten amendments and real-life scenarios through playing Bill of Rights Bingo. After the NCC program, which provides students with an overview of the Bill of Rights, its history, and its modern-day relevance, students return to the classroom to participate in one of two follow-up activities. In the first activity, students search through newspaper, magazine and online articles to find examples of news events that show the ten amendments in action. In the second activity, students write and ratify a Bill of Rights for their classroom. Designed for students in grade 6-8, this lesson takes approximately five or six class periods from beginning to end.
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Bill of Rights - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

The first 10 amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, guarantee essential rights and civil liberties, such as the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to a fair trial, as well as protecting the role of the states in American government.
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Constitution Hall Pass - Constitution Day 2014: The Bill of Rights

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - Dollars and Sense: Tax Day

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Legacy of Service

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - Separation of Powers

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - The History of Thanksgiving

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - The Presidency

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - The Story of Earth Day

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass - The Thirteenth Amendment

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum's education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Constitution Hall Pass: Everything\'s Gone Green: The Story of Earth

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Give your students a “hall pass” to explore America’s civic holidays and constitutional history! Created and produced by the National Constitution Center, Constitution Hall Pass features the museum\'s education staff, distinguished scholars, and even some famous faces who bring America’s democracy and the stories of “We the People” to life.
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Declaration of Independence - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

The Declaration of Independence was written in 1776 by Thomas Jefferson. It was a list of grievances against the king of England intended to justify separation from British rule, and it expressed \"self-evident truths\" of liberty and equality.
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Emancipation Proclamation, Leland-Boker Edition, 1864 - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Enacted in 1862, this edition of the Emancipation Proclamation was auctioned to raise money for Union troops during the Civil War. It is signed by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward.
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Founding Document Lesson Plan

by Education Department National Constitution Center

This lesson builds student understanding of the relationships between the United States’ founding documents by comparing and contrasting the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Using a close reading guide, students will explore the key concepts in Jeffrey Rosen and David Rubenstein’s “Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights,” accessible on the Interactive Constitution at constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution. For classes visiting the National Constitution Center this lesson serves as an anticipatory activity to enhance student appreciation of the museum’s exhibit: Constituting Liberty. In the exhibit, students will see rare copies of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This lesson will prepare students with content knowledge to familiarize them with the exhibit’s content. Your students can more fully explore the U.S. Constitution’s history and what it means today with the new Interactive Constitution, where scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations—The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
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Free to be You High School Lesson Plan

by Education Department National Constitution Center

This lesson, which includes a pre-lesson and post-lesson, is intended to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Free to be You program. Together, they provide students with first-hand experience about how the First Amendment establishes five key freedoms of expression for Americans: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble peacefully, and freedom to petition the government. In this lesson, students begin by delving into an examination of the freedom to assemble peacefully through reading about two relevant news events. They work together in groups to understand how local and federal governments both protect this freedom and regulate its expression. To conclude the pre-lesson, they prepare brief presentations about additional local and national news events involving First Amendment freedoms. After the NCC program, students analyze the relationship between the First Amendment and symbolic speech through reading about Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a landmark Supreme Court case (1969). They examine this case’s circumstances and the Court’s majority and dissenting opinions before taking a look at additional landmark cases about students’ First Amendment rights. To conclude the post-lesson, students work in groups to write and perform mock newscasts about these rulings. Designed for students in grade 9-12, this lesson takes approximately six to eight class periods from beginning to end.
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Free to be You Middle School Lesson Plan

by Education Department National Constitution Center

This lesson, which includes a pre-lesson and post-lesson, is intended to be used in conjunction with the National Constitution Center’s Free to be You program. Together, they provide students with first-hand experience about how the First Amendment establishes five key freedoms of expression for Americans: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom to assemble peacefully, and freedom to petition the government. In this lesson, students begin by delving into an examination of the freedom to assemble peacefully through reading about two relevant news events. In preparation for the NCC program, they work together in groups to understand how local and federal governments both protect this freedom and regulate its expression. After the program, students analyze the relationship between the First Amendment and symbolic speech through reading about Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, a landmark Supreme Court case (1969). They begin by examining the case’s circumstances and the Court’s majority and dissenting opinions before writing and performing mock newscasts about the ruling. Designed for students in grade 6-8, this lesson takes approximately five or six class periods from beginning to end.
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Magna Carta - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

The Magna Carta, or “Great Charter,” established that there are laws even the king must obey—an idea we’ve come to call “the rule of law.”
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Mayflower Compact - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

This document was an agreement drafted by the settlers of the first New England colony.
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National Constitution Center - Interactive Constitution

by Education Department National Constitution Center

On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations—The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
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The Constitution of the United States: En Espanol

by Education Department National Constitution Center

The Constitution of the United States in Spanish.
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The Constitution of the United States: First Public Printing

by Education Department National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center houses this rare, original copy of the first public printing of the Constitution, published in The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, on September 19, 1787, by John Dunlap and David Claypoole.
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The Reconstruction Amendments - Primary Sources

by Education Department National Constitution Center

These three constitutional amendments abolished slavery and guaranteed equal protection of the laws and the right to vote.
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Virginia Declaration of Rights - Primary Source

by Education Department National Constitution Center

Drafted by George Mason, this declaration of rights later became a model for other state constitutions and the Bill of Rights.
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Students will investigate the legal language defining their freedom of speech rights. Participants will analyze landmark Supreme Court cases that define students’ freedom of speech, and then examine a recent challenge, Hawk and McDonaldMartinez v. Easton Areas School District (2013)—otherwise known as the I Heart Boobies case. To guide thinking, students will apply the IRAC case analysis technique and then will write majority and dissenting opinions as Supreme Court Justices.
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