Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Reversing Reconstruction

Sure you've heard of Homer Simpson;  but who was Homer Plessy?

What were Jim Crow Laws and why was this man not allowed to sit in a 'whites only' railroad car?

This video is about the history of civil rights and Plessy v. Ferguson from 1896. The 14th Amendment is examined as is the case.

How did railcar attendants know Plessy was black?

Monday, August 29, 2022

Gone With the Wind

 Gone with the Wind is a 1939 American historical epic film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It tells a story of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era from a white Southern point of view.

The film received ten Academy Awards (eight competitive, two honorary), a record that stood for 20 years.

What does the title of the film mean?

What challenges did the South face following the Civil War?

How would the South rebuild?

Want to watch the rest of the movie?

Friday, August 26, 2022

With Malice Toward None....

How could a nation torn apart by civil war put itself back together? That was the question facing all Americans in 1865. In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln spoke of healing the wounds on both sides of the conflict:

With malice [hatred] toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan; to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
—Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 1865

Thursday, August 25, 2022


Have you ever broken something and tried to put back together again? Was it the same as before? After the North defeated the South in the Civil War, politicians faced the task of putting the divided country back together. There was great debate about how severely the former Confederate states should be punished for leaving the Union. With the assassination of President Lincoln in 1865, it was up to President Andrew Johnson to try to reunite former enemies.

Can you help him re-assemble the pieces?

What does the finished image look like? What can it teach us about Reconstruction?

Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Truth About Abraham Lincoln

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Ten score and three years ago, a man was sent to Earth to destroy slavery, unite a broken country and vanquish vicious vampires.

Abraham Lincoln was not only our 16th president, but he was also on a lifelong mission to destroy these undead, blood sucking devils.

But the vampires that the Great Emancipator sets out to destroy are not your teenage sister's sparkly, lovesick, whining vampires.

Early in his life, Lincoln discovered that vampires have been a part of American history since the first European settler hopped off a boat and that the slave trade keeps vampires under control for food.

Lincoln then made a vow: "I hereby resolve to kill every vampire in America."

The future president tried to do just that. He drives stakes into a few of the vampires here. He cuts some of their heads off there. He even lights a few on fire. Up and down the Mississippi, he chops through the undead like he's clearing a forest for some creepy railroad.

At least that's the picture painted by Seth Grahame-Smith in his novel "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."  The book became a best seller and a blockbuster movie in part because it is an interesting cross between fact and fiction.  

But the sad truth is that what most of us know about American History comes from Hollywood.

1) Is Seth Grahame-Smith’s book a Primary or Secondary source?

2) What about the Journal his work is based on? Primary or Secondary?

5) Why did we really fight the Civil War?  What was the outcome?

Friday, August 19, 2022

Do You See What I See?

Concentrate on this picture for at least 30 seconds then look away and write down everything that you saw.  Share with the person next to you.  Did you see the same things?  How is this like History?

What is taking place in this scene? Where did this event take place? How Many of these famous 'Founding Fathers" can you identify? Did this event even actually happen as it is shown?

Is this painting 'Bad History' as Adams called it?  What did he mean when he says the 'true'  history of the American Revolution is lost....   forever?

John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence is a 12-by-18-foot oil-on-canvas painting in the United States Capitol Rotunda that depicts the presentation of the draft of the Declaration of Independence to Congress. It was based on a much smaller version of the same scene, presently held by the Yale University Art Gallery.[1] Trumbull painted many of the figures in the picture from life and visited Independence Hall as well to depict the chamber where the Second Continental Congress met. The oil-on-canvas work was commissioned in 1817, purchased in 1819, and placed in the rotunda in 1826.

Is this painting a 'primary' or 'secondary' source.  What is the difference?

Adams & Jefferson were the only two Founding Fathers still alive when Trumbull's painting was completed.  When did they die?

What was David McCullough's historical interpretation of John Adams?

Links to Primary Documents:

US Constitution 
Bill of Rights

What are the founding ideals of America found in these documents?


What do you think the Founding Fathers would say if they could talk to us today?

Listen to the Preamble Song:  "We the people... In order to form a more perfect Union..."

Learn more about the Constitution, the compromises, and it's ratification.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

What Is History? (and why should we study it?)

What happened long ago shapes how we live today.  What Dr. King said on that hot August day in 1963 made another point: we are not prisoners of the past.  If we can dream of a better tomorrow, it lies in our power to shape the history to come.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Who Is America?

The study of American History is not just about memorizing events and dates.  It is about the ideals and values we hold dear, and the struggle of the American People who fought so hard to defend those values. Presdients like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln certainly had a profound impact on our History, but America wouldn't 'be' without everyday people like you and me!

Who is America?

What are the ideals and values that tie us together as Americans?

How have those ideas and values changed over time?