The first decades of the new United States of America were tremulous as the founding fathers disagreed over how the government should run, thus beginning political parties. Plus, the United States expanded with the Louisiana Purchase and the new knowledge gained from the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Learning about John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the Other Founding Fathers
Lesson objective: The early days of the new republic led to a division between two approaches to the new nation. The Federalists believed a strong central government was important. The Anti-Federalists or Democratic Republicans believed that the power should rest with the states. Despite disagreements, for the most part people still got along. (Copywork sentence: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed but they became friends.)
There obviously were exceptions to people getting along. Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. John Adams encouraged the Alien and Sedition acts which discouraged a free press. But in the end, the start of two distinct political parties still meant the government was working and not arguing all the time despite disagreements.
I particularly like the story of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Adams even left the White House before Jefferson arrived on his inauguration day to avoid seeing him. Although they had worked on the Revolutionary concepts together, they did not agree with how it was to be run. Worst of Friends by Susanne Tripp Jurmain tells this story for kids. I like how they reconciled and became “pen pals” in their later life.
You can also download my eight-page ebook about Adams and Jefferson!Here are more books and activities for the founding fathers and early years of the Republic.
- Those Rebels, John and Tom by Barbara Kerley
- Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Everything by Maria Kalman
- John Adams Speaks for Freedom by Deborah Hopkinson
- Reflect on some leadership lessons from John Adams
- Thomas Jefferson’s Feast by Frank Murphy plus make ice cream!
- Thomas Jefferson and the Ghostriders by Howard Goldsmith
- Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library by Barb Rosenstock then learn more about libraries!
- Be an Inspector Gadget for Thomas Jefferson’s collections of tools
- Alexander Hamilton: From Orphan to Founding Father by Monica Kulling
- Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown
- Abigail Adams: First Lady of the American Revolution by Patricia Lakin
Lewis & Clark Learning Ideas
Objective: Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for a low price. Then he sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on a journey to follow the major rivers and (hopefully) find a route to the Pacific Ocean. These adventurers documented territory for the U.S., and discovered flora and fauna previously unknown to Americans. (Copywork sentence: Lewis and Clark explored the West.)
The Louisiana Purchase meant that the size of the United States was greatly expanded, and the variety of landscapes, plants, and animals now expanded altogether as well.
Here are some great games, activities, and books to go along with your studies.
- Create a Lewis & Clark Lap book
- Learn about map making by a Map the Park activity or practice to scale mapping
- Play a Louisiana Purchase geography game
- Lewis and Clark, a Prairie Dog for the President by Shirley Raye Redmond and learn about the animals new to Americans on the expedition. Can students describe one of the animals without saying it’s name? Can the class figure out what animal it is? (see a lesson geared for older children for ideas). See also this Animal Discovery Journal (geared for older children)
- How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark by Rosalyn Schnazer* and play an online game from National Geographic
- Make a handmade Lewis & Clark journal with an “old” look
- Compare what students think Lewis & Clark needed to bring with what they actually brought
- Learn about the members of the Corps of Discovery
- The Crossing by Donna Jo Napoli. This tells the story of Lewis and Clarks’ journeys through the sparse poetry as if Sacagawea’s baby were telling it.
- Sacagawea and the Bravest Deed by Stephen Krensky
- Sacajawea: Her True Story by Joyce Milton
- Seaman’s Journal by Patricia Reeder Eubank OR Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale by Laurie Myers*. These tell the story from the perspective of the dog!
- Check out Tina’s Ultimate Guide to Lewis and Clark for more ideas!
Check back tomorrow for the last day in this series!