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Mural of Thomas Jefferson...

[Detail] Mural of Thomas Jefferson

Lesson Overview

Students examine a letter written by Thomas Jefferson and identify techniques he used to persuade Congress to purchase his personal library. Students consider a selection of Jefferson’s books and then write their own persuasive letters urging the books’ purchase, while considering the question: “Why would Congress need this book to shape or govern the nation?”


Students will:

  • Identify examples of persuasive writing;
  • Create a persuasive argument;
  • Discuss the role of knowledge and learning in the activities of Congress.


Time Required

  • Two classes

Recommended Grade Level

  • 9-12
  • 6-8


  • Government, Law & Politics


  • The New Nation, 1783-1815