The Virgin Vote: How Young Americans Made Democracy Social, Politics Personal, and Voting Popular in the Nineteenth Century

There was a time when young people were the most passionate participants in American democracy. In the second half of the nineteenth century--as voter turnout reached unprecedented peaks--young people led the way, hollering, fighting, and flirting at massive midnight rallies. Parents trained their children to be "violent little partisans," while politicians lobbied twenty-one-year-olds for their "virgin votes"—the first ballot cast upon reaching adulthood.

The Nation We Build Together

Explore the history of our distinctive American Democracy and how we participate in creating a more perfect union through artifacts, exhibits and teaching resources from the National Museum of American History.

Image: Wooden Ballot Box with Clay Marbles, 1883

Protest and Civic Action

Explore how Americans have used protest and civic action to affect change and address public issues. 

This image is of a student protest t-shirt made during the Harvard University student anti-war protest and sit-in of the administration building, 1968–1969.

World War II

Investigate the events and impacts of World War II with your students using primary resources, museum exhibits and learning activities from the National Museum of American History.

Image: Remember Pearl Harbor Pin

The Great War

Investigate the Great War using collections and teaching resources from the National Museum of American History. Check out additional collections objects and content at the museum's WWI hub.

ImageOne of the Thousand Y.M.C.A. Girls in France

Women's History Month

Explore Women's History Month with your students using lessons, podcasts, activities, and primary sources. This image is of the Jailed for Freedom Pin from the collections.