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Inquiry Question

Historical Context





Table of

Lafayette Park: First Amendment Rights on the Presidentís Doorstep
Supplementary Resources

By studying Lafayette Park: First Amendment Rights on the President’s Doorstep, students will learn how one small group of determined women used Lafayette Park’s proximity to the White House to fight for their rights as citizens under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Their dramatic protests helped bring about the adoption of the 19th Amendment, which gave women all over America the right to vote.  They also provided a model for many other demonstrators, who used the stage of Lafayette Park to present their causes to the president.  Those interested in learning more will find much useful information on the internet.

President’s Park
Lafayette Park and the White House are both part of the National Park System.  Visit the President’s Park website for operating hours, maps, schedules of events, and other information. The site also offers a walking tour that includes Lafayette Square.

President’s Park/Citizens Soapbox
The White House Historical Association, in collaboration with the History Channel’s Save Our History Program and the School Without Walls in Washington D.C., developed a website that includes a podcast.  The Citizens Soapbox program highlights many First Amendment protests that have taken place in Lafayette Park, including the National Woman’s Party suffrage campaign.

Heritage Education Services, National Park Service
The Teaching with Historic Places website contains more than 135 curriculum-based lesson plans on places listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Decatur House: A Home of the Rich and Powerful discusses Stephen Decatur’s home on Lafayette Square as an example of the importance politically ambitious men and women placed on being in close proximity to the White House in the 19th century.  For additional information on the Constitution, see the Independence Hall: International Symbol of Freedom lesson plan.  The M'Clintock House: A Home to the Women's Rights Movement lesson plan highlights the Seneca Falls First Women’s Rights Convention of 1848.

National Archives and Records Administration/Charters of Freedom
The National Archive's Charters of Freedom web pages present detailed information on the creation and impact of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The website also includes transcripts and high-resolution digital images of the three documents.

National Archives and Records Administration, Teaching With Documents
The Teaching with Documents website includes a “Woman Suffrage and the 19th Amendment--Failure Is Impossible” lesson plan.  The lesson is based on a script prepared for the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 1995.  The cast of characters includes Abigail Adams, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Woodrow Wilson, and others.

This website is a project of the Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University, in Ashland, Ohio. The Ashbrook Center provides an academic forum for the study, research, and discussion of the principles and practices of American Constitutional government and politics.

National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center in Philadelphia maintains a website that includes copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, an interactive Constitution that provides additional information on each of the articles, summaries of important Supreme Court cases, and other useful information.

Sewall-Belmont House
The Sewall-Belmont House has been the headquarters of the NWP since 1929.  Its website includes background on the party and its history and an extensive photo archive.

Library of Congress, American Memory/Women’s History
This website is a rich repository of information.  It contains three excellent online exhibits: Votes for Women:  Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921; By Popular Demand:  ‘Votes for Women’ Suffrage Pictures, 1850-1920; and Women of Protest:  Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party

For further reading
Linda R. Monk’s book, The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide is a rich and easy-to-use source of information.  It goes through each of the ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights, discusses their background and the issues involved, and analyzes related Supreme Court cases.  Its declared purpose is “to help citizens make the Bill of Rights a living document.” 11

11Linda R. Monk, Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide, 3rd ed. (Alexandria, VA:  Close Up Publishing, 2000), front matter, n.p.


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