In this lesson, students interrogate their own assumptions about Abraham Lincoln in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of who Lincoln was. They investigate primary source documents in order to analyze the elements of Lincoln's life that have become legend and those that have been forgotten by history.
As part of a greater classwide congressional simulation, this assessment could be used to guide student research and essay writing.
Four Presidents called Illinois home – Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Each presided over the country at a unique time in U.S. history, and this can be seen in the messages they communicated to the nation in their inaugural addresses. All four were reelected to a second term in office. Analysis of each president’s 1st and 2nd inaugural addresses provides an opportunity to compare and contrast the priorities, goals and intentions he outlined, as well as how the nation may have been changing at that time.
Support your students to embrace the larger questions featured in American Creed that ask:
What ideals unite us as a nation?
Where does a nation’s identity come from?
These lesson plans bring together teaching strategies, videos, and activities that will help you explore themes such as common ideals and national identity.
Genocide is a process that develops in ten stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process is not linear. Stages occur simultaneously. Each stage is itself a process. Their logic is similar to a nested Russian matryoshka doll. Classification is at the center. Without it the processes around it could not occur. As societies develop more and more genocidal processes, they get nearer to genocide. But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.
This packet provides an explanation of Ireland’s Great Hunger and provides ideas for primary source materials to use to describe the event A variety of discussion questions, writing activities, and other activities are provided that allow students to explore the facts and how different Irish artists used art and other media forms to depict the effects of the famine.
Anthony’s speech helps students understand the Constitution as a living document. She uses a variety of techniques of legal reasoning and interpretation to challenge other, exclusionary uses of the document. She bases an argument for change on an interpretation of a founding document.
Reconstruction is a challenging era for students to understand. Anthony’s speech captures the complexities of the Reconstruction Amendments and how they opened new avenues for disenfranchised groups to assert their rights. It also explores the interrelationship of the women’s suffragists with other movements. Anthony highlights the cultural, social, and political aspects of women’s struggle for equal rights. The speech does not simply assert women’s right to vote, but also more broadly addresses the subordinate position of women within the home and in other areas of public policy.
Overview / Description: This unit will examine the participation of Native Americans in World War II and their impact on the overall war effort. It will also look at the Native American perspective on the war and their participation. Guiding Questions: Why did Native Americans participate in WWII?What roles did Native Americans play in WWII? How many Native Americans participated in WWII and what impact did they have on the overall war effort? In what ways did Native American participation in WWII connect to and/or change their cultural identity? What are some of the perspectives related to Native American participation in WWII? Learning goals/objectives: Analyze primary and secondary sources related to the topic of Native American participation in World War II. Using information gathered, construct an argument about the presence of Native Americans in World War II.
Overview / Description: This unit will examine the experience of Native Americans during the Great Depression in the United States. It will integrate comparisons with the experiences of other minority groups as well as exposing students to primary source documents related to the government policies which were adopted toward Native Americans during the time. Guiding Questions: What were the US government’s policies toward Native Americans leading up to the Great Depression? Were they fair? What was FDR’s response to the struggles of Native Americans during the Great Depression? What was the Native American experience like during the Great Depression and how did it compare to other minority groups? Learning goals/objectives: Analyze primary and secondary sources related to the experience of Native Americans during the Great Depression. Summarize the experiences of Native Americans during the Great Depression.
Use the following NewsHour Classroom resources to examine King’s impact on civil rights and his ongoing legacy. Lessons include a deep dive anayisis of the “I have a dream” speech and the impact of Dr, King’s work on current evens
Cartoons in Sunday comic strips make us laugh. Political cartoons in the front section of the newspaper challenge us to think.
Because political cartoons present a particular point of view or story through symbolism and caricature, they are a particularly effective method for teaching history.
By interpreting political cartoons, students are encouraged to discover different points of view on the same historical event.
The three political cartoons in this section focus on Robert M. La Follette; they offer an additional opportunity to explore the progressive era in Wisconsin. Suggested activities, brief histories of each cartoon, a one-page biography of La Follette, and an introduction to cartoon analysis are also included.
By reading primary sources outlining the rights of prisoners of war, along with the primary accounts of American prisoners of war held by the Japanese, students should critically assess the nature of violations committed by the Japanese forces during World War II. Through this assessment, the students should be able to determine the specific ways Japanese forces violated the rights of American POWs. Students should also consider how the Geneva Conventions, and Japan’s lack of ratification, apply to the debates that surrounded Japanese war crimes at the postwar Tokyo Trials.
This series of eight lessons is organized as a mini-unit for teaching the Armenian Genocide. They were designed to complement Facing History and Ourselves' resource books, Holocaust and Human Behavior and Crimes Against Humanity and Civilization: The Genocide of the Armenians. Most of these lessons are designed to be used with the film The Armenian Genocide (Two Cats Productions), which aired on PBS on April 17, 2006 and is available to borrow from our library or stream if you are in our educator network. These texts depict, in words or images, evidence of horrible atrocities such as murder and starvation. We recommend previewing materials in order to gauge if they are appropriate given the maturity level of your students.
While we estimate that teaching all eight lessons would require approximately 10 hours of class time, we know that the actual pacing of these lessons depends on your students and your context. These lessons can also by used individually with the understanding that the later lessons rely on students' previous knowledge of the Armenian Genocide. It is our hope that you use these lessons as a jumping off point in creating learning experiences that will engage students in the history of the Armenian Genocide and the important questions this history raises about human behavior.
Language note: While this unit is titled "The Genocide of the Armenians," the word genocide did not exist in 1915 when the Armenians were being massacred and forced on death marches. To avoid historical anachronism, the first seven lessons of this unit circumvent the use of the word "genocide" with students. The final lesson introduces students to the modern term "genocide," and to the different ways people claim or deny this term. You might choose to introduce students to the term "genocide" earlier in the unit, while informing them that the events they are learning about inspired the genesis of this term.
Something to think about: The purpose of these lessons is to help students understand a particular moment in history, the Armenian Genocide, as a way to explore core questions about human behavior. While students are asked to travel across time and space in order to connect this history to their own ideas and experiences, it would be irresponsible for students to make generalizations about a particular religious or national group that cuts across time and place. In other words, students should be strongly discouraged from seeing this history as a lesson about all Turks, all Muslims, all Armenians, or all Americans, in the same way that scholars who teach about the Holocaust are careful not to condemn all Germans or all Christians for acts committed by the Nazis and their followers.
In our increasingly interconnected world it has become clear that what happens in one country affects all of us in many ways, some more visible than others. Responding to genocide, ethnic violence, and abuses of human rights stand as the primary challenges of our day. There was great hope that the end of the Cold War would usher in a new era with a blossoming of democracy and human rights; instead violence around the world makes it clear that finding the tools to prevent genocide is as urgent as ever. Historians note that in the last hundred years more human beings died through genocidal violence and state-sanctioned murder than on that era's countless battlefields.
It was no accident that the failure to prevent escalating abuses of the human rights of Ottoman minorities climaxed with the systematic deportation and mass murder of the Armenian population of the empire in World War I. While other minority groups had broken free from the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians hoped that reforms--supported by the Western powers-would bring change. Instead a new nationalism spread through the Ottoman leadership that left no place for the Christian minorities within the empire. Under the cover of World War I the genocide of the Armenians began.
In 1915 journalists, politicians, and ordinary people considered how best to respond to the accounts of "horrors" and "outrages" in Turkey's Anatolian desert. Unable to remain silent, local and national leaders challenged tradition by boldly proclaiming that responsibility for human life does not stop at national borders. Their solutions set important precedents for international law. In fact, the phrase "crimes against humanity," made famous as one of the counts at the post-Holocaust Nuremberg Trials, was first used to describe the massacres of Armenian civilians in the spring of 1915.
As the pillaging of Armenian villages continued, diplomats debated questions of national sovereignty. In the absence of military intervention, coalitions of individuals, religious groups, and voluntary associations were able to raise millions of dollars to house and feed refugees from the slaughter. While those efforts saved many, humanitarian relief alone could not stop the mass murder of women, children, and men. In the wake of the genocide, official promises to hold the perpetrators accountable faded, as did support for the new Armenian state.
To many who had followed the bloody history of Turkey's campaign against its own people, the impunity enjoyed by those who had ordered and carried out the killings was unbearable. One of them was Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew and a law student. Lemkin confronted one of his law school professors. He asked, "Why is the killing of a million people a lesser crime than the killing of a single individual?" His professor used a metaphor to explain that courts did not have any jurisdiction: "Consider the case of a farmer who owns a flock of chickens. He kills them and this is his business. If you interfere, you are trespassing." But, replied an incensed Lemkin, "the Armenians are not chickens." Lemkin dedicated the rest of his life to finding a way to make sure that the law would recognize the difference. In 1944 Lemkin coined the word "genocide" and later he drafted the United Nations Convention on Genocide. The convention was ratified on December 9, 1948, one day before the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Although this convention requires that its signatories take whatever steps are necessary to prevent genocide, too often the international community does little but stand by while mass killings continue in places like Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In his role as a columnist for the New York Times, Nicholas Kristoff warns readers about the consequences of silence. "There is something special about genocide," he writes, "When human beings deliberately wipe out others because of their tribe or skin color, when babies succumb not to diarrhea but to bayonets and bonfires, that is not just one more tragedy. It is a monstrosity that demands a response from other humans. We demean our own humanity, and that of the victims, when we avert our eyes."
We hope that this series of lessons will help a new generation to understand that genocide is a threat to all of us: it is indeed a "crime against humanity."
Using resources from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency and the American Battle Monuments Commission, students will learn about the recovery and identification pro- cess of missing service members’ remains. The students will demonstrate their understanding of the recovery process by researching the location of a missing service member and developing a pre-mission report for that area.
Important information about how to honor Veterans in school and classroom settings. The activities in this 2021 guide can be applied to any year. The VA publishes a new guide every year.
Use this PBS NewsHour lesson plan to help students understand the significance of Veterans Day and the meaning of sacrifice. Students will identify important veterans in their lives, examine an interactive timeline of military history and study issues facing veterans today
This website was designed to give students and teachers the ability to electronically access important portions of the We the People student text, such as the Unit and Lesson Purposes and the Terms and Concepts to Understand, and to provide links to primary sources, Supreme Court cases, multimedia, and helpful websites related to the content of the student and teacher's editions.
The goal of this module is to provide resources and information about the history of women’s vote in the U.S. Looking at the women’s suffrage movement provides a framework for exploring the changing role of women in politics and society in the 19th and 20th centuries. The history of suffrage offers an opportunity to examine women’s roles at critical points in the nation’s history, and to think about the impact of women’s voting behavior on politics in our time.
Activities and discussion questions are designed to explore the changing role of women in society and in politics. The module includes ideas for developing lessons on women’s suffrage and integrating the issue of suffrage into lessons on US history and politics, and to consider the impact of full suffrage on politics and society today.
Plastic bottles are everywhere! About 70% of the plastic water bottles bought in the U.S. are not recycled, and end up in the oceans. It seems obvious that using fewer plastic water bottles would be a good thing for our environment, but sometimes the alternatives can have negative consequences. Do the costs of banning plastic bottles outweigh the benefits?