Head to the Division and Reunion site for our Civil War Study!

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ABOLITION – Assignment November 8/9

I can discuss and evaluate the various efforts of abolitionists in the antebellum era.

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 and What obstacles did Abolitionists face? from Eric Foner and PBS. 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 was the impact?

As you do, consider the efforts of the people in the Abolition Movement.  They took a stand, often facing a great deal of opposition, violence, even death.  Would you do it?  Can we learn from their efforts?

Once you are done, use the ABC-CLIO research (usmstudent, historyrules)  list to find out about the abolitionist that you play in your next class.  Make sure you can explain who why you opposed slavery, what you did in the movement, and the impact of your actions.  You should also post your picture and a “catch phrase” on your section Abolitionist Bulletin Board – Abolition1 / Abolition2 / Abolition3


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Antebellum Slavery – Living and Resisting – In class November 9/10

“Death is better than slavery.”  Harriet Ann Jacobs

You have hopefully been examining a variety of resources regarding the world of antebellum slavery and are starting to understand the awful conditions of “The Peculiar Institution”.  To examine a bit about life during antebellum slavery, take the quick quiz and then see if you can find the answers using the “Conditions of Antebellum Slavery ” reading. You can also find out a great deal about life in slavery from the Living Conditions from Slavery and the Making of America.

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

How did slaves 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.  Slavery and the Making of America has a decision making activity to get your mind going. Take a look at “The Decisions the Slaves Made” and see if you would have done the same as those who were suffering in slavery.  Then, check out 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.

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” . If you want, add to your collections!

Keep adding to our bulletin board of questions!

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Visual Analysis!

Maximize it for the best detail!

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In Class November 4/7 – King Cotton

“The most important determinant of American history in the nineteenth century.” – Historian Gene Dattel

Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin Patent Drawing and Patent Petition

Cotton Gin – Eli Whitney from Have Fun With History

The Spread of Cotton and Slavery from the University of Oregon

The Role Cotton Played in the 1800s Economy by Henry Louis Gates Jr.


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TARGET DISPLAY – The Growing Nation – Thinking Like a Historian




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An Introduction to Slavery – In class November 2

When I think of SLAVERY … form

Introduction Presentation


Post questions on the SLAVERY BULLETIN BOARD

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Here you go, young historians – knock our socks off with your incredible historical thinking!

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Assignment Rocktober 28/29 – The Masque of the Growing Nation

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  • I can discuss the progress and limits of social growth in America in the antebellum era
  • I can utilize perspective to analyze and evaluate the past
  • I can represent the ideas, experiences, and impact of individuals and groups from the past using different platforms.
  • I can present oral information clearly, accurately, and creatively.

The Masque of the Growing Nation from Chuck Taft on Vimeo.

The masquerade ball was a somewhat popular event during colonial times in America, and it remained in fashion during the first half of the 19th century.  Harking back to Venetian tradition, the celebrations were originally used to recognize upcoming marriages.  They later became a social event in which participants would disguise themselves, and the challenge was to guess their actual identity.  Masquerade balls have become a part of popular culture as well, including scenes in Romeo and Juliet, The Dark Knight Rises, Phantom of the Opera, and a short story by some guy named Poe.

On Monday, all young historians will participate in a masquerade ball honoring the study of the growing nation and focusing on our essential question – Should America’s growth in the antebellum era be celebrated or denounced? You will be given a role to play at the masquerade.  Your task is to do some research about your role and use your critical thinking to craft a statement about your perspective concerning a specific aspect of the time period.  Do you think the era should be seen as one to celebrate, or one to denounce?  Your statement should be about a paragraph long, and you should have a thesis or specific point to your statement.  You should use one or two sources – no more are really necessary for this activity.

In addition, you should design a mask that represents your role, your opinion, or something about you and the era.  You can use one of the masques in class, print your own, or create your own original design! Be creative, be historical, be colorful! Have fun with this – ok?

For example, if I was Alexander Hamilton, I may say …

We should celebrate the early 1800s because, as a country, we established a strong national economy. (that’s the thesis)  Through my economic plan, we attacked the debt crisis, developed a national monetary policy, created a national bank, and pushed for more industry in the United States. This economic growth continued as the century progressed, leading to a market revolution.  The nation was more connected with canals, roads and eventually railroads, and both farmers and artisans produced goods for the markets instead of themselves.  Capitalism rules, my friends!

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Need a mask? Check out …


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Learning experience Rocktober 25/26 – Check out the Expanding Nation!

Untitled design (1)On Monday/Tuesday, we will be examining the geographical expansion of the nation as we see the United States complete it’s Manifest Destiny and expand from sea to shining sea.  To prepare for our in depth look into this era of growth, check out the following materials, and jot down some notes on your BIG HUGE GROWING NATION MAP about each example of expansion – Did the United States gain the land in the right way?  Should we celebrate or denounce the expansion?  What does this expansion mean for the United States today?

TIME SUGGESTIONS – 20-25 minutes one night, 20-25 minutes the next night – and then come to class!

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE from the History Channel – FOCUS QUESTIONS– Why did Jefferson get to buy Louisiana – and what were the benefits of the Purchase? (If you are interested, check out 8 Things You May Not Know About the Louisiana Purchase and Lewis & Clark Expedition.

FLORIDA from Annenberg Learning Center -FOCUS QUESTIONS- How did the US get Florida?

SETTLEMENT OF THE WEST  (username usmstudent, password historyrules) and Oregon Country from Annenberg Learner –FOCUS QUESTIONS – What different groups migrated to the Oregon Country during the early 1800s? How did the United States gain the Oregon Country?

THE ALAMO (great video) from the History Channel and Texas Annexation from Annenberg Learner FOCUS QUESTIONS – Why did many Americans move to Texas in the early 1800s, and what problem did they have with the Mexican government? What happened in the Texan Revolution, especially at the Alamo? What was controversial about the annexation of Texas?

THE MEXICAN WAR from the History Channel, The Mexican Cession from Annenberg Learner and The Mexican War from Crash Course (end around 7:00)-FOCUS QUESTIONS – What was controversial about the causes of the Mexican War? What was the result and impact of the Mexican War?

What ended Manifest Destiny?  THE GADSDEN PURCHASE … my friend Jimmy Fallon spoke of it once …

Getting the idea of the story of the GROWING NATION?

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