Vocabulary Activity

With a classmate, brainstorm what you think the following terms mean and write your definitions in your notebook. Feel free to return to the introduction for reference.

  1. primary source, or primary-source document
  2. secondary source
  3. liberty of conscience
  4. natural rights
  5. immunities of citizenship


Activity 1

Visit the Touro Synagogue web site. Click on the interactive historical timeline of the Touro Synagogue and record the important events on Activity Sheet #1: Touro Synagogue Timeline.

Inside the Touro Synagogue
Inside the Touro Synagogue

Download and print the worksheet by clicking here.


Activity 2

Read the excerpt from Moses Seixas’s letter and complete Activity Sheet #2: Scaffolding Questions for Moses Seixas Letter.

To the President of the United States of America:
Permit the children of the stock of Abraham to approach you with the most cordial affection and esteem for your person and merits – and to join with our fellow citizens in welcoming you to NewPort.
...Deprived as we heretofore have been of the invaluable rights of free Citizens, we now with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty disposer of all events behold a Government, erected by the Majesty of the People—a Government, which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution no assistance—but generously affording to all Liberty of conscience, and immunities of Citizenship: -- deeming every one, of whatever Nation, tongue, or language equal parts of the great governmental Machine….
Done and Signed by order of the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, August 17, 1790.
Moses Seixas, Warden

Download and print the worksheet by clicking here.


Activity 3

Read the following excerpt from George Washington’s response and answer the following questions on Activity Sheet #3: Scaffolding Questions for Washington’s Letter.

To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island.
While I receive with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem;  I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.  …
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy:  a policy worthy of imitation.  All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.  It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.  For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. ... May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. …
G. Washington

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