The People's Vote: 100 Documents That Shaped America

Name:The People’s Vote: 100 Documents That Shaped America

Brief Description of the Site:
What might be the most important document in the history of the U.S.? Would it be The Declaration of Independence, The Emancipation Proclamation, The Bill of Rights, or The Constitution of the United States? And what was the document that outlawed slavery or led us into WWI or outlawed school segregation? All of these, plus 93 others, are featured on this page, which focuses on the 100 Most Significant Documents in U.S. History as determined by a nationwide vote conducted by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in conjunction with National History Day and U.S. News and World Report. Best of all, each of the 100 is a hotlink, which brings up a digitized image of the actual document. Click on Gettysburg Address and see the yellowed page containing President Lincoln’s words. Each document is also available as a high-resolution PDF file. The documents are listed in rank order, by number of votes received. The page offers several teacher-oriented links for lesson plans and other activities for using primary sources.

How to use the site:
First, there’s the “wow†factor as on the screen appears The Declaration of Independence or Thomas Edison’s patent application for the light bulb or any of the 98 other documents, including the 19th Amendment (Women’s Suffrage), the 1964 Civil Rights Act, or 1935’s Social Security Act. Depending on grade level, the teaching possibilities are enormous. Then, there’s the actual rank order, based on number of votes each document received. Of course The Declaration of Independence received the most (29,681) but some interesting lessons can be developed debating just why the Louisiana Purchase should have outranked The Monroe Doctrine. This is hands-on history presented in a most fascinating way.