US History

The Escape of the [em]Pearl[/em]


--Susan Hoffman Fishman
The attempted escape of more than seventy slaves aboard a ship called the Pearl spotlights issues of morality and law, slavery in a democratic society, and the inherent challenges in deciphering history.

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Historical Fiction to Historical Fact: [em]Gangs of New York[/em] and the Whitewashing of History


--Benjamin Justice
Martin Scorsese’s movie joins a long list of films that have attempted to cater to the public’s fascination with history. Although promises of historical accuracy may woo movie goers to the theater, the author argues that big budget films should not pass fiction off as fact.

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African American Women and Espionage in the Civil War


--Theresa McDevitt
African American women played key roles in the Civil War, providing valuable military intelligence to the Union army.

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Letter from Archibald MacLeish about Relocating the Charters of Freedom during World War II (Teaching with Documents)


--Michael Hussey and Lee Ann Potter
During World War II, the Library of Congress went to extraordinary lengths to protect the nation’s founding documents in case of an attack on the capital.

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Letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson to John Steinbeck (Teaching with Documents)


--Lee Ann Potter
The letter featured in this article offers insight into the mutual respect shared between author John Steinbeck and former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. Although Steinbeck’s opinion on the Vietnam War varied, he was a strong supporter of Johnson’s position on the war at the time the letter was written.

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War Powers: A New Chapter in a Continuing Debate (Looking at the Law)


--Charles F. Williams
The Constitution gives Congress—not the president—the power to declare war, but Congress has used that power only five times.

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War With Iraq (In Focus)


--An Information Section Prepared by the Staff of Social Education
This special section provides resources and teaching tips for addressing the war and helping students deal with unfolding events.

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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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