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EL Civics for ESL Students
Famous Americans

Lessons on Famous Americans


This American History and Civics Achievement section is intended to help students learn about the great leaders and great ideas that helped the United States prosper and succeed. Understanding the struggles of famous Americans will help students realize the importance of voting and actively participating in civic causes in their community.

Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865 - Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States. He was president during the Civil War. The Civil War was a war between the North and the South. The slaves were freed during Lincoln's presidency.

Barack Obama, born 1961 - Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. He was elected on November 4, 2008 and took office at noon on January 20, 2009. He is a democrat and was born in Hawaii.

Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790 - Benjamin Franklin was a printer, newspaper owner, U.S. diplomat, the first Postmaster General of the United States, writer of Poor Richard's Almanac, and the oldest member of the Constitutional Convention.

Cesar Chavez, 1927-1993 - Cesar Chavez was a Mexican American labor leader. He co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) along with Dolores Huerta. He fought for higher pay and better working conditions for farm workers. Later in life, he promoted pesticide safety.

Dwight Eisenhower - Eisenhower was the General of the US Army during the Second World War and later became the 34th President of the United States. He was in charge of the successful D-Day landing in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.

George Washington, 1732-1799 - George Washington was the first president of the United States. He led the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. As president, he established many of the customs for future presidents.

George Washington Carver, 1864-1943 - George Washington Carver was a famous botanist, educator, and an unofficial spokesperson for the peanut industry. He wanted to improve the economic situation of African Americans in the rural South.

Joe Biden, born 1942 - Joseph Biden is the current Vice President of the United States. He was inaugurated on January 20, 2008. He became a US Senator when he was 30 years old.

Malcolm X, 1925-1965 - Malcolm X was a black activist and a Muslim minister and spokesperson. He harshly condemned the unfair treatment of African Americans by whites. Malcolm promoted black pride and self-reliance.

Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968 - Martin Luther King was a civil rights leader. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped organize the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. His "I Have a Dream" speech challenged America to live up to its promise of equality for all.

Nancy Pelosi, born 1940 - Pelosi is the current Speaker of the US House of Representatives. She is the first women, Roman Catholic, Italian-American, and Californian to hold the Speakership.

Sacajawea, 1788-1812(?) - Sacajawea helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition by serving as an interpreter and guide. She searched for plants for the group to eat, and she saved important documents and supplies when a boat tipped over.

Sojourner Truth, about 1797-1883 - Sojourner Truth was a slave, abolitionist, and women's rights activist. She traveled around the country giving speeches and supporting various social and political causes.

Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906 - Susan Brownell Anthony was a civil rights leader who fought for equality for women. She traveled across the country and gave speeches about women's rights, including the right to vote. She co-founded the National Women's Suffrage Association along with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826 - Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and a Founding Father of our country. He doubled the size of the United States by purchasing a large piece of land from France. After the Louisiana Purchase was completed, he hired Lewis and Clark to explore the new area.