We the Teachers

Liberty Fund: Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA

14 teachers from across the country gathered in Simi Valley, California, from 15-17 February 2019 to study the papers, ideas, and legacy of President Ronald Reagan. Coming from as far as Connecticut, these teachers engaged in six 90-minute discussion sessions in an effort to study Ronald Reagan’s political philosophy and public life, through a collection of his most notable speeches and some biographical material. Discussion Leader for the weekend was Dr. Stephen Knott of the United States Naval War College, a noted Reagan scholar. The weekend was punctuated by a visit to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, where attendees experienced Reagan’s 707 Air Force One, interacted with artifacts, videos, and images from his presidency, and learned about the ‘Great Communicator’ and the tumultuous times during which he was active in politics.

Saturday Webinar: Imperialists vs. Non-Interventionists

 

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TAH.org’s Great American Debates Saturday Webinar for 2 February 2019 focused on the heated years of debate during the late 19th and early 20th centuries over America’s role in the world, and whether or not she should seek to create an empire along the lines of what was common for European states at the time.

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U.S. History Lesson Plans on World War II

Today’s typical high school student has likely encountered a handful of books or movies
that explore aspects of World War II, from the Holocaust to D-Day to Japanese
American internment camps. While these media can enhance a student’s intellectual
and emotional understanding of the events, they don’t always provide a full picture of
World War II–its complex causes, effects, and legacy that continues to shape the United
States today. How can a U.S. History teacher invite students into the drama of World
War II and help them make these critical connections?

Core Documents Collection
The collection of documents on World War II explores the American shift from neutrality
to declaration of war after the Pearl Harbor attacks. The documents go on to examine
military and political strategies along with the war’s impact on women, African
Americans, and Japanese Americans at home. Finally, they delve into the aftermath of
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ushered in the nuclear age.

The World War II Core Document volume contains the following:
● Key documents on the period, from the Neutrality Act of 1935 to Roosevelt’s
Fireside Chats and speeches, Truman’s press release alerting the nation about
the atomic bomb, letters and diaries from soldiers, and reports from the
Nuremberg Trials
● 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

You can use some or all of the Core Documents, tailoring them to your curriculum,
schedule, and students’ needs. When you plan a lesson around a Core Document
rather than a textbook, you will start to see your students making connections that bring
the issues surrounding World War II to life.

Accessing the World War II Core Documents is easy. Just click on the link below and
find everything you need to bring the World War II Era into your classroom today!

Access the World War II Core Documents

SYNOPSIS: The World War II volume of Core Documents Collections is designed to
help teachers bring to life for students the causes, effects, and legacy of the war. Check
out this unique resource, provided by Teaching American History.

Documents in Detail: Lincoln’s Speech on the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise

 

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Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 speech on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise signaled his return to public life and politics, after a few years of private law practice. In the speech he outlined not only his views on Congress’ action, but also the growing sectional divide, slavery, and the future of America.

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Saturday Webinar: Secessionists vs. Unionists

 

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The first Great American Debates webinar of 2019 took place on Saturday, 12 January, with a deep dive into the causes and ideas behind the opposing – and both diverse and complex in and of themselves – sides in the debate over states’ right, supposedly, to secede. Drs. Scott Yenor, Jonathan White, and Chris Burkett discussed the constitutional, legal, and political dimensions of an issue that had roots far earlier than the flare-up in late 1860.

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Documents in Detail: Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to Roger Weightman

 

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Thomas Jefferson wrote this letter only weeks before his death in 1826, and in it seeks to explain, in effect, what he meant by some of the key ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Coupled with his 1825 letter to Henry Lee, this piece provides an interesting perspective on those ideas, from their key author. Jefferson not only reflects on American independence, but looks far into the future, when “all,” he believed, would seek political liberty, perhaps even in the American tradition.

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When ‘I Have a Dream’ Is Your Textbook: How Teaching Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Actual Speech Changes the Way Your Students Learn

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.” The opening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech reminds us that these words grew out of a major event, not a textbook. It is August of 1963, and hundreds of thousands of Americans are crowded before the Lincoln Memorial as part of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Near the end of the day, Dr. King addresses the hot, tired, but invigorated crowd with some of the most resonant words in our nation’s history. Shouldn’t the words themselves receive the greatest attention?

Digging Deeper

While virtually all U.S. history curricula cover Martin Luther King Jr.’s accomplishments, they often give no more than a glance to the speeches themselves. Most students learn that “I Have a Dream” is one of the most famous speeches in history. But what do they learn about the speech itself? What can they recite aside from the title’s refrain, the ending reference to the Negro spiritual, or perhaps “they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”?

As important as these lines are, they represent just a fraction of the orator’s richness of thought. By digging into his words, rather than a textbook summary of his ideas, students can appreciate King’s rhetorical strategies:

  • Different modes of persuasion (ethos, pathos, and logos)
  • Figurative language
  • Historical and religious allusions
  • Sentence structure and punctuation
  • Diction
  • Tone

Practicing What King Preached

Because Martin Luther King Jr. was a preacher who believed in the power of the written and spoken word, communicating was not just a means to an end. The words themselves were art and truth, meant to inspire just as much as his actions. As students will learn by studying his speech, King refers to numerous other speeches, songs, religious texts, and political documents, understanding the weight and influence of these original sources.

Without studying the entirety of King’s speech, students miss on his truly indelible mark on America’s Civil Rights movement and intellectual history. Bring Martin Luther King Jr. to life in your classroom this year by living among his very words.

Access “I Have a Dream,” lesson plans, and other core documents today at TAH.org.

 

Great American Debates: Lincoln vs. Douglas

 

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TAH.org’s last Saturday Webinar for 2018 took place on 1 December, and featured another Great American Debate: Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, in their famous ‘Lincoln-Douglas Debates’ of 1858. Our panel of scholars, with the assistance of great questions submitted by our live audience of teachers addressed the ideas and issues, rhetoric and reasoning, and immediate and long-term impact and meaning of these singular debates in American history.

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Documents in Detail: Bill of Rights

 

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Our Documents in Detail episode for 14 NOV 18 focused on the Bill of Rights: the politics behind its proposal and adoption; interpretations over time; and place in our history, government, and society. Among the many questions asked during the lively 58-minute program included those about James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, and why they initially did not support an enumeration of rights, but in Madison’s case, eventually went on to promote the legislation that led to the Bill of Rights. Also considered was the notion that to understand the Bill of Rights today, one must understand the original arguments against it.

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Saturday Webinar: Frederick Douglass vs. William Lloyd Garrison

 

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Program Archive Page

TAH.org’s Saturday Webinar for 10 NOV 2018 focused on the debate between Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison, and their divergent views on the Constitution, solutions to slavery, and the future of America as they saw it. Suggested additional readings include:

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U.S. History Lesson Plans on the Great Depression and the New Deal

The Great Depression and the New Deal impacted a generation and forever changed the role of federal government in people’s lives to this day. For today’s high school students, the time may conjure up black-and-white images of people standing in soup lines or traversing the Dust Bowl. Iconic pictures and texts such as Grapes of Wrath have certainly helped people remember one of our nation’s most challenging times. But how did the government, including Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt, respond with specific policies and institutions that continue to shape the United States?

Core Documents Collection

The collection of documents on the Great Depression and the New Deal makes clear the reasons why and the degree to which Franklin Roosevelt intended the New Deal to be a re-founding of the American republic after Hoover’s struggle to pull the country out of financial despair. The collection presents the arguments of those who opposed the New Deal — Democrats as well as Republicans — and those who thought it did not go far enough. Taken together, these documents bring immediacy to this consequential period of American history, shedding light on the origins of Social Security, minimum wage, and other institutions that have become a part of the fabric of our daily lives.

The Great Depression and the New Deal Core American Document volume contains the following:

  • Key documents on the period, from Hoover’s speeches to Roosevelt’s fireside chats, to dozens of other statements and letters, 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

You can use some or all of the core documents, tailoring them to your curriculum, schedule, and students’ needs. When you plan a lesson around Core Documents rather than a textbook, you will start to see your students making connections that bring the Great Depression and New Deal to life. Studied in conjunction with the Great Recession of 2008, these documents will also help your students understand patterns and themes that cross the eras.

Accessing the Great Depression and the New Deal Core Documents is easy. Just click on the link below and find everything you need to bring this era into your classroom today!  

Access the Core Documents: The Great Depression and the New Deal 

Documents in Detail: Brutus I

 

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The 24 OCT 18 episode of Documents in Detail took a look at Brutus I, one of the essential Antifederalist writings, dated 18 OCT 1787. The program opened with a question from the moderator about why it’s worth reading an argument for one of the “losers” of the ratification debate that waged from 1787-88. Most of the program dug into and drew conclusions and observations based on the root of Brutus’ argument, which was about his concerns over consolidation, and the creation of a single, large republic that would eventually trample the rights of individuals and would be distant and separate from the people it existed to represent.

We experienced a software glitch while recording this program, resulting in the last 12 minutes being muted. We are working to recover this block of audio, and will replace the current, incomplete audio file with the full one if we are able to do that.

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TAH One-Day Seminars in the Southwest

With a few months of the 2018-2019 school year under your belt, you may be starting to hit that fall/winter fatigue. Don’t lose the spark! Now is the perfect time to infuse new life into your teaching by exploring fresh ideas with like-minded history teachers. We have several one-day seminars scheduled this fall and spring across 5 states in the Southwest.

Teaching American History offers seminars at no charge for you and your fellow teachers, who will dive right into original historical documents, from the Bill of Rights to landmark Supreme Court cases, under the teaching of university scholars who are experts in their respective fields. Getting to the roots of our country’s exciting and complicated history will help you inspire your students for second semester and beyond.

Arizona

Robber Barons or Captains of Industry – the Gilded Age Revisited, hosted by AZ Dept. Education

November 5 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

The Bill of Rights, hosted by Sahuarita High School (Tucson area, AZ)

November 7 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Landmark Supreme Court Cases, hosted by Phoenix Union HSD (Phoenix, AZ)

November 29 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The New Deal and Great Society Compared, hosted by Phoenix Union HSD (Phoenix, AZ)

February 7, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The Legislative Branch, hosted by Phoenix Union HSD (Phoenix, AZ)

March 28, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

New Mexico

Civil Rights – Speeches and Leaders – hosted by Sandia Preparatory School (Albuquerque, NM)

November 8 @ 8:20 am – 2:45 pm

Oklahoma

World War 2 hosted by the Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies (Norman, OK)

November 2 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The American Founding hosted by the Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies (Norman, OK)

November 2 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Social Reform – 1790 to 1850, hosted by Broken Arrow Schools (Tulsa, OK)

March 4, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Causes of the Civil War, hosted by OK CSS (Oklahoma City, OK)

March 5, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Modern Social Movements, hosted by OK CSS (Oklahoma City, OK)

March 6, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Texas

Lincoln and the Problem of Reconstruction, hosted by St. Thomas High School (Houston, TX)

November 13 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

LBJ and Vietnam, hosted by St. Thomas High School (Houston, TX)

February 11, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Lincoln and Reconstruction, hosted by Austin ISD (Austin, TX)

February 12, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

American Foreign Policy, hosted by St. Thomas High School (Houston, TX)

April 11, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Utah

American Foreign Policy, hosted by Alta High School (Sandy, UT)

December 14 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Congress, hosted by Alta High School (Sandy, UT)

February 8, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

The American Presidency, hosted by Alta High School (Sandy, UT)

April 12, 2019 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

 

TAH’s Southwest seminars are just some of the free resources available to you as a teacher of American History. For information on Core Documents, online programs, Teacher Toolkits and more, visit us at www.teachingamericanhistory.org.

Also, we’d love to connect with you on social media – follow @teachamhistory!

Saturday Webinars: Jefferson vs. Hamilton

 

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The Saturday Webinar for October 2018 featured a discussion of the political and personal split between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, with a focus on how their differences contributed to the development of the first political parties, and how their ideas informed the first decades of American economic policy.

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Core American Documents: The Executive Branch

 

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“[The concept of executive power]…in our system of government, which subscribes to the rule of law, is very hard to come to terms with…”

The latest volume of the American History and Government Core Documents Collections – the Executive Branch – is available on Kindle, iTunes and PDF. Hard copies are also available for $10 each – email dmitchell@tah.org if you would like a copy. You can also buy it as print-on-demand on Amazon!

Sign up for early access to each volume!

This collection of documents on the Executive Branch is part of our extended series of document collections covering major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. This is the first of our Political Science/Government-focused volumes, especially appropriate for use in Government and Civics courses.

Consider taking a look at these books by Professor Bailey mentioned in the interview:

See a list of all titles in TAH.org’s Core Documents series.

50 Documents That Tell America’s Story

Required reading for students, teachers, and citizens.

Access Now

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