Monthly Archives: December 2017

Documents in Detail: Gettysburg Address


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The last 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Teaching American History believes in the power of our country’s original historical documents to spark curiosity, conversation, and action.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, 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! 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 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! is a project of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University

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