1776 – 1831 Building a New Nation Supplemental Materials

Art Activities

Silhouettes

Silhouettes were a popular form of portraiture in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries. They were made by traveling artists with simple materials. Silhouette artists could create these portraits for clients in cities and small towns, and in both public and private spaces. For this reason, historians call silhouettes the most democratic art form of the Federal period. Many artists are still inspired by the technique and aesthetic of silhouettes today.

In this activity, students will analyze the silhouettes created by Martha Ann Honeywell and discuss the process and purpose of a silhouette portrait. They will consider why silhouettes were considered the most democratic artform of the Federal period and then create their own silhouette of a classmate.

To read and download the lesson plan for this art activity, click here.

Observations of the New Nation

People traveled from far and wide to learn about the new United States. But not everyone could afford the luxury of seeing the new nation for themselves. Instead, they learned about the U.S. from friends, artists, and writers who traveled there. One such artist was the Baroness Hyde de Neuville, who drew and painted the places she and her husband visited. She was the first woman artist in America to leave a substantial body of work and her pieces tell one of the most accurate visual stories of the Early Republic.

Students will analyze the work of the Baroness Hyde de Neuville and discuss how art can provide detailed information about what it was like to live in a certain time and place. They will create their own visual diaries in graphite and watercolor that capture where they live today.

To read and download the lesson plan for this art activity, click here.

Propagating “American” Womanhood

Dating back to the colonial period, wealthy white girls were taught to complete elaborate needlework samplers as a way to showcase their domestic sills, education, and personal character. During the early Federal period, creating samplers came to be seen as one of the ways women could demonstrate their aspirations to the ideal of “American” womanhood. Young girls across racial groups had differing experiences with the creation of samplers. While free Black parents and institutions like the African Free School wanted young Black girls to learn skills like needlework to demonstrate their equality in a racist society, young Indigenous girls were forced to learn these skills as a form of cultural erasure in western territories.

In this activity, students will analyze samplers created by young Black and Cherokee girls and discuss what can be learned about their experiences with the propagation of white “American” womanhood in education during the early Federal period from their work. Then, considering that many young women of that time did not have the option to celebrate their own identities and culture with their embroidery, students will create their own sampler displaying a theme of personal significance to them.

To read and download the lesson plan for this art activity, click here.

Source Notes

Navigating the New Government

Remember the Ladies

  • Ellis, Joseph J., First Family: Abigail and John Adams (New York: Knopf, 2010).
  • Ed. Frank Shuffelton, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams (New York: Penguin, 2004).
  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

Symbol of the New Nation

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
  • Gutierrez, Jeanne, “American Woman? Amérique, Columbia, and Lady Liberty,” October 23, 2018, Women at the Center Blog, https://womenatthecenter.nyhistory.org/american-woman-amerique-columbia-and-lady-liberty/, accessed 5/25/2021.

Women’s Suffrage Experiment

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

Against Women in Government

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

Federalist v. Anti-Federalist

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
  • Skemp, Sheila L., Judith Sargent Murray: A Brief Biography with Documents (New York: Bedford Books, 1998).

On the Capabilities of Women

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
  • Skemp, Sheila L., Judith Sargent Murray: A Brief Biography with Documents (New York: Bedford Books, 1998).

Abolition Loopholes

  • Horton, Lois E., “From Class to Race in Early America: Northern Post-Emancipation Racial Reconstruction,” Race and the Early Republic: Racial Consciousness and Nation Building in the Early Republic, ed. Michael A Morrison and James Brewer Stewart (New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002).

Republican Motherhood

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

Making Treaties

  • Sleeper-Smith, Susan, Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690–1792 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 2018).

Reaffirming Coverture

  • Kerber, Linda K., “The Paradox of Women’s Citizenship in the Early Republic: The Case of Martin vs. Massachusetts, 1805.” The American Historical Review 97, no. 2 (1992): 349–78. Accessed 6/15 2021. doi:10.2307/2165723.

Benevolent Societies

  • Becker, Dorothy G., “Isabella Graham and Joanna Bethune: Trailblazers of Organized Women’s Benevolence.” Social Service Review 61, no. 2 (1987): 319–36. Accessed June 16, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30011889.
  • Allgor, Catherine, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006); The Early Years, http://www.graham-windham.org/ about-us/history/the-early-years/ (accessed, 10/25/2016).
  • “Orphan Asylum Society,” The Encyclopedia of New York City, rev. ed., Kenneth T. Jackson, ed. (New Haven and New York: Yale University Press and the New-York Historical Society, 2010).

Growing Frustration

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

Fashion and Politics

  • Allgor, Catherine, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006).
  • Smith, Margaret Bayard, letter to Miss Susan B. Smith, March 1809, The First Forty Years of Washington Society, portrayed by the family letters of Mrs. Samuel Harrison Smith from the collection of her grandson J. Henley Smith (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons,1906), https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015027775694;view=1up;seq=11 (accessed 8/17/2016).

Life Story: Dolley Madison

  • Allgor, Catherine, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2006).
  • James Madison’s Montpelier: Home of James and Dolley Madison, www.montpelier.org (accessed 7/2016).
  • The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, Holly C. Shulman, ed., http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/dmde/ (accessed 9/2016).

Life Story: Oney Judge

  • Dunbar, Erica Armstrong, “Ona Judge Staines, The President’s Runaway Slave,” Women in Early America, ed. Thomas A. Foster (New York: New York University Press, 2015).
  • Dunbar, Erica Armstrong, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (New York: Atria Books, 2017).
  • Chervinsky, Lindsay M., “The Remarkable Story of Ona Judge,” The White House Historical Association, October 21, 2019 (https://www.whitehousehistory.org/the-remarkable-story-of-ona-judge, accessed 6/22/2021).

Life Story: Margaret Bayard Smith

  • Allgor, Catherine, “Margaret Bayard Smith’s 1809 Journey to Monticello and Montpelier: The Politics of Performance in the Early Republic,” Early American Studies, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Winter 2012), 30–68.
  • Good, Cassandra, “‘A Transcript of My Heart’: The Unpublished Diaries of Margaret Bayard Smith,” Washington History, Fall/Winter 2005, 67–82.
  • Smith, Margaret Bayard, “Mrs. Madison,” The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans, Vol. III, 1836, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt? id=yale.39002007779425;view=1up;seq=44 (accessed, 9/23/2016).
  • Smith, Margaret Bayard, The First Forty Years of Washington Society, Gaillard Hunt, ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906), https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/ pt?id=mdp.39015027775694;view=1up;seq=11 (accessed 9/15/2016).
  • Teute, Fredrika J., “In ‘The Gloom of Evening’: Margaret Bayard Smith’s View in Black and White of Early Washington Society,” The Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 1996, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/ pt?id=mdp.39015027775694;view=1up;seq=11 (accessed 9/20/2016).

Life Story: Sukey

  • Significant details in this life story are based on Elizabeth Dowling Taylor’s A Slave in the White House: Paul Jennings and the Madisons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012), and on research by historians at The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, Holly C. Shulman, ed., University of Virginia.
  • Allgor, Catherine, A Perfect Union: Dolley Madison and the Creation of the American Nation (New York: Henry Holt and company, 2006).
  • Ricks, Mary Kay, Escape on the Pearl: The Heroic Bid for Freedom on the Underground Railroad (New York: William Morrow, 2007).

Life Story: Eliza Brock

  • Blackman, Emily C., History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen, and Haffelfinger, 1873), https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/ t39z9ww3b;view=1up;seq=9 (accessed /30/17).
  • Eliza Brock to Dolley Payne Todd Madison, 21 February 1844, in The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, Holly C. Shulman, ed. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2004, http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/dmde/DPM2001 (accessed12/15/2016).
  • Property records, Register and Recorder’s Office, Susquehanna County, PA; “The Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, 1793,” Contagion: Historical Views of Diseases and Epidemics, Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/contagion/yellowfever.html (accessed 8/15/2016).

“American” Woman

American Cookery

  • Stavely, Keith and Kathleen Fitzgerald, “What America’s First Cookbook Says About Our Country and Our Cuisine,”Smithsonianmag.com, January 12, 2018. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-americas-first-cookbook-says-about-our-country-its-cuisine-180967809/, accessed 7/7/21.

Free Black Americans

  • Lee, Hannah Farnham Sawyer Lee, Memoir of Pierre Toussaint: Born a Slave in St. Domingo (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1854).
  • Jones, Martha S., Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

Educating American Women

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
  • New-York Historical Society, “Pélagie Drawing a Portrait, from the Economical School Series,” 2021, https://emuseum.nyhistory.org/objects/88627/pelagie-drawing-a-portrait-from-the-economical-school-seri?ctx=70f3e11ec366932dcfaa18427b7d88149401db42&idx=165, accessed 8/8/21.

Propagating “American” Womanhood

  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).
  • White, Shane, Stories of Freedom in Black New York (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).
  • DuVal, Kathleen, The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006).
  • Perdue, Theda, Cherokee Women: Gender and Cultural Change, 1700–1835 (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.)

Mill Girls

  • “The Mill Girls of Lowell,” https://www.nps.gov/lowe/learn/historyculture/the-mill-girls-of-lowell.htm, accessed 8/10/2021.

Novel for a New Era

  • Keralis, Spencer D. C., “Pictures of Charlotte: The Illustrated Charlotte Temple and Her Readers.” Book History 13 (2010): 25–57. Accessed May 13, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40930527.
  • Davidson, Cathy N., Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984).
  • Mullan, John, “The Rise of the Novel,” June 21, 2018. British Library: Discovering Literature: Restoration and the 18th Century. https://www.bl.uk/restoration-18th-century-literature/articles/the-rise-of-the-novel, accessed 8/10/2021.

Silhouettes

  • Ed. Asma Naeem, Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now (Washington, D.C.: National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian Institution, 2018).
  • L. Daen (2017), Martha Ann Honeywell: Art, Performance, and Disability in the Early Republic. Journal of the Early Republic, 37(2), 225–250. Retrieved August 10, 2021, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/90006294.

Observations of the New Nation

  • Olson, Roberta J.M., Artist in Exile: The Visual Diary of Baroness Hyde de Neuville (New York: New-York Historical Society, 2019).
  • Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopedia. “Frances Wright.” Encyclopedia Britannica, December 9, 2020. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Frances-Wright.

Seduction Suits

  • Block, Sharon, “Sexual Coercion in America,” The Oxford Handbook of American Women’s and Gender History, ed. Ellen Hartigan O’Connor and Lisa G. Materson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

Diary of a Midwife

  • Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on her Diary, 1785–1812 (New York: Vintage Books, 1991).

Early American Consumers

  • New-York Historical Society, Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion Curriculum Guide, 2014 https://chineseamerican.nyhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Chinese-American-Classroom-Materials.pdf, accessed 8/12/2021.
  • Zagarri, Rosemarie, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

Daughters of Erin in America

  • Immigration and Relocation in U.S. History: Irish,” Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/classroom-materials/immigration/irish/irish-catholic-immigration-to-america/, accessed 8/12/2021.

Quilting

  • Edelson, Carol, “Quilting: A History.” Off Our Backs 3, no. 8 (1973): 13–14. Accessed August 12, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25783579.
  • “Quilting.” History News 7, no. 4 (1952): 15–16. Accessed August 12, 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/42652462.

Life Story: Jarena Lee

  • Brekus, Catherine A ., “Female Preaching in Early Nineteenth-Century America,” The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, 2009, https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/98759.pdf, accessed 8/13/2021.
  • Lee, Jarena, Religious Experience and Journal of Mrs. Jarena Lee, Giving an Account of Her Call to Preach the Gospel (Philadelphia: Printed and Published for the Author, 1849).

Life Story: Sally Hemings

  • Gordon-Reed, Annette, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (New York: Norton, 2008).
  • “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, A Brief Account,” Monticello.org. https://www.monticello.org/thomas-jefferson/jefferson-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-sally-hemings-a-brief-account/, accessed 8/18/2021.

Life Story: Asenath Smith

  • Jacobson, Donna B., “When Abortion Became Illegal: The Degraded Reverend Rogers, Trial, and the Connecticut General Assembly, 1815–1830,” Connecticut History Review, Vol. 58, No. 2 (Fall 2019), pp. 49–81.
  • Brockell, Gillian, “How a Sex Scandal Led to the Nation’s First Abortion Law 200 Years Ago,” The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/05/16/how-sensational-sex-scandal-led-nations-first-abortion-law-years-ago/, accessed 8/19/2021.
  • Rogers, Ammi, Memoirs of the Rev. Ammi Rogers, A.M.: A Clergyman of the Episcopal Church, Educated at Yale College in Connecticut, Ordained in Trinity Church in the city of New-York, Persecuted in the State of Connecticut, on Account of Religious and Politics for Almost Twenty Years (Hebron, CT: Ammi Rogers, 1824).

Life Story: Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps

  • Rudolph, Emanuel D., “Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps (1793–1884) and the Spread of Botany in Nineteenth Century America.” American Journal of Botany 71, no. 8 (1984): 161–167. Accessed August 20, 2021. doi:10.2307/2443392.
  • Arnold, Lois, Four Lives in Science: Women’s Education in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Schoken Books, 1984).
  • Bolzau, Emma Lydia, Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps: Her Life and Work (Lancaster, PA: Science Press, 1936).

Life Story: Charity and Sylvia

  • Cleves, Rachel Hope, Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).

Early Expansion

White Women Settlers

  • Milton D. Rafferty, ed., Rude Pursuits and Rugged Peaks: Schoolcraft’s Ozark Journal 1818–1819 (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1996).

Washington’s Captives

  • Sleeper-Smith, Susa