The realities of slavery and Reconstruction hit home in poignant oral histories from the Library of Congress. In these activities, students research narratives from the Federal Writers' Project and describe the lives of former African slaves in the U.S. -- both before and after emancipation. From varied stories, students sample the breadth of individual experiences, make generalizations about the effects of slavery and Reconstruction on African Americans, and evaluate primary source documents.
This lesson plan addresses the ways people learn about events from the past and discusses how historical accounts are influenced by the perspective of the person giving the account. To understand that history is made up of many people’s stories of the past, students interview family members about the same event and compare the ifferent versions, construct a personal history timeline and connect it to larger historical events, and synthesize eyewitness testimony from different sources to create their own "official" account.
A common lament one hears today is that young people lack heroes to emulate. Is that true? After completing this lesson plan, students will be able to describe what makes a hero in various contexts.
Drawing on the resources of the Library of Congress's Printed Ephemera Collection, this lesson helps students experience the news as the colonists heard it: by means of broadsides, notices written on disposable, single sheets of paper that addressed virtually every aspect of the American Revolution.
Although antiwar organizations existed even before World War I, it was during the interwar period that pacifism became the fastest-growing movement in America. Numerous American politicians, businessmen, journalists, and activists made proposals for multilateral agreements on arms control and collective security. Through an examination of memoirs, photographs, and other primary source documents, students examine the rise of antiwar sentiment in the United States, as well as some of the concrete measures taken during the 1920s to prevent the outbreak of future wars.
In January 1918, less than one year after the United States entered World War I, President Woodrow Wilson announced his Fourteen Points to try to ensure permanent peace and to make the world safe for democracy. Wilson's aims included freedom of the seas, free trade, and, most important, an international organization dedicated to collective security and the spreading of democracy. Through the use of primary source documents and maps, students examine Wilson's Fourteen Points, as well as his efforts to have them incorporated into the final peace treaties.
Was the Treaty of Versailles, which formally concluded World War I, a legitimate attempt by the victorious powers to prevent further conflict, or did it place an unfair burden on Germany? This lesson helps students respond to the question in an informed manner. Activities involve primary sources, maps, and other supporting documents related to the peace process and its reception by the German public and German politicians.