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"Department of Deportment"

Stances and dances made the eighteenth century man—and woman! In the eighteenth century, how you portrayed yourself in public—the way you talked, walked, danced, dressed, and interacted with others—was incredibly important. Good deportment showed high social status and good breeding. Children were expected to show proper deportment from a young age, and wealthy families hired tutors and dancing masters to teach their children the graces they would need to be seen out in society. Learn more in this article from the Colonial Williamsburg Journal.

Primary Source of the Month

Family of Five at Tea, c. 1765-1770
Family of Five at Tea, c. 1765–1770
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Dressed in their finery, this family of five is seated for tea in an extravagant parlor. As a public icon of the family, this portrait was carefully staged in order to portray the family’s moral virtue by way of proper deportment. American colonists, observing these European social standards in newspapers and paintings like the one above, sought to emulate the behavior for themselves.

The Will of the People EFT
The Next Electronic Field Trip
is The Will of the People
October 11, 2012

Back-to-School specials on EFTs!

Teaching News

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Complimentary Access to Electronic Field Trip "The Will of the People"

Colonial Williamsburg’s Gift to the Nation in this election year provides teachers with unique resources to engage students in the study of citizenship and our founding democratic principles. The Electronic Field Trip “The Will of the People” examines the presidential election of 1800, one of the most bitter in U.S. history. Thomas Jefferson explains how negative campaigning and partisan politics have been a part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic.

  • Available online 24/7 from September 1 to September 30, 2012
  • On-demand video streaming over the Web
  • Email Thomas Jefferson
  • Interactive online activities
  • Downloadable resources, such as the teacher guide and program script (PDF)
  • Comprehensive lesson plans
Register Now at

Want more on elections? Check out our Connect broadcast Sept. 20.

Teacher Community

The Idea of America
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.

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


Colonial Williamsburg CONNECT

The next live Connect webcast is September 20 at noon EST. Join Cathy Lewis and her guests Thomas Jefferson and law professors Rebecca Green and Henry Chambers as they discuss voting rights, the expansion of the franchise, and the need for free and open elections. Tune in at to watch the program, ask our guests questions, and live chat with other viewers. #connectcw

Teaching Strategy: Behaving Ourselves, Eighteenth-Century Style

In the eighteenth century, children's behaviors directly reflected the social class and breeding of their family, and children were expected to behave much like adults. This lesson uses George Washington's Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation as a primary source to examine these manners. Students also demonstrate proper deportment through eighteenth-century courtesies (bows and curtseys).

Colonial Williamsburg Teaching Resources for Your Classroom

2012–2013 Teaching Resources Catalog

Check out our specials, including 50% off lesson units!

Kids Zone: History, Games & Fun

Quotation of the Month

"What is a fine person or a beauteous face,
Unless deportment give them decent grace;
Blessed with all other requisites to please,
To want the striking elegance of ease;
Awkward, embarrassed, stiff, without the skill
Of moving gracefully, or standing still."

—Charles Churchill, "The Rosciad," 1761

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Colonial Williamsburg for Teachers

2010 Distance Learning Award
21st Century Award
for Best Practices in Distance Learning,
United States Distance Learning Association, 2010

2011 AEP Finalist
Distinguished Achievement Award Finalist 2011
Association of Educational Publishers

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

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