THE EDGE OF THE PRECIPICE – Reading / watching for Thursday/Friday

The United States was teetering on “the edge of the precipice” in 1850, dangerously close to the division of the country and an uncertain future, less than 100 years after independence.  The country didn’t fall right away … but what happened to push the nation off the edge and into the abyss of the Civil War? That’s our next activity.

Prepare for our next class by reading and annotating the first two issues in “The Edge of the Precipice”.  You can interact with the text, come up with questions, and start thinking about the role these two issues played in the coming of the Civil War. 

Want more on the Compromise of 1850 and Fugitive Slave Act? Check out …

The History Channel’s Compromise of 1850  /  Our Documents – Compromise of 1850 (1850) / Compromise of 1850 – PBS/ The Fugitive Slave Act from the History Channel

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Learning Experience November 7/12 – Abolition

How did the movement to end slavery begin?  What were some of the ideas and methods of the major abolitionists?  What was the impact of the abolition movement? All good questions, right?   To get an overview of the abolition movement and to lead into our next class activity …

Check out The Abolitionist Movement from the History Channel , What obstacles did Abolitionists face? from Eric Foner, and  David Blight on racism in the abolitionist movement. This should give you an idea of the basics of the movement.  

In addition, your task is to check out the individual abolitionist that you have been assigned.  Why did that person oppose slavery? What did they do in their opposition? What challenges did they face? What was the impact of the movement?

After you prepare your background information, post your picture and a brief statement about your impact on the Abolitionist Bulletin Board (check AHR!) for your social gathering. Before the gathering, check out what other abolitionists have done, and start thinking about who you will connect with at the gathering.   Check out the example for Lewis Tappan on the boards.


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RESISTANCE – In class November 7/12

“Slaves ‘naturally’ resisted their enslavement because slavery was fundamentally unnatural.” Franklin W. Wright

NOTE – Please view and read with maturity and respect, as there are mature ideas and derogatory terms in the primary materials of the time.

How did enslaved persons respond to their life in bondage? It’s one of the most common questions asked by students – so let’s see if we can find some answers. Check out the first part of Anti-Slavery Resistance Movement from Boundless,  Slave Resistance from the National Humanities Center and Slave Resistance and Revolts from Digital History to find out how enslaved people responded to their situation. The videos below also discuss various forms of resistance.

One of the most commonly studied forms of resistance was the Underground Railroad, which extended into Wisconsin and is commemorated downtown with the story of Joshua Glover. Scholastic has a great site called “The Underground Railroad – Escape from Slavery”. Take a look at the sections called “Escape!” and “Reaching Safety” to get a better idea about what the trip was like and what happened once the runaways made it to the North. Finally, make sure you read over the “Myths of the Underground Railroad” .

Resistance could be a great narrow topic for a Found Poem – right?  If you want, take careful notes, pull out some power lines, and develop a great collection for your creative display of understanding about this dark yet powerful aspect of America’s story.

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November 5-6 – VISUAL ANALYSIS

Use the techniques we discussed and modeled in class to examine the additional visuals concerning the growth of slavery in the US during the antebellum era.  The necessary visuals are in the presentation below (maximize for the best use) and also this set of documents. When you are done, you can check your responses with the key.

By Monday of next week, you should also take the online visual analysis quiz, which will serve as your target assessment for “I can analyze graphical information to successfully extract information and make accurate observations. ” If you don’t do well the first time, double check it and do it again!


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The Growing Nation – WHY DOES IT MATTER?

After checking out Thinking Like a Historian – The Growing Nation and watching some of the super cool videos available about the early 1800s, it’s time to respond to the million dollar question – WHY DOES IT MATTER?

You can present your analysis in any format of your choice, digital or not. You don’t have to do a board game or play for this one, as it is not a huge target display. Your goal is to offer an general overview or choose some specific topics from the past and explain how they matter today with some actual evidence, and possibly some links that support your assertion.

Possible specific topics to consider
Washington’s Presidency – not examined in class, but wide open
The Louisiana Purchase
American and Foreign Policy – general or specific – The War of 1812, the Monroe Doctrine
The Growth of Democracy
The Age of Jackson – general or specific topics (done mostly on video)
Economic Growth, The Market Economy, technology and transportation
Social Growth (or lack thereof) of a certain group – women, workers, immigrants
Geographic Expansion – in general, or a specific topic
Manifest Destiny, the Texan Revolution, the Mexican War … even the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Cultural Growth (art, literature) and Reform Movements – not examined in class, but wide open
Anything else?

Topics that are off limits
Political parties – that’s Taft’s example
Slavery – that’s coming up

You can add your response to this documents or provide a digital version on Google Classroom. There are a few more links available online for assistance with the era.

Here’s a brief example for the first political parties – take a gander:

I would expect more than one topic, but you can’t do everything from the time period!


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1800-1850 – The young United States grows in myriad ways, making it to the middle of the 19th century as a dominant political, economic, and cultural force in North America.  How did it grow?  Use Thinking Like a Historian – The Growing Nation to find out … and maybe make your way into the Young Historian Hall of Fame!

You should also find some time to watch each of the videos below to give you even more insight into this time period!


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Learning Experience Rocktober 23/24 – Spend 20 minutes with the first political parties

George Washington warned about the “the baneful effects of the spirit of party.”Alexander Hamilton felt that parties were evil and ought to be suppressed.  Thomas Jefferson once said, “If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”  So what happened in Washington’s administration, mostly because of Hamilton and Jefferson?  The development of political parties.  Go figure.

How did these parties start?  What were the views of each?  Why does this matter? You can find out by reading Jefferson vs. Hamilton and enjoying the videos below!

From John Adams, the awesome HBO miniseries:

From John Green, my favorite Crash Course guy:


Want a little Political Parties hip-hop? Thanks, Lin-Manuel:

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BAR EXAM ONLINE REVIEW – Wednesday Rocktober 17

I will be live shortly after the Brewers game ends – hopefully around 8:00.  You can click on this link to get to the stream, or is hopefully works in the video below.

Use the chat function in YouTube to ask any questions. Make sure you log in with your first name and last initial or your school google id.  I don’t have to remind you about proper etiquette in an online forum.

This should be for any final questions you may have about the content.  After the stream, get some ice cream, read a book, play a game, and go to bed!  Get a good night’s sleep!

You will take your test in your English or History class.  If you have both AmStud classes, you should check you email for your switched class.

And don’t freak out – you got this!


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Learning Experience Rocktober 10/11 – Amendments 2-10 (and some 14)

Hopefully you are still curious about how the First Amendment and the courts both protect and limit your rights … and you want more!  Tonight, dive into the remaining parts of the Bill of Rights by using the video below – I hope these help!

For a few of the amendments, try to come up with some more situations or “What ifs?” – and try to make them applicable to you!

Section 1 Section 2 /Section 5 /Section 6 /Section 7 

Once you are done with Amendments 2-10, post your most and least important Amendments in the form below!

MY NEW FAVORITE BILL OF RIGHTS GAME – That’s Your Right! from Annenberg

How about a little more Bill of Rights fun, and a great way to test your understanding (and the speed of your mouse clicks)?  Give Do I Have a Right? from iCivics a whirl.  You will have to login, and take a look at the tutorial.  Make sure you improve your waiting area and get the Cafe++ … and move quickly.   My high score last night was 4950 points – beat that.

And imagine – what would life be without the Bill of Rights?  And play this  Bill of Rights game! And this Bill of Rights game! And this Bill of Rights game!

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Learning Experience Rocktober 8-9 – KNOW YOUR RIGHTS (and how they are limited)

Religion, speech, press, assembly, petition – the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment. Are you read to learn about them?  I hope so …

You have two handouts to use for next class – The Bill of Rights Intro  and The Bill of Rights Notes.   Read “The Story of the Bill of Rights” (on your handout) and then dig into the First Amendment as you take a look at this intro video.

Post any scenarios you come up with on your section bulletin board:

Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 5 / Section 6 / Section 7 

Once you are done with the “Five Freedoms”, browse these First Amendment sites below a little and try to come up with a questionable scenario for the freedoms.  It makes it a whole lot more enjoyable if you come up with situations that apply to you and your family! Talk to your parents about it!

Do you know your stuff?  Take the First Amendment quiz!

When you are done, post your most important freedom in the form below:

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