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Lesson Purpose

This DBQ style lesson asks students to use multiple primary and secondary sources to support the historian Joseph Ellis’ statement: Instead of going to college, Washington went to war.  And the kind of education he received…left scars that never went away, as well as immunities against any and all forms of youthful idealism. This lesson was created by 2016-2017 Life Guard Teacher Fellow Michael Ellis.



  • Students will analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources in order to recognize change over time
  • Students will respond to a writing prompt in a clear, thesis-driven essay that uses evidence from the provided sources

Related Standards:

  • Primary Source Analysis
  • Writing Standards
  • Reading Standards
  • Early American History
  • Civic Values and Social Norms
  • Contextualization
  • Comparison
  • Causation