Detail from George Washington letter to John Mercer, September 9, 1786. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

These materials address the creation of the US Constitution from the failure of the Articles of Confederation through the controversial election of 1800 in both official records and personal correspondence. Documents from this era also illustrate the turbulence of this era as the United States struggled to create a national identity.

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Educational Resources:

Educational materials including essays, timelines, multimedia, interactives, featured primary sources, and other teaching resources can be found in the History by Era section of our website. Our Featured Primary Sources include introductions, transcriptions, and images of documents, available to all educators, with additional content of questions for discussion and printable hand-outs for Affiliate School members.

The New Nation, 1783–1815

Common Core Units for this Era

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Founding era
New nation
Rhetoric Seminar