The Controversial Presidency of Andrew Jackson – Assignment Rocktober 21

There may not be a more controversial American from “The Growing Nation” era (or any era) than Andrew Jackson.  He has a state capitol named for him, countless statues created in his honor (including one across the street from the White House), and is featured on the $20 bill – for now. He is also despised by Native Americans today, became wealthy through slavery, and is being removed from one of our most common paper currencies.  Jackson’s shifting legacy is one that we can look at (on the surface) as we examine the antebellum era.  This leads to our target – I can present and assess the era of Andrew Jackson in both positive and negative terms.

To begin an examination of Andrew Jackson, check out the introduction of Jackson’s presidency below, and then it is time to dig in.  Using your Jackson handout, take detailed notes on observations of historians as well as the major events of his Presidency to get an overall view of the 7th President – and to hit the target!

Want more on the controversy?  How about the closing of Andrew Jackson from the History Channel and History vs. Andrew Jackson from James Fester and Ted-Ed.

FINALLY – Post the following information on the bulleting board for your history section – Jax Section 1 / Jax Section 2 / Jax Section 3 / Jax Section 4 / Jax Section 5

  • ONE WORD (or short phrase) that represents President Andrew Jackson – but no repeats!
  • ONE SENTENCE that explains your opinion (celebrate or denounce) President Jackson, including your specific reason or thesis
  • ONE QUESTION that you want answered about the presidency of Andrew Jackson and his legacy

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ASSIGNMENT Rocktober 19-20 – A White House Seance

You may not be aware of this, but the White House is haunted!  A few Presidents have believed that there are spirits roaming the hallways of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue … is President Obama one of them? Read this recent article concerning a seance he hosted at the White House, and then find out what advice the ghosts of Presidents past had to give to our current Chief Diplomat. Use as many of the resources as you think you may need – but try to limit yourself to about five minutes per president!

Resources for the GHOST OF WASHINGTON

Neutrality Proclamation video / Proclamation of Neutrality from wikipedia / Foreign Policy: Neutrality including Washington’s farewell

Resources for the GHOST OF JOHN ADAMS

What was the XYZ Affair? – Ask History / The XYZ Affair video from Ignite Learning / The Presidency of John Adams – Digital History


The First Barbary War / The Embargo of 1807 – Digital History / Thomas Jefferson: Foreign Affairs—Miller Center

Resources for the GHOST OF JAMES MADISON

James Madison and the War of 1812 – History Channel / War of 1812 | Montpelier / War of 1812 – Facts & Summary – / The War of 1812 – Crash Course US History #11

Resources for the GHOST OF JAMES MONROE

Our Documents – Monroe Doctrine (1823) / Monroe Doctrine – Facts & Summary –

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IN CLASS – The Mysterious Slumber

So … what happened while this guy slumbered for a few decades?  You must have some questions, right?

Pose the questions on your Political Growth document, and then find the answers to the big questions – you can use your search skills, and this Early Political Parties site will help as well! And here’s some info on Parties today!

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When we last left off in our study of America’s story, we were in the late 1780s, with a young nation of 13 states along the Atlantic coast, struggling under a brand new Constitution.  The North American continent was inhabited by the Spanish the French, the British, and native populations from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Americans were limited to a small radius outside of their homes, there was no developing national literary or art movement, and the economy was mostly limited to what was needed by local people.   There was no major transportation system, no method of communication, no American settlement in the west, and no vision of the United States becoming the dominant country of the Western Hemisphere.

Fast forward to the mid 1850s.  The United States has 31 states, spanning across North America.  The British , Spanish, and French are gone … and much of the native population has been moved to the center of the nation.  The economy is dominated by the larger market, not the local individual; transportation and communication have improved dramatically; and the nation was now seen as the dominant power of the Western Hemisphere.   An American form of literature and art is developing, as is a slowly developing movement to push for equality.   Political factions are playing a crucial role in the major decisions of the country, and slavery is dividing the nation like no other issue ever.

How did this incredible growth and change happen in such a short time period?  It’s a mystery – a history mystery!

We will look at this mysterious growth though historian’s eyes as we examine THE GROWING NATION over the next few weeks.  You should start a new notebook for American Studies, containing your history and English material about Poe.  Give it a SPOOKY cover! To begin, read The Mysterious Slumber, a not-so-famous short story from the era. Can you solve the mystery?  Let’s find out in our next class.

he Mysterious Slumber

If you are interested in another sleepy story, check out Rip Van Winkle – the story and the video summary.

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Young Constitutional Scholars  – The streaming review video should be available here. I will try to be ready to go on THURSDAY NIGHT at 7:00 for about 45 minutes. You should log into you GA account – but if yo have to make a name, put in your first name and last initial as your username (except the two Syds – two letters in the last name)  Please make sure you are a good digital citizen and that you aren’t asking basic general questions right from the study guide – use all of your resources.  This should be the end of your preparation – not the beginning.

You will be provided a copy of the Constitution for the test- you may not need it if you have prepared progressively and applied your knowledge over the past few weeks.

Don’t forget to use the BAR EXAM REVIEW GUIDE the terminology posted a few weeks ago , some Bar Exam graphics, and some of the resources below – many are old, but they may help!


Where in the Constitution

Constitutional Headlines


Older Review Exercises

Review Exercise #1 – The Constitution

Review Exercise #2 – Vocab

Review Exercise #3 – The Bill of Rights

Review Exercise #4 – Is it Constitutional?

OLD Reviewcasts – Bar Exam Review #1 – The Structure and Basic Principles of the Constitution / Bar Exam Review #2 – The Three Branches / Bar Exam Review #3 – The Lawmaking Process, Checks and Balances, and the Amendment Process / Bar Exam Review #4 – The Bill of Rights – Remember, these are OLD

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Bill of Rights in Schools Notes!

Section 1Section 2 / Section 3 / Section 4 / Section 5

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The Constitution In Action Today


I can select and utilize appropriate resources to support an idea or argument.
I can apply the Constitution to current society.
I can summarize information from a primary or secondary source.
I can communicate analysis and opinions clearly and properly.

It was written over 200 years ago … is it still relevant today?  Yup – and your challenge is to prove it.   Your task is to find recent examples of the Constitution in action by scanning the news resources listed, summarizing the articles completely, and explaining the part of the Constitution that applies.

You are required to find and post AT LEAST THREE articles, and you can’t repeat any major topic.  These should not be blogs or opinion pieces – they should be an actual news article.  Your articles must be dated in 2016.  Scan the newspaper in the morning or afternoon, chat about the news with your parents, friends, and teachers,  and most importantly, don’t just google a term – you will get some crazy resources.

THE TOPICS – Federalism and the 10th Amendment in Action / Congress in Action / The President and/or Executive Branch in Action / The Judicial Branch in Action / The First Amendment in Action / Amendments 2-9 in Action / Any other Constitutional Principle in Actions

THE RESOURCESCNN / JS Online / USA Today / Washington Post / New York Times / Chicago Tribune

Check out the example below:

The Supreme Court just dealt the Confederate flag a blow. Here’s how. 

The Supreme Court decided in a close 5-4 decision that a Texas decision to not have the Confederate flag on one of their vanity license plates did not violate the 1st Amendment right to free speech of car drivers. In their decision, the majority justices ruled that license plates are examples of government speech, arguing that “The governmental nature of the plates is clear from their faces: the State places the name “TEXAS” in large letters across the top of every plate.” Since the plates aren’t personal speech, the 1st Amendment does not apply.  The ruling doesn’t make it illegal to have the Confederate flag on state license plates; it just means that states can opt not to allow it. And, a person can have a bumper sticker of of the Confederate flag on their car if they choose, as that form of speech is protected.

For each article, you should:

  • Include the title of the article and an embedded link to the article
  • Summarize the entire article in four to five sentences.
  • Explain how the Constitution or a Constitutional principle is in action, including the part of the Constitution that applies.
  • Check your conventions and spelling.

Collect all of your work on THE OFFICIAL CONSTITUTION IN ACTION TODAY document which has been shared with you already! You will share it with Taft on Google Classroom once you are complete.  Happy hunting!


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LEARNING EXPERIENCE – Amendments 2-10 … and a little bit of 14 – Rocktober 7/8

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 Voicethread below to complete your notes.  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 3 /Section 4 /Section 5 

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

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!

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Learning Experience – THE BILL OF RIGHTS – THE FIRST AMENDMENT – September 29

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” and then dig into the First Amendment as you take a look at this voice thread. Please stop after the First Amendment!

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

Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 3 / Section 4 / Section 5 

Then, take the specific case presented to you in class and investigate what actually happened.  Summarize the decision and your opinion of the decision carefully on your half sheet of paper.

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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