Jefferson K-12: “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”


“…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..”                   November 12, 2013

Teachers from all around the country immersed themselves this past summer in the Jeffersonian mystery at a full time three week NEH seminar at Boston University. We studied the enigmatic man who wrote the first draft of one of the most important Enlightenment documents. We experienced moments of  inspiration, and also the  frustration and disappointment that comes with deep study of the complex Jefferson legacy. We read his influential works,  discussed his tragic failings  and triumphs, and those of our fledgling nation. The result was a large updated collection of researched and discussed lesson plans focusing on the Jeffersonian contributions to the American political landscape and the global effect of the American Revolution. Lessons range from elementary to high school level and provide  options to explore Jefferson’s writing and impact. Documents and lessons are available as PDFs right on the site.

Projects of prior years are also available.


The lesson series I designed (labeled Arvidson) is a student led discussion (Socratic seminar) which acts as a bridge between the discussion of the early Republic and the Constitution and the Civil War and Reconstruction. Primary source documents and guiding questions encourage analysis and careful reading. I enjoyed working with these sources this year in my U.S. History class and welcome comments at my email below.

Lauren F. Arvidson, M.Ed. is a Social Studies teacher of US and World History at Hingham High School. She can be reached at She tweets occasionally on history and culture….@LaurenArvidson

Grade Level:
Subject Areas: U.S. History
Keywords: Jefferson, Lauren Arvidson, U.S. history, revolution

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