American Revolution & Early Republic

American Revolution Digital Learning Project, New York Historical Society
This website combines exhibitions, documents, and objects for exploring the American Revolution. The site offers four online exhibitions: “Independence and Its Enemies in New York,” “Revolutionary Dresscode,” “Road to the American Revolution,” and “Women During the American Revolutionary War” (including women on the homefront, camp followers, and famous women). It also presents more than 1,900 museum objects, including clothing and fashion, tools and equipment (artist, military, household), silver, and toys; more than 1,400 documents, including broadsides, letters, muster sheets and payrolls, newspapers, petitions, and political cartoons; more than 350 prints; and more than 220 maps. Two video lectures and six essays by scholars of the American Revolution and the early republic are also available. Finally, teacher worksheets, eight lesson plans, and ten guides to student activities offer suggestions on how to guide students through the process of reading various types of primary documents.
The American Revolution and Its Era: Maps and Charts of North America and the West Indies, 1750–1789, American Memory, Library of Congress
This site records the mapping of North America and the Caribbean from 1750 to 1789 through images of more than 500 maps. The online collection allows researchers to compare editions, styles, and techniques of mapmakers from Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Italy, and the United States, and to follow the development of specific maps from the manuscript sketch to the finished, printed version. Descriptive notes (100–150 words) accompany each image. The site also includes a 1500-word essay on mapmaking during the American Revolutionary era and links to 12 other sites containing related materials. Researchers can browse this site by geographic location, subject, creator, and title, and can search the site by keyword. This site is ideal for students and teachers interested in mapmaking in the 18th century and in exploring how maps illustrate early American culture.
George Washington: A National Treasure, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
This exhibit focuses on the Lansdowne portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1796. Users may explore this portrait through three different filters: symbolic, biographic, or artistic. Each filter provides background information, and offers an interpretation of each element. In addition, the site contains biographical information on Washington’s life, a teacher’s guide with nine lesson plans on Washington and a chronology of his life, and a teaching section that asks students to find follow clues to locate missing parts of the portrait.
Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive, University of Virginia Library
More than 1,700 texts—correspondence, books, addresses, and a variety of public papers—written by or to Thomas Jefferson are available through the University of Virginia Library’s website. It site also includes a biography of Jefferson written in 1834, eight years after his death. The Jeffersonian Cyclopedia, published in 1900, organizes more than 9,000 quotes according to theme and other categories. A collection of 2,700 excerpts from Jefferson’s writings present his political philosophy.
Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, University of Nebraska Press; Center for Great Plains Studies, UNL Libraries
This well-designed site presents the “celebrated Nebraska edition of the Lewis and Clark journals,” edited by Gary E. Moulton. The site provides the complete text of all the journals from the 1803 to 1806 expedition, as well as introductions, prefaces, and sources. The material is searchable by keyword and phrase. The site also includes five scholarly essays, more than 46 images of pages from the journals, 26 images of people and places, 50 images of plants and animals encountered on the expedition, 12 explanatory maps, and 9 images of maps from the journals.
A Brush With History: Paintings from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian
Visitors to this site can view 76 portraits of prominent Americans drawn from the Gallery’s collections. Paintings are arranged in chronological order, from the 1720s to the 1990s. Featured artists include famous 18th- and 19th-century portraitists Gilbert Stuart and John Singer Sargent, as well as more abstract 20th-century artists like Marguerite Zorath. A brief biography accompanies each portrait, along with the artist’s name (if known), the year painted, the medium, and acquisition information.
The Hartford Black History Project, Hartford Black History Project
This website presents two exhibits on black history in Hartford, Connecticut. “A Struggle from the Start” charts stages in the life of the Hartford African American community from 1638 to 1920, including slavery, black codes, free blacks, black governors, and black community institutions. A second exhibit presents approximately 80 photographs from Hartford’s African American community covering the years 1870 to the 1970s.
Archiving Early America, Don Vitale
Created by a collector of early Americana, this site presents about 50 facsimile reproductions and transcriptions of original documents, newspapers, books, autobiographies, biographies, portraits, and maps from the 18th and early 19th centuries. Documents include the Declaration of Independence, the Jay Treaty, George Washington’s journal of his trip to the Ohio Valley, published in the 1754 Maryland Gazette, and 15 contemporary obituaries of well-known figures. Portraits include 24 statesmen and 12 “notable women.” The site includes an “Early American Digital Library” from which visitors can view more than 200 digital images from early American engravings of people, places, and events (full-size images are available for purchase).
Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, American Memory, Library of Congress
The Continental Congress Broadside Collection (253 titles) and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) contain 274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. The documents are presented as page images and as text, and are keyword searchable. This site is an excellent resource on the constitutional era and its popular politics.