In 2006-2007, Americans and others around the globe will commemorate the 400th anniversary of a journey that began with the voyage to Jamestown, gave rise to a new nation, and changed the world. It is an ongoing journey, as ideals of freedom and democracy continue to be tested and refined in the crucible of experience in the United States and internationally.
The roots of America's most valued institutions can be traced to the difficult beginnings at Jamestown and the Virginia colony. The vital legacies of Jamestown are not the product of a single source or event, but rather evolved out of a rich confluence of ideas, experiences, and cultures. From the early interaction of American Indian, European, and African cultures at Jamestown and throughout colonial America grew one of the most pluralistic and diverse societies on earth with a wide-ranging impact on other nations and other peoples.
The lessons provided on this website will help teachers and students explore those vital legacies — connecting students with the past, encouraging and informing their civic involvement, and illuminating how the earliest experiences in America helped shape contemporary issues and institutions.
The lessons are not offered as a final commentary but rather as a catalyst for new discussions that will help mold the future of democracy in the United States and globally. By exploring the issues from multiple disciplines and varied cultural perspectives, students will be equipped to appreciate the rich tapestry that is the fabric of today's and tomorrow's mature and emerging democracies around the world.