This Day in History
Ready to dig into the Wild West? Was it the best or the worst? Take a look at some of the resources below to start grabbing some notes. Spend as much time as you desire – especially if you are jammed up with NHD!
Start with our good friend John Green as he gives you a Crash Course on the West …
We begin our next unit with an agricultural nation coming off a Civil War, limited to the North American continent in status and territory. We end with the United States as an industrial giant, an international influence, and an impressive global superpower on par with any nation in the world. HOW?
Completing the transcontinental railroad, connecting the east to the west coast. Millions of Americans moving to farm the land and settle new areas. Interacting with the natives in the west and expanding the roles of African-Americans and women. Creating new types of business models, turning the United States into an industrial giant. Developing cities bigger than any other in the world, and having them grow up into the sky. Inventing labor saving and life changing technology that will affect the world. Expanding democracy further than ever before. Developing reforms to hopefully cure the economic, political, and social issues of the country. Expanding influence and territory across the globe. Developing as a world superpower in the first global conflict in human history And poetry, short stories, and literature created about all of this growth.
Modern America emerges in the half century after the Civil War – but was it all positive? Is progress always beneficial? What is the cost of growth? That essential question will be the core of our activities in and out of class as we enter the era of modern America. It’s also a question that we can apply to our society today, as we make connections between the past and the present.
What’s our historical approach for this unit? Simple – to continue thinking like a historian.
Our essential questions for our study of this era include:
- What made Modern America “modern”?
- To what extent did the United States progress between the late 19th and early 20th century?
- What is the price of progress? And did the United States help pay the price in the early 1900s?
- Does history repeat itself, or does it only rhyme?
As we look at the last half of the 1800s, our focus questions include:
- Did all Americans benefit from the reshaping of the West in the late 1800s?
- Were the great industrialists Captains of Industry or Robber Barons?
- Was industrialization positive for all Americans?
- Should the United States open its “golden door” to everyone and anyone?
- Was American democracy really democratic?
As the unit progresses (no pun intended) your major target is the following:
I can use the past to help make sense of the present.
To do so, you will be looking at current events (dated 2016-2017), describing the events, and linking them to the past. More information is forthcoming … but hopefully you will see that history repeats itself – or at least rhymes from time to time.
How does a nation rebuild after it is torn in two? Can it be rebuilt? That’s the challenge of the newly “reunited” United States after the Civil War … and the era of Reconstruction is not only a major chapter in America’s story, but still resonates today.
In order to begin examining the success and/or failure of Reconstruction, we need to get some idea of what happened in the time between 1865 and 1877. To do so, your task for next class is to read/watch the general overview materials available here. As you do, use the term bank on your intro as a checklist for the important ideas and concepts of the era, and jot down some notes as you dig into this very controversial time period. Start to consider the idea of Reconstruction being a success or a failure in regards to the goals we posed earlier. In addition, come up with some questions (not Siri questions, but good historical questions) that you may have about the era and post those questions on the Reconstruction Question Board!
MAKE SURE YOU USE THIS ONE! Begin with the History Channel’s overview of Reconstruction – the reading can give you a good idea about the era. You should also check out the Freedman’s Bureau, Sharecropping and Black Leaders during Reconstruction for more great info. The videos helps as well!
Need more? Want more? Gotta have more? I love the Reconstruction section from the Digital History project at the University of Houston. Also, check out Reconstruction from UsHistory.org and Reuniting the Union: A Chronology from the University of Houston;
MAKE SURE YOU USE ONE AT LEAST ONE VIDEO! Some decent videos to help you out as welll
John Green – he talks so fast, but he is way more entertaining than Taft
Taft’s overview of the Recon Amendments
Why President Johnson was impeached
ALL THE DETAILS YOU NEED TO KNOW – AND WHAT TO PREPARE!
MAKE SURE YOU COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR COLLABORATIVE TEAMS!
Four long years, over 620,000 dead, even more casualties, part of the nation in ruins, and an entire segment of the population freed for the first time – the results of the Civil War are almost impossible to comprehend in 2017. Why did war end up with a Union victory and Confederate defeat? Let’s put our heads together (and ask some other experts) and discuss!
Check out the materials provided to you as well as the resources below.
A great collection of resources from an assortment of Civil War authorities
Nine Reasons Why the South Lost the American Civil War from History Today
Why Did the Confederacy Lose? from M.T. Owens
Then, as a group:
Come up with a list of the 7 major factors that led to the eventual result of the Civil War, ranked in order. Enter your TOP THREE factors in this form.
Come up with a “possibility factor” of the Confederacy winning the war, with a “0” meaning they had no chance at all no matter what they did and a “100” meaning they could have totally won the war but made too many mistakes. Place your names near the location of your factor on the following drawing – Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 5 / Section 6 / Section 7
Can you come up with some great plausible “What if’s?” that could have changed the course of the war?
So … how do you assess the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln? Do your rankings match those of past polls? Consider each entry in the “President A. Lincoln” activity and submit your ratings in this form.
You spent some time online and in Kenosha learning about the life of a Civil War soldier – so what was it like? And why does it matter? Show off your understanding any way you want with a Civil War Soldier Sensory Figure.
Some past examples:
Soldiers liked music, by the way … especially songs with big fat hooks:
Abraham Lincoln – Judging by the number of books written about him, I think we can all agree that he’s a pretty famous guy, right? How do we view him in our society today? Is he well remembered? Highly regarded? Where is rated in comparison to other presidents? Check out the crossroads he faced as President. Are you looking for Lincoln? How did he do as Commander in Chief? What about his speeches – were they “fitly spoken”? Did his views on freedom change over the course of the war? What’s the deal with Lincoln Suspending Habeas Corpus and this great Habeas Corpus video? Was there evidence of an unpopular Mr. Lincoln? This is kind of cool – What are America’s perspectives on Lincoln today?
Watch the videos below as well. We will chat about our 16th president in our next class – so spend some time checking out the materials below , complete the President A. Lincoln assignment, and come up with a few observations about A. Lincoln.
We are headed to the Kenosha Civil War Museum on Tuesday – it should be awesome!
You are out of uniform, but no shorts, sweats, ripped clothing, hats, or quadratic formula t-shirts. Make sure you are warm enough and that you look presentable. Bring a packed lunch (no nuts, please) to your ADVISOR’S ROOM Tuesday morning WITH YOUR NAME ON IT. Let Taft know if you need a lunch. Also, bring your AmStud notebook, a cell phone and a PENCIL (no pens) on the bus – yes, you will be doing some writing.
We have three activities planned at the museum. Hopefully we can figure out some other ways to have a little fun at the museum – but our major goal is to learn learn learn, cuz learning is cool.
Are you ready to see the elephant tomorrow in Kenosha? That’s one of our goals when we visit the Civil War Museum tomorrow. You will also be examining the words of the men (and a few women) in blue and gray and trying to learn a little bit about their story. One of your tasks to prepare is to check out the soldier life material available on AHR and come to school on Tuesday with ONE QUESTION you hope to have answered a the museum.
How do you prepare? Make sure you complete the Why Fight handout, focusing on the motivations of soldiers on both sides of the war. Then, spend 25 minutes or so taking some notes from the various sites and podcasts available on the Civil War Soldier site. You can also listen to my Civil War Soldier Podcast for more info.