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Social Education

The Purchase of the Louisiana Territory (Teaching with Documents)

—Lee Ann Potter, Karen Needles, and Marisa Wilairat
The purchase of the Louisiana territory provides teachers with a perfect launch of classroom discussion on how the government funded this acquisition.

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The Cherokee Response to Removal

--National Museum of the American Indian
This lesson plan offers insight into the Cherokee experience during the native group’s forced nineteenth-century relocation by the federal government in what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

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The First Act of Congress (Teaching with Documents)

--Lee Ann Potter
In the early days of this nation, Congress considered numerous acts as it established the laws of the land. Yet the first ever act of Congress concerned an oath to support the Constitution.

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James Meredith at Ole Miss: “Victory Over Discrimination”

--Candace D. Fisk and Beth Hurst
This story of James Meredith’s fight to integrate an all-white state university serves as a clear example of each individual’s ability to affect social change.

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Supreme Court Roundup (Looking at the Law)

--Charles F. Williams
In its most recent term, the Supreme Court considered a range of important cases relating to the “War on Terror,” federalism, and sentencing guidelines. The author reviews some of the Court’s most significant rulings.

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Buttons to Bumper Stickers: Political Campaign Memorabilia (Teaching with Documents)

--Lee Ann Potter
From George Washington to George W. Bush, politicians have used campaign memorabilia to capture the attention of voters. By studying these items, students can learn a great deal about historical issues and candidates.

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Teaching about the Electoral College

--David Dulio and the staff of the National Student/Parent Mock Election
When citizens step into the voting booth on election day, they are not actually voting for their candidate, but rather choosing a group of electors. This set of classroom activities explains one distinctively American institution--the Electoral College.

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Robert E. Lee's Demand for the Surrender of John Brown (Teaching with Documents)

--Daniel F. Rulli
John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry--considered treasonous by some and heroic by others--helped strengthen the anti-slavery movement. Students can gain a deeper understanding of this event by studying General Lee’s demand for Brown’s surrender.

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1863 Letter from Ralph Waldo Emerson about Walt Whitman (Teaching with Documents)

--Lee Ann Potter
During the Civil War, poet Walt Whitman was eager to work for the government. Though federal jobs weren’t easy to come by, a letter of recommendation from Ralph Waldo Emerson was able to push open government doors.

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School Desegregation Depicted in Docudrama

--David L. Wolfford
The author provides in-depth reviews of six films on desegregation.

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