We the Teachers

Session 3: The American Mind, Part 2

Lecture, Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

The political logic of the argument of the Declaration, continued: Further reflections on the course of human events, people, the laws of nature and of nature’s God, decent respect for the opinions of mankind, self evident truths, equality, rights, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, consent, prudence, the ends of government, the right to abolish government and institute new government, facts submitted to a candid world, sacred honor, and more.

The 15th Amendment: Providing the Vote

 

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On 21 July, NCSS and TAH.org hosted the last of three episodes in their joint Summer Webinar Series about the Reconstruction amendments. Professor Scott Yenor discussed with a group of teachers the reasoning behind the 15th Amendment, different ideas about how to achieve its goal, and the resulting impact of access to the vote – real or imagined – by African-Americans over time. You can download a copy of the slideshow here, and the reading packet for the entire series here.

Session 2: The American Mind, Part 1

Lecture, Dr. Chris Flannery:  

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Focus

Thomas Jefferson wrote that in drafting the Declaration of Independence he meant to give expression to “the American mind.” What does the Declaration tell us about the American mind as it related to the foundations, forms, and purposes of the newly sovereign United States? What is the political logic of the argument of the Declaration? What is the philosophical and historical heritage on which the Declaration draws? Reflections on the course of human events, people, the laws of nature and of nature’s God, decent respect for the opinions of mankind, self evident truths, equality, rights, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, consent, prudence, the ends of government, the right to abolish government and institute new government, facts submitted to a candid world, sacred honor, and more.
Readings

The 14th Amendment: How it Completes the Constitution

 

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In part 2 of the TAH.org/NCSS Summer Webinar Series, Professor Scott Yenor discusses the need for, development of, and implementation of the 14th Amendment. Starting with conjecture over an ideal resolution to the Civil War, Professor Yenor and a group of teachers worked through the competing ideas and practical challenges of Reconstruction as applied to what became the 14th Amendment. You can access the slideshow used during the webinar here, and the reading packet for the three-session series here.

Session 1: Intro and the “Apple of Gold”: – The Centrality of the Declaration of Independence in American Political Life

Introduction, Dr. Peter Schramm:  

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Part 1, Dr. Chris Flannery:  

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Part 2: Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

Why is it important to understand the Declaration of Independence? What does the Declaration say, and why and how does it say it? What does the Declaration not say, and why and how does it not say it? What is the significance of Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration? What does the Declaration mean, and what does the Declaration not mean?

The 13th Amendment: The Beginning of a Constitutional Revolution?

Professor Scott Yenor:   

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On the evening of 7 July, 2015, TeachingAmericanHistory.org and the National Council for the Social Studies presented the first of three webinars in a series based around the three Reconstruction Amendments. Professor Scott Yenor, of Boise State University, worked with a group of teachers from across the country to consider the constitutional, legal, and practical issues surrounding the 13th Amendment. Did the amendment represent a departure from constitutional precedent, or a culmination of it? How was the question of slavery dealt with as a constitutional and legal issue through this amendment? Were the Reconstruction amendments truly a coherent ‘package,’ as often portrayed? These questions and others were addressed in detail using this documents packet and this slideshow. Download those files and follow along with the attached podcast.

Presidential Academy: The Declaration of Independence and the American Founding

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is proud to offer the first 11 of 30 sessions of our Presidential Academy documents-based survey course of American history and American political thought through iTunesU, iTunes, and this blog.

Starting on Tuesday, 14 July, we’ll publish one session per week, excluding some weeks due to holidays. This first portion of the course will end on Tuesday, 22 September, and will be followed the week after by Part 2, and then Part 3 in 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 all session titles in Part 1 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 1: Introduction and the “Apple of Gold”: - The Centrality of the Declaration of Independence in American Political Life, 14 July
Session 2: The American Mind: Part I, 21 July
Session 3: The American Mind: Part II, 28 July
Session 4: The Revolutionary Era, 4 AUG
Session 5: The Constitutional Convention, Part I – The Alternative Plans, 11 AUG
Session 6: The Constitutional Convention, Part II – The Connecticut Compromise, 18 AUG
Session 7: The Constitutional Convention, Part III – The Committee of Detail Report and the Close of the Convention, 25 AUG
Session 8: The Constitution and American Self-Government, 1 SEP
Session 9: The Proposed Constitution of 1787 and Its Defense in The Federalist Papers, 8 SEP
Session 10: The Federalist Papers – The Sum of Power and the Separation of Powers, 15 SEP
Session 11: The Federalist Papers – Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches, 22 SEP

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.

American Controversies: Did the Founders Misunderstand Equality?

 

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The first of the 2014-15 Saturday Webinars, this session not only introduced the theme for the season, it also addressed an issue perfectly relevant to any American History, Government, or Civics course. The archive page for the program is here, and you can subscribe to our TAH.org podcast here.

September 2014 Webinar: Did the Founders Misunderstand Democracy?

 

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What is democracy, and what did it mean to the Founders as they fought the Revolution and then laid out the plans for a new government? Did their definition of the term, and its implications for the structure, powers, and role of the new government differ from ours, or from that of Americans in the centuries between us? September 2014′s Saturday Webinar dealt with these questions and issues attached to them, and can be viewed – and its associated documents accessed – right here. And now that our iTunes Podcast is running smoothly, you can download the audio file to your mobile device, as well.

American Controversies: Is there a Right to Nullification or Secession? – the podcast

 

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November 2014′s Saturday Webinar, “Is There a Constitutional Right to Nullification or Secession?” was a great panel discussion about the legal, constitutional, and revolutionary arguments made over the years to justify either nullification of federal actions our outright secession. One glaring omission from that program, however, has been the lack of an audio-only version of the discussion. Now that our podcast is running smoothly, it was time to remedy that oversight.

American Controversies: Is the Modern Presidency Constitutional?

 

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Is the Modern Presidency Constitutional?

The last of the 14-15 school year’s Saturday Webinars, today’s program, was hosted as always by Dr. Chris Burkett of Ashland University, who moderated the discussion between professors Jeremy Bailey and David Alvis. The topic considered the Constitution itself, interpretations of the executive found in the Federalist Papers, and actions, laws, and events from throughout American history, in an attempt to differentiate between the ‘constitutional presidency’ and the ‘modern presidency.’ Some 65 teachers from across the country attended, who asked a wide variety of questions.

You can access a list of some of the documents used and a video archive on here.

Subscribe to our podcast here.

American Controversies: Are Congress and the Courts Too Strong or Too Weak?

 

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Are the Courts and Congress Too Weak or Too Strong?

11 April’s webinar,  Are Congress and the Courts Too Strong or Too Weak? is now available for podcasting. You can also view the video archive on this page at TeachingAmericanHistory.orgSubscribe to our podcast here.

Saturday Webinar: Do American Principles Require American Interventionism?

 

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14 March 2015′s American Controversies webinar focused on foreign policy, and how American principles impact the decision to get involved overseas, where, and how. Scholars David Tucker and Stephen Knott discussed examples from Washington’s administration to the Obama presidency,  unpacking events and decisions including the War of 1812, Indian Removal, the annexation of Florida, the Spanish-American War, and more recent interventions in the Balkans, Africa, and elsewhere. 80 teachers from across the country attended and posed excellent questions, digging at the issue of where principles and pragmatism meet – and either clash or complement one another.

You can access a video copy of this webinar, along with the core documents used by the scholars, on this TeachingAmericanHistory.org archive page.

Join us for next month’s American Controversies webinar, the guiding question behind which will be “Are Congress or the Courts Too Strong or Too Weak?

Subscribe to our podcast here.

Saturday Webinar: Has the Age of Enlightened Administration Come?

 

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You can listen to the audio right here, and access the archive page – with the video – here.

Today’s webinar consisted of a fascinating discussion of the idea of governmental administration, and the ability and role of government – especially at the federal level – in exercising regulatory power. Panelists discussed the definition of ‘administration’ itself, as well as the difference between political perspectives on problem-solving versus ‘expert’ or ‘technical’ perspectives on the same. Specific examples from the early 20th Century – Roosevelt’s involvement in the coal strike and federal engagement with railroads – were discussed in detail, as well as presidential administrations from the late 19th through the early 21st Centuries.

Aside from the discussion itself, this session included a great deal of description and background information on the functions and organization of the executive bureaucracy, with detailed definitions of the different types of agencies that exist within it, how they function in relation to the president, and how this status impacts their ability to execute policy and regulations.

Subscribe to our podcast here.

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