Legislative Branch

Educational Resources

Educational Resources

The Center for Legislative Archives—part of the National Archives—maintains some of the most historically valuable documents created by the federal government: the records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Educators can us these historical documents to teach about representative democracy, how Congress works, and the important role Congress has played throughout American history.

DocsTeach: Teaching with the Records of Congress

This special DocsTeach page will help students learn about Congress and its role in American history.

Lesson Plans

These lesson plans are designed to assist teachers with using primary source materials to integrate Congress into history, government and civics classes. They are suitable for junior high and high school students.

Fundamental Principles of Government

  • Teaching Six Big Ideas in the Constitution
    This lesson engages students in a study of the U.S. Constitution and the significance of six big ideas contained in it: limited government; republicanism; checks and balances; federalism; separation of powers; and popular sovereignty.

Congress in History

  • Was Reconstruction a Revolution?
    In this lesson students will examine several historical congressional records from the Reconstruction era to determine whether the Reconstruction period of American history should or should not be viewed as a revolution.

How Congress Works

  • The Legislative Process
    This lesson uses historical records of Congress to explain the process of a bill becoming a law.