Lesson Plan

Lesson 2: The United States, France, and the Problem of Neutrality, 1796–1801

While the French Revolution could be considered inspired by the American Revolution, it created thorny problems for the new United States. Should the United States get involved and be drawn into a European drama? Was the US strong enough? Using primary sources such as diplomatic reports and presidential speeches, learners consider the choices the early republic had when debating what to do with one of its first foreign policy crises. 

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas
  • Use primary source materials
  • Create a group work activity based on the suggested lesson plan
Classroom Considerations
  • Second of the three-part series called The Crisis of American Diplomacy, 1793–1808
  • Primary sources are easy to adapt to a variety of classroom activities
  • Worksheets allow for scaffolded analysis
  • Case-study approach engages scholars' interest
  • Some links are no longer live, but resources are accessible at the bottom of the page