Monday, December 13, 2021


 Thomas Woodrow Wilson (December 28, 1856-February 3, 1924) was born in Staunton, Virginia, to parents of a predominantly Scottish heritage. Since his father was a Presbyterian minister and his mother the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Wilson was raised in a pious and academic household. He spent a year at Davidson College in North Carolina and three at Princeton University where he received a baccalaureate degree in 1879.  A scholar,  Wilson would go on to earn his PHD, becoming the first and only President to do so.

 Following College Wilson enlisted in the Navy and becomes marooned on an island in the South Pacific. Far away from home, his girlfriend, and any human contact, he engaged in a battle of wits with himself as he is tested mentally, physically and emotionally in order to survive.  These survival skills would serve him well in politics when he miraculously returns home.

Wilson won the presidential election of 1912 when William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt split the Republican vote. Upon taking office he set about instituting the reforms he had outlined in his book The New Freedom, including the changing of the tariff, the revising of the banking system, the checking of monopolies and fraudulent advertising, the prohibiting of unfair business practices, and the like. But the attention of this man of peace was forced to turn to war.

 In the early days of World War I, Wilson was determined to maintain neutrality. He protested British as well as German acts; he offered mediation to both sides but was rebuffed. The American electorate in 1916, reacting to the slogan «He kept us out of war», reelected Wilson to the presidency. However, in 1917 the issue of freedom of the seas compelled a decisive change. On January 31 Germany announced that 'unrestricted submarine warfare' was already started; on March 27, after four American ships had been sunk, Wilson decided to ask for a declaration of war; on April 2 he made the formal request to Congress; and on April 6 the Congress granted it.

Would I lie to you? I tell at least 1 lie every day... Can you find it?

Would the REAL Woodrow Wilson please stand up?

Friday, December 10, 2021

Life Motto

-Teddy Roosevelt to Larry the Night Watchman; 'Night at the Museum'

While not an original Teddy Roosevelt quote (credit must be given to Shakespeare) this line accurately portrays the kind of leader Roosevelt was: determined, resourceful, self-reliant.

What is your life motto?  (Write your answer on your own sheet of paper.  Include an explanation of what that motto means to you.)

Was Roosevelt born great?  (Copy the question and then list 3 'obstacles' to TR's greatness and how he overcame them.)

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The Teddy Bear

In 1902, on an unsuccessful hunting trip, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear that expedition trackers had caught and tied to a tree. The incident struck a chord with the American sense of fair play. Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman immortalized the incident in “Drawing the Line in Mississippi.” Tugging at American heartstrings, Berryman drew the old, injured female bear as a helpless cub. With Roosevelt’s permission, Morris Mictom, a Russian immigrant and Brooklyn toy-shop owner, sewed a cuddly stuffed toy and dubbed it Teddy’s Bear. With its big head and ears, and eyes as appealing as the future Mickey Mouse, the bear became a hit. German toy manufacturer Margarete Steiff created a stuffed bear, too, and began mass-producing copies in 1903. The stuffed bears became a hit with adults and children. Visitors who flocked to the boardwalks in New Jersey’s seaside resorts took home teddy bears as prizes and souvenirs. Women’s magazines featured ads for bear accessories and offered up-to-date patterns for sewing bear clothes. Books, songs, and even a 1907 feature film marked the rising popularity of teddy bears. This fascination has persisted ever since, making Teddy Bears the most popular plush toy in history.

What popular children's story does the silent film retell? 

How is the ending different from the actual event?

What do you do if a bear attacks?

Still think it's weird for a grown man to play with a Teddy Bear?

Look at these other toys in the National Toy Hall of Fame. Where does the Teddy Bear Rank? What toy is your favorite?  What toys would you add to this list?

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Progressive Presidents

In which John Green teaches you about the Progressive Presidents, who are not a super-group of former presidents who create complicated, symphonic, rock soundscapes that transport you into a fantasy fugue state. Although that would be awesome. The presidents most associated with the Progressive Era are Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and Woodrow Wilson. During the times these guys held office, trusts were busted, national parks were founded, social programs were enacted, and tariffs were lowered. It wasn't all positive though, as their collective tenure also saw Latin America invaded A LOT, a split in the Republican party that resulted in a Bull Moose, all kinds of other international intervention, and the end of the Progressive Era saw the United States involved in World War. If all this isn't enough to entice, I will point out that two people get shot in this video. Violence sells, they say.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Trust Busters

"Trustbusting" was one of a number of progressive reforms enacted at the national level in the early 1900s. In addition to local and state issues, progressives were also concerned about problems in the country as a whole. Many of them believed that the national government no longer served the interests of all Americans. In an age when big business seemed all-powerful, many reformers felt the United States was abandoning its promise of freedom and opportunity for all. They wanted the government to play a stronger role in promoting democracy and solving national problems.

Three presidents—Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson—worked to advance the progressive reforms. Their efforts helped change how Americans thought, and continue to think, about the role of government.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Chicago Fire

Have you ever found yourself in a 'survival situation?' Explain how you would build a fire. What do you need? What steps would you take?

October 1871: Chicago is a tinderbox. In three months, only an inch of rain has fallen. For days a strong, hot wind has blown in from the southwest. The city of wooden buildings and woodpaved streets is ripe for the fire that will destroy three-quarters of it. Chicago is about to suffer one of the  worst urban disasters in history. 

Track the path of the fire and read accounts of the people who lived through it, in this interactive timeline and map.

You are part of a special inquiry by the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners to determine how the fire started, could it have been prevented, and who is to blame?

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Chicago Fire: Is the Cow to Blame?

In all of American, and even world, history, no bovine is more infamous than a cow, belonging to Patrick and Catharine O’Leary, that was accused of starting what Fire Marshall Robert A. Williams called a "hurricane of fire and cinders.”   One of the worst urban disasters in American History (until the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906) the fire destroyed 73 miles of streets, more than 17,000 buildings, and left a 3rd of the population homeless. Even as the fire cut a swath through the city, neighbors and newspaper reporters quickly placed the blame on the O’Learys and their cow. In the early hours of October 9,  1871, newspapers first reported that the blaze started when the cow, as Catharine milked it, kicked over a kerosene lantern.

What's a fire without a camp song (Lyrics)

But did the Cow do it?

You are part of a special inquiry by the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners to determine how the fire started, could it have been prevented, and who is to blame?

Read the primary source narratives assigned to you in class and then answer these questions on a seperate sheet or in the space provided on the back.

Track the path of the fire and read accounts of the people who lived through it, in this interactive timeline and map.