We the Teachers

The Bill of Rights: A Comprehensive Course

TeachingAmericanHistory.org’s Dr. Gordon Lloyd, author of the Online Exhibits on the American Founding, is the presenter of six one-hour lectures on the Bill of Rights, from its historical roots to ratification. TAH.org now offers these lectures, and associated primary documents, as an iTunes U course, which you can access here. You’ll need an iOS device to experience the interface as it’s been designed; however, you can access the videos and all of Dr. Lloyd’s online content at the Bill of Rights exhibit on TAH.org.

TAH.org Weekend Colloquium: New Orleans

TAH.org hosted a diverse group of teachers in New Orleans over the weekend of 31 July to 2 August. The topic, Security, Self-Determination, and Empire: The Grand Alliance, 1941-1945, focused on the interactions between the United States, Great Britain, and Soviet Union during World War 2, with a special emphasis on the Yalta Conference of 1945, during which many of the agreements for the post-war world and divisions of land, people, and power were made. Teachers visited the National World War 2 Museum and along with seeing the new European Theater Galleries, saw the outstanding Tom Hanks-narrated Beyond All Boundaries documentary. In keeping with the special format of the program – a documents-based simulation of the Yalta Conference, with teachers playing the roles of specific national leaders and their assistants, with competing agendas and priorities – it was decided that an attempt at a recreation of the famous photo of the ‘Big 3′ at Yalta would be appropriate.

Keep your eyes on our Weekend Colloquia page for dates and locations for Fall 2015 programs. You can also register to receive email updates through the interest form at the bottom of our homepage.

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Religious Liberty and the American Founding Webinar

A Discussion Celebrating the 225th Anniversary of Washington’s Letter to the Hebrew Congregation

George Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, RI is perhaps the best expression of the spirit of religious liberty that shaped the new American republic.  This August is the 225th anniversary of its composition.  Join us at our August 22 webinar for a discussion in commemoration of the letter.  We will discuss how religious liberty came about, its connection to America’s founding principles, and its consequences for American history and politics.

In addition to Washington’s letter, we will be discussing Madison’s “Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” and the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom.  All three documents may be found in the Ashbrook Center’s 50 Core American Documents: Required Reading for Students, Teachers and Citizens.

For the story behind the letter and additional information about it, please visit the web site of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom.

Readings from the 50 Core American Documents:

The program will take place on Saturday, August 22nd, at 11am EST, and will last about 75 minutes. It is free. Panelists will be David Tucker and Chris Burkett.

Click here to register for this special event

TAH.org Springfield Weekend Colloquium on American History & Government

This past weekend middle and high school teachers gathered in Springfield, Illinois to discuss and analyze Abraham Lincoln’s rhetoric, speeches, and writings with Professor Joseph Fornieri, Historian and Professor of the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Dr. Fornieri and teachers dissected the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Alexander Stephens and referenced those influences upon Abraham Lincoln’s Peoria Speech, Gettysburg Address, and Inaugural Speech. President Lincoln endured deep crises and his writings and musings reflected his struggle with the moral and legal issue of slavery, states’ rights, and constitutional limits.

After a morning of discussion and analysis, participants enjoyed an afternoon visit to Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield home, followed by a tour of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. 2015.07 Springfield

Participants enjoyed profound conversation mixed with levity and laughter within the sessions, and into the after hours as well. We are excited to be able to help advance the content knowledge of teachers at our programs. About half of the teachers who attended had never participated in a TAH.org program and have already registered for other seminars and webinars.

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.

NCSS and TAH Partner for Summer PD

National Council for the Social Studies and TeachingAmericanHistory.org have partnered to bring a three-episode webinar series to teachers. The Reconstruction Amendments: A Constitutional Revolution, will take place on 7, 14, and 21 July from 6:30-8:00pm Eastern time. Registrants will receive a PDF reading packet in advance of the program and during each episode will learn from Professor Scott Yenor of Boise State University, who will lead a discussion about the three Reconstruction amendments, one each week. Each amendment will be accompanied by additional readings to help contextualize its constitutional and legal meaning and impact.

Additionally, participants in all three webinars will be able to register with Ashland University’s Founders School of Continuing Education to earn one graduate credit in Education after completing a lesson plan based on the program content. Information about this option will be provided during the webinars.

You can find more information about the series here.

Final Days to Apply for Summer 2015 Ashbrook Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites for Teachers

If you have not yet applied, or are waiting to apply, now is your last chance! Apply today for elite Ashbrook Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites on American History and Government during the summer of 2015. 

The application deadline is this Sunday, May 31st.

You and teachers like you from across the country will have the opportunity to:

  • Visit historic sites, like Independence Hall or Monticello
  • Experience Ashbrook’s unique discussion-based format
  • Engage in thoughtful conversation with fellow teachers, guided by a historian/political scientist
  • Explore primary source documents
  • Increase your expertise and develop content knowledge
  • Reignite your passion for your subject area
  • Take ideas back to your classroom that inspire your students
  • Earn up to 8 contact hours, with the option to earn 1 graduate credit
  • Receive a stipend of $425 to defray the cost of travel, plus have your program accommodations for the weekend provided by Ashbrook
  • Be treated to complimentary continental breakfast, lunch, dinner and refreshments during the program

Click here to see the schedule of Summer Colloquia and to apply.

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Ashbrook Weekend Colloquium at George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Last weekend the Ashbrook Center hosted a group of teachers from across the country at Mount Vernon for an in-depth discussion of George Washington’s role as president. Topics included his actions that helped to shape the office itself and the Cabinet, his handling of the growing split between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, and his management of foreign affairs. These discussion sessions on Saturday and Sunday were all supported by a wide and diverse selection of Washington’s letters and other correspondence.

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The weekend began with a reception and dinner on Friday night, May 1st, during which teachers were treated to a visit from Nellie Custis, portrayed by one of the professional historical interpreters at Mount Vernon. Her knowledge of Washington’s granddaughter was encyclopedic, and through her participants were able to learn about what life was like at Mount Vernon for family members, and how Washington was when at home and among family.

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Outside of discussion session time, attendees were able to explore the grounds of the estate and spend time with some of the 500 Revolution-era reenactors who were taking part in a massive encampment there over the weekend. Teachers also had the opportunity to take part in a special wreath-laying ceremony at George Washington’s tomb while on a guided tour of the mansion and grounds, and watch fireworks over the Potomac on Saturday night.

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Check on our schedule of summer programs at TeachingAmericanHistory.org for future professional development opportunities.

Gainesville Seminar in American History & Government

On Saturday, March 14th, the Ashbrook Center held another One Day Seminar in American History and Government in Gainesville, Florida with Dr. John Moser on the topic of the Origins of the Cold War.

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Participants discussed the complex relations between the Soviet Union and the United States that spanned a period of six decades. As one participant stated, “These two countries virtually held the world hostage as they jockeyed for position and tried to one up each other in the nuclear arms race.”

As Dr. Moser mentioned, “The Cold War extends far beyond the basic tenets of Capitalism versus Communism.” Lively discussion permeated the day and continued into the lunch hour as well. The first session “Wartime Alliance” focused on several wartime documents such as Roosevelt’s Message to Congress on the Atlantic Charter and Protocol of the Proceedings of the Crimea (Yalta) Conference. Session two explored “The Origins of Containment”, George Kennan writings on Soviet policy and the US response to the Soviet provocations. The third session focused on “the Practice of Containment” and post World War II policies. Participants discussed the effectiveness of Truman’s administrative policies, why did the US join NATO, the Marshall Plan and the division of Germany. The effects of the Cold War still resonate today and debate still continues over Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb.

Ashbrook Weekend Colloquium in Colonial Williamsburg, VA

The Ashbrook Center hosted a group of teachers at Colonial Williamsburg this past weekend, to discuss the topic of slavery as it is related to the Constitution. Teachers from across the country – as far away as North Dakota – engaged in a discussion about how the treatment of slavery evolved during the Convention of 1787, how the 3/5 clause was added and where the number really came from, and how the Founders wrestled with slavery as an institution with political and economic aspects and impacts.

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Professor Gordon Lloyd led our discussions, helping participants dig deeply into a diverse collection of documents, including notes from individual states’ ratifying conventions in 1787 and 1788, as well as from the Philadelphia Williamsburg 2 2015.03Convention itself. Along with 9 hours of outstanding discussion, participants were given a guided tour of Colonial Williamsburg, led by a resident scholar in the history of slavery and African-Americans at the historic settlement, and viewed a dramatic presentation of the lives of three African-American women who lived in Williamsburg in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries.

Following in Ancient Footsteps: The Hopewell in Ohio

Our friends at the Ohio Historical Society are pleased to present an exciting summer program for teachers. The Creative Learning Factory at the Ohio History Connection is inviting applications for a grant-funded Summer Scholars workshop studying the ancient American Hopewell culture in Ohio. The workshop will be run twice, July 12-17 and July 19-24, 2015. From a home base in Columbus, Ohio, we will visit the key sites of the Hopewell culture: Fort Ancient, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and the Newark Earthworks, which is being considered for nomination as a World Heritage Status site.

Summer Scholars will experience these sites with expert scholars who will bring the sites to life; and learn about archeological methodology and teaching historic sites from practicing archaeologists and site educators. The program is free for accepted applicants and includes a stipend to aid in covering travel and other expenses.

This program, part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Landmarks of American History and Culture teacher workshop series, is open to all teachers in US public, private, parochial, and charter schools, as well as American schools located abroad.

Applications are due March 2, 2015. For more information and application instructions, visit the program website at www.creativelearningfactoryhopewell.org

Announcing Spring Ashbrook Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites for Teachers

We would like to invite you to apply for Ashbrook Weekend Colloquia on American History and Government at Historic Sites, where you will:

  • Visit historic sites
  • Experience Ashbrook’s unique discussion-based format
  • Engage in thoughtful conversation with other teachers, guided by a historian/political scientist
  • Explore primary source documents
  • Increase your expertise
  • Reignite your passion for your subject area
  • Take ideas back to your classroom that inspire your students
  • Earn up to 8 contact hours, with the option to earn 1 graduate credit
  • Receive a stipend of $425 to defray the cost of travel
  • Be treated to complimentary continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments

These colloquia are being provided by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University.

Spring 2015 Ashbrook Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites:

  • George Washington as Founder

April 24-26, 2015

Mt. Vernon, VA

  • First in Peace: George Washington as President of the United States, 1789-97

May 1-3, 2015

Mt. Vernon, VA

  • James Madison: Statesman for Constitutional Government

May 1-3, 2015

Montpelier, VA

  • The Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention

May 8-10, 2015

Philadelphia, PA

  • Thomas Jefferson

May 29-31, 2015

Charlottesville, VA

  • Abraham Lincoln’s Political Choices and the Necessity of Eloquence

May 29-31, 2015

Springfield, IL

Apply Now

We look forward to meeting you at one of our programs.

Please direct any questions to:

Michelle Murray

Programs & Development Coordinator

MMurray@ashbrook.org

(419) 289-5411

Denver Seminar on American History & Government

The Ashbrook Center and Denver Public Schools partnered on February 17th, 2015 to present two one-day seminars to teachers from DPS and surrounding districts. The session for middle school teachers focused on Abraham Lincoln and his plans for Reconstruction, while the high school session focused on the role of religion in three different eras of reform in American history.

Our discussion about Lincoln dwelled in part on the difficulty he faced in trying to win the war while simultaneously planning for what was eventually called Reconstruction – how does one wage a war for victory, without doing so in a manner that alienates the enemy population, preventing amicable relations in the future? Unlike foreign wars, the American Civil War presented political and military leaders with unique challenges, all of which Lincoln needed to consider as he sought a resolution to the conflict.

The role of religion in American history is significant, and arguably no more so than in a number of reform movements throughout our history. Both the abolition movement, and the greater debate over slavery, and the temperance movement were fueled by perspectives themselves rooted in issues of faith. Participants discussed the role of religion in personal and corporate decision-making, and its impact on policy over time.

Take a look at our upcoming programs in various states on our programs calendar, found here on TeachingAmericanHistory.org.

Happy Birthday George Washington!

Sunday, February 22nd is our first president’s birthday. In celebration of Washington as a man, as a precedent setter, and as a leader calling Americans to embrace the full promise of our national experiment in self-government we encourage you to re-visit his Letter to the Hebrew Congregation. In this Letter, which celebrates its 225th anniversary this year, Washington notes, “It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

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The George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom is offering an Educators Kit to help teachers and administrators guide a classroom reading and discussion of Washington’s Letter. The Institute even provides the Letter’s translation from English into nine (9) languages.

Click here to get your GWIRF Educators Kit.

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