Free Civics Studies Lesson 1: The Government

A visit to Washington, D.C. to learn how the United States of America came to be.

Read the current chapter online: “The Government”


Learn more about the Continental Congress from The Book of Knowledge:

Now that the colonies had become independent states, what sort of government did they have? You remember that in the beginning of the Revolution, delegates from the colonies met and called themselves the Continental Congress. This body raised an army, issued paper money, borrowed more money and carried on the war; but no one could say how many or how few its rights were. Soon people began to feel the need for a closer union of the states. A committee of the Congress drew up a paper called the Articles of Confederation…. Under these articles the states kept nearly all of the power and the Confederation had very little. There was no president of the United States. Each state sent not less than two and not more than seven delegates to Congress, and each state, whether large or small, had one vote….

It soon became clear to almost everyone that the Confederation was not working, and that a stronger, more efficient kind of central government must be found…. [Congress called a convention that] met in May, 1787, in Philadelphia, in the same room in which the Declaration of Independence had been signed. Many great men were members, and George Washington was chosen to preside over the meetings. Some of the the members were James Madison,  Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton.

“Building the New Nation” from The Book of Knowledge

Additional Resources

Capitol Dome
More information about the dome from the Architect of the Capitol.

The Capitol Grounds
Brochure with highlights.

A Capitol Adventure
We will explore the Capitol in more depth in a later lesson, but for now students can acquaint themselves through this fun activity guide.

No More Kings
Schoolhouse Rock video explaining “No Taxation Without Representation.”
(You may want to install an ad blocker before viewing.)

The Constitutional Convention of 1787
The why’s, who’s, and lots of resources at the University of Missouri KC.

Free Civics Studies Lesson 2: The Constitution

Constitution Day: A Unit Study
Many resources on the Constitutional Convention.

Free History Studies: George Washington
Learn more about George Washington’s role in the Constitutional Convention, why he was so trusted, and more!

Notebooking Pages

The Government Notebooking Pages
Our free simple pages for copywork, narrations, dictations, or wrapping up.

Enjoy the entire series:
Free Civics Studies
Free Civics Studies: The Century Book for Young Americans

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