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DECEMBER 1, 2010

Primary Source of
the Month

Declaration of Independence Printed Handkerchief, c. 1825
Declaration of Independence Printed Handkerchief, circa 1825. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Founders or Traitors? EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is Founders or Traitors?
December 16, 2010

New! Downloadable American History
Lesson Plans from ABC-CLIO
and Colonial Williamsburg

December Podcasts
December Podcasts
12/6: Colonial Christmastide
12/13: The Stone Declaration
12/20: Music for the Holidays
12/27: History is Served

2010–2011 Teaching Resources Catalog
Teaching Resources Catalog

PSCU Financial Services Logo
2010–2011 Electronic Field Trip Scholarships

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun
Games, activities, and resources about life in colonial America.

2009 AEP Distinguished Achievement Award
The Teacher Gazette received
a 2009 Association of Educational Publishers Distinguished
Achievement Award

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Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers


Top Stories

"We hold these truths to be

The Declaration of Independence had a momentous task to accomplish, and it was not written without difficulty. In this excerpt from his book We Hold These Truths...: And Other Words That Made America, Paul Aron explains how Thomas Jefferson came to write the words that declared the United States of America "free and independent" of Mother England.

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Primary Source of the Month:
Declaration of Independence Printed Handkerchief

The print on this handkerchief is a copy of the John Trumbull painting “The Declaration of Independence.” It shows the five members of the committee charged with drafting the document presenting their draft to chairman John Hancock. The base of the handkerchief contains a key of the locations of several prominent signers of the Declaration and imitations of their signatures.

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Teaching Strategy: The Declaration of Independence "In Our Own Words"

The Declaration of Independence is one of America’s most famous and often-quoted documents. With these carefully-chosen words, the colonies declared themselves free and independent of Britain, pledging their lives and honor to the cause of American independence. In this lesson, students will translate the Declaration of Independence into modern language.

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Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

Colonial Williamsburg offers a variety of quality instructional materials about eighteenth-century topics, including:

  • The Stone Declaration of Independence (poster and lesson materials)

  • We Hold These Truths...: And Other Words that Made America (hardcover book)

  • 1776: A New Look at Revolutionary Williamsburg (hardcover book)

Learn more

Teaching News

ABC-CLIO and CW lesson plan cover

ABC-CLIO and Colonial Williamsburg are working together to provide downloadable American history lesson plans on topics ranging from Jamestown to the election of 1800 to the slave trade. The collection includes distinct materials for elementary school students and high school students. Each selection includes a topic overview, two suggested activities, and reference entries, providing 25–30 pages of content.

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Quotation of the Month

"Jefferson proposed to me to make the draft. I said, 'I will not,' 'You should do it.' 'Oh! no.' 'Why will you not? You ought to do it.' 'I will not.' 'Why?' 'Reasons enough.' 'What can be your reasons?' 'Reason first, you are a Virginian, and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second, I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third, you can write ten times better than I can.' 'Well,' said Jefferson, 'if you are decided, I will do as well as I can.' 'Very well. When you have drawn it up, we will have a meeting.'"

1822 letter from John Adams to Timothy Pickering describing the choice of who should write the Declaration of Independence.

The Colonial Williamsburg Electronic Field Trip Series is supported in part by the William and Gretchen Kimball Young Patriots Fund.

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