We the Teachers

Program Report: LBJ and Vietnam

Seventeen teachers, ranging from California to New York, joined TAH.org andDr. David Krugler of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in Austin, Texas, for a weekend colloquium about President Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War. The program included a visit to the LBJ Library and Museum, and discussion sessions aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of LBJ’s reasons for war, escalation, strategy for the conflict, and the impact of anti-war protests on him and American policy. In addition to the reading packet, which can be downloaded here, Dr. Krugler recommended both Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides, and for a thoughtful survey of American foreign policy, Promised Land, Crusader State: The American Encounter with the World Since 1776.

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Program Reports: Three East Coast Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites

Northampton LF 2016.04This past weekend TAH.org conducted three east coast colloquia at historic sites attended by history and government teachers from across the country.

The Liberty Fund co-sponsored program in Northampton, Massachusetts on President Calvin Coolidge was held at the Historic Hotel Northampton Inn. Dr. William Ruger led discussions on Coolidge’s Political Economy, Education, Self-Government and the Constitution. Participants enjoyed a private tour of Calvin Coolidge’s Presidential Library housed at the Forbes Library in Northampton, then enjoyed some time to tour the town where President Coolidge and his wife lived.


 

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Teachers from western Pennsylvania came to Philadelphia to enjoy a weekend on Alexander Hamilton chaired by Dr. Stephen Knott of the Naval War College. This program was sponsored through the generosity of the Allegheny Foundation of Pennsylvania. Dr. Knott, a Hamilton expert, led the discussion on Hamilton’s View of the Executive, the launching of the new government, the Citizen Genet episode, and the French Revolution. Participants then toured Independence Hall as well as the Liberty Bell.


 

Mt Vernon WEC 2016.04The Diana Davis Spencer Foundation kindly sponsored a weekend colloquium at George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon, with Dr. Bill Allen at the helm. The conversation began Saturday morning on the topic of “Saving the Revolution” followed by “Washington and Union” and ended the day considering, “Why Did Washington Succeed”. Teachers were treated to a private tour of the General’s home and his vast estate.

 

Please visit our events calendar to find upcoming programs near you.

 

Weekend Colloquium: Ronald Reagan Library and Museum

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TAH.org hosted a group of teachers from across the country at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA, 8-10 April 2016. Reagan’s policies, ideas, and the crises he faced were discussed through a series of primary documents. Teachers were also able to visit the Reagan Library and Museum and take part in a two-hour presidential decision-making simulation, in which each person played the role of someone in Reagan’s leadership team or the media. The simulation challenged teachers to work through multiple policy and media crises, and utilized real-time simulated communications, news stories, and Situation Room information flow.

The discussion leader for the weekend was Dr. Joe Postell of the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

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Program Report: Liberty Fund Co-Sponsored Weekend Seminar in Hyde Park, NY

Last weekend 18 teachers from around the country came together in Hyde Park, New York for a Liberty Fund Co-Sponsored Weekend Seminar on Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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Topics of conversation considered whether or not the New Deal programs achieved their intended goal, the constitutionality of the programs and to what extent the New Deal has created today’s “entitled state”. Teachers discussed the need for expanded presidential powers when a crisis is at hand, yet, when the crisis abates, does any President relinquish the control? Roosevelt changed the dynamic of the Presidency and expanded government control over economics and domestic policies. After a long day of thoughtful discussion, teachers toured Franklin Roosevelt’s Hyde Park home and his Presidential Museum.

American Presidents Webinar: Lyndon Johnson

 

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Saturday, April 9th’s American Presidents webinar focused on Lyndon Johnson and the two pillars of his administration: the Great Society, and the Vietnam War. Panelists discussed topics ranging from the impact of Johnson’s political skill and legislative experience on the development and passage of his policies, as well as the role of Democratic majorities in Congress at the time. Of interest was the broad, bipartisan support expansion of Social Security enjoyed, as compared against other large social programs of the 20th and early 21st centuries, and how this support, or lack of it, shaped the policies and the politics surrounding and following them.

johnson2LBJ’s views on and actions related to Vietnam were discussed at length, touching on what seemed to be his lack of interest in being involved, and yet his sense of necessity to stay involved in the war he inherited. The panelists also touched on the different rhetoric LBJ used when promoting his social programs versus that he employed regarding Vietnam and foreign policy. View the archive page, with document and YouTube links, and scholar bios, here.

To register for the final webinar of the 2015-16 school year on Saturday, May 7 at 11:00 AM EST discussing Ronald Reagan – The Great Communicator, click here.

Abraham Lincoln Program Report

18 teachers from across the country gathered in Springfield, IL, April 1-3, to deepen their knowledge of IMG_0482Abraham Lincoln at our latest Liberty Fund co-sponsored weekend colloquium. Discussion sessions focused on Lincoln’s early public life, his election in 1860, and his handling of the many issues, challenges, and crises associated with sectionalism, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. Special emphasis was placed on Lincoln’s keen legal thinking, his deep respect for the traditions of the Founding – especially those embodied in the Declaration of Independence – and the evolution of his ideas and solutions over time.

In addition to the six 90-minute discussion sessions, the group benefitted from visits to the Lincoln Home and his library and museum.

Program Report: 2 Thomas Jefferson Colloquia in Charlottesville, VA

This past weekend TeachingAmericanHistory.org and the Ashbrook Center hosted two weekend colloquia in Charlottesville, VA about Thomas Jefferson. Professor Eric Sands of Berry College, led a colloquium on The Politics of Thomas Jefferson while Professor Robert McDonald of the U.S. Military Academy, led a colloquium on Thomas Jefferson and Education.

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Teachers from across the country at Monticello.

Thomas Jefferson believed that “if a nation expects to be ignorant and free, it expects what never was and never will be.” Dr. McDonald’s group focused on only on Jefferson’s education and his plans for educational reform in Virginia but also his founding of the United States Military Academy in 1802 and the University of Virginia in 1819.

Dr. Sands facilitated conversation that centered on Thomas Jefferson and Politics, which considered topics as the Constitution, Race, Religious Freedom, Education and his lasting legacy. Participants enjoyed an afternoon tour of Monticello which was in full bloom with Spring tulips. After dinner Dr. McDonald delighted everyone with a tour of the University of Virginia to discuss Jefferson’s architectural designs.

Freedom Day Resources

 

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In support of ‘Freedom Day,’ TeachingAmericanHistory.org has collected a variety of resources for you and your classes. Freedom Day encourages people of all ages to explore how Americans’ freedoms of speech and expression are exercised, threatened, and protected in the past and today in the world. Join with the Civics Renewal Network and National Constitution Center in conversation, activities and online programs to discuss the meaning for Freedom and its relevance in modern society.  The Center has chosen April 13th to celebrate the understanding and meaning of freedom expressed by the Constitution and other founding documents however, schools can choose to celebrate on that day or any day that week.

  • Primary Document-based lesson plan collections – lessons on a wide variety of topics related to American history, government, and civics, all based in primary documents
  • The Constitutional Convention Online Exhibit – the web’s most-visited and comprehensive resource on the Convention of 1787
  • The Bill of Rights Online Exhibit – An extensive study of the politics, ideas, origins, and legacy of the United States Bill of Rights
  • Religion in America – A unique and powerful study of the place and impact of religion in American politics and life
  • 50 Core American Documents – The essential starting point from which to consider what it means to be an American. Over 67,000 print and ebook copies of this volume have been distributed since late 2014
  • Presidential Academy – 31 sessions addressing the broad scope of American history, challenges, and ideas from the Founding through the late 20th Century
  • Thomas Jefferson – An extensive collection of letters, political writings, and other resources spanning the years from 1774 to his death in 1826

 

Webinar: Religion in American History & Politics – Jefferson and Hamilton

 

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Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were, famously, political opponents.  Their differences went beyond grand visions of the country’s future and the daily operation of the new government, however.  They also disagreed about religion.  We will examine their disagreement by reading and discussing some of their writings on the still controversial issue of religion and its role in politics. On Saturday, 12 March, David Tucker, Jason Stevens, and Stephen Knott discussed the religious views of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton, and how these impacted their actions and relationship.

Access the primary documents reading packet for this program here.

Subscribe to our iTunes podcast here.

American Presidents Webinar: Dwight Eisenhower

 

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The latest in our American Presidents webinar series took place on Saturday, 4 March 2016, with Dwight D. Eisenhower as the focus for this month. Drs. Chris Burkett, Joe Postell, and David Alvis discussed Ike’s handling of the Korean War, Cold War, and rapid change at home during the 70-minute program, and recommended Fred Greenstein’s The Hidden Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader for those interested in learning more.

The archive page for the program, with audio, video, and documents links, is here.

United States Colored Troops Lesson Plan

Paul LaRue, 4th-usct-weba teacher at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio and the 2010 Ohio History Teacher of the Year, shares with us a lesson plan he contributed to the Civil War Trust’s web exhibit on the United States Color Troops.  Highlighting the unique contributions of African-American soldiers to the Union’s cause, the unit is appropriate for middle grades American history classrooms. It is just one part of the Civil War Trust’s complete series of curricula available for all grade bands.

Session 30 pt2: The Reagan Era and the New Deal Legacy; George W. Bush’s Founding Faith

Prof. Kesler:  

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Focus

Reagan seemed to campaign against Roosevelt’s legacy, but delighted in pointing out that he voted for him four times. Yet, he seemed to be interested in cutting back the size of the federal government and making its programs less ambitious. What were his purposes in doing so? Was his failure to cut back the size of government due primarily to Reagan’s policies during an era of “divided government,” or rather more a reflection of FDR’s success?
President Bush seems intent on arguing that his policies, both domestic and foreign, derive directly from the principles of the founding. He argues that self-government needs to be re-invigorated and places emphasis on the obligations of citizenship, and sometimes public spiritedness is difficult. He reminds us that citizenship is not a matter of birth and blood, but rather, “we are bound by ideals,” and those ideals have to be learned. Is he right? Are his arguments about the philosophical and historical heritage he appeals to persuasive?


Readings:
George W. Bush:

Roots of Liberty National Essay Contest

TAH.org is excited to support the Roots of Liberty National Essay Contest. This is an excellent opportunity for a high school teacher to sponsor an outstanding student essay. The contest question will address, The Powers Delegated to the Federal Government are Few and Defined: The Doctrine of Enumerated Power by Roger Pilon. The best essays will include references to this essay and the Federalist Papers. Find more essay criteria here.

Click here to watch a two minute video about this contest.

The Roots of Liberty National Essay Contest allows teachers to sponsor a student to build a thoughtful essay about the following question, “To what extent, if any, is the federal government restricted by the powers enumerated under Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States in the regulation of ONE of the following: voting rights, marijuana, or the environment?”

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The winning student essay will received a grand prize of $5,000, plus a trip to D.C. for 2. The teacher who sponsors the winning student will receive a prize of $1,000. Additional cash prizes are available. Find prize and rule details here. The essay contest deadline is Friday, April 15, 2016.

The Roots of Liberty: Unlocking the Federalist Papers is a comprehensive curriculum, which addresses the challenges of teaching the Federalist Papers. To see what this curriculum includes click here.

Session 30 pt1: Martin Luther King, Jr; Malcolm X

Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

Does King’s proposal for a “Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged” indicate a shift from his earlier vision of the American dream? Does King’s advocacy of “compensatory or preferential treatment” look more to race or poverty as its justification? Is the G.I. Bill of Rights a good analogy for King’s promotion of a federal, economic program to help blacks and the disadvantaged, generally? What does “black power” mean to King?
How does Malcolm X’s theology inform his political thinking? Malcolm X insists that there is no legitimate intermediate position between “the ballot” and “the bullet.” He is highly critical of King’s reliance on “civil” disobedience. Is he correct? How does his understanding of political action, and particularly the justification for violence, compare to the right of revolution as articulated by John Locke and enshrined in the Declaration of Independence? Why did Malcolm X reject integration as an aim of the civil rights struggle? Why must Black Nationalism be an internationalist movement?
Readings:
    Martin Luther King, Jr.:

  • King, Why We Can’t Wait (1964)
    • Chap. 8, “The Days to Come,” 116-143
  • King, I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches
    • “Black Power Defined” (June 11, 1967), 153-65
    • “I See the Promised Land” (April 3, 1968), 193-203
  • Fairclough, Better Day Coming, chap. 11-12
Malcolm X:

American Presidents Webinar: Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

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Franklin D. Roosevelt was the subject of Saturday, 13 February’s American Presidents webinar. Professor Chris Burkett, of Ashland University, moderated the 80-minute discussion between Drs. Stephen Tootle and David Krugler, which focused on topics ranging from FDR’s handling of the Great Depression in both political and policy terms to the controversies of his presidency, including the ‘court packing’ incident. Panelists also discussed FDR’s relations with foreign powers during World War II, and discussed his impact on the country and the presidency. Over 90 teachers attended, posing a number of thoughtful questions.

Our scholars recommend the following books on the subject:

You can access the video and documents archive for the FDR webinar here.

Join us next month, on 5 March, for American Presidents: Dwight Eisenhower – Change at Home and Challenge Abroad.

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