We the Teachers

Document in Detail: The Long Telegram

 

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Wednesday 21 March’s webinar focused on the Long Telegram, the famous George Kennan communique from Moscow in 1946, on which so much of American foreign policy after World War 2 was based. Scholars discussed the origins of the telegram, the context around events in Moscow and Washington in the year after the war, and why Kennan wrote it in the first place. They discussed how the U.S. government received the news from Kennan, as well as how Kennan framed and explained himself over time, even to the point of seemingly contradicting commonly-held views of the meaning of his point.

 

Access the program archive page here

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Fourth Volume of Core Documents Collections – World War II Now Available!

The fourth volume of the American History and Government Core Documents Collections – World War II – is now available!

Get your copy on iTunesKindle, and PDFHard copies are also available for $10 each – email dmitchell@tah.org if you would like a copy, or you can buy it on Amazon!

Sign up for early access to each upcoming volume!

This volume begins its story – focused on the experience of the war in America, but not neglecting the experience of Americans who fought – in 1935, as Americans expressed their wariness of involvement in another European war by passing a neutrality act. It recounts the debate over neutrality as conflict approached and then overwhelmed Europe. All such debate ended with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but new issues arose as the war churned on, including internment of Japanese Americans; the treatment of African-Americans in the United States and in its Armed Forces; the role of women in the war effort and how this might change their lives after the war; and the principles that should shape the post-war world. These issues and the two events with which the collection ends – the Nuremberg trials and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – foreshadow the world the war helped bring about.

As in the other volumes, each Core Documents volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story. We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Saturday Webinar: Bloody Sunday in Selma, AL

 

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Saturday, 3 March 2018’s TAH.org teacher webinar was about Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. The violent response to a peaceful Civil Rights march on 7 March 1965, televised and immortalized in pictures, helped to spotlight the injustice of segregation and racially discriminatory systems of law and social norms found throughout the South at the time.

Although other crises in this series were political or security-focused in nature, what happened in Selma has a far more distinctly moral crisis, as it was made so clear that many Americans were not enjoying the same rights as others, and that the promises of the Declaration of Independence were, clearly, not yet fulfilled.

The event itself was discussed in detail and contextualized alongside other major moments and ideas from the Civil Rights movement in the early 1960s.

Suggestions for additional reading:

Access the full archive page here.

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Revive Your Love of Learning

Remember the excitement you felt the first time you read the Gettysburg Address, watched a presidential debate, or visited a national memorial? You found yourself face to face with the wonder and courage of the Great American Experiment and knew you wanted to give your life to understanding and participating in it yourself.

In the midst of meetings, parent phones, grading, and prep work maybe you’ve lost the passion you first felt for American history.

No matter how long you’ve been working in the education system, you can revive your love of learning. We have some tips to help.

Set a Personal Learning Goal

Setting a personal goal that you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time can do wonders for your intellectual energy. Perhaps it’s reading a certain number of historical biographies in the next year or memorizing the most moving portion of a speech you’ve found inspiring in the past. Set aside a bit of time each day to commit to your goal – even just five or ten minutes. You’ll start feeling empowered and energized even with a small daily habit of learning for your own personal satisfaction.

Mix It Up

We encourage our students toward interdisciplinary learning, providing opportunities for them to combine their knowledge of American history with literature, the arts, science, and their own creative expression. When is the last time you’ve given this gift to yourself?

Visit an art museum to just wander and enjoy American art from your favorite time period. Read Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms next time you teach about The Great War. Or take to your own notebook or canvas to express your feelings about a historical event or famous figure. Exploring a familiar subject from different angles can open your eyes to different ideas and get those synapses popping.

Learn with Others

Getting together to read and discuss ideas with a group of fresh faces and minds can not only revive your love for learning, but bring it to new heights. Each year, Teaching American History offers dozens of seminars and colloquia at various locations across the country at no charge for participants. Whether on-site or online, you and fellow teachers will dive right into original historical documents, from the Constitution to FDR’s Commonwealth Address, under the teaching of university scholars who are experts in their respective fields. Getting to the roots of our country’s exciting and complicated history will not only remind you of why you love this subject, but help you inspire your students as well. We hope you will join us at a program soon!

To learn more about TAH’s free teacher education programs visit http://teachingamericanhistory.org or sign up to receive regular updates about all of our teacher resources!

 

Core American Documents – Sign Up for Early Access to New Volumes!

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is excited to share another resource for American history,  government, civics, and social studies teachers. While you may be familiar with our 50 Core American Documents book, we are launching a new 35-volume document collection.

Each Core American Documents volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

The documents are all about this – the still unfinished American experiment with self-government. In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story. We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

SIGN UP and receive early access to each volume!

Documents in Detail: FDR’s Commonwealth Club Address

 

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TeachingAmericanHistory.org’s Documents in Detail webinar for Wednesday, 21 FEB 2018 focused on FDR’s Commonwealth Club Address, seen as his closing argument to America late in the 1932 election campaign, and as the foundational document for understanding his policies and actions as president.

Access the full archive page here.

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Special Video Presentation: Gordon Lloyd at Pepperdine on the Bill of Rights

 

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Dr. Gordon Lloyd visited Dr. Jeff Sikkenga’s class at Pepperdine University in early February 2018 to talk about the origins of the Bill of Rights, with particular focus on the First Amendment, and the two religion clauses. Dr. Lloyd also used his online exhibit on the Bill of Rights to help students dig deeply into the documentary and historical origins of the rights protected in the Bill of Rights.

Third Volume of Core Documents Collections – The Constitutional Convention OUT NOW!

The third volume of the American History and Government Core Documents Collections – the Constitutional Convention – is now available on iTunes and PDF. Hard copies are also available for $10 each – email dmitchell@tah.org if you would like a copy, or you can purchase it directly from Amazon.

Sign up for early access to each volume!

This collection of documents on the Constitutional Convention is part of our extended series of document collections covering major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. This is the second of four volumes that will cover the Founding of the United States. The American Founding, already published, is the capstone of the four. The others – this collection, and volumes on the ratification of the constitution and the Bill of Rights, which will follow it – tell aspects of the founding story in more detail.

The documents in this collection explain why the constitutional convention was held and illustrate the ideas of government and politics that the delegates carried with them to Philadelphia, ideas wrung from their reading and, more important, from the extensive experience of self-government the colonists had enjoyed. Its pages recount the Convention’s critical debates over the purpose and powers of government, the nature of representation, and the relation between the states and the central government. They recount as well the way that slavery and the interests of the various states shaped those debates. Together, the four volumes on the Founding provide the essentials for understanding the Founding as the Founders understood it.

As in the other volumes, each Core Documents volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story. We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Saturday Webinar: The Cuban Missile Crisis

 

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TAH.org’s 3 FEB 18 Saturday Webinar looked deeply into the Cuban Missile Crisis, the ’13 days’ during which the world seemed to teeter on the bring of nuclear war.

How did this crisis come into being? How was evidence of the missiles discovered, and verified? What was the nature of the crisis – that is, were there people within JFK’s inner circle who saw it differently than it is typically portrayed? How did the upcoming midterm elections factor into decision-making and internal analysis by Kennedy and his people? How did JFK’s experience from the Bay of Pigs impact his view on Cuba? And what impact did the crisis have on Castro’s control over Cuba?

Our panelists dug into these questions and others, working with a live audience of over 100 teachers from across the country.

The following books were recommended for additional reading:

One Hell of a Gamble,” Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali

We Now Know, John Lewis Gaddis

Access the full archive page here

Register for future episodes

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Documents in Detail: Theodore Roosevelt’s New Nationalism speech

 

 

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TR’s New Nationalism speech was the focus on 24 January’s Documents in Detail webinar. The importance of the political context around the speech – trends in Republican politics, recent electoral results – were discussed, as well as the meaning of the location of TR’s speech. Roosevelt’s rhetoric and attempts to take hold of the ‘mantle of Lincoln’ in the speech were also discussed in detail. Also discussed were TR’s audience, and how his message and wording were tailored for them.

Questions included those about TR’s views of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency and the place of the Panama Canal in popular opinion, taken alongside this speech and its message.

Access this program’s archive page here.

Register for future episodes

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2018-19 Liberty Fund Weekend Colloquia

The application window for the 2018-19 schedule of Liberty Fund/TAH.org co-sponsored weekend colloquia will be open from 18-26 January, with six programs from which to choose, scheduled from August 2018 through April 2019. Priority will be given to current high school American History and/or Government teachers; however, all teachers who did not attend a weekend colloquium during the 2017-18 school year are eligible to apply. This year’s programs are…

  • Presidents and the Constitution: James Madison, 17-19 August 2018, Montpelier, VA
  • Presidents and the Constitution: George Washington, 28-30 September 2018, Valley Forge, PA
  • Presidents and the Constitution: Abraham Lincoln, 12-14 October 2018, Springfield, IL
  • President Ronald Reagan’s Developing Perspective on Liberty, 15-17 February 2019, Simi Valley, CA
  • Liberty and the Declaration of Independence, 22-24 March 2019, Philadelphia, PA
  • Presidents and the Constitution: Thomas Jefferson, 5-7 April 2019, Charlottesville, VA

More information, as well as the registration link (which will go live on 18 January) can be found here.

Second Volume of Core Documents Collections Now Available – The Great Depression and the New Deal!

Recently, TeachingAmericanHistory.org launched the first volume in the new 35-volume document collection.

The second volume of the American History and Government Core Document Collections – the Great Depression and the New Deal – is now available on iTunes, Kindle, and PDFHard copies are also available for $10 each – email dmitchell@tah.org if you would like a copy, or you can purchase it directly from Amazon.

Sign up for early access to each volume!

This collection of documents on the Depression and New Deal is the second volume in an extended series of document collections from the Ashbrook Center that will cover major periods, themes, and institutions in American history and government. The series began with a collection on the Founding. This volume follows appropriately, because it makes clear the reasons why and the degree to which Franklin Roosevelt intended the New Deal to be a re-founding of the American republic. In presenting the words that Roosevelt spoke, the collection shows us not only his arguments but his masterful rhetoric, which presented the New Deal as only an updating of the Founding. The collection presents as well the arguments of those who opposed the New Deal — Democrats as well as Republicans — and those who thought it did not go far enough. Taken together, the documents in the collection are an enlightening guide to one of the most consequential periods in American history.

As in the American Founding volume, each Core American Document volume will contain the following:

  • Key documents on the period, theme, or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • An introduction highlighting key documents and themes
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document, as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context.

When complete, the series will be comprehensive and authoritative, and will present America’s story in the words of those who wrote it – America’s presidents, labor leaders, farmers, philosophers, industrialists, politicians, workers, explorers, religious leaders, judges, soldiers; its slaveholders and abolitionists; its expansionists and isolationists; its reformers and stand-patters; its strict and broad constructionists; its hard-eyed realists and visionary utopians – all united in their commitment to equality and liberty, yet so often divided by their different understandings of these most fundamental American ideas.

In sum, our intent is that the documents and their supporting material provide unique access to the richness of the American story.

We hope that you will find this resource to be intriguing and helpful for your classroom.

Please contact Daniel Mitchell if you have any questions or would like more information about using the Core Documents Curriculum in your classroom.

Thank you for all that you do!

Saturday Webinar: Attack on Pearl Harbor

 

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2018’s first TAH.org took place on Saturday, 6 January, and focused on the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Professors Chris Burkett, David Krugler, and John Moser, discussed the reasons behind the attack, the Japanese military and political rationale for the attack and what they hoped to achieve, and how they believed such an attack would enable them to reach their goals. American responses to Japanese involvement in China played a role in driving Japanese policy, in context alongside Nazi views on American character and willingness to shoulder burdens or deal militarily with other great powers. Also discussed is the concept of America’s “reluctant interventionism,” which has become a preferred term among scholars to the more-often used “isolationism” to describe American foreign policy, especially during the years between World War 1 and World War 2.

This program, along with digging deeply into a number of interesting questions about the why and how of the attack – as a political and diplomatic, as well as military, event – also forms a comprehensive telling of the story of the beginning of the war in the Pacific, working forward from Japanese expansion in China during the 1930s, and even going back as far as Japanese designs on Asia following World War 1.

Suggested books for further reading include…

Access the full archive here.

Register for future episodes

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TAH.org Feature Change: Standards Search Tool

For the last few years, TAH.org has incorporated a search tool into our documents library that has enabled teachers to search for documents based on state academic standards, or identify documents related to their standards. With changes to many states’ standards over the time, and the move away from the Common Core ELA standards in many states, we have decided to take a different route to helping teachers meet their standards-based lesson needs, and in so doing will end support for this website function by the end of December, 2017.

In a few months we will roll out a series of new website features and functions that will make the work of finding documents for your lessons easier and more accurate.

In the meantime, take a look at our American History Toolkits, which combine Essential Documents lists with curated website resources on several must-teach topics in American history and government.

Find Free Resources for Your American History Classroom!

If you’re like most teachers, you can’t help but put your students first. In fact, during lean budgetary times, you may even make sacrifices with your wallet. According to AdoptaClassroom.com’s 2015-2016 survey of 1,800 teachers, the average teacher spent $600 of their own money on supplies. When expenditures extend beyond pens and pencils to cover books and resources, that amount can easily go into the thousands. Many new teachers are told that if they want their students to be fully engaged with the curriculum, they’ll be spending personal money (and countless hours).

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Teachers of American History can cut their resource spending by 100% by accessing free resources that also happen to be the best for their students.

The Power of Primary Documents

TeachingAmericanHistory.org believes in the power of our country’s rich heritage of original documents–declarations, speeches, letters, and other materials that tell the complex story of the United States better than any textbook or worksheet. While these public domain works can always be searched and accessed for free, TAH saves you much more time and money by curating the documents for you, writing associated guiding questions, and providing multimedia resources in American History Toolkits that can be taught as self-contained units:

  • The American Founding
  • Expansion & Sectionalism
  • Civil War & Reconstruction
  • The Progressive Era
  • The Great Depression & World War 2
  • Civil Rights

What’s more, you can align your free curriculum to state and Common Core standards by using a simple Standards Search Tool that allows you to search from standard to document or document to standard, ensuring that your resources are not only engaging, but on target for your instructional requirements and goals.

Professional Development That Won’t Break the Bank

Think you have to spend your own money on classes and professional development, too? TAH.org believes in providing American History teachers with free opportunities to learn, grow, and get inspired. We offer seminars to K-12 teachers in public, independent, parochial, and charter schools. These half and full-day events, offered at no cost to the participant, model sound and engaging teaching by using primary documents as the foundation for learning. At the end of the program, you will receive certificate for the hours you spend with us for the day. You also have the option to earn one graduate credit from attending a seminar and creating your lesson plan based on documents and ideas discussed in the program. Provided in partnership with Ashland University, this option costs just $200.

Good teachers don’t have to empty their personal bank accounts in order to engage their students. With TAH resources, you can work smarter, not harder, and spend nothing in the process.

50 Documents That Tell America’s Story

Required reading for students, teachers, and citizens.

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

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