American Journeys
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Everything teachers and students need for a successful National History Day project is available at — topic ideas, lesson plans, research advice, and thousands of pages of fully indexed eyewitness accounts of North American exploration. Follow famous explorers. Witness first contacts between cultures. See how the exchange of goods and ideas forever altered people’s daily life and ideas. Find out what “America” meant to the people who arrived here long ago and to the people who greeted them. Re-discover what it means to you.

From the American Journeys main page you can find primary sources from every expedition mentioned in your textbooks, from Viking mariners in Labrador in 1000A.D. to the U.S. Army in the Rockies 800 years later. You’ll discover logs of ship captains, reports of missionaries, speeches by Indians, sketches of artists, observations by scientists, diaries of fur traders, surveys by pioneers, and much more.

Browse the books and manuscripts by date, author, location, or expedition, then open up a document and start reading. Jump directly to pages where participants describe famous events. Or look only at pictures, including the first images that Europeans made of North America. Instead of starting on page one of a book or manuscript, locate information on hundreds of topics by using drop-down boxes, or search every word in every book using your own terms. Then go directly to the passages that interest you most.

A short article about each document gives you the background on its historical context, author, and origins, and points you to related research material elsewhere on the Web. A modern reference map helps you keep your bearings as you follow the trail. For future reference, print anything you like from your browser or save single pages or entire documents to your “Favorites” file. You can select and copy the text of any paragraph or page. Or you can open the document in Adobe Acrobat and print or download the whole thing in PDF format.

American Journeys puts thousands of pages of direct evidence about early American exploration and settlement in the hands of teachers and students twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, whether they’re in the classroom, at the library, in their home, or using a laptop on the go. It was built by National History Day and the Wisconsin Historical Society with a $202,000 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services. Its goal is simply to share these classic accounts of what it means to be American with people everywhere who love history.

Teacher Sourcebook (PDF, 11MB)

Teachers can order a free (plus shipping) printed copy of the 76-page Sourcebook (while supplies last) from

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