We the Teachers

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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Documents in Detail: Federalist 51

 

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One of the most famous of The Federalist, number 51, penned by James Madison in February 1788, tackles the issue of how to build a system of government that is forced to check itself in order to prevent it from becoming tyrannical. Along with Federalist 51, the panelists discussed specific Antifederalist writings that addressed the same issue, bringing together an array of documents that orbit the same concerns.

About 30 minutes into this program, Dr. John Moser was dropped by the Webex system, and was able to rejoin a few minutes later. The panelists continued the discussion uninterrupted.

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September Programs and Website Update

 

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We’re trying something new in the form of a short, monthly website and programs update podcast, in which we’ll take a few minutes to highlight some of the newest and most relevant resources and programs we’re offering online and in person. This month’s update includes mention of the following:

  • Constitution230 – our resource to help you celebrate Constitution Day
  • American History Toolkits – our ‘on ramps’ to transitioning away from textbooks to a documents-based approach to teaching
  • Upcoming MAHG courses – live, online, documents-based graduate courses for teachers of American history and government
  • In-person TAH.org events – an interactive calendar of programs taking place around the country, maybe even near you

September 17th, 2017: the Constitution’s 230th Anniversary

Constitution Day in 2017 marks 230 years since the Founders signed the Constitution and released it to the Congress, states, and people of America for consideration, and eventual ratification. TeachingAmericanHistory.org has assembled a collection of some of our best Constitution-related resources, from exhibits to lessons to archived programs, and has created a new interactive timeline to help you celebrate the day with your students.

Access the 230th Anniversary resources here.

Join TAH.org at NCSS in San Francisco!

Representatives from TAH.org will be at NCSS in San Francisco, November 17th and 18th, 2017. Jeremy Gypton, Michelle Hubenschmidt, and Chris Pascarella will be on the exhibitor floor with information about our teacher programs, Master’s programs, and online resources. Additionally, Michelle will be meeting with various national and state-level Social Studies leaders throughout the conference, so if you’re attending the Council of State Social Studies Specialists (CS4) meetings you might see her. Jeremy is taking part in a panel session with other members of the Civics Renewal Network (CRN), detailed below.

Session #761: Civics is Cool Again: Debating Our Constitution
Friday, November 17, 10:00 – 11:00 am
Room: 2020, Moscone Center West

50 Documents That Tell America’s Story

Required reading for students, teachers, and citizens.

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