We the Teachers

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.

Session 29: Brown v. Board of Education; Martin Luther King, Jr., Non-Violent Resistance, and the American Dream

Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

In Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court briefly traces the history of public schools in America. How does this help the Court argue against racially segregated schools? What role do legal precedents play in the Court’s argument against “separate but equal” schools? What is meant by “intangible considerations” and how does this help the Court establish that the mere act of separating school children by race produces an unequal education? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Court’s opinion in Brown? If segregated schools did not produce “a feeling of inferiority” on the part of black children, would these schools be unconstitutional according to Brown?
Why does King reject force as a response to oppression? What is the major concern of the white clergymen who counsel King to stay away from Birmingham? What are the four stages of civil disobedience? How does King’s nonviolent resistance against a particular law actually support obedience to the government and laws? Why does King blame white moderates more than fringe elements like the Ku Klux Klan for lack of progress in securing civil rights for black Americans?
Readings

Brown v. Board of Education

Martin Luther King, Jr.:
Supplemental/Optional Readings
  • W.E.B. Du Bois: Writings–The Crisis, “Marcus Garvey” (Dec. 1920/Jan. 1921), 969-979
  • Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights, “Brown’s Backlash,” 385-440
  • Fairclough, Better Day Coming, chaps. 6-8

Apply Now – Summer Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites for Teachers

TeachingAmericanHistory.org is proud to offer elite programs to social studies and civic teacher from across the country. TAH.org’s Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites allows teachers to explore in-depth the people and ideas you are asked to teach, at the historic sites that help illuminate the subject. We want to help you increase your expertise and develop the content knowledge needed to educate your students.

Our programs are designed to reignite your passion for American history and government. Take the content knowledge gained at these programs back to your classroom to inspire your students. Not only will you experience historic sites, like Independence Hall or Monticello, but you will also engage in thoughtful conversation by exploring primary documents with your fellow teachers and a historian/political scientist.

TAH.org Weekend Colloquia at Historic Sites

Teachers from CA to NY in Green Valley, AZ at the Titan Missile Museum

This summer our colloquia topics will include:

  • Henry Clay and the Crises of Antebellum America (Lexington, KY)
  • Security, Self-Determination, and Empire: The Grand Alliance in WWII (New Orleans, LA)
  • Thomas Jefferson, Revered and Reviled (Charlottesville, VA)
  • The Jefferson Enigma: Founder and Statesman (Charlottesville, VA)
  • The Winning of the West and What is Meant: Western Expansion in the 19th Century(Omaha, NE)
  • A Dream Deeply Rooted: Civil Rights in America (Atlanta, GA)
  • John Adams: Founding Vice President and President (Quincy, MA)
  • John F. Kennedy and the New Frontier (Quincy, MA)
  • James Madison: The Father of the Constitution (Montpelier, VA)

For more information regarding these programs, please click here.​

TAH.org also provides program participants with:

  • Reading materials, to be read prior to the program
  • Up to 8 contact hours, with the option to earn 1 graduate credit
  • Hotel accommodations for the weekend (Friday evening through Sunday morning)
  • Complimentary continental breakfast, lunch, dinner, and refreshments during the program
  • A stipend of $225 to help defray the cost of travel to/from the program site

Are you ready to explore history in the places it was made?

Apply Now

The application deadline is Sunday, February 14, 2016.


We look forward to meeting you at one of our programs. Please direct any questions to our Teacher Programs Team at Info@TAH.org or (419) 289-5411 

 

Session 28: Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP

Juan Williams:  

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Focus

What role did Thurgood Marshall play in the Civil Rights Movement? What was his view of the American founding? What was his opinion of contemporary activists for civil rights, like Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X?
Readings

Demon Times: Temperance, Immigration, and Progressivism in an American City

Here’s a new opportunity for teachers from our friends at the Ohio History Connection.

Come learn about America’s Demon Times! This one-week workshop, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will consider temperance, immigration, and the Progressive movement in American history and culture. Teachers will experience landmarks of the temperance movement and the immigrant experience in late 19th and early 20th century America by exploring Columbus and nearby Westerville, Ohio. Westerville was the home of the Anti-Saloon League, a major temperance organization that explicitly warned against the influence of alcohol, Catholics, and immigrants. Columbus was home to a large German immigrant population, with an attendant brewing industry. This small town and nearby city are emblematic of America in the Progressive Era. Participants will receive a $1,200 stipend to help cover the cost of travel and lodging.

Workshop dates: July 10-15 or July 24-29, 2016. Application deadline: March 1, 2016. Learn more at ohiohistory.org/demontimes.

Session 27: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Democratic Leadership

Prof. Kesler:  

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Focus

The political and constitutional legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt is impressive. What was his extraordinary achievement? In what ways did he improve upon Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s, and the Progressives’ understanding of democratic life and political structures? How did his New Deal envision a powerful, active, and programmatically ambitious national government? How was this related to the possibility of self-government? What is his legacy?

Session 26: The Progressive Reform and Self-Government

Prof. Kesler:  

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Focus

The Progressives fought for reform at the turn of the century. What principled form did their criticism take of the Declaration, the Constitution, and political decentralization take? They revered Lincoln, yet did not emulate his devotion to the Declaration of Independence, but invoked the preamble to the Constitution to make democracy more active. Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s views became living arguments again, but with interesting shifts. Self-government was in need of some assistance. What effect did their reforms—for example, direct primaries, initiative, referendum—have on federalism, separation of powers, and political parties? What legacy did the Progressives, Woodrow Wilson in particular, leave the nation?

Session 25: Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois

Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

What did Washington believe were the most urgent priorities for blacks at the close of the 19th century? On what issues was Washington prepared to compromise and why? What were the goals of Washington’s program and how did these differ from the recommendations of W.E.B. Du Bois? Why does Du Bois seek to “conserve” the races? How would “the conservation of the races” help the future of the Negro race as well as the future of world civilization? What principles of the American regime appear to run counter to Du Bois’s emphasis on “race organizations” and “race solidarity”? What does Du Bois mean by the “talented tenth”? Compare Washington and Du Bois on the purpose of education.
Readings:
Du Bois:
Supplemental/Optional Readings:
    Booker T. Washington:

  • Washington, Up From Slavery (1901), chap. 3, “The Struggle for an Education”
  • Washington, “Address on Abraham Lincoln,” (February 12, 1909)
  • Louis Harlan, “Booker T. Washington in Biographical Perspective” (October 1970), 1581-1599
  • Fairclough, Better Day Coming, chap. 3
W.E.B. Du Bois:

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