About the Exhibition: Examining our government’s founding and the continuing story of America’s bold experiment in a government “of, by, and for the people," American Democracy comes to life through Smithsonian collection artifacts, contemporary objects, and touchable artifacts. In addition to in-exhibition artifacts, audio/video presentations from the Smithsonian and The History Channel and immersive technologies such as touch-screen adventures take visitors beyond the exhibition. Explore five major themes through this exhibition:
- the first bold leap to democracy as “A Great Leap of Faith”
- a nation for and by the people in "A Vote, A Voice"
- political campaigning with “The Machinery of Democracy”
- the power of the American people to go "Beyond the Ballot"
- sustaining our nation with “Creating Citizens”
Highlights: George Washington's 1774 letter to Bryan Fairfax about how taxation without representation caused the American colonists to revolt; Edmund Pendleton‘s 1788 record of the Virginia ratification of the U.S. Constitution; an 1833 portrait of Black Hawk (Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak) by Robert Mathew Sully, 1833; a 1915 Congressional Union for Woman Suffrage banner; and more.