From the nation's infancy, American leaders tried to avoid entanglement in European affairs. In 1793, as the French Revolution spread alarm through Europe, President George Washington issued a Proclamation of Neutrality, hoping to keep the United States outside the fray. In his 1796 farewell address, Washington reaffirmed the policy, declaring that "the nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness . . . is a slave to its animosity or to its affection." And yet a decade later the United States was being pulled back and forth between Britain and France as they battled each other in the Napoleonic Wars. When the rights of American sailors and merchants were continually threatened, Congress felt it had no choice but to declare war on Britain.
"The Sailor's Return" Pitcher, c. 1800
The Mariners' Museum
A pitcher like this may have been purchased by a sailor for his wife upon his return to shore. On the back is a transfer-printed image of a British frigate. Creamware, like this pitcher, was designed to mimic Chinese porcelain and became cheaper through mass production.
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is The War of 1812
January 19, 2012
Find sources of federal funding for EFTs in this PDF.
Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from
and Colonial Williamsburg
American Memory Timeline
Primary sources are essential to the teaching of American history, but finding the correct sources for your students can be intimidating. The Library of Congress' American Memory Timeline cuts through the clutter and organizes primary sources into eras and topics. Each section has a short overview and links to primary sources of different types, many with transcriptions.
The Idea of America
A digital American history program that inspires and prepares high school students for active citizenship, developed by Colonial Williamsburg and distributed by Pearson Education.
Funding Available for
Electronic Field Trips
Funding has become available for 6 schools in Hawaii to receive a fully funded $500 scholarship to participate in the 2011-2012 Electronic Field Trip Series. Scholarships are on a first come basis. Visit www.history.org/trips for more information and this year’s lineup. Visit http://www.history.org/Hawaiitrips/ to apply for a Hawaii scholarship.
The War of 1812 is often overlooked or only briefly studied in American history curricula, but this war had a lasting impactit proved America could be a viable and independent world power. The United States at the time was conducting an economy heavily based on imports and exports shipped back and forth across the Atlantic. In this lesson, students participate in a simulation of the global economy in the years prior to the War of 1812. As students participate in this miniature global economy, they learn how trade restrictions and failed diplomacy impacted America's decision to enter war with Britain in the War of 1812.
Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality
American history instructional materials, including:
- Mapping Colonial America CD-ROM
- Soldier's Haversack
Hands-on History Kit
- Buying Respectability Lesson Unit
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning, preK–12
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010
Distinguished Achievement Award Finalist 2011
Association of Educational Publishers
Quotation of the Month
"If our first struggle was a war of our infancy, this last was that of our youth; and the issue of both, wisely improved, may long postpone, if not forever prevent, a necessity for exerting the strength of our man-hood."
—James Madison to Charles J. Ingersoll, Jan. 4, 1818. As quoted in The Writings of James Madison: 18081819 (1908) ed. Gaillard Hunt. New York: The Knickerbocker Press, p. 407.
Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers