Monthly Archives: December 2017 Feature Change: Standards Search Tool

For the last few years, 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’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 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? 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.

Documents in Detail: Gettysburg Address


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The last Webinar for 2017 took place on December 13th, with a discussion of the Gettysburg Address. Drs. John Moser, Jon White, and Dan Monroe discussed the words and ideas in Lincoln’s most famous speech. The place of Gettysburg, as a site of national reconciliation, helped to solidify Lincoln’s words in American history and myth, was introduced as location of the famed, pivotal battle. Lincoln’s singular place in American history was also discussed, and when and how the words of the Gettysburg Address contributed, in the years close after his death, to his central position in our story.

The panelists also brought Lincoln’s response to the Dred Scott case, and other addresses and writings over time, into the discussion, demonstrating consistency by Lincoln on several key issues over time.

A books mentioned is Awaiting the Heavenly Country: The Civil War and America’s Culture of Death, by Mark Schantz, which delves into significant changes in American traditions related to death, burial, and memorial wrought by the Civil War.

Access this program’s archive page here.

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Engage the Disengaged Student: Renew Your American History Curriculum with These Free Resources

“We hold these truths to be self evident.”

“Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

“I have a dream.”

You became a history teacher because iconic words like this, reflecting the matchless American Experiment, captured your imagination. The tensions of security versus freedom, liberty versus union, and a confederated republic versus a rising national empire made for endless critical thinking and debate.

Now you’re juggling well over a hundred students, tracking ever-changing standards, and feeling the pressure to teach to the dreaded test as your students doodle in their notebooks. Is there a way to reignite your first love for history–and make your students fall in love as well?

Teach the Words of Our Founding Fathers to the Keepers of Our Country’s Future

Teaching American History believes in the power of our country’s original historical documents to spark curiosity, conversation, and action. We also believe in supporting hardworking teachers by making their lives a bit easier. With our collection of free, thoughtfully curated resources, you can have both.

Our American History Toolkits are topically-focused multimedia collections organized for easy access to a variety of materials, including primary documents, guiding questions, webinars, podcasts, lessons, and other resources to help lay a solid foundation with original documents for major units of study. With our toolkits, actual pieces of history–not boring packets of charts and multiple choice questions–become the backbone of your curriculum, directing students back to the heart of our nation’s challenges and ideals. Invite students to explore speeches, debates, letters, cases, messages, and other documents in the context of their corresponding audiences and events, and watch the light bulbs turn on.

Meet Your State’s Academic Standards with Fresh – and Free – Resources

Our primary documents are aligned with thousands of easily searchable state academic standards, so you can ensure that your teaching meets your state’s requirements.

Our Toolkits explore the following major issues and eras of United States history:

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

Ready to reinvigorate your American history curriculum? Access one of our Toolkits today, and rediscover America.

Bill of Rights Anniversary

The Bill of Rights was adopted on 15 December, 1791, and is made up of the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution. Originally made up of 12 amendments, two of which would be ratified later – one much, much later – the Bill of Rights we think of today was in part a compromise between the earliest political camps in America, as came out of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and refined during the Ratification Debates across the 13 states from 1787 to 1788.

Take a moment and look over Professor Gordon Lloyd’s exhibit on the origins, politics, and ratification of the Bill of Rights, and explore the English and Colonial roots of these most precious rights; the ideas borrowed from existing state constitutions; and examine the lineage of each right within each amendment.

Additionally, has the following resources to help you understand, and more effectively teach, about these fundamental rights enjoyed by all Americans.

Saturday Webinar: Sinking of the USS Maine


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The last Saturday Webinar of 2017 aired on 2 DEC, with a lively discussion about the sinking of the USS Maine, and its role in the Spanish-American War, as well as its place within the context of late 19th Century colonial and imperial expansion.

The panelists discussed American motivations for involvement in Cuba and the Philippines, and in relating to Spain as it did, and the complex interactions between Progressive ideology and policy goals and imperial designs. Parallels with other American international interventions, including that in Vietnam, were also discussed, as well as domestic opposition to imperialism.

Jennifer Keene has published extensively on a variety of topics in American history, especially on World War I. Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America is one of her titles.

Access the full archive page here.

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New Resource: First Volume of Core Documents Collection Now Available! 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.

The first volume of the American History and Government Core Documents Collection – the American Founding – is now available on iTunes, Kindle, and PDFHard copies are also available for $10 each – email if you would like a copy, or you can purchase it directly from Amazon.

This collection of documents on the American Founding inaugurates a new series of document collections from

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.

The documents are all about this – the still unfinished American experiment with self-government. There is no better place to begin to understand that experiment than with these documents from the American founding.

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. is a project of the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University

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