We the Teachers

Documents in Detail: Gettysburg Address

 

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The last TAH.org Webinar for 2017 took place on December 13th, with a discussion of the Gettysburg Address. Drs. John Moser, Jon White, and Dan Monroe discussed the words and ideas in Lincoln’s most famous speech. The place of Gettysburg, as a site of national reconciliation, helped to solidify Lincoln’s words in American history and myth, was introduced as location of the famed, pivotal battle. Lincoln’s singular place in American history was also discussed, and when and how the words of the Gettysburg Address contributed, in the years close after his death, to his central position in our story.

The panelists also brought Lincoln’s response to the Dred Scott case, and other addresses and writings over time, into the discussion, demonstrating consistency by Lincoln on several key issues over time.

A books mentioned is Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death, by Mark Schantz, which delves into significant changes in American traditions related to death, burial, and memorial wrought by the Civil War.

Access this program’s archive page here.

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Engage the Disengaged Student: Renew Your American History Curriculum with These Free Resources

“We hold these truths to be self evident.”

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

“I have a dream.”

You became a history teacher because iconic words like this, reflecting the matchless American Experiment, captured your imagination. The tensions of security versus freedom, liberty versus union, and a confederated republic versus a rising national empire made for endless critical thinking and debate.

Now you’re juggling well over a hundred students, tracking ever-changing standards, and feeling the pressure to teach to the dreaded test as your students doodle in their notebooks. Is there a way to reignite your first love for history–and make your students fall in love as well?

Teach the Words of Our Founding Fathers to the Keepers of Our Country’s Future

Teaching American History believes in the power of our country’s original historical documents to spark curiosity, conversation, and action. We also believe in supporting hardworking teachers by making their lives a bit easier. With our collection of free, thoughtfully curated resources, you can have both.

Our American History Toolkits are topically-focused multimedia collections organized for easy access to a variety of materials, including primary documents, guiding questions, webinars, podcasts, lessons, and other resources to help lay a solid foundation with original documents for major units of study. With our toolkits, actual pieces of history–not boring packets of charts and multiple choice questions–become the backbone of your curriculum, directing students back to the heart of our nation’s challenges and ideals. Invite students to explore speeches, debates, letters, cases, messages, and other documents in the context of their corresponding audiences and events, and watch the light bulbs turn on.

Meet Your State’s Academic Standards with Fresh – and Free – Resources

Our primary documents are aligned with thousands of easily searchable state academic standards, so you can ensure that your teaching meets your state’s requirements.

Our Toolkits explore the following major issues and eras of United States history:

  • The American Founding
  • Expansion & Sectionalism
  • Civil War & Reconstruction
  • The Progressive Era
  • The Great Depression & World War 2
  • Civil Rights

Ready to reinvigorate your American history curriculum? Access one of our Toolkits today, and rediscover America.

Bill of Rights Anniversary

The Bill of Rights was adopted on 15 December, 1791, and is made up of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. Originally made up of 12 amendments, two of which would be ratified later – one much, much later – the Bill of Rights we think of today was in part a compromise between the earliest political camps in America, as came out of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and refined during the Ratification Debates across the 13 states from 1787 to 1788.

Take a moment and look over Professor Gordon Lloyd’s exhibit on the origins, politics, and ratification of the Bill of Rights, and explore the English and Colonial roots of these most precious rights; the ideas borrowed from existing state constitutions; and examine the lineage of each right within each amendment.

Additionally, TAH.org has the following resources to help you understand, and more effectively teach, about these fundamental rights enjoyed by all Americans.

Saturday Webinar: Sinking of the USS Maine

 

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The last Saturday Webinar of 2017 aired on 2 DEC, with a lively discussion about the sinking of the USS Maine, and its role in the Spanish-American War, as well as its place within the context of late 19th Century colonial and imperial expansion.

The panelists discussed American motivations for involvement in Cuba and the Philippines, and in relating to Spain as it did, and the complex interactions between Progressive ideology and policy goals and imperial designs. Parallels with other American international interventions, including that in Vietnam, were also discussed, as well as domestic opposition to imperialism.

Jennifer Keene has published extensively on a variety of topics in American history, especially on World War I. Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America is one of her titles.

Access the full archive page here.

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New Resource: First Volume of Core Document Curriculum Now Available!

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is excited to share another resource for American history,  government, civics, and social studies teachers. While you may be familiar with our 50 Core American Documents book, we are launching a new 35-volume document collection.

The first volume of the American History and Government Core Document Curriculum – the American Founding – is now available on iTunes, Kindle, and PDF.

This collection of documents on the American Founding inaugurates a new series of document collections from TeachingAmericanHistory.org. As in the American Founding volume, each Core American Document volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – America’s presidents, labor leaders, farmers, philosophers, industrialists, politicians, workers, explorers, religious leaders, judges, soldiers; its slaveholders and abolitionists; its expansionists and isolationists; its reformers and stand-patters; its strict and broad constructionists; its hard-eyed realists and visionary utopians – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

The documents are all about this – the still unfinished American experiment with self-government. There is no better place to begin to understand that experiment than with these documents from the American founding.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story.

We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Saturday Webinar: Lincoln’s Assassination

 

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TAH.org continued its Saturday Webinar series on November 18th, 2017, looking deeply at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. A far larger, more complex, and more ambitious plot than many people understand it to be, John Wilkes Booth’s attempt to ‘decapitate’ the leadership of the United States government shook both North and South, creating immediate and lasting political, legal, and cultural waves, shaping what became post-war Reconstruction and the years beyond.

In addition to a lively discussion of the plot itself and its immediate and longer-term impacts, the panelists suggested James Swanson’s Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer for those interested in further reading about the assassination itself.

Access the program archive page here

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Documents in Detail: What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?

 

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15 November’s Documents in Detail webinar was about Frederick Douglass’s What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?, his oration delivered on 5 July 1862. There were some technical difficulties in the first minutes of the program, which resulted in one of the panelists being a few minutes late. Otherwise, it was an interesting discussion of the occasion on which Douglass spoke, his place as one of the leaders of the abolition movement in the 19th Century, and the importance of the ideas he expressed in the speech.

Access the program archive page here

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Weekend Colloquium: Andrew Jackson

From 3-5 November, TAH.org hosted 18 teachers from across the country in Nashville, TN, for a Liberty Fund co-sponsored colloquium on Andrew Jackson. Meeting for six 90-minute discussion sessions throughout the weekend, the teachers studied Jackson’s public life, with an eye toward seeking to describe and make sense of his political philosophy and how and why he sought to change American politics of his day.

Of special consideration was his role as something of an avatar for his age – the only era of American history named after a single person – and how his views shaped his politics, and how his politics changed America, giving the country its oldest political party – the Democrats – and elevating the cause of the ‘common man’ to being on par with what had up to that point been a rule of mostly Virginia planter elites. This American populism has continued to shape our politics, policies and institutions to this day.

Weekend Colloquium: Abraham Lincoln

TAH.org and Liberty Fund co-sponsored a weekend colloquium in Springfield, Illinois, October 13-15. 17 teachers from across the country gathered to study the public life of Abraham Lincoln, working through a collection of documents that spanned from his first run for state office, to Frederick Douglass’ memorialization of him in 1876. In addition to the six discussion sessions, teachers visited both the Lincoln home and presidential museum.

Third Annual Roots of Liberty Essay Contest!

TAH.org is once again pleased to support the third annual Roots of Liberty National Essay Contest. This is an excellent opportunity for a high school teacher to sponsor an outstanding student essay. The contest asks student to build a thoughtful essay about the following:

In If Men Were Angels, No Government Would Be Necessary, law professor Stephen B. Presser argues that, “[f]or the Framers of the Constitution the practice of politics was all about how to distribute power within the government in order to preserve private property, individual rights, and the rule of law which secured both.”

Has the Constitution succeeded in preserving the interests of those outside the majority?  If so how and why?  If not, how and why?  A thoughtful response will include at least one historical example (18th, 19th, 20th centuries) and one contemporary example (21st century.)

The winning student essay will received a grand prize of $5,000, plus a trip to D.C. for 2. The teacher who sponsors the winning student will receive a prize of $1,000. Additional cash prizes are available. Find prize and rule details here. The essay contest deadline is Friday, December 15, 2017.

*Essay responses are limited to 3,250 characters (approximately 500 words).

World War I and the Founding of the Disabled American Veterans

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the entry of the United States into World War I. We’re pleased to share with you a new lesson developed for the Ohio History Connection by 2010 Ohio History Teacher of the Year Paul LaRue.

Entitled Captain Robert S. Marx: Decorated World War I Soldier and Founder of the Disabled American Veterans, this lesson plan will introduce your students to veterans’ organizations, the circumstances of their founding, and their role in US historically and in the present.  While focused on the role of Ohioans in the founding of the DAV, the materials are easily adaptable for use elsewhere in the US.

 

Lesson Plan: Captain Robert S. Marx: Decorated World War I Soldier and Founder of the Disabled American Veterans

Documents in Detail: Monroe Doctrine

 

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18 October’s Documents in Detail program focused on the Monroe Doctrine – that which gave rise to the politics that led to it, what it said and meant, and how it represented a growing sense of American identity in the world and a guide for relations with other countries at the time, throughout the rest of the 19th Century, and even to today.

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Moments of Crisis Webinar: Nullification Crisis

 

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This month’s Saturday Webinar was about the Nullification Crisis of 1832. Our program began with the question, which comes up so often in early American History on the topic of slavery and sectionalism, which is “why South Carolina?” What made that state – since the Constitutional Convention and even before, so seemingly intransigent about issues important to them? What about other states, especially in the South – were they as unyielding in their views on local issues, as well?

Discussed at length were the historical and immediate economic and political roots of the Nullification Crisis, how the Crisis itself developed and unfolded, and how it was resolved, and in terms that were surprisingly familiar to modern listeners: bank foreclosures, lost homes, and a federal government at odds with local priorities.

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50 Documents That Tell America’s Story

Required reading for students, teachers, and citizens.

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