American Revolution and 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. 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.

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.

A Brush With History: Paintings from the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian

Visitors to this site may 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. 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).

Religion and the Founding of the American Republic, Library of Congress

This exhibition of 212 written documents and visual images explores the significance of religion to early American history. The site includes manuscripts, letters, books, prints, paintings, artifacts, and music from the Library of Congress and other collections. The seven sections of the exhibition—each including a 500-word essay and annotations of 100 words in length for each object displayed—cover the following topics: religious persecution in Europe that led to emigration; religious experience in 18th-century America, including the Great Awakening of 1740–45; the influence of religious leaders and ideas on the War of Independence; policies toward religion of the Continental-Confederation Congress of 1774–89, state governments, and the new federal government; and evangelical movements of the early 19th century. The site provides archival commentary to all sources and will be useful to those studying early American history and print culture, as well as the history of religion and the role it played in early America.

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.

Rivers, Edens, Empires: Lewis and Clark and the Revealing of America, Library of Congress

This online exhibit opens with an examination of the “imperial mentality” common to Virginia’s aristocratic class in the late 18th century, and then focuses on the Lewis and Clark journey. It ends with the later expeditions of Zebulon Pike, Stephen H. Long, Charles Wilkes, and John Charles Fremont, and the mid-19th century transcontinental railroad plan that supplanted the search for a water route to the Pacific. It presents 170 documents and artifacts in an exhibit that interprets 19th-century westward exploration through three motivating forces present in President Thomas Jefferson’s instructions to Lewis and Clark: a search for navigable rivers to span the continent; a quest for Edenic beauty and riches; and the competitive desire to acquire a continental empire. In addition to maps, plans, and charts, the site offers images (sketches, watercolors, etchings, and engravings), texts (letters, diaries, speeches, newspapers, and books), and tools (surveying and medical instruments, cooking utensils, armaments).

First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750–1820, American Memory, Library of Congress; University of Chicago Library; and Filson Historical Society

This site provides approximately 15,000 pages of historical published and unpublished manuscript material related to the migration of Europeans west into the Ohio River Valley during the latter half of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th. Includes books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, journals, letters, legal documents, pictorial images, maps, ledgers, and other material. The site also includes a special presentation with a 6,500-word hyperlink-filled essay arranged into five sections on contested lands, peoples and migration, empires and politics, Western life and culture, and the construction of a Western past.

Women’s History: The 1850 Worcester Convention, Assumption College

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the First National Women’s Rights Convention, held in 1850 in Worcester, MA, this site provides an archive of documents relating to the convention, including 8 speeches, 15 newspaper accounts, 14 letters, and selected items from the proceedings. Also offers three speeches from the 1851 convention, as well as a host of other resources concerning the 19th-century woman’s movement more generally. Diary entries, government reports, tracts for and against suffrage, poems from Godey’s Lady’s Book, and the full text of several books are included, such as The Lady’s Guide to Perfect Gentility (1856). On an ongoing basis, the site presents essays about and selections by formerly well-known advocates for women’s rights who since have been forgotten. The site also includes links to 24 related websites.

Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848–1921, American Memory, Library of Congress

This site consists of 167 books, pamphlets, handbooks, reports, speeches, and other artifacts totaling some 10,000 pages dealing with the suffrage movement in America. Carrie Chapman Catt, the Association’s longtime president, donated much of the larger collection. Also included are works from the libraries of some of the organization’s officers and members, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Alice Stone Blackwell, Julia Ward Howe, Elizabeth Smith Miller, and Mary A. Livermore. Formed in 1890, NAWSA secured the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 through a series of well-organized state campaigns.

American President: An Online Reference Resource, Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia

This website features extensive information on all 43 of the nation’s presidencies. Each president is featured individually with an in-depth biographical essay, details about the first lady and members of the cabinet, links to the President’s speeches, and discussions with current scholars. The Presidency as an institution is treated thoroughly in the “President at Work” section, that features a collection of essays on general areas of presidential duty: domestic and economic policy; national security; legislative affairs; administration of the government and White House; and presidential politics. Clicking on “Presidential Oral Histories” or “Presidential Recordings” under the “Academic Programs” tab reveals an additional wealth of information.