Friday, September 2, 2016

Land and the American Identity

One of the ongoing themes moving forward from the colonial era into the revolutionary era in American history is the continuing competition for land between all players involved. The colonial settlers wanted the land and the Native Americans wanted the land. France wanted the land and Britain wanted the land. The outcome of this competition can be summarized as:

American colonists wanted that land really, really bad -- so bad that they were willing to fight the French and Indians for it and then fight the greatest power in the world for it -- Great Britain. 

And they would continue to fight the Native Americans and the British to keep it...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cooperation, Competition, and Conflict (1491-1607)

What does it take to get people to cooperate?

Hands Across America - 1986
Fundraising, or pooling resources, is a common form of cooperation. In 1986, people in the U.S. formed a human chain across America and raised $34 million. It was a project for USA Africa which produced We Are the World. But this blog post is about the period 1491 to 1607. What kind of cooperation, competition, and conflict did we see in that period?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Scientific Management of Homemaking

The title of household engineer was not created as a way to make housework sound more technical. It was created because housework became more technical with the introduction of modern appliances in the 1920's.

A Pact to End War - The Kellogg-Briand Pact

In history circles there seems to be a fascination with wars. I realize that I am in the minority by not sharing this fascination with death and destruction. In fact, when I mentioned my lack of enthusiasm for war in class, one of my students asked me:

"What would we study if we didn't focus on wars?" 

The scary part, is that I see his point. So much of what we teach/learn in our curriculum is focused on conflict. We even define certain periods by the absence of war, like "the interwar years" between World War I and World War II. It's like those optical illusions where you see two different images.

Am I looking at the two faces or the candlestick? 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Reading Primary Sources - A Group Reading by Frederick Douglass

Trying to integrate primary source documents into the classroom can be a challenge for history teachers. The length and complexity of many documents lead to the use of excerpts, but this can interfere with meaning and understanding.

One of my favorite documents to help students understand the post-Civil War African-American experience is "The Reason Why the Colored American is not in the World's Columbian Exposition."

Monday, January 18, 2016

MLK Day - Sixties Civil Rights Tactics

MLK Day seems a good time to refresh our collective memories on the tactics of 60's civil rights organizations and compare them to some of the protests that have been recently occurring.
What makes a protest organization effective? 

MLK leading a march in Selma, Alabama to end the suppression of black voting rights.