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Integrating Women's History in the Founding Era

Lesson Purpose

This set of five lesson plans use Martha Washington as a case study to integrate women's history into the events of the American Revolution and the New Nation historical eras. This lesson was created by 2017-2018 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Bonnie Belshe. 


There are five different lesson plans in this collection:

  • Coverture, Colonial Family Ethic, and Widowhood
  • Historiography of Martha Washington
  • Perspective Analysis of Martha Washington
  • Politics: Public and Private
  • Martha Washington and Slavery

Lesson Objectives:

  • Students will read critically to understand how and why perspectives of Martha Washington changed over time.
  • Students will analyze primary source documents in order to identify key points.
  • Students will understand a more nuanced and complex understanding of politics, gender, and the early republic as told through Martha Washington’s experiences

Related Standards:

  • Civic Values and Social Norms
  • American Revolution
  • Explain how and why perspectives of people change over time
  • Analysis of Primary Sources


Click each link to download individual lesson plan. To download all, click the small "download" button at the bottom of the page.


Download Coverture, Colonial Family Ethic, and Widowhood

Download Historiography of Martha Washington

Download Perspective Analysis of Martha Washington

Download Politics: Public and Private

Download Martha Washington and Slavery