Influence Library

This library of mini-lessons targets the people, ideas, and events that influenced the development of America’s government. Each mini-lesson includes a one-page reading and a one-page activity, and is appropriate for a variety of uses. Unlike the iCivics lesson plans, these mini-lessons are designed for students to complete independently without the need for teacher direction. However, they also make great teacher-directed lessons or even class conversation-starters, and multiple mini-lessons can be combined to make a longer lesson. 

Benjamin Franklin Mini-lesson

"The First American", Benjamin Franklin, is the only Founding Father that signed all three major documents that founded the United States of America: the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris in 1783, and the United States Constitution. Students explore the many roles he took during the founding of America.

George Mason Mini-lesson

Check out George Mason's role in the founding of the U.S. Even though he never served as a president and refused to sign the Constitution, Mason's work in Virginia and with the Anti-Federalists earn him a place with the Founding Fathers.

George Washington Mini-lesson

Review the variety of roles that George Washington played in America's early years. From commanding the Continental Army, to presiding over the Constitutional Convention, to setting the standard for the American presidency, Washington led the way.

Thomas Jefferson Mini-lesson

Thomas Jefferson was the third president of the United States, but he played many political roles throughout our nation’s history. His political life influenced the country in many ways, from the founding documents to the shape of our nation on the map.

James Madison Mini-lesson

This mini-lesson digs into the 41 year political career of James Madison. Considered the author of the U.S. Constitution, Madison was a prime architect in creating a strong national government, yet fought for the addition of a federal bill of rights. This balance resulted in the blueprint for government that we use to this day.


Partner Resources for this Lesson Plan include:

Federalists & Anti-Federalists

Look at the debate, and eventual compromise, between the Federalists and Anti-Federalists that occured around the creation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Constitutional Convention Mini-lesson

After ten years under the Articles of Confederation, Americans realized they needed something different. Explore the major debates that occurred at the convention, as well as the outcomes that created our system of government.

Early Rebellions Mini-lesson

As a new country, the United States experienced a lot of growing pains. Discover some of the citizen-led rebellions that occurred in the nation's first decades, and how the government grew to respond. It always boiled down to one thing... money.

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