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Documented Rights

found in: social studies; 6-8; 9-12

Documented Rights  is an online exhibit that features five sections of documents from the National Archives on the struggle for personal rights and freedoms from the late 18th century to Brown v. Board of Education. For example, Section II  opens with the 13th, 14th, 15th Amendments that abolished slavery, defined citizenship, and protected voting rights. Despite the initial gains, Jim Crow laws undermined the freedoms of African Americans and, by the 1890s, Chinese citizens and immigrants. Three pages of contemporary documents and images can be expanded.

Education features an extended Lesson Plan for middle and high school students to research, analyze, and create a finished product using documents from the exhibit. The lesson includes and assessment rubric. A PDF of the lesson is provided. Other resources found under Education are guiding questions for each exhibit section, 6 student activities, vocabulary list, and National Standards for History and Civics.

Education/Lesson Plans provides links to other lesson plans and primary sources found on the web site or other National Archives web sites. Some of the subject headings are African American and Chinese American rights, child labor, freedom of speech, Japanese internment, Native Americans, and Women’s Suffrage. Related Resource Topics  covers many of the same areas.


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