The Early Republic Unit

A Complete Unit Plan for US History in Middle School or High School

The fifth unit in my US History curriculum covers America's early years, including the presidencies of Washington through James Monroe, the Lewis & Clark Expedition, War of 1812, and Era of Good Feelings.

This is an interesting unit for students because it explores the earliest and most influential figures and events that have contributed to America’s formation.

You can download all the lesson plans and resources for this unit here, or sign up for a Students of History subscription to access to everything online.


The unit begins with a look at the presidencies of George Washington and John Adams with a PowerPoint and guided notes (with Google Slides and flipped classroom video options as well) to address the events of each term. Students review Washington’s famous Farewell Address through a primary source analysis and also analyze his cabinet and the development of the first political parties with interactive notebook activities. 

To reinforce how America developed a two-party system, the next lesson further explores America's first political parties. Students compare them with a sorting activity before analyzing another fantastic primary source on what it meant to be an American.

The next lesson delves into Jefferson’s presidency and its effect on America. Another engaging PowerPoint and guided notes set (again with Google Slides or video options available) reviews Jefferson's impact, including the Louisiana Purchase, Marbury v. Madison case, and more. Following this, students can analyze sources from Jefferson and Benjamin Banneker or review the important Supreme Court cases from John Marshall.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition is covered through an engaging and interactive stations activity in the next lesson. Students then move through 10 stations, each dedicated to a portion of the expedition's journey west. Along the way, they map the trip and take notes based on journal excerpts and brief secondary source descriptions. Additional primary and secondary source activities are also included as well as videos to further enhance this fantastic lesson plan.

 The fifth lesson reviews early dilemmas that challenged America, including the Whiskey Rebellion, XYZ Affair, Barbary Wars, and more. An interactive PowerPoint takes students through the choices America's leaders faced with each dilemma. The lesson concludes with an analysis of the Monroe Doctrine.

Last, but not least, is a lesson on the War of 1812 with an in-depth PowerPoint (of course with notes, Google Slides, and video as well).

The main concepts of the conflict are then reinforced through interactive notebook pages or a "drag and drop" digital timeline activity from the digital notebook set.

Throughout the unit, students can also work on a variety of engaging digital notebook activities or the thorough unit guide packet. There are also dozens of great videos includes for your lessons along with readings you can share from our online textbook.

The Early Republic unit concludes with an editable test, which includes editable Google Forms version for easy grading.

You can check out reviews of every resource or download them individually through all the links above. You can also download the entire unit here in one zip folder that can be saved to your desktop. Or, you can gain access to the entire unit’s lessons and resources online through a subscription. A subscription also grants you immediate access to the ENTIRE US History curriculum.

If you’re not sure which option is better for you, you can read more about the differences between subscriptions and TpT purchases here.

US History Units