We the Teachers

Documents in Detail: Washington’s Farewell Address

 

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The last Documents in Detail webinar for the 16-17 school year took place on Wednesday, 17 May, and focused on George Washington’s Farewell Address. A good question that kicked off the discussion was simply why? That is, why is Washington’s Farewell Address so popular, so often read, and considered by so many over the last 200+ years to be so important. What’s so special about it? Scholars brought up the point that Washington, while very popular at the outset of his first term, experienced the first presidential controversies – the Jay Treaty, the problems within his own cabinet between Jefferson and Hamilton, to name but two – and many Americans questioned his decisions and leadership by 1796.

Also discussed were the various drafts of Washington’s address, the first of which was written mostly by James Madison at the end of Washington’s first term, when he seriously considered stepping down; and the one written by Alexander Hamilton in 1796. Both were based solidly on Washington’s ideas, however.

Additional suggested reading is from Ellis’s Founding Brothers, specifically chapter 4, “The Farewell.”

Access the full archives, with documents links, here.

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Landmark Supreme Court Cases Webinars Archives

TAH.org’s 2016-17 school year Saturday Webinar series, Landmark Supreme Court Cases, has finished its run, ending the year on 13 May 2017 with New Jersey v. T.L.O. You can access all the archives to these programs in three ways, depending on your needs and preferences.

We maintain videos of all our webinars on our YouTube channel, with each season of our programs organized as separate playlists. You can access all 10 of our Landmark Supreme Court Cases videos there.

Additionally, if you’re interested in a podcast of any program, you can find all of our web programs at our iTunes Podcast site, or subscribe directly to the podcast feed if you don’t use iTunes.

Finally, all of our individual episode pages, with document links and scholar bios, are found on our Webinars Archives page.

Consider looking back at this last season and listening to or watching some of the programs you missed, or even ones you attended. Think about how you could use the documents for each with your students. Many teachers from around the country are using archived webinars with their students, in some cases flipping their classrooms by having students read some of the documents and watch the programs themselves outside of class, reserving class time for Socratic discussions and other activities.

Saturday Webinar: New Jersey v. T.L.O.

 

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The 1985 search and seizure case, at a high school in New Jersey, addressed standards for how school officials are to interpret Fourth Amendment rights. The original question that faced the court, interestingly enough, was not what the USSC eventually decided. Initially, the case was in regards to the exclusionary rule and how it applied to school officials. USSC justices, however, pulled back from that initial question, and instead focused on whether or not the Fourth Amendment even applied to school officials, and how it was to be applied to minor students. Also at issue is the definition and description of “reasonable suspicion,” as compared to “probable cause.”

Interesting point of what might seem like legal trivia: in United States v. Place (1983) it was determined that a drug-sniffing dog is not considered a search. Beyond that, in relation to use of such dogs at schools, no reasonable suspicion is required in a school. This came up in response to a teacher question about drug-sniffing dogs operating at schools around students.

Access the full archives of this program, including video, here.

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Documents in Detail: Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Address Delivered at Seneca Falls

 

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April’s Documents in Detail webinar was about Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s address to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Stanton’s use of John Locke, her view that women deserved the vote on moral grounds, and how greater involvement by women in society would improve society were all discussed, as well as the impact of her words alongside those of other women’s rights leaders.

Both scholars noted Stanton’s blunt style and her tendency to say things how she saw them, including when expressing reservations about Catholics and the error she believed the 15th Amendment to be, since it gave the right to vote to African-Americans and not women.

Access our podcast feed here, or our iTunes podcast here.

View the permanent program page, including the YouTube archive here.

 

Saturday Webinar: Regents of CA v. Bakke

 

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The 9th of TAH.org’s Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinars took place on Saturday, 8 April 2017, with University of CA Regents v. Bakke (1978) as the focus. Scholars provided a background on the case, the state of affirmative action policy and laws as of the 1970s, and the particulars of how these were being applied in higher education at the time. A number of interesting facts about the case were considered – including Bakke’s professional background and how his case made its way through the California legal system, and finally to the United States Supreme Court.

The 14th Amendment figured prominently in the early decisions, as well as the legal claims made by Bakke in his suits against the school, and how these could be reconciled with Civil Rights legislation from the 1960s. A significant undercurrent of the case and discussion was about whether the equal protection clause mandates color-blindness, for any reason, or if it permits some kinds of race-based considerations, but not others. This complicated case is a great opportunity to teach students how laws and the Constitution are analyzed, interpreted, and used, to reach court decisions.

Access the full archives of the program

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Documents in Detail: James Madison’s Federalist 10

 

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Professors John Moser, Jason Stevens, and John Dinan discussed James Madison’s Federalist 10 in today’s webinar. The background, historical context, and meaning of the document were discussed at length, as well as its importance at the time it was written, and in the over two centuries since. The panelists discussed in detail Madison’s concerns with factions, especially majority factions, and how in a republic it was possible for a majority for a develop into a faction that would seek to trample on the rights of the minority. Additionally, a number of questions were asked about Madison’s assertion that an extended republic would be more conducive to protecting individuals’ rights than a small republic – a key piece of evidence presented by the Federalists in favor of the Constitution.

Access the full archives on the original program page; our YouTube channel; and our iTunes podcast.

For additional resources and documents, consider looking at TAH.org’s Federalist-Antifederalist Debates exhibit, or the exhibit on the Ratification of the Constitution by the states and people.

Documents in Detail: MLK’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail

 

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The second episode in our pilot webinar series, Documents in Detail, aired live on 15 February, with a focus on MLK’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, of 1963. Among a variety of issues and topics, the program delved into the historical context around the letter, its perceived and actual audience, and the particulars of King’s citing of Abraham Lincoln in the letter. Teachers also asked questions about the role of King’s faith in the content and wording of the letter, and King’s relationship with other Civil Rights leaders, namely Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad.

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Access the full archive page for the program

Saturday Webinar: Tinker v. Des Moines

 

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The latest in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases Saturday Webinar series focused on Tinker v. Des Moines (1969), the landmark case that decided a school-based case about expressive speech and political protest. At the height of the Vietnam War, high school students in Iowa sought to protest America’s involvement in the war by wearing black arm bands, and were mary-and-johnprevented from doing so by school administration. Four years later, in 1969, the case was decided by the Supreme Court, changing American legal views on free speech, protest, and how these things could be expressed in a public schools.

Questions raised by the audience of teachers focused on Justice Black’s dissent, original intent of the Founders, and the power of the Supreme Court to interpret language and law.

Access the full archives of the program on its original page on TAH.org, and subscribe to our iTunes Podcast.

Documents in Detail: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

 

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TAH.org’s first Documents in Detail webinar aired on Wednesday, 25 January 2017, focusing on Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. Professors John Moser, Eric Sands, and Joe Fornieri discussed a number of perspectives on the document, from the prominence of Biblical language throughout, to the political impact of and reaction to the address. The scholars also discussed a counter-factual question regarding how Lincoln might have navigated the minefield of Reconstruction differently – and perhaps more successfully – than his successor, Andrew Johnson.

lincolninaugural-560x502Suggested further reading is Lincoln’s Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural, by Ronald White.

Access the full archive of the program, and related documents, here.

Access our podcast here.

Note: there is a slight echo on one scholar’s voice at about the 34-minute mark, which lasts for about 20 seconds. It is the only place where this audio issue came up during the program.

Saturday Webinar: Miranda v. Arizona

 

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Drs. Chris Burkett, Stephen Tootle, and Jeff Sikkenga discussed the background, constitutional questions, politics, and immediate and long-range impact of the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona (1966) during 7 JAN 2017’s Saturday Webinar.

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Access the full archives here.

Saturday Webinar: Gideon v. Wainwright

 

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Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) was the subject of December’s Saturday Webinar. guest hosted by Dr. Jason Stevens of Ashland University. The case, which overturned a previous USSC case and forced states to provide legal counsel to defendants in criminal cases. Although a majority of states already required this, those that did not were required to do so, from this point forward. The panelists discussed not only the interesting background of the case, including Betts v. Brady (1942), but also the complex situation of determining the “special circumstances” mentioned in that decision that states had to somehow work through in each case. An interesting point brought up was that some 22 states filed amicus briefs in support of a single federal ruling, essentially asking the court to provide a single standard for them instead of the open-ended (and difficult) question left to them by the Betts decision.

The broader discussion also looked at the Warren court in general, the concept of incorporation, and the original intent behind the ideas in the Bill Rights.

Resources mentioned include…

Access the archives, including our YouTube recording and podcast, on the permanent program page here.

Saturday Webinar: Brown v. Board of Education

 

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TAH.org’s latest episode in our Landmark Supreme Court Cases webinar series took place on Saturday, 19 November, and was hosted by Dr. Chris Burkett, with Drs. Emily Hess and Jason Stevens as panelists. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) was discussed as both the repudiation of Plessy v. Ferguson as well as what many see as the formal start to the post-WW2 Civil Rights era. The two cases’ legal reasoning, constitutional foundations, and outcomes were discussed as a an integrated whole, making for an interesting and informative discussion of African-American Civil Rights, as playing out over generations.

For those interested in additional readings on the subjects, the panelists recommended the following books.

View the archive of the program here.

Saturday Webinar: Dred Scott v. Sandford

 

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The latest episode of TAH.org‘s Landmark Supreme Court Cases Saturday Webinars aired live on Saturday, 15 October 2016, with Dred Scott v. Sandford as the focus. Prof. Chris Burkett of Ashland University moderated the discussion between Profs. Lucas Morel and Jonathan White, and included a live teacher audience of over 100. In addition to the background of the case itself, the panelists discussed the following question, most of which were posed by teachers from the audience:roger-taney-in-1858

  • Did Justice Taney believe that the decision in the case would put an end to sectional differences over slavery?
  • Were there political motives behind Taney’s decision?
  • What were the main points of the dissenting opinions?
  • How did Taney justify and rationalize his decision?
  • How did the decision reflect or relate to the positions of other leaders of the time, including Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and Alexander Stephens?

An interesting point related to the case is that of the perceptions of the Founder’s intent. Essentially, Taney asserted that the Founders never intended for African-America526px-dredscottns to be treated and seen as anything but property, and that they were truly lesser beings. If anyone believed otherwise, Taney’s response would be that they misunderstood the Founders’ true intentions. Alexander Stephens, on the other hand, asserted that although the Founders did promote equality of all people, they were wrong by including, even if only by implication, non-whites, and that the Southern view of the races, based in ‘science,’ was the correct one. Finally, it was Lincoln who believed that the Founders did include non-whites as people and therefore entitled to certain natural rights, and that if anything, it was the generations of leaders since who’d failed to continue to reach for those goals.

Rebuilding the Liberty Narrative: A Conversation with Gordon Lloyd

 

There is nothing more arduous than the apprenticeship of liberty, Tocqueville informs. While equality in modern democratic society is a natural tendency—one that grows without much effort—it is liberty that requires a new defense in each generation. In this spirit the next edition of Liberty Law Talk discusses with Gordon Lloyd the Liberty Narrative and its unending contest with the Equality Narrative.

Gordon Lloyd

Gordon Lloyd is the Dockson Emeritus Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University and a senior fellow at the Ashbrook Center. He is the creator, with the help of the Ashbrook Center, of four highly regarded websites on the origin of the Constitution.

From the Library of Law and Liberty

50 Documents That Tell America’s Story

Required reading for students, teachers, and citizens.

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