Monthly Archives: December 2015

Program Report: “Civil Disobedience” Seminar in Asheville, NC

Last Saturday teachers from four states gathered in Asheville, North Carolina for one of the final TAH.org seminars of 2015. They discussed “Civil Disobedience” with Dr. David Alvis, an interesting topic that explored America’s founding and it’s roots in civil disobedience. What does civil disobedience mean? How far can a person or group act upon their convictions before it deemed not civil?

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This seminar’s three sessions began with John Locke’s Two Treatises and the Declaration of Independence. Was the American Revolution “revolutionary” or merely a “war for independence” when compared to the French or Russian Revolutions. The second session considered Henry David Thoreau’s idea of conscientious disobedience, that a person is morally obligated to act upon any repugnant injustice or law, regardless of the outcome. However, with that idea come events like John Brown acting on his own moral authority who murders in the name of justice. Juxtapose Thoreau’s writings with Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum address and he warns of the dangers with “mobocracy” and the need for rule of law at all times. Our third session compared Dr. King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail writings to Malcolm X “The Ballot of the Bullet”.  All in all, it was a very thought provoking day.

We hope to meet you at one of our programs in 2016.

 

Presidential Academy: MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Modern America

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is proud to offer the third and final part of our Presidential Academy documents-based survey course of American history and American political thought through iTunesU, iTunes, and this blog.

This segment of the course, consisting of 7 sessions, focuses on the Modern America, with the ideas expressed in Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the foundation of study. The first session in this part of the course will be posted on Tuesday, 5 January 2016.

Presidential Academy was a grant-funded program that TAH.org presented to groups of teachers who met and studied in three cities over two weeks, with discussions rooted in three separate documents. The first days were in Philadelphia, beginning with the American Founding, through the Declaration of Independence. Additional documents and ideas were addressed and analyzed throughout the several sessions there before the group moved on to Gettysburg and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Finally, the group moved to Washington, D.C., and study of modern America, with Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech as the focal point.

Each session is made up of a set of readings, all linked from its blog post, and usually one lecture. Guiding questions and focus issues are at the foundation of each week’s study. A list of the session titles for Part 3 of the course is below, along with the dates on which each will be published on this blog, and the audio made available through iTunes. You can subscribe to our iTunes Podcast feed by clicking here. The entire course, divided into the three major sections – Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Washington – is already available on iTunesU.

Session 24:  The Modern Era Confronts the American Founding, 5 JAN 16
Session 25: Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois, 12 JAN
Session 26: The Progressive Reform and Self-Government, 19 JAN
Session 27: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Democratic Leadership, 26 JAN
Session 28: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP, 2 FEB
Session 29: Brown v. Board of Education; Martin Luther King, Jr., Non-Violent Resistance, and the American Dream, 9 FEB
Session 30 pt1: Martin Luther King, Jr; Malcolm X, 16 FEB
Session 30 pt2: The Reagan Era and the New Deal Legacy; George W. Bush’s Founding Faith, 23 FEB

We invite you to deepen your knowledge of American history through this series, and use these materials in any way that will benefit you and your students, and we hope that you have enjoyed this course series.

Session 23: Frederick Douglass – Reconstruction and the Future of Black Americans

Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

How did Douglass answer the question, “What Country Have I?” What was his critique of the emigrationist position? What was the basis for his greater optimism about race relations in America? Just as Douglass was the leading figure in the fight to secure the natural right to liberty for blacks in America, he was the leading figure in the post-war struggle to secure civil rights for African-Americans. Why does Douglass favor justice (“fair play”) over charity (“benevolence”) for black Americans? Why does Douglass counsel black Americans against “race pride”? Why does Douglass consider “the Negro problem” a misnomer for “the nation’s problem” and how does this affect the kind of solutions proposed to help black Americans? What was his critique of the emigrationist position? Does he believe in black reparations? If color prejudice is the bane of black Americans, what principles and policies does Douglass propose to eliminate it from American society?

Program Report: “American Founding” Seminar in Charleston, SC

TAH.org was delighted to hold our first South Carolina seminars in the historic town of Charleston at the Charleston History Museum this past weekend. Surrounded by historical artifacts and a replica of the Hunley submarine, Dr. David Alvis and Dr. Eric Sands chaired two separate seminars on the American Founding.

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Participants opened the session entitle “A New World of the Ages” with Lincoln’s “Fragment on the Constitution”, that asks readers to ponder the Declaration of Independence as the Apple of Gold encased by the Frame of Silver, that being the Constitution. Conversation centered on causes for Independence, British Taxation and the second paragraph of the Declaration. Session Two focused on the “Frame of Silver – Republicanism and Separation of Powers”. To what degree did the Articles of Confederation fail and what improvements in the “science of politics” did Publius think necessary to make this new form of republicanism? Readings and consideration focused on Federalist Papers #10 and #51. The final session centered on the Judiciary and Protection of Rights, which we – as a Nation – deem essential. Participants discussed Federalist #78, Brutus – The Anti-Federalist, and Marbury vs. Madison.

We look forward to adding more programs in South Carolina and hope to see many new attendees.

Session 22: “A New Birth of Freedom” and Lincoln’s Re-Election

Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

Why does Lincoln call “all men are created equal” a “proposition” instead of a “self-evident truth”? How does he see the Civil War as a test? What does he define “dedication” and why does Lincoln depreciate what was said at the Gettysburg dedication? What is “the great task” that remains for the American people? What is the “new birth of freedom” he calls the nation to experience?
What are Lincoln’s objectives as the newly re-elected president? Why emphasize that both sides tried to avoid war? Why is there no explicit mention of the South as the cause of rebellion in the Second Inaugural Address? According to Lincoln, who or what was the cause of the Civil War? Why does he appeal to God’s judgment to discern the meaning of the Civil War? How does the Second Inaugural Address forge a connection between America’s past and America’s future? In other words, why does Lincoln use his Second Inaugural Address to explain the meaning of the preceding four years?
Readings:

American Presidents Webinar: Richard Nixon

 

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On Tuesday, 1 December 2015, TeachingAmericanHistory.org presented a bonus webinar in its American Presidents series. Put on in conjunction with NCSS, this one-hour episode was a bonus program for NCSS members who had attended other TAH.org webinars this year. Dr. Chris Burkett, of Ashland University, moderated the lively discussion between Drs. Eric Pullin and John Moser, who emphasized Nixon’s foreign policy decisions and policies throughout most of the program. The documents used for the program can be downloaded here.

Session 21: Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation

Prof. Allen Guelzo:  

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Focus

The Emancipation Proclamation did not free a single slave under the authority of the Federal government, e.g., the border states of Maryland, Kentucky, Delaware, or Missouri. What did it accomplish? What did Frederick Douglass think about the Emancipation Proclamation at the time and then in retrospect? On emancipation, Lincoln moved too slowly for the radicals and abolitionists and too fast for the Democrats. How would you assess Lincoln’s actions?
Readings
Supplemental/Optional Readings:
  • Lucas E. Morel, “Forced into Gory Lincoln Revisionism”
  • Don E. Fehrenbacher, “Only His Stepchildren: Lincoln & the Negro”
  • James M. McPherson, “The ‘Glory’ Story”

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