Skip to Main Content
Slide image
Slide image
Slide image

Documents of Freedom

PDF: Full Documents of Freedom Textbook

Resource Overview:

Dive into the story of America’s founding and founding documents. Documents of Freedom is a U.S. history and government curriculum covering the Founding vision for American government and the on-going struggle to achieve it.


A 2014-2015 study by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Services at Tufts University found that students using Documents of Freedom scored 18.3 percentage points higher than the control group with an increase in knowledge of history, government, and economics, and 8.3 percentage points over the control group with a gain in affinity for the importance of civic virtue and constitutional principles. In addition, 87.5 percent of the educators using the resource stated that they would incorporate civic virtue into their future lessons.


  • Completely free, comprehensive digital course on history, government, and economics
  • Written for teachers by teachers
  • Focused on primary sources
  • Accessible everyone on any device
  • Easily searchable by topic or key word
  • Aligned with state standards
  • Designed to be used as a course or by accessing individual units and lessons
  • Contains 66 ready-made lesson plans, an annotated handbook of Primary Sources, 76 essays, and over 100 student activities.

Teachers Say:

“{Through these lessons} my students were able to take primary documents and personalize the ideas, thus take ownership of those Founding ideas and virtues.” Pilot test Eductor

Students Say:

“It has made me look at the US Constitution and system of government from a whole new perspective because now I know so much more about how they affect our society today and what roles the play as far as the rights of citizens go.”

“It has showed me that it is important to use the rights of a citizen because they were so fiercely fought after.”

“It has sparked a new interest in overall law and how our government functions.”

Create playlists, save resources to your library, and access answer keys – Sign up for an educator account!

9 Units


The Foundations of American Goverment

6 Lessons

America's Founders looked to the lessons of human nature and history to determine how best to structure a government that would promote liberty. They started with the principle of consent of the governed: the only legitimate government is one which the people themselves have authorized. But the Founders also guarded against the tendency of those in power to abuse their authority, and structured a government whose power is limited and divided in complex ways to prevent a concentration of power. They counted on citizens to live out virtues like justice, honesty, respect, humility, and responsibility.


The Purpose of Government

9 Lessons

The structural or institutional features of the American constitutional order only make sense in the context of what the Founders hoped to achieve--securing the right of the American people to live decent, worthwhile lives according to their own goals and faculties. The thoughtful preservation of those institutions, occasionally through necessary corrective measures, depends on a proper understanding of what it is that they are designed to promote as well as an appreciation of how to manage those institutions to serve the best interests of the American people. All of this requires a citizenry with the skills and dispositions necessary for republican self-government, that is, a citizen body whose members understand and act to promote justice.


The Tradition of Rights

15 Lessons

Rights claims have always been central to American political discourse. In the Founders' view, no human being is so decisively superior to other adult human beings that he is entitled to direct their actions without their express consent. By Nature all adult human beings, regardless of their race, sex or class, are free to rule themselves or, what is the same, to exercise the same "inalienable rights," including the right to life, physical liberty, acquire and use property, marry and raise children, communicate one's opinions, and worship God according to the dictates of one's conscience.

Related Curricula