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Themed Collections

Rhode Island has a rich and diverse history of everyday citizens making change in our state. These resources will help you bring this history into your classroom. Each collection includes high-resolution images of primary source documents, transcripts, and discussion guides for classroom use.

African Americans

African Americans have lived in Rhode Island since the 17th century and their history is rich with activism and civic participation. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1652.



American Revolution

Rhode Islanders took a leadership role, sparking the American Revolution with their burning of the Gaspee and their renunciation of King George III. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1772.

Industrialization & Immigration

The American Industrial Revolution began in Pawtucket with Samuel Slater’s introduction of new manufacturing processes and hydro-power. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1840.

Native Americans

Present-day Rhode Island has been inhabited for thousands of years and our first nations helped form the Rhode Island we know today. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1637.



Rhode Island’s Royal Charter

The Royal Charter marked the first time in history that a monarch allowed the right of individuals within a society to practice the religion of their choice without any interference from the government. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1643.

Suffrage

Over the course of the state’s 300+ year history, various disenfranchised groups have petitioned the General Assembly and the US Congress for the right to vote. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1829.


US Constitution

Rhode Island’s role in the drafting and ratification of the US Constitution was unlike other states due in part to the freedoms granted to the colony in the Royal Charter. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1788.


Women

Women have played a significant role in the founding of Rhode Island and continued to make their voices heard throughout our history. Includes primary source documents dating back to 1736.




Transcription Tools

Use this worksheet to guide your students through the transcription process.

Visit the National Archives website for tips on transcribing tricky letters and words.

The primary source documents included in the themed collections can be used to support Common Core Reading and Writing requirements, as well as Literacy in History/Social Studies for grades 6-12. Each collection also includes suggested activities and discussion guides. If you have questions about the materials provided, or would like additional materials, please contact Lane Sparkman, Associate Director of Education and Public Programs, at 401-330-3182 | lsparkman@sos.ri.gov.