We the Teachers

Register Now for this Saturday’s “American Controversies” Webinar

Join teachers from across the country for our next web discussion this Saturday, April 11th at 11:00 AM EST. This month our topic of conversation is, Are Congress and the Courts Too Strong or Too Weak? Prof. Christopher Burkett will be moderating the discussion between Prof. Joseph Postell of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and Prof. Kevin Portteus of Hillsdale College.

Register Now

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.

Happy Birthday, James Madison

James Madison, our fourth president, architect of the Constitution, and author of the Bill of Rights, was born today in 1751. In that spirit, we highlight two discussions of Madison and his spirit of civic compromise.

Professor Gordon Lloyd, Senior Fellow at the Ashbrook Center, and Dr. Jason C. Ross, Ashbrook’s Director of Programs, discuss Madison’s belief in the importance of conversation and civil discourse in the Wisconsin State-Journal.

Separately in the Columbus Dispatch, Dr. Ross further explores Madison’s philosophy as a means of engaging civic education in the classroom.

 

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.

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.

Ft. Collins Seminar on American History & Government

Ridgeview Classical Schools hosted an Ashbrook Seminar in American History and Government on January 31st for a group of teachers from around and near Fort Collins. Professor Peter Myers facilitated a day-long discussion about Civil Rights, in which teachers were able to discuss the evolution of the ideas, laws, and movement related to this important thread in American history and society.

Of particular interest to participants were the ideas of legal rights, political rights, and social rights, and how the three contribute to, and yet differ from one another. Additionally, teachers discussed the legal ambiguity that existed after the end of the Civil War, and how southern states sought, through legislation like the Black Codes, to define freedmen and give them what was considered to be acceptable legal status – all before the 14th Amendment was ratified, making them citizens.

Teachers also had an opportunity to discuss in detail the writings of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights thinker whose ideas formed part of the foundation of Martin Luther King, Jr’s methods of nonviolent protest.

Ft. Collins Seminar

If you’d like to read some of the documents used for this seminar, please refer to the links below.

Black Codes of Mississippi (1865)

Civil Rights Act of 1866

Bayard Rustin, selections:

Martin Luther King, Jr., selections available here:

  •      “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (April 16, 1963)
  •      “I Have a Dream” (August 28, 1963)
  •      “The Black Power Defined” (June 11, 1967)

 

Tampa Seminar on American History & Government

On Saturday, January 31st, 2015 teachers from multiple school districts convened at Hillsborough Community College to discuss the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Debates with the esteemed Dr. Eric Sands of Berry College providing his scholarly knowledge and guidance.

Tampa Seminar on American History & Gov't

The Anti-Federalist writings are oft forgotten in history classes mostly due to the fact that “they lost” as Dr. Sands stated, however “The Anti-Federalist writings and warnings, especially of Brutus, seem more relevant today than ever.” The essays of Centinel, Brutus and Federal Farmer expressed concerns that a powerful national government would weaken states rights, representatives in Congress would be too far removed from their constituents to effectively govern on their behalf, and the judicial branch would become too activist. Richard R expressed his thought that the writings were almost prophetic in nature, “almost Nostradamus-like”.

Participants enjoyed spirited discussions and lively debates on a number of issues: the extent of the necessary and proper clause,the proper role of government and the limiting of executive power to name a few.

If you would like to ponder these profound essays yourself, please view selected reading from this seminar below to experience some of the debates:

For additional resources, visit our online exhibit with timelines, biographies and extensive writings on the Federalist - Anti-Federalist Debates created by Dr. Gordon Lloyd.

 

Ft. Myers Seminar on American History & Government

On Saturday, January 17th, 2015 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida the Ashbrook Center hosted a Seminar on the Abraham Lincoln. The esteemed Dr. Eric Sands provided his scholarly knowledge to local high school teachers who joined us for the day.

“President Lincoln is such an enigmatic character yet so personal to all of us,” said Dr. Sands. “He is consistently ranked as number one on all Presidential polls.” Indeed, more books have been written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American figure. Teachers enjoyed profound conversations and discussed Lincoln’s view on Popular Sovereignty, Slavery, Secession and Constitutional Limits. We spent a great deal of time comparing the ideals within the  Gettysburg Address (on Liberty and Equality) to the ones written by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

Paul P stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed the Ashbrook Seminar and wished I had known about them sooner.”

Perhaps you would like to ponder these great documents yourself.  To experience the writings of Abraham Lincoln please click the links below:

 

Apply Now for Ashbrook Seminars in American History & Government

We have started scheduling our 2015 day long seminars and the application process is now open.

The most important work in America is teaching American history and government. This work is essential to preserving what has always been distinctly good about America. We are dedicated to making every American history and government class in America its best.

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is a project of Ashbrook at Ashland University. We provide social studies educators from across the country with opportunities to explore themes in American history and government through the use of primary sources. This spring educators can take advantage of the unique Ashbrook discussion-based format programs in their state. Not only will you be engaged in thoughtful conversation, you will be learning the content your students need.

Upcoming Ashbrook Seminars in

American History & Government

Colorado Seminars:

  • Saturday, January 31st, 2015 – Ft. Collins

    • Topic: Civil Rights; Discussion Leader: Peter Myers

  • Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 – Denver – Hosted by Denver Public Schools

    • High School Session Topic: Religion & Reform: Three Episodes in American History; Discussion Leader: David Tucker

    • Middle School Session Topic: Lincoln and Reconstruction; Discussion Leader: Peter Schramm

  • Saturday, March 7th, 2015 – Colorado Springs

    • Topic: Madison and Hamilton: Competing Visions for America; Discussion Leader: Joseph Postell, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs

  • Saturday, April 11th, 2015 – Denver

    • Topic: The Constitution and Limited Government; Discussion Leader: Scott Yenor, Boise State University

APPLY HERE FOR SEMINARS IN COLORADO

North Carolina Seminars:

  • Saturday, March 28th, 2015 – Asheville

    • Topic: The American Founding; Discussion Leader: Professor David Alvis, Wofford College, Assistant Professor in Government

  • Saturday, April 4th, 2015 – Fayetteville

    • Topic: Social Reform 1790-1850 – Temperance, Abolition and the End of the World; Discussion Leader: Professor David Tucker  Senior Fellow and Director of MAHG Program;

  • Saturday, April 11th, 2015 – Charlotte

    • Topic: The Supreme Court; Discussion Leader: Professor David Alvis, Wofford College, Assistant Professor in Government

  • Saturday, April 25th, 2015 – Raleigh

    • Topic: The Federalists Papers and the Constitution; Discussion Leader: Professor David Foster, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

APPLY HERE FOR SEMINARS IN NORTH CAROLINA

Florida Seminars:

  • Saturday, January 17th, 2015 – Ft. Myers

    • Topic: Abraham Lincoln; Discussion Leader: Professor Eric Sands, Berry College, Assistant Professor of Government

  • Saturday, January 31st, 2015 – Tampa

    • Topic: Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist Debate; Discussion Leader: Professor Eric Sands, Berry College, Assistant Professor of Government

  • Saturday, February 14th, 2015 – Ft. Lauderdale

    • Topic: Roosevelt, Wilson and Progressive Reform; Discussion Leader: Professor Chris Burkett, Ashland University

  • Saturday, February 21st, 2015 – Jacksonville

    • Topic: Nationalism and Imperialism in the Gilded Age; Discussion Leader: Professor Michael Schwarz, Ashland University, Assistant Professor of History

  • Saturday, February 28th, 2015 – Pensacola

    • Topic: Civil Rights; Discussion Leader: Professor Emily Hess, Visiting Assistant Professor of History

  • Saturday, March 7th, 2015 – Tallahassee

    • Topic: Abraham Lincoln; Discussion Leader: Professor Peter Schramm, Ashland University, Professor of Political Science

  • Saturday, March 14th, 2015 – Gainesville

    • Topic: Origins of the Cold War; Discussion Leader: Professor John Moser, Ashland University, Professor of History

APPLY HERE FOR SEMINARS IN FLORIDA

Note: Application acceptance is limited to the first 30 registrants.

Check back often as we will be adding new dates in new areas throughout the year.

#Teaching #AmericanHistory #USHistory #AshbrookTeacher

Attention Florida Teachers: Don’t Miss Our January Roundtables

The Ashbrook Center would like to invite you to join us for our content-knowledge development one-day seminars this January in Florida. Our unique format engages all participants in thoughtful discussion on particular documents and ideas as we sit in the round. We encourage our participants to think critically to create a meaningful conversation between peers. Added benefits for you: these seminars are being offered at NO COST and we offer certificates of completion, which you can apply toward your recertification hours.

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Ft. Myers – Saturday, January 17, 2015

Topic: Abraham Lincoln

REGISTER NOW

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Tampa – Saturday, January 31, 2015

Topic: Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist Debate

REGISTER NOW

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To view the schedule of roundtables for February through March, please click here.

Please note, due to the format of these seminars space is limited to the first 30 registrants.

If you have any questions about these programs, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to meeting you at one of our programs.

#teaching #americanhistory #wethepeopleblog #ashbrookteacher

American Controversies Webinar – “Did Lincoln Violate the Constitution?”

Ashbrook’s latest installment in the ‘American Controversies’ series of webinars took place on Saturday, 13 December 2014, on the topic of whether or not President Lincoln violated the Constitution through his use of executive authority before and during the Civil War. Professor Chris Burkett of Ashland University moderated the discussion between professors Eric Sands and Jonathan White, taking questions from many of the 105 people from across the country who viewed the live webinar.

Of particular interest was the idea that, in light of the Article II’s generally vague explanation of executive authority, the extent to which – if any – Lincoln violated the spirit of the Constitution versus what it actually says. You can view an archived copy here, along with the documents used during the discussion.

November ‘American Controversies’ Webinar

Last Saturday, November 15th, the Ashbrook Center hosted its latest ‘American Controversies’ webinar, this time focusing on the issues of nullification and secession, and whether or not there is a right to either with the American system of law and government. Relying on a collection of documents including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and numerous speeches and letters from throughout the first half of the 19th Century, scholars discussed the issue and worked through a number of excellent questions from the many participants. Of particular interest were the attempts by Southerners at a legal or moral rationale for secession, and whether or not any of them were truly valid. The entire 86-minute session is archived, along with links to the documents referenced.

To listen to this archived session, please click here.

Register for future webinars here.

Securing Wisdom & Virtue in Government One-Day Seminar in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Florida Atlantic University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida hosted the Ashbrook Center Seminar on the Federalist Papers last Saturday, November 14th, 2014. The esteemed Prof. David Foster provided his scholarly knowledge to local high school teachers who joined us for the day.

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The Federalist Papers are considered some of Americas most important documents as written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. They are complex and often difficult for a student (and adult) to comprehend, however, local teachers came together and discussed some of the basic ideas of the Federalist Papers. What is virtue, or energy and how are these concepts necessary to good governance? Madison and Hamilton acknowledge the vices of human nature such as factions and passions as well and wrote about the mechanisms needed to keep those elements in check.

Teachers enjoyed profound conversations and discussed not only the intent of Framers when writing these Papers, but also their relevance today. Participants discussed at length Federalist 57 with particular attention to, “I answer, the genius of the whole system, the nature of manly spirit which actuates the people of America, a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.” What does “manly spirit” mean and how does it nourish freedom?

Laurie M. from Weston stated “this seminar helped me to better focus my understanding and appreciation of the Federalist Papers.  I am energized by new and different (and much more interesting) ways to use the Federalist Papers in my classroom.”

Perhaps you would like to ponder these great texts yourself. Please visit the selected reading below to experience the writings of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton.

Session 1 – The House of Representatives:

Session 2 – The Senate

Session 3 – The Executive and the Judiciary

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