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Students will examine African American slave spirituals, a painting, and a personal narrative to analyze the underlying messages of these materials.Materials
The Old Plantation (painting) can be seen at:http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume3/february05/iotm.cfmThe following materials are available as pdf files:...
There are certain subjects that rarely succeed at the box office. Until the mid-1970s, and the smashing success of Rocky, sports movies almost always flopped with the general public. In past years, westerns and swashbuckling adventure films have often been box office duds. But one genre has consistently failed. Hollywood has never made a film about the American Revolution that has lived up to expectations. Curiously, Hollywood has made more successful movies about the French and Indian War, including The Last of the Mohicans...
As copies of the Declaration of Independence spread through the colonies and were publicly read at town meetings, people lit great bonfires, illuminated their windows with candles, fired guns, rang bells, and tore down and destroyed the symbols of monarchy on public buildings.But what exactly were people celebrating? A speech or a written document? Freedom or equality? Inalienable rights or the right to rebel?The actual Fourth of July holiday may have been started...
In 1915, 50 years after the end of the Civil War, D.W. Griffith, released his epic film Birth of a Nation. The greatest blockbuster of the silent era, Birth of a Nation was seen by an estimated 200 million Americans by 1946.Based on a novel by a Baptist preacher named Thomas Dixon, the film painted Reconstruction, the period following the Civil War, as a time when vengeful former slaves, opportunistic white scalawags, and corrupt Yankee carpetbaggers plundered and oppressed the former Confederacy until respectable white...
The roaring 1920s was an era of dramatic change. Among the most enduring manifestations of this change was the rise of the big city. The centrality of urban growth to the social, political, and economic changes of the 1920s gives it a special place in the study of that decade, the twentieth century, and the United States in the modern century. The changes that took place in New York City, America’s largest city by this time (see the interactive activity in the March 2007 issue of History Now), were...
A carefully crafted lesson is structured with a well-defined focus and a clearly-stated purpose. The lesson should present the class with an issue that is phrased in the form of a problem to be solved or a question to be analyzed and assessed by the class. Effective lessons do not merely cover information; they present students with major concepts and ideas and challenge students to think critically and take positions on open-ended essential questions. Here are some examples of essential questions for students of American history:...
How were the ever-changing roles of women in American society chronicled?Background
Joseph Heller writes in his book The Feminization of Quest-Romance that “American Literature equates the very essence of what it means to be American with the essence of what it means to be male. [Thus] women’s roles are identified only in relation to the male heroes whose identities they strengthen.” It can be argued that throughout much of American history, American women had few rights or...