We the Teachers

Ft. Myers Seminar on American History & Government

On Saturday, January 17th, 2015 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida the Ashbrook Center hosted a Seminar on the Abraham Lincoln. The esteemed Dr. Eric Sands provided his scholarly knowledge to local high school teachers who joined us for the day.

“President Lincoln is such an enigmatic character yet so personal to all of us,” said Dr. Sands. “He is consistently ranked as number one on all Presidential polls.” Indeed, more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American figure. Teachers enjoyed profound conversations and discussed Lincoln’s view on Popular Sovereignty, Slavery, Secession and Constitutional Limits. We spent a great deal of time comparing the ideals within the  Gettysburg Address (on Liberty and Equality) to the ones written by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

Paul P stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Ashbrook Seminar and wished I had known about them sooner.”

Perhaps you would like to ponder these great documents yourself.  To experience the writings of Abraham Lincoln please click the links below:

 

Webinar Audio: Has America Progressed Beyond Its Founding Principles?

Join Professors Chris Burkett, Peter Schramm, and Gordon Lloyd as they discuss this topic before an audience of teachers. This moderated discussion between scholars is about the relationship between Constitutional principles and traditions versus the Progressive political movements of the early 20th Century and today. You can view a video archive of the session, as well as related readings, here.

Apply Now for Ashbrook Seminars in American History & Government

We have started scheduling our 2015 day long seminars and the application process is now open.

The most important work in America is teaching American history and government. This work is essential to preserving what has always been distinctly good about America. We are dedicated to making every American history and government class in America its best.

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is a project of Ashbrook at Ashland University. We provide social studies educators from across the country with opportunities to explore themes in American history and government through the use of primary sources. This spring educators can take advantage of the unique Ashbrook discussion-based format programs in their state. Not only will you be engaged in thoughtful conversation, you will be learning the content your students need.

Upcoming Ashbrook Seminars in

American History & Government

Colorado Seminars:

  • Saturday, January 31st, 2015 – Ft. Collins

    • Topic: Civil Rights; Discussion Leader: Peter Myers

  • Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 – Denver – Hosted by Denver Public Schools

    • High School Session Topic: Religion & Reform: Three Episodes in American History; Discussion Leader: David Tucker

    • Middle School Session Topic: Lincoln and Reconstruction; Discussion Leader: Peter Schramm

  • Saturday, March 7th, 2015 – Colorado Springs

    • Topic: Madison and Hamilton: Competing Visions for America; Discussion Leader: Joseph Postell, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

  • Saturday, April 11th, 2015 – Denver

    • Topic: The Constitution and Limited Government; Discussion Leader: Scott Yenor, Boise State University

APPLY HERE FOR SEMINARS IN COLORADO

North Carolina Seminars:

  • Saturday, March 28th, 2015 – Asheville

    • Topic: The American Founding; Discussion Leader: Professor David Alvis, Wofford College, Assistant Professor in Government

  • Saturday, April 4th, 2015 – Fayetteville

    • Topic: Social Reform 1790-1850 – Temperance, Abolition and the End of the World; Discussion Leader: Professor David Tucker  Senior Fellow and Director of MAHG Program;

  • Saturday, April 11th, 2015 – Charlotte

    • Topic: The Supreme Court; Discussion Leader: Professor David Alvis, Wofford College, Assistant Professor in Government

  • Saturday, April 25th, 2015 – Raleigh

    • Topic: The Federalists Papers and the Constitution; Discussion Leader: Professor David Foster, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

APPLY HERE FOR SEMINARS IN NORTH CAROLINA

Florida Seminars:

  • Saturday, January 17th, 2015 – Ft. Myers

    • Topic: Abraham Lincoln; Discussion Leader: Professor Eric Sands, Berry College, Assistant Professor of Government

  • Saturday, January 31st, 2015 – Tampa

    • Topic: Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist Debate; Discussion Leader: Professor Eric Sands, Berry College, Assistant Professor of Government

  • Saturday, February 14th, 2015 – Ft. Lauderdale

    • Topic: Roosevelt, Wilson and Progressive Reform; Discussion Leader: Professor Chris Burkett, Ashland University

  • Saturday, February 21st, 2015 – Jacksonville

    • Topic: Nationalism and Imperialism in the Gilded Age; Discussion Leader: Professor Michael Schwarz, Ashland University, Assistant Professor of History

  • Saturday, February 28th, 2015 – Pensacola

    • Topic: Civil Rights; Discussion Leader: Professor Emily Hess, Visiting Assistant Professor of History

  • Saturday, March 7th, 2015 – Tallahassee

    • Topic: Abraham Lincoln; Discussion Leader: Professor Peter Schramm, Ashland University, Professor of Political Science

  • Saturday, March 14th, 2015 – Gainesville

    • Topic: Origins of the Cold War; Discussion Leader: Professor John Moser, Ashland University, Professor of History

APPLY HERE FOR SEMINARS IN FLORIDA

Note: Application acceptance is limited to the first 30 registrants.

Check back often as we will be adding new dates in new areas throughout the year.

#Teaching #AmericanHistory #USHistory #AshbrookTeacher

Attention Florida Teachers: Don’t Miss Our January Roundtables

The Ashbrook Center would like to invite you to join us for our content-knowledge development one-day seminars this January in Florida. Our unique format engages all participants in thoughtful discussion on particular documents and ideas as we sit in the round. We encourage our participants to think critically to create a meaningful conversation between peers. Added benefits for you: these seminars are being offered at NO COST and we offer certificates of completion, which you can apply toward your recertification hours.

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Ft. Myers – Saturday, January 17, 2015

Topic: Abraham Lincoln

REGISTER NOW

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Tampa – Saturday, January 31, 2015

Topic: Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist Debate

REGISTER NOW

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To view the schedule of roundtables for February through March, please click here.

Please note, due to the format of these seminars space is limited to the first 30 registrants.

If you have any questions about these programs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to meeting you at one of our programs.

#teaching #americanhistory #wethepeopleblog #ashbrookteacher

American Controversies Webinar – “Did Lincoln Violate the Constitution?”

Ashbrook’s latest installment in the ‘American Controversies’ series of webinars took place on Saturday, 13 December 2014, on the topic of whether or not President Lincoln violated the Constitution through his use of executive authority before and during the Civil War. Professor Chris Burkett of Ashland University moderated the discussion between professors Eric Sands and Jonathan White, taking questions from many of the 105 people from across the country who viewed the live webinar.

Of particular interest was the idea that, in light of the Article II’s generally vague explanation of executive authority, the extent to which – if any – Lincoln violated the spirit of the Constitution versus what it actually says. You can view an archived copy here, along with the documents used during the discussion.

November ‘American Controversies’ Webinar

Last Saturday, November 15th, the Ashbrook Center hosted its latest ‘American Controversies’ webinar, this time focusing on the issues of nullification and secession, and whether or not there is a right to either with the American system of law and government. Relying on a collection of documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and numerous speeches and letters from throughout the first half of the 19th Century, scholars discussed the issue and worked through a number of excellent questions from the many participants. Of particular interest were the attempts by Southerners at a legal or moral rationale for secession, and whether or not any of them were truly valid. The entire 86-minute session is archived, along with links to the documents referenced.

To listen to this archived session, please click here.

Register for future webinars here.

Securing Wisdom & Virtue in Government One-Day Seminar in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Florida Atlantic University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida hosted the Ashbrook Center Seminar on the Federalist Papers last Saturday, November 14th, 2014. The esteemed Prof. David Foster provided his scholarly knowledge to local high school teachers who joined us for the day.

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The Federalist Papers are considered some of Americas most important documents as written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. They are complex and often difficult for a student (and adult) to comprehend, however, local teachers came together and discussed some of the basic ideas of the Federalist Papers. What is virtue, or energy and how are these concepts necessary to good governance? Madison and Hamilton acknowledge the vices of human nature such as factions and passions as well and wrote about the mechanisms needed to keep those elements in check.

Teachers enjoyed profound conversations and discussed not only the intent of Framers when writing these Papers, but also their relevance today. Participants discussed at length Federalist 57 with particular attention to, “I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.” What does “manly spirit” mean and how does it nourish freedom?

Laurie M. from Weston stated “this seminar helped me to better focus my understanding and appreciation of the Federalist Papers.  I am energized by new and different (and much more interesting) ways to use the Federalist Papers in my classroom.”

Perhaps you would like to ponder these great texts yourself. Please visit the selected reading below to experience the writings of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.

Session 1 – The House of Representatives:

Session 2 – The Senate

Session 3 – The Executive and the Judiciary

Reconstruction One-Day Seminar in Denver, CO

Last weekend ten teachers from around Colorado took part in a discussion about Reconstruction, led by Professor Scott Yenor of Boise State University. The three sessions and documents chosen for each helped participants focus on the justifications used by the South to account for secession fully understand the challenges that Lincoln and the country faced in trying to re-unite the country after the war.

Of particular interest during the discussion was the problem of self-government in the South: as a cornerstone of the American system, how could it be ensured if it meant that it would enable those states to undercut the goals of Reconstruction? Participants also unpacked and discussed in detail, through selected documents, the practical challenge of determining criteria for readmission to the Union for individuals and states, and the conciliatory tone struck by Lincoln’s original plans for Reconstruction.

Overall, we came away with a much greater appreciation for just how difficult was the challenge Lincoln faced in trying to win the war, and win it in a way that would enable him to rebuild the country – politically, economically, and socially.

To view a selection of readings discussed at this one-day seminar, please visit the links below -

Early Reconstruction and Union:

Reconstruction During the War:

Reconstruction at the End of the War:

Our John Adams Colloquium in Boston, Massachusetts

To end October, the Ashbrook Center hosted a group of American history and government teachers from around the country for a colloquium on John Adams.

Participants were able to explore the Adams National Historical Park in Quincy, Massachusetts, touring the home in which John Adams was born (in 1735); the home into which he moved as a young man with his wife Abigail (and in which John Quincy Adams was born); and the Old House at Peacefield into which John and Abigail moved in 1788 – and which was the home to four generations of the Adams family.

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We also had the chance to dig deeply into the life, ideas, and legacy of America’s second president. And while the second president cannot claim to have been “first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen,” perhaps Adams is justified in claiming to have been America’s first or primary advocate for independence from Britain.

Participants got to know the young John Adams, who preferred to be tilling fields than attending class under an uninspiring teacher, but who flourished when he found a teacher who challenged and encouraged him. We traced his career as a lawyer and explored his incendiary response to the Stamp Act, the (forbiddingly titled, but provocative) “Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law”. In this, Adams warned his fellow citizens not to permit the British empire to encroach further on their liberties, and claimed, “The true source of our sufferings has been our timidity.”

We explored his “Thoughts on Government” and the Constitution of Massachusetts, of which Adams was the lead author. The Massachusetts Constitution has the honor of being the world’s oldest continuously operating constitution, and participants were surprised to learn how much the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 drew from this source.

Throughout the weekend, though, conversation kept coming back to the question of why Adams has not received the credit that other leading American Founders have. Some participants concluded that Adams was simply overshadowed by the aristocratic Virginians, who were born and bred into positions of authority. Others thought that Adams, a product of Puritan New England, was simply too critical of democracy and too demanding of civic virtue to be warmly embraced by modern Americans. In any event, participants enjoyed exploring Adams’s life and legacy.

“The Revolution of 1800” One-Day Seminar in Jacksonville, Florida

This past Saturday, November 1st, the University of North Florida in Jacksonville hosted the Ashbrook Center’s latest seminar “The Revolution of 1800” with Professor Michael Schwarz as lead scholar. Florida educators arrived from around the state and engaged in conversations about Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton’s politics of the 1790’s. It was a tumultuous and oft forgotten decade of American politics for the tender and fledgling nation.

Through the use of primary sources, educators discussed the rise of political parties, questioned the motives of Hamilton and Jefferson, and pondered the political balance between national, federal and state roles in this developing new nation. How much power did Hamilton expect to grant to the national government with the “Necessary and Proper Clause”? What recourse and options did states have and what did Jefferson and Madison intend when they wrote the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions? Participants enjoyed a day of thoughtful conversations with documents that still have relevance in today’s current political debates regarding States versus National power.

To view a selection of readings discussed at this one-day seminar, please visit the links below:

 

“The American Founding” One-Day Seminar in Charlotte, North Carolina

Historic downtown Charlotte, North Carolina provided the venue of another great Ashbrook Center Seminar on Saturday, October 25th on the topic of “America’s Founding”.  Teachers explored the evolution from American Colonies, Independence,  The Articles of Confederation and the Constitution as written by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Dickenson and Abraham Lincoln.

Seventy-five percent of the teachers in attendance were new to an Ashbrook Center Seminar and stated that they could utilize the documents and discussions in their classrooms.  The conversations between educators and the scholar provided insight on the difficult topics such as universal and natural rights, slavery, and structure of good government.

A lively discussion ensued over the recent academia shift from calling this critical war the American Revolution to the new term War for American Independence.   Was it so Revolutionary or merely a continuation of a British model?  Would you agree or disagree?  The Ashbrook Center would like to see you take part in such a thought provoking dialogue.

To view a selection of the readings that provoked these conversations please follow the links below.

 

“Political Parties & Presidents” One-Day Seminar in Colorado

On Friday, October 24th, teachers from around Colorado met in Colorado Springs for a one-day seminar entitled ‘Political Parties and Presidents,’ and spent the day discussing the evolution of the relationship between presidents and political parties. Primary source readings focused on three general phases of these relations: during the earliest years of the republic, when parties were in their infancy; in the mid-19th Century, when parties controlled the nomination and platform development processes; and in the early 20th Century, as presidents rose about parties in power and prominence.

Participants, ranging from 5th to 12th grade teachers, made the sessions lively and interesting with questions and comments about the evolution of parties, platforms, and presidents. Those in attendance reported that the day helped them see these topics from new angles, and the documents in the reading packet would be helpful in their classes.

To view selected readings from this One-Day Seminar about ‘Political Parties and Presidents’ please follow the document links below:

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