Inspired minds built the republic! Inspired minds will build the Republic!
Created by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, The Idea of America presents our nation’s rich history, from its early beginnings to the 21st century. The program connects students to the inspiring story of how each generation of Americans faces challenges and makes choices that shape our nation’s history.
The Idea of Americais all about the civic mission of social studies education. The program provides the knowledge and skills that students need to fulfill the duties of citizenship in our participatory democracy. Students analyze, debate, and form opinions so that they can help make the decisions that will guide our nation.
The Idea of America uses a framework called “The Great Debate”—the idea that Americans are in a constant debate over the proper balance between certain essential values. Students discover the “value tensions”that define and strengthen our republic, study their role in American history, and develop their own opinions on these enduring fundamental issues. View the value tension chart below.
Explore several case studies to see how The Idea of America helps students see connections throughout history.