NCSS Online Teachers' Library

Advocating for Abolition: Staging an Abolitionist Society Convention


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--Andy Robinson and Joan Brodsky Schur
This simulation illustrates for students that the most complex debates in American history are not necessarily between those for and against social change, but among those who agree on the goal, but disagree on the means.
*http://publications.socialstudies.org/se/7404/

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Evaluating Perspectives on Westward Expansion: Weighing the Evidence


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--Stephanie Greenhut
A unique online tool helps students analyze documents from opposing perspectives, weigh each source’s significance, and come to evidence-based conclusions.
* http://publications.socialstudies.org/se/7506/7506317.pdf

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Robert E. Lee’s Demand for the Surrender of John Brown


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--Daniel F. Rulii
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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Abraham Lincoln: American Lawyer-President (Looking at the Law)


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By Brian Dirck
Teaching Activity by Tiffany Willey
The same characteristics that made Lincoln a tenacious lawyer also made him a formidable president.

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The Civil War Battle That Helped Create a State


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By Kay A. Chick
What makes an event worthy of the history textbooks? In this lesson, students study a little-known Civil War battle to broaden their understanding of historical significance.

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Habeas Corpus and “Enemy Combatants”


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By Carolyn Pereira and Nisan Chavkin
The writ of habeas corpus has been a critical tool for balancing the rights of individuals with the government’s responsibility to protect the nation’s welfare. The featured elementary, middle, and high school lessons explore the significance of this right.

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The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (Teaching with Documents)


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By Kahlil Chism
The Freedmen’s Bureau was one of few agencies established to improve the lives of former slaves. Four documents highlight for students the bureau’s efforts to help African Americans acquire land, secure jobs, legalize marriages, and pursue education.
* http://publications.socialstudies.org/se/7001/700119.pdf

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"In the Midst of Strange and Terrible Times": The New York City Draft Riots of 1863


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Bárbara C. Cruz and Jennifer Marques Patterson
The riots that shook New York City more than a century ago can provide contemporary students a useful framework for studying such complex issues as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and immigration.

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Learning about the Civil War through Soldiers’ Letters


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—Joseph Hutchinson
Letters home from young soldiers give students a close-up view of the Civil War; their sense of empathy further deepens when they must use their imagination and write their own letters home.

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The Garbers: Using Digital History to Recreate a 19th-Century Family


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Cheryl L. Mason and Alice Carter
An online archive, "Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities during the American Civil War", provides primary sources for elementary students.

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