Our printable “Explainers” introduce key terms and ideas that are essential to understanding today’s news.
Presented by Facing History and Ourselves in partnership with the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, the Give Bigotry No Sanction project, is anchored in George Washington’s 1790 Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island—a foundational document of religious tolerance. The project inspires thoughtful conversations about matters of religious freedom in our increasingly diverse society.
The documents compiled in this collection are suggested for use within the lessons on our Reconstruction era website. Here you will find primary source historical documents and images that can be used as handouts in your classroom. For additional primary source material, you can see our complete unit on this history, The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy.
Facing History and Ourselves has created a suite of resources for our educator audience that focuses on the letter exchange between George Washington and the Hebrew congregation of Newport, RI. Lesson plans, videos, and much more will help teachers bring a study of the letter exchange and the issues surrounding it into their classrooms.
Facing History has a range of resources on Japanese and Japanese American incarceration (often referred to as "Japanese internment") during World War II that you can use to accompany the Righting a Wrong poster exhibition.
Facing History and Ourselves has curated a collection of readings, written by staff members and scholars, that touch on the echoes of the letter exchange between George Washington and the Hebrew congregation of Newport. These readings address issues of religion, difference, and identity, and suggest that reflecting on these issues is just as important today as it was in 1790.
The letter exchange between George Washington and the Hebrew congregation of Newport was not the only landmark event in the early history of America that dealt with issues of religious freedom and identity. Seixas’ letter and Washington’s subsequent response exist within a timeline of many other events during which the newly formed country faced those issues. Continue reading below for information about some of those events.