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High School: Principles of American Democracy


This guide focuses on high school-level resources to supplement course materials for Principles of American Democracy. This list is modeled on the California Department of Education curriculum guidelines.

Useful search terms for finding resources in the Los Angeles Public Library Catalog:
Democracy -- United States
Democracy -- United States --History
United States -- Politics and Government
Using the Enhanced Catalog will allow you to create and save materials lists for future reference.Search terms:


Foner, Eric. The story of American freedom. New York : W.W. Norton, c1998.
Summary: From the Revolution to our own time, freedom has been America's strongest cultural bond and its most perilous fault line, a birthright for some Americans and a cruel mockery for others. Eric Foner takes freedom not as a timeless truth but as a value whose meaning and scope have been contested throughout American history. His sweeping narrative shows freedom to have been shaped not only in congressional debates and political treatises but also on plantations and picket lines, in parlors and bedrooms. His characters include the well-known-Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan-and the anonymous-former slaves, union organizers, freedom riders, and women's rights advocates. In the end he gives us a stirring history of America itself focused on its animating impulse: freedom.

Nardo, Don. Democracy. San Diego, CA : Lucent Books, c1994.
Summary: A title in the Lucent Overview series; discusses the concept of democracy as it has developed in America and abroad.

Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. New York : Library of America :, c2004.
Summary: The clear, fluid, and vigorous translation by Arthur Goldhammer is the first to fully capture Tocqueville’s achievements both as an accomplished literary stylist and as a profound political thinker.

Wilentz, Sean. The rise of American democracy : Jefferson to Lincoln. New York : Norton, c2005.
Summary: Acclaimed as the definitive study of the period by one of the greatest American historians, The Rise of American Democracy traces a historical arc from the earliest days of the republic to the opening shots of the Civil War. Ferocious clashes among the Founders over the role of ordinary citizens in a government of "we, the people" were eventually resolved in the triumph of Andrew Jackson. Thereafter, Sean Wilentz shows, a fateful division arose between two starkly opposed democracies, a division contained until the election of Abraham Lincoln sparked its bloody resolution. Winner of the Bancroft Award, shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2005 and best book of New York magazine and The Economist.

Wood, Gordon S. The idea of America : reflections on the birth of the United States. New York : Penguin Press, 2011.
Summary: A Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the American Revolution explains why it remains the most significant event in our history. In a series of elegant and illuminating essays, Wood explores the ideological origins of the revolution--from ancient Rome to the European Enlightenment--and the founders' attempts to forge an American democracy


African American Experience
Over 400 references, scholarly works, primary documents and papers, photographs, audio clips, maps and over 4,000 slave narratives explore their history and contemporary culture in the United States. Includes a timeline and lesson plans.

History In Context: U.S. (Gale)
Covers all areas of U.S. history focusing on the most significant people, events and topics from pre-colonial times to the present day seen through primary documents, original reference sources, newspaper/journal articles, images, videos, audio files, and links to vetted websites.

Latino American Experience
Over 200 volumes of content, from encyclopedias to biographies, and primary documents dating from pre-Colonial civilizations that explore their history and contemporary culture in the United States. Includes a timeline, images, maps, and lesson plans.

Milestone Documents in American History
Salem History e-Book. Primary source documents with expert analysis and commentary covering the Revolutionary era to the 21st century.

Opposing Viewpoints In Context: (Gale)
Pro and con arguments with contextual information and opinions on hundreds of today's hottest social issues drawn from news articles, journals, primary source documents, statistics, images, videos, audio files and links to vetted websites.

Websites Library Of Congress, Teacher Resource page
The Library of Congress offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching. Teachers may search for materials that match specific state, grade, and subject criteria. The Center for Civic Education, Lesson Plans for High School
The Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries.

Miriam Touchton
Children’s Librarian II