Picturing America: "The Sources of Country Music" and "The County Election"
Over a century apart, George Bingham and Thomas Hart Benson painted two works of art representing aspects of American public life and democracy. Bingham's "The County Election" shows a local election in 1852; Benson's "The Sources of Country Music" shows five scenes depicting various influences on American folk music. Learn more about these two works of art in the Picturing America video, below.
View the video (7 minutes) from Picturing America.
- What are the different musical instruments that have shaped American folk music?
- How does race figure in Benton’s mural?
- Who is included in Bingham’s county election?
- These images were created more than 100 years apart. What similarities and differences do you note in their portrayal of American communities, democracy, and public life?
The following EDSITEment lessons, grouped by theme, provide some ways to bring these works of art into the classroom.
Democracy, popular sovereignty, and citizenship
- Curriculum: The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson and the Growth of Party Politics (grades 9-12)
- Curriculum: Alexis de Tocqueville on the Tyranny of the Majority (grades 9-12)
- Closer Readings Commentary: Democracy in America: Alexis de Tocqueville's Introduction
- Lesson Plan: Music from across America (grades K-5)
- Lesson Plan: Thomas Hart Benton: The Sources of Country Music (grades 6-8)
- Lesson Plan: Learning the Blues (grades 9-12)
- Lesson Plan: The Music of African American History (grades 9-12)
- Media Resource: Blues Reflections
- Media Resource: Music of the Harlem Renaissance
- Lesson Plan: Folklore in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God (grades 9-12)
- Lesson Plan: Their Eyes Were Watching God: Folk Speech and Figurative Language (grades 9-12)