We the Teachers

Program Report: “The Great Depression” Seminar in Knoxville, TN

This past weekend TAH.org hosted a seminar at the Museum of Appalachia on the Great Depression to Knoxville, Tennessee. Teachers from as far away as Asheville, North Carolina sat with Dr. John Moser in front of a blazing fireplace to discuss Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt policies on this economic tragedy.

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Our first session focused on what caused the Great Depression and Hoover’s response. Participants read Hoover’s Statement on the Economic Recovery Program, his message to State Governor’s, and Special Message to the Congress on the Economic Recovery program to name a few. Contrary to common belief, Dr. Moser provided data that President Hoover spent more investment dollars than Roosevelt in the first few years of the crisis. In the second session, the discussion centered on the Election of 1932 and how Hoover’s assessment of the causes and course of the Great Depression differed from Roosevelt’s. Readings included Hoover Analyzes the Development of the Depression and Roosevelt’s Commonwealth Club Address. In the third, and final session, Teachers discussed several of Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats, the Legislation to Create the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the lasting legacy of the New Deal and it’s program.

Program Report: Andrew Jackson Weekend Colloquium in Nashville, TN

The Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee hosted teachers for a weekend colloquia on Andrew Jackson chaired by Dr. Dan Monroe from Milliken University. Dr. Monroe led conversations that discussed Jackson’s military career, heroism in the Battle of New Orleans, Presidency, political reform and his lasting legacy. Participants analyzed Jackson’s Inaugural Address to Congress, Bank Veto Message, Force Bill, and Nullification writings. Dr. Monroe also compared several of Lincoln’s writings (and policies) to Jackson’s policies when dealing with South Carolina and secession. Participants also enjoyed a private tour of the Hermitage, grounds, graveyard and museum.

One program participant stated, “I feel very fortunate to have gotten to learn about Jackson in Nashville. The location, information, and resources provided will enhance my lessons on Jackson. Thank you for this opportunity.”

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Session 18: The Rights and Wrongs of Secession

Dr. Lucas Morel:  

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Focus

What reasons did Southern secession commissioners give for seceding from the Union? What reasons did Alexander Stephens give in defense of the Southern Confederacy?
Readings
Supplemental/Optional Readings
  • McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, chap. 8
  • Mackubin Thomas Owens, “The Case Against Secession”

Saturday Webinar: James K. Polk

 

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TAH.org hosted the fifth in this school year’s American Presidents webinar series, this time focusing on the single term presidency of James K. Polk. The 72-minute discussion between scholars was attended by a live teacher audience of 69 from across the country, and touched on topics from Polk’s role in Manifest Destiny to the Mexican War, and his impact on America of his times and afterward.

Session 17: The Causes of the Civil War

Dr. James M. McPherson:  

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Focus

Why did the South secede? Why did secession lead to war? For a half century the northern, free states coexisted politically in the same nation with southern, slaveholding states. Why and how did that national structure fall apart in the 1850s? Was this breakdown inevitable, or could wiser political leadership have prevented it? Why did the election of Abraham Lincoln as president precipitate the secession of seven lower-South states? Why did both sides prefer war to compromise? Could this terrible war have been avoided? Could the positive results of the war (Union and freedom) have been achieved without war?
Readings
  • James M. McPherson, “What Caused the Civil War?,” North and South, IV (Nov. 2000), 12-22, and response to this article in subsequent issues of North and South.
  • Hans L. Terfousse, The Causes of the Civil War, 91-125 (excerpts from Ramsdell, Potter and Current).
  • Charles B. Dew, “Apostles of Secession,” North and South, IV (April 2001), 24-38.

We The People Webinar session 6

 

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The final session of the Foundation for Teaching the U.S. Constitution webinar took place on Tuesday, 27 October 2015, with Dr. Gordon Lloyd discussing the final Hearing Question and the challenges that face and are likely to face American Constitutional Democracy in the 21st Century.

Session 16: Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858

Prof. Allen Guelzo:  

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Focus

Contrast Lincoln’s understanding of the relation between public opinion and political rule with that of Stephen Douglas. What does Douglas mean by “diversity” and how does he use it to attack Lincoln’s alleged doctrine of “uniformity”? Why does Douglas think Lincoln is wrong to criticize the Dred Scott opinion? How does Lincoln answer Douglas’s charges? What does Lincoln mean by the “moral lights” of the community? In the second debate, how does Lincoln force Douglas into a quandary regarding popular sovereignty and support for the Dred Scott opinion? (See Douglas’s argument about “unfriendly legislation.”) In the seventh debate, what is Lincoln’s understanding of the Founders’ views regarding slavery? How does Lincoln show that the rhetoric of Douglas makes him a kind of abolitionist in practice?
Readings
Supplemental/Optional Readings:

Program Report: “Civil Disobedience” Seminar in Bartow, Florida

On Saturday, October 24th, teachers from Central Florida gathered in the 1902 Historic County Courthouse in Bartow for a TAH.org Seminar on Civil Disobedience led by Dr. David Alvis. An interesting topic which explored America’s founding and it’s roots in civil disobedience. What does civil disobedience mean? How far can a person or group act upon their convictions before it deemed not civil?

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This seminar’s three sessions began with John Locke’s “Two Treatises” and the “Declaration of Independence”. Was the American Revolution “revolutionary” or merely a “war for independence” when compared to the French or Russian Revolutions? The second session considered Henry David Thoreau’s idea of conscientious disobedience, that a person is morally obligated to act upon any repugnant injustice or law, regardless of the outcome. However, with that idea came events like John Brown acting on his own moral authority to murder in the name of justice. Juxtapose Thoreau’s writings with Abraham Lincoln’s “Lyceum Address” and he warns of the dangers with “mobocracy” and the need for rule of law at all times. Our third session compared Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” writings to Malcolm X “The Ballot of the Bullet”. Overall, this was a very thought provoking day.

You may access the seminar materials for this program here.

If you would like to find a program like this in your area, please click here.

New iTunes U Course: Federalist-Antifederalist Debates

The latest in TAH.org’s 24/7 course options, this 4-hour program is about the Federalist-Antifederalist debates that took place across the country after September 1787 and produced some of the most thoughtful, detailed accounts, analyses, and debates of and about the Constitution and the government its supporters sought to create.

As with TAH.org’s other iTunes U courses, this offers automatic enrollment is self-paced, and at this point users will need an iOS device (iPad or iPhone) to access the course materials.

The Federalist-Antifederalist Debates

Program Report: Vietnam War Seminar in West Palm Beach, FL

On Saturday, October 17th, Palm Beach County School District hosted a One-Day Seminar on The Vietnam War. Dr. Will Atto from the University of Dallas led the discussion on this complicated and controversial modern American event. Participants discussed Diem’s rise to power and the American policy. Readings included pieces from John F. Kennedy, Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, and Henry Cabot Lodge.  The conversation segued to the Tet Offensive and considered the impact the Tet Offensive had on American opinion, the media, politics, the war effort as well as the military morale. The last session of the seminar focused on Nixon’s “Peace with Honor”, Vietnamization, and the lasting legacy the Vietnam War had on a generation of Americans.

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We The People Webinar: Session 4

 

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13 October 2015 saw the 4th session of the joint webinar series between TAH.org and the Center for Civic Education’s We the People program, hosted by Dr. Gordon Lloyd. This session focused on the State Hearing questions from Unit 4, which leads off with “How have the values and principles embodied in the Constitution shaped American institutions and practices?”

Session 15: Lincoln Confronts Stephen Douglas’s Popular Sovereignty

Prof. Allen Guelzo:  

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Focus

What does Stephen Douglas mean by “popular sovereignty”? Why does Lincoln view the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 as a reversal of American policy towards domestic slavery? How does “indifference” about the spread of slavery amount to “covert real zeal” for its spread? How does Lincoln justify previous national compromises with slavery? What is Lincoln’s definition of self-government and how does it inform his political rhetoric and policy proposals? What is Lincoln’s definition of democracy? What role does Lincoln think the Declaration of Independence plays in contemporary political practice? Why does Lincoln advise against a Republican call for repeal of the fugitive slave law? What connection does Lincoln make between liberty, union, and the Constitution?

Program Report: Truman Weekend in Independence, MO

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Teachers in the White House Decision Center

TAH.org hosted two groups of teachers – a total of 37 – from across the country for a Weekend Colloquium at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, MO, 16-18 October 2015. Focusing on Truman’s actions and challenges during the early years of the Cold War, teachers had an opportunity to study primary documents related to the first years after World War 2, Soviet espionage abroad and in America, and how Truman and his administration managed the impact of the Cold War on the American public.

In addition to the discussion sessions, teachers visited the Truman Library’s White House Decision Center and took part in a documents-based roleplay/simulation about Truman’s desegregation the Armed Forces in 1948, and were then able to tour the museum. Teachers: if ever you have the chance to visit the Truman Library with students, it’s worth the effort. The WDC staff and simulation were excellent – well-organized and entirely primary documents-based, making for a rich and thoughtful learning experience. They have programs for both adults and students.

The picture above  shows teachers in the role of Harry Truman giving a press conference in which the decision to desegregate the military is announced, explained, and defended to the press corps.

Now Accepting Spring 2016 TAH.org Weekend Colloquia Applications

Are you ready to reignite your passion for teaching American history and government? TAH.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.

Application Deadline: Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Click here to get more details about locations for Spring and to apply.

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