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Elections and Voting: Resources from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
While voting is just one of many responsibilities of citizens, it is an important one. As the nation prepares for the presidential election on November 8, it is interesting to see how elections have and haven't changed throughout American history.
The road to "justice for all" has not been a short and easy journey, but one fought with determination by individuals and groups over time. Voting is an important part of being a citizen in America and is a responsibility open to all.
Through using resources from The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, students learn that voting is an important responsibility of being an American citizen.
Learn more about elections and voting
Read about voting in early America.
Listen to a podcast about the bitter election of 1796.
Play a game to test your knowledge of voting rights milestones.
Read about the first contested presidential election in American history.
Access these great resources about elections by signing into your account on the Colonial Williamsburg Education Resource Library!
Create a free account here.
The presidential campaign of 1800 was perhaps the most bitter in U.S. history. Thomas Jefferson explains to modern students how negative campaigning, partisan politics, and contested elections have been part of our political system since the republic's earliest days.
The road to "justice for all" has not been a short and easy journey, but one fought with determination by individuals and groups over time. Voting is an important part of being a citizen in America and is a responsibility open to all. Students learn that voting is an important responsibility of being an American citizen.
Students compare and contrast voting eligibility in the eighteenth century and today. They also demonstrate and reflect on eighteenth century and twenty-first century voting procedures.
Teaching Tips: How to Use these Resources
Use this podcast about the Election of 1800 to provide additional context for older students about the negative campaigning on behalf of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams that characterized that election.
Citizens have many other responsibilities aside from voting. Balance a focus on voting with this lesson plan, The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizens, to ensure a well-rounded picture of what it means to participate in our democracy.
CWTI teachers, use this Teacher Institute Alumni Exclusive lesson plan: Election Day in 18th-Century Virginia to simulate an 18th-century election in your classroom. Don't yet have access to the exclusive lessons? If you are a graduate of Colonial Williamsburg's Teacher Institute, contact us and provide your name and graduation year, and we'll make sure your Resource Library account allows you to access the Teacher Institute section. If you are not an alumni, consider applying this year (full scholarships are available!)