by Taylor Branch

The word “movement” often designates a cultural shift of less import than the American Revolution, Great Depression, and other capitalized dramas in history. To be sure, some popular movements have gained broader recognition in the sweep of American history. The abolitionist crusade helped precipitate the Civil War. The quest for female suffrage doubled the electorate, and more, while campaigns for and against Prohibition twice amended the Constitution. And credible historians treat the modern Civil Rights Movement as a sub-division of the Cold War Era (1945–1989). That duel of global alliances contrasted sharply with nonviolent marches for civil rights within the United States, but conflicts over freedom and subjugation resonated between the two arenas. Racial advocacy set in motion democratizing change that seeped into every aspect of American life, and transformed the structure of national politics for decades. Inspiration from the national struggle for civil rights filtered abroad to shore up peaceful revolutions against Cold War regimes from Moscow and Berlin to Pretoria, launching an unlikely tide that delivered miracles to the world on the promise of freedom. Although this broad legacy remains unsettled, and not fully claimed, the movement earned at least provisional status for a Civil Rights era in the United States.More »

by Eric Foner

In 1877, soon after retiring as president of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, embarked with his wife on a two-year tour of the world. At almost every location, he was greeted as a hero. In England, the son of the Duke of Wellington, whose father had vanquished Napoleon, greeted Grant as a military genius, the primary architect of Union victory in the American Civil War. Parading English workers hailed him as the man whose military prowess had saved the world’s leading experiment in democratic government and as a Hero of Freedom who had helped secure the emancipation of America’s four million slaves.More »

Synopsis: 

Common Core–aligned history units to help history and ELA teachers improve reading and writing instruction.

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Units and Lesson Plans In American History

Developed by master teachers. Aligned to core History, Civics, and English Language Arts standards.

The following Teaching Literacy through History (TLTH) units and lessons target the skills and strategies students must learn before they can gain academic independence. Each unit develops key literacy skills, such as examining vocabulary text, discerning argument construction, analyzing non-fiction texts, and writing critical analysis.

Click here to learn more about implementing a Gilder Lehrman TLTH professional development program in your district.


You may browse the complete listing of available units below, or you may use the filters to further refine the selection.

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Through our partnership with digital publisher Adam Matthew, 95 percent of the Gilder Lehrman Collection has been digitized. Individual copies may be ordered here. Libraries and universities may subscribe to the digital database with all the images at American History, 1493-1945.

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Hagans, Lucian A. (fl. 1861-1863) to George W. Koonce

GLC #: GLC08606.01 Date: 8 October 1863 Object Type: Autograph letter signed
to Friend Griffin

Edison, Thomas Alva (1847-1931) to Friend Griffin

GLC #: GLC02480.03 Date: June 6, 1893 Object Type: Autograph letter signed
to William Knox

Knox, Henry (1750-1806) to William Knox

GLC #: GLC02437.00451 Date: 23 September 1776 Object Type: Autograph letter signed