We the Teachers

Inspired to Make a Difference after 9/11

Tomorrow marks the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th.  The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation serves to honor the victims, survivors, and rescuers involved in the 2001 and 1993 attacks upon the World Trade Center.

At their website, 911memorial.org, the Foundation offers a wealth of resources useful for teachers and others who wish to discuss the events and their aftermath.  In particular, check out the Teaching Guide entitled Inspired to Make a Difference after 9/11, which chronicles the acts of volunteerism by people around the world in the wake of the attacks.

September 4, 1957: Little Rock Central High School

On this day in 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, in defiance of a federal court decision ordering compliance with the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, called out the Arkansas National Guard to obstruct the integration of Little Rock Central High School.  The incident marks the first major test of the decision as well as the Eisenhower administration’s will to enforce the order.

The United States National Park Service’s We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement website chronicles Little Rock Central as well as dozens of other civil rights-related historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A Picture of Silver Framing an Apple of Gold

September 17, Constitution Day, is not as vivid in the American imagination as is the Fourth of July. But the two dates will need one another forever in American history. On July 4, 1776, of course, Americans declared their independence, proclaiming to the world what will always be the most American of all ideas, “that all men are created equal.” Eleven years later, still trying to vindicate that idea, delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed on September 17, 1787, the Constitution that resulted from their summer-long deliberations and recommended it to the states in hopes of forming “a more perfect Union.” As it happened, this was done in Independence Hall in Philadelphia–where the Declaration of Independence, too, had been signed–making this arguably the most politically sacred ground in America. Some scores of years down the American road, on the eve of his great trial and the greatest crisis of the Union and the Constitution, Abraham Lincoln meditated on the relation between the Union and the Constitution and the Declaration. He had in mind a beautiful passage from Proverbs (25:11)–”a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver”–as he wrote a private note to himself sometime after his election as president in November 1860, and before his inauguration in March 1861. He reflected on the blessings enjoyed by the United States–our “free government” and “great prosperity.” “All this,” he writes, “is not the result of accident.”

It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all”–the principle that clears the path for all–gives hope to all–and, by consequence, enterprize, and industry to all.

The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate.Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity….

The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple–not the apple for the picture.

In the period of the American Founding, from the Revolution to the establishment of the Constitution, Americans displayed statesmanship unsurpassed in the history of human freedom. Any freedom and prosperity we enjoy today is, as Lincoln understood in his time of constitutional crisis, a legacy of that statesmanship–an inheritance of apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Happy Constitution Day.

–Christopher Flannery, Professor of Political Science, Azusa Pacific University, and Louaine S. Taylor Professor of American History and Government, Ashland University

Welcome to We The Teachers

The Ashbrook Center and TeachingAmericanHistory.org are pleased to unveil our new history and government teaching resource blog, We the Teachers.  Here you will find regularly updated posts highlighting not only the resources found at our own site, but many of the best resources, lesson plans, and professional development opportunities offered by leading history and civics education groups and government agencies.

Your feedback is encouraged and will help us to refine We the Teachers as this project continues to develop.  We encourage you to share us with friends and colleagues by posting to your own social networking sites, to follow our feed on Twitter, and to like our page on Facebook.

Learn Liberty

Learn Liberty is website run by the Institute for Humane Studies and designed to assist educators in addressing key issues in economics, philosophy, and other disciplines. In the Classroom Resources section of the Learn Liberty website, teachers can find curriculum guides, and videos. Learn Liberty is great for supplemental material, to start a discussion and to structure outside-of class assignments.

Bill of Rights Institute: Constitutional Workshops for Teachers

The Bill of Rights Institute offers Constitutional Workshops for teachers. These workshops take place all across the United States and include a copy of their teacher-written curriculum, a certificate for 6 hours of professional development and bi-monthly emailed lesson plans. There are dates available this fall.   Register today for a location close to you.

“Apple of Gold:” The Centrality of the Declaration of Independence in American Political Life

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? Explore the answer to these and other questions asked and  answered in this lecture delivered by Professor Christopher Flannery from June of 2002. Happy 4th!

TAH Lesson Plan of the Week

This week’s suggested plan was created by Professor Chris Burkett and teacher Patricia Dillon and is entitled, “The Federalist and Anti-federalist Debates on Diversity and the Extended Republic.” Lesson one focuses on the Anti-Federalist argument while lesson two deals with Federalist arguments of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and the extension of the republic (Federalist #s 9, 10 and 51). The printable PDF files that accompany each lesson challenge students to study primary that frame each debate. An incredible unit that will bring this period to life for your students.

The Heritage Guide to the Constitution

No document is more central to securing “the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” than the United States Constitution, and no website is more thorough than ConstitutionOnline.com.

The Heritage Foundation has launched a new site, “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution,” a searchable reference tool revolving around the Constitution. “The Heritage Guide to the Constitution is intended to provide a brief and accurate explanation of each clause of the Constitution as envisioned by the Framers and as applied in contemporary law.” This new resource can compliment a lesson on the Constitution and is a great way to incorporate technology into your lesson. Check-out the Teacher Companion section of the site to see how this resource can be used in your classroom.

Map of Historic Philadelphia in the Late 18th Century

This interactive map that was organized by Professor Gordon Lloyd is a great resource for all teachers that visit the “Old City” district of Philadelphia. Many also use it to “virtually” transport their students when studying the amazing content found on the Constitutional Convention site. Please share how these great resources have found application in your classroom.

Home for History- Gilder Lehrman

Gilder Lehrman launched their new “Home for History” website this month. The site features History by Era, Programs and Exhibitions, Primary Sources, History Now, Community, and Multimedia. This site is a great go-to resources for teachers, students and scholars.

The History by Era section of the site can act as a great visual aid for students as they study the American Revolution, the Civil War and many more. Each era is equipped with a  chronological timeline of important dates to the era. Sub eras provide teachers with essays,   related primary sources, teacher resources and multimedia. Check-out Home for History and introduce this great new resource into your classroom.

Teaching with Primary Sources

The Library of Congress publishes a quarterly Journal entitled, The Teaching with Primary Source (TPS) Journal. This journal “focuses on pedagogical approaches to teaching with Library of Congress digitized primary sources in K-12 classrooms.” Their recent November issue, The Civil War Across Disciplines“explores how teachers can use primary sources to teach about the Civil War.” Click the link below to explore previous issues of The TPS Journal.

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is a project of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University

401 College Avenue | Ashland, Ohio 44805 (419) 289-5411 | (877) 289-5411 (Toll Free)

info@TeachingAmericanHistory.org