Barbara Soots, Kari Tally, Jerry Price, Washington OSPI OER Project
U.S. History, Political Science
Material Type:
Upper Primary
Civics, Government, League of Women Voters of Washington, Tribal Sovereignty, Wa-social-studies, Washington State History
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs, Text/HTML

The State We're In: Washington (Grades 3-5 Edition)

The State We're In: Washington (Grades 3-5 Edition)


This edition of The State We’re In: Washington is a civics/history textbook designed for elementary grades 3-5. It’s many colorful images, descriptive pictures and graphics not only enhance the text but demonstrate the ethnic and geographic diversity of our state. 

The book was produced by the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund and authored by Jill Severn.

Introduction and Overview

washington landscapes

Why Study Civics?

Civics is the study of government. But government is about more than elections and politics. It’s about what kind of society we want to live in.

We all want to live in a society that’s fair—a country where all people have equal rights and equal opportunities in life. And we want to live in a country that is open—a place where everyone has the freedom to freely express themselves—to speak, write, sing, paint, invent, or worship—without fear of being punished by the government.

We want everyone to have a voice in making the laws we live by. We want the police and courts to treat everyone equally. We believe everyone should have equal opportunities to get a good education and a good job. And we don’t want anyone to be discriminated against because of race, gender, disability, national origin, or religion.

So, the study of civics is the study of our hopes and dreams for our own lives and the lives of future generations.
And, of course, it’s also the study of our history—the story of how long Americans have worked to realize those hopes and dreams, and how far we’ve come.

It will be up to you to take the next steps on that journey, so a lot will rest on your shoulders. That’s the way it is in a democracy: every generation has to protect it, adapt it to changing times, and defend it from threats from within and from enemies abroad.

Human nature is far from perfect. There’s always the danger that those who are greedy for power will try to take democracy away from us. This could happen through sudden, violent attack. Or, if citizens don’t guard against it, it can happen gradually, in ways we might not notice until we suddenly discover that we’ve lost our rights and our freedoms.

That’s why it is so important for all of us to learn about the basic ideas and structures of our government and to understand our responsibility to keep the flame of freedom lit.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 -  How the first peoples of Washington governed themselves
Chapter 2 - First contacts between native Northwest people and Europeans
Chapter 3 - The design of today's democracy
Chapter 4 - From settlers to statehood
Chapter 5 - From 1900 to 2000: What a difference a century makes
Chapter 6 - Small is beautiful: local governments
Chapter 7 - Governing Washington today is complicated!
Chapter 8 - Tribal governments today
Chapter 9 - Civics and the natural world
Chapter 10 - What's next for Washington?
Chapter 11 - What does it take to be a good citizen?
Timeline of Washington history


Print books for purchase are available individually or in classroom sets. 
For information and to place orders, please call: 
206-622-8961 or 1-800-419-2596 (outside King County)
For additional information and order forms, visit: the League of Women Voters of Washington


Attribution and License


The State We're In: Washington, a civics/history textbook for elementary grades by Jill Severn, was produced and published by the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund.

This resource was made possible by funding from the Washington State Legislature, administered through a grant from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. 


Creative Commons Attribution License
Except where otherwise noted, The State We're In: Washington Elementary Edition by the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
All logos and trademarks are property of their respective owners. All art, illustrations and photos in this work are used with permission and are not included in the open license.