• Lesson 5: Women's Lives Before the Civil War

    Anti-slavery poster form the 1850s

    What was life like for women in the first half of the 19th century in America? What influence did women have in shaping the attitudes towards slavery? Towards women's suffrage?

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wall-paper"—The "New Woman"

    "Wash Day" satirizes the suffrage movement at the turn-of-the-century.

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman's story "The Yellow Wall-paper" was written during this time of great change. This lesson plan, the first part of a two-part lesson, helps to set the historical, social, cultural, and economic context of Gilman's story.

  • Lesson 3: Kate Chopin's "The Awakening": Searching for Women & Identity in Chopin's "The Awakening"

    Kate Chopin. Image from the archives of the Missouri Historical Society.

    By studying other female characters in The Awakening, students will see how Chopin carefully provides many examples of a socially acceptable "role" that Edna could adopt.

  • Chaucer's Wife of Bath

    Wife of Bath

    Look into the sources of the Wife’s sermon on women’s rights to learn how real women lived during the Middle Ages.

  • Lesson 2: Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Chopin, Realism, and Local Color in late 19th Century America

    Kate Chopin. Image from the archives of the Missouri Historical Society.

    Introduce to your students concepts of realism, a literary movement in the 19th century that focused on reporting aspects of "common" life, through Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

  • Lesson 1: Fragment on the Constitution and Union (1861)—The Purpose of the American Union

    Library of  Congress image of 1860 campaign illustration of Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln

    How did Abraham Lincoln understand the relationship between principles of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? In this lesson students will examine Lincoln's "Fragment on the Constitution and Union," a brief but insightful reflection on the importance of the ideal of individual liberty to the constitutional structure and operation of the American union written in the last days of December 1860 when his election as president had brought the crisis of the American "house divided" to a head.

  • Understanding the Salem Witch Trials

    "Witchcraft Victims on the Way to the Gallows,"by F.C. Yoyan, appeared in  the Boston Herald, May 14, 1930.

    In 1691, a group of girls from Salem, Massachusetts accused an Indian slave named Tituba of witchcraft, igniting a hunt for witches that left 19 men and women hanged, one man pressed to death, and over 150 more people in prison awaiting a trial. In this lesson, students will explore the characteristics of the Puritan community in Salem, learn about the Salem Witchcraft Trials, and try to understand how and why this event occurred.

  • Women Aviators in World War II: "Fly Girls"

    Jackie  Cochran, one of America's leading aviators

    This lesson plan explores the contributions of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II, and their aviation legacy.

  • Lesson 4: The Second Inaugural Address (1865)—Restoring the American Union

    Photograph of Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural. Lincoln is at the very center  of the picture surrounded by dignitaries.

    The newly re-elected Abraham Lincoln sought to unite the American people by interpreting the waning conflict as a divine judgment upon both sides of the war. This lesson will examine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address to determine how he sought to reunite a divided country through a providential interpretation of the Civil War.

  • Lesson 1: Kate Chopin's "The Awakening": No Choice but Under?

    Kate Chopin. Image from the archives of the Missouri Historical Society.

    Students will explore how Chopin stages the possible roles for women in Edna's time and culture through the examples of other characters in the novella.