Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dorris Miller

In 1941, Miller was a 22-year-old mess attendant on the USS West Virginia. At the time, black sailors were consigned to roles in the messman branch — work that entailed swabbing decks, cooking and shining officers' shoes.

He had awoken at 6 a.m. and was collecting laundry when the Japanese attack began and an alarm sounded on the ship, according to the Navy. Miller headed to the antiaircraft battery magazine, but it had already been destroyed by torpedo damage. He proceeded to the deck, where he was assigned to carry his wounded comrades, including the ship's captain. Miller was strong: a former high school football player in Waco, Texas, he was the ship's heavyweight boxing champion.

"Miller went topside, carried wounded on his shoulders, made several trips up and down, wading through waist-deep water, oil-slicked decks, struggling uphill on slick decks," Navy Rear Adm. John Fuller said in 2016.

The young sailor then took over a .50-caliber anti-aircraft machine gun and fired it until the ammunition ran out. No matter that he'd never been trained on the weapon.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Two Days, and One Week, That Will Live in Infamy

Like Pearl Harbor, the attacks on 9/11/01 forever changed us as a country. Not since December 7, 1941 had our nation suffered such a devastating defeat by a foreign power on our own soil. In the days after 9/11 comparisons to Pearl Harbor were frequently made. Both attacks resulted in a spirit of American unity. A common enemy was identified. A national government galvanized American energies to combat and destroy the forces that attacked the homeland.

Two years ago the US surgeon general described the upcoming grim period of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States as a "Pearl Harbor moment" and a "9/11 moment.

Do you agree?  Why or why not?

Monday, March 28, 2022

WWII: Origins

In 1936, German troops occupied the Rhineland, a German region bordering France. Although the Versailles Treaty had banned military activity in this region, the League of Nations did nothing in response to Germany’s occupation. Two years later, Hitler demanded that the Sudetenland, a German-speaking region of Czechoslovakia, be surrendered to Germany. Many Europeans feared that Hitler was provoking Europe into war.

France and Britain distrusted Hitler, but they had already agreed on a policy of appeasement—yielding to an enemy’s demands in order to maintain peace. Germany would obtain the Sudetenland, despite Czechoslovakia’s objections. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain explained to the British people that it was illogical to declare war over such a small territory, saying, “If we have to fight, it must be on larger issues than that.”

If you could go back in time and stop Hitler before he started the war, would you do it?  Why/ not?

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Alphabet Soup

John Green teaches you about the New Deal, which was president Franklin D. Roosevelt's plan to pull the united States out of the Great Depression of the 1930's. Did it work? Maybe. John will teach you about some of the most effective and some of the best known programs of the New Deal. They weren't always the same thing. John will tell you who supported the New Deal, and who opposed it. He'll also get into how the New Deal changed the relationship between the government and citizens, and will even reveal just how the Depression ended. (hint: it was war spending)

Critics of FDR's programs called them an 'Alphabet Soup' of confusing acronyms.  Conservatives felt FDR's government had no business regulating crop prices or digging ditches.  Radicals on the other hand felt that the President's New Deal hadn't gone far enough in redistributing the wealth.

What role should the government have in our lives?  Should the Government provide schools and roads?  Military?  Welfare? Health care?  Paid work leave?  Retirement?

What does our current POTUS think about the future of these programs?

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Back In My Day...

Why is it that our parents & grandparents are always reminding us of how hard they had it way back when?

What is your reaction when you hear these stories? Do they make you grateful for how good you have it today? Why/ not? What will you be telling your kids about how hard you had it 40 years from now?

What was FDR's plan for getting America working again?

What were the 3 'R's ?

How did FDR's programs benefit both the economy and the environment?

Friday, March 11, 2022

Black Tuesday

The Great Depression in the United States began on October 29, 1929, a day known forever after as “Black Tuesday,” when the American stock market–which had been roaring steadily upward for almost a decade–crashed, plunging the country into its most severe economic downturn yet. Speculators lost their shirts; banks failed; the nation’s money supply diminished; and companies went bankrupt and began to fire their workers in droves. Meanwhile, President Herbert Hoover urged patience and self-reliance: He thought the crisis was just “a passing incident in our national lives” that it wasn’t the federal government’s job to try and resolve. By 1932, one of the bleakest years of the Great Depression, at least one-quarter of the American workforce was unemployed.

1) Why was it called 'Black Tuesday?'

2) What is 'Black Friday?'

3) In economics what does 'being in the black' mean?

4)  How is this name misleading?

5) Who took the blame for the market crash?  Why?  Was it fair?

6) What measures were taken by the Government in the aftermath of the Crash?'

7) What actions should they have taken?

8) Could another crash like this happen again?  What would be the effects?

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

1920's Consumerism

In the 1920's the economy shifted from wartime to peace and began an era of consumerism. Prices dropped and what people couldn't afford they began buying on credit.

Advertisers, now reaching millions of consumers on a daily or weekly basis, hired movie stars and sports figures to persuade Americans to buy all types of products, from washing machines to chewing gum. Business had become America's secular religion, thanks to advertising. Bruce Barton's 1925 book comparing religion and business, The Man Nobody Knows, declared Jesus Christ's parables as "the most powerful advertisements of all time.... He would be a national advertiser today."

Barton's philosophy was that good advertising appealed to consumers and created desire for a product. According to Barton, " The American conception of advertising is to arouse desires and stimulate wants, to make people dissatisfied with the old and out-of-date."  Barton told his employees that their ads should have a theme, an interesting headline, and a purpose to direct consumers to act in a particular way (usually to buy a product).  His ads often used catch slogans.

In 1919 Bruce Barton co-founded his own advertising firm whose clients included General Electric, General Motors, and US Steel.  His advertising firm was also one of the first agencies to use radio, rather than newspapers and magazines, for advertising.  Barton grew to be one of the most successful advertising executives of the 1920s.

What is the 'formula' for successful advertising?

What other techniques did advertisers use?

How do commercials get us to buy stuff we don't need?

Pick a product from the 1920's.

Create your own ad.

See some sample ads. 

Inflation Calculator:  How much would my product cost in 1920's?

How have perceptions of many of these products (i.e. cigarettes) changed over time?

The most important part of an AD is its 'signature' or 'brand recognition.  How many of these famous brands can you name?

Thursday, March 3, 2022

To Tell the Truth

Three contestants claim to be the same person. Four celebrities question the contestants, then vote for the one they think is the real person. This simple game has endured as a TV classic for over 45 years. Today's assignment pays tribute to the show that asked the burning question... 

"Will the real ________ please stand up?" 

 With your group you are each to choose a fact for the historical figure assigned you. Use your Biography Handout as a resource. All of your facts should be made false except one. After presenting  your facts in front of the class they will try to guess which is true.  The more realistic/ believable your facts the better chance you have of fooling your classmates and winning the game. 
 Do you have what it takes TO TELL THE TRUTH?

Tuesday, March 1, 2022


The 'nobel experiment' as it was called in the 1920s was intended to reduce alcohol abuse, strengthen families and make America a better place.

But it didn't stop people from drinking, it just criminalized them, and it brought violence and corruption to our streets.

On March 23, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law an amendment to the Volstead Act known as the Cullen-Harrison Act, allowing the manufacture and sale of certain kinds of alcoholic beverages.

On December 5, 1933, the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment for good.

1) Could Prohibition happen again?  Why or why not?

2) Should the government be able to tell you what you can drink or what drugs you can or can't take?  Explain with evidence from the links.

3) How about if you can smoke?  Why or why not?
4) Can the government decide what you should eat?  Give examples.

5) What responsibility does the government have to protect the health of its citizens?

6) What Federal agency regulates our food & drugs?  How does the President want to change it?

7) When does your individual freedom as an American over-ride that responsibility?