Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Slave Narrative Dialouge Jorunal Assignment

I know no class of my fellowmen, however just, enlightened, and humane, which can be wisely and safely trusted absolutely with the liberties of any other class. - Frederick Douglass

The institution of slavery in the Unitied States in spite of it's attachment to the ideals of democracy and liberty is perhaps one of the most perplexing, shameful and painfully enduring periods of US history. This week's blog asks that you examine analytical sources as well as first-hand accounts of the slave experience in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of life in the Antebellum south and the conditions that led to mass upheval, the US Civil War and, ultimately, the abolition of slavery.

1) Read Chapter 9 of Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States at:

Post two comments and/or questions on the major themes presented in this chapter.

2) Actively read selections from two Slave Accounts from the archive on Spartacus online archive:
(Be sure that your choices are accounts of enslaved people living in the Unites States)

3) Select at least three compelling quotes to reflect on in your blog. You may free-response by saying what the quote reminds you of or makes you wonder, or draw out themes and parallels about the slave experience in the United States. Try to make allusion’s to Zinn’s key ideas in your reflections.

4) Finally, Explain why you believe so many enslaved individuals decided to write narratives of their experiences with slavery? What is the purpose and power of examining primary sources like these while studying the institution of slavery in the American south?

This post should be at least 400 words. Please respond to at least one other students’ post for this assignment.

Due Sunday, 12/30 by 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Gold Rush and Chinese Immigration

Actively read the following article on Chinese immigration in the 1850s. ( skipping the footnotes will save you time but not hinder your comprehension of the text.

Formulate (and post) a response to the following question:
Were US policies toward Chinese immigrants mainly reactionary or preemptive? In other words, were these policies more inspired by the governments need to promote social progress for America as a whole OR to meet the demands of citizens concerned about the negative impact Chinese immigration was having on US society?

Immigration in the news

Immigration in the news: As a nation comprised mainly of migrant cultures, what are are just expectations and regulations for immigration?

As a nod to the sectional politics affecting life in the urban centers of the north eastern and western US territories in the mid-19th century, this week's blog asks you to consider some ways in which modern-day immigration is affecting politics, culture and economics in the United States and, more specifically, New York City.
1) Read"Immigrants make up 40 percent of New York City's population"
and one of the following articles:

a) Topic: Immigrant workers rights
"Two cases reveal wretched conditions for immigrant laborers in New York City"

c) Topic: Rudy Guliani's immigration policies as mayor of NYC and his postion on immigration as presidential nominee
“Romney blasts Rudy's immigration stance as NYC mayor”

2) Summarize each article, identitfying the major issues and conflicts immigrant populations face in modern US society. Discuss the perspectives each author presents on these matters and how these articles relate to our current study of sectional crisis and immigration in the 19th century.

3)Answer the focus question: As a nation comprised mainly of migrant cultures, what are are just expectations and regulations for immigration?
Minimum 200 words, please respond to at least one other post.

Due Friday 12/14 by 7 a.m.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Classwork media study: Oregon Trail and The Gold Rush

Actively read one of the following articles with your group; taking independent copious notes on key events, figures, ideas and policies. Be prepared to discuss your article with members of other groups on the following issues:

1. Did mass media inform or reflect westward expansion to the Oregon Trail and the Gold Rush?

2. Did the experiences of those who migrated West meet their expectations?

3. How did westward expansion affect the lives of indigenous and immigrant groups?

Gold Rush Resources

Oregon Trail Resources:

Donner Party online resources:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Does the concept of manifest destiny still inform US foreign policy?

In the article "Manifest Destiny and Mission in the 21st Century" , author Paul A. Janson argues that "Manifest Destiny's purpose was to dominate North America at the expense of not only of Mexico but of the Native American population as well. Today, in the name of the "free market" we believe it is not only our right to destroy any enemy we choose, it is "our obligation." We are fighting after all for "freedom." But once again, who will be free is not clear." He likens the 19th Century US conflict over Texas in the US- Mexican War with modern day efforts to promote free trade and democracy through what he views as questionable means of diplomacy.

The question this article raised for me, while controversial, is an interesting discussion for us to entertain on our current unit on sectionalism, expansion and imperialism:

Is the promotion of an American agenda (free market capitalism and deomcratic governments) justified or are US actions in nations like Iraq and Afghanistans examples of a new wave of Manifest Destiny?


1)read the article cited in the introduction at:

2)Summarize the article and any new insight it reveals on the US - Mexican War.

3)Answer the focus question using evidence from this week's readings, discussions and your own knowledge of current events.

Please respond to at least one other post. 200 word minimum.

Due Sunday 12/9 by 7 p.m. (pluses will be awarded for responses posted by Friday 12/7 by 7:00 am.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

monroe doctrine journal - due thursday 11.28

Read the Monroe Doctorine and at least two documents from The Monroe Doctorine section of American Spirit pp. 254-62

Answer question 5 on page 262 in your journal.

In order to complete the extra credit, finish the auditory comprehension notes in the format of your choice (copious, cornell, web, 5 ws) on the War of 1812 and the anniversary of the publication of The Star Spangled Banner by listening to the NPR podcast at:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Supreme Court Case Study: Does judiciary review promote or hinder the democratic process? Due Sunday 11/25

Locate and summarize two news articles on a current issue being debated by the Supreme Court OR that is likely to soon undergo judiciary review. You may chose your own topic or check out an articlefrom the topical list below. I ask that you read two articles so that you can gain a fuller understanding of the topic (this is your only assignment through Thanksgiving break.)
Explain how this article relates to the Marbury case and the concept of Judicial Review.
Finally, answer the framing questions for this assignmnent:

Does judiciary review promote or hinder the democratic process in the United States?


What are the benefits and limitations of the structure of the judiciary branch of the US government?

Remember to comment on at least one other student's posts.
Your response should be at least 200 words.

Suggested topics and links (based on student suggestions):

death penalty


internet pornograpgy

medicinal marajuana

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bill of Rights in Action: Interview Summaries

Reflect on the interviews you conducted in Albany this week. Discuss your findings on the role of the Bill of Rights in modern-day U.S. society. Are the fundamental principles of the Bill of Rights reflected or distorted more in modern-day America? This blog should be supported with direct quotes and findings from your interviews.

Photos are not required to be posted on the blog but can be if you choose. Images must be handed in with captions for class on Monday. Extra credit is available for creating a poster, Power Point, website or other creatively formatted photo essay using your Bill of Rights in Action photos.

Your interview transcripts are due on Monday as well. One set of notes per group is fine.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Judicial Review: Mabury v Madison (HW due Friday 11.16)

Read the Mabury v. Madison Supreme Court Summary and decision:
(also document 71-12 on your Out of Many source CD ROM)

In your notes, prepare a list of questions and discussion points for a seminar on the issue of Judicial Review.
Think criticially about the benefits and limitations of an independent judiciary.
Did the outcome of this case support a federalist or anti-federalist position?
Does the structure of the US judiciary promote or hinder the democratic process?

Your blog will be due Sunday, to prepare make sure you have a copy of your group's interview notes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

homework due thursday 11/8

Read pages 197-204 in your sourcebook, American Spirit.
Answer question 1 on page 213 in your journal. 200 words.

The blog is going up late so won't be due unitl sunday.

State vs. Federal Power: Education Policy - a state or federal issue?

This blog is due sunday 11/11 by 7:00 p.m.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Read the following articles about No Child Left Behind. Consider the main arguments of both authors and answer the following question: Does NCLB and federal education policies support or violate the 10th Amendment?

Article A
No Child Left Behind Act: An intrusion on state's rights? By Robert S. Sargent, Jr.web posted March 7, 2005

On January 29 of this year, the Executive Committee of theNational Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) unanimouslyapproved the Final Report of the Task Force on No Child LeftBehind (The Report). According to their website (,where you can download the whole report) the "NCSL is abipartisan organization that…provides research, technicalassistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideason the most pressing state issues." The Report is divided into sixchapters that analyze in detail the problems state legislators havewith mainly two questions: "What do we need to do to make thelaw work and how can we effect improvements to it throughadditional congressional or administrative actions?" According to The Report, the goal of the No Child Left BehindAct that President Bush modeled after his program in Texas is"…to close or dramatically narrow the differences inachievement among American students that cross lines of skincolor, ethnicity, immigrant status and wealth." In this column I willsummarize the problems given in The Report, and then showhow a state is currently dealing with these problems. Starting with Chapter 2 (I will come back to Chapter 1) the firstproblem is how to deal with the Act's standardized testing and"...holding schools accountable for their progress." It seems thatthere is "…an unnecessary level of rigidity and questionablemethodology." For example, "NCLB mandates that schools beevaluated by comparing successive groups of students against astatic, arbitrary standard, not by tracking the progress ofstudents over time." And, "The law improperly identifies schoolsas ‘in need of improvement' by creating too many ways to ‘fail.'"Finally, "The law allows students to transfer from schools foundto be in need of improvement before the school has anopportunity to address specific individual deficiencies." Chapter 3 deals with the fact that certain aspects of NCLB arein conflict with the Disabilities Education Act. Chapter 4addresses the fact that the NCLB "…imposes a uniform set ofrequirements that all schools must meet," while not recognizingthat "Many urban and rural schools face unique challenges ineducating students." Chapter 5 deals with the "highly qualifiedteacher clause" that "…is particularly problematic for hard-to-staff schools." And Chapter 6 deals with the costs of complyingwith the Act. "In the best case scenario, federal fundingmarginally covers the costs of complying with the administrativeprocesses of the law." Now Chapter 1: Is the Act itself constitutional? Past SupremeCourt decisions have held that it is constitutional if Congressblackmails the states by withholding money if states don't complywith a mandate. For example, if North Carolina doesn't pass astate law that meets Federal requirements for legal alcohol levelwhen driving, they will lose federal highway money. However,the federal government cannot coerce a state into complying witha mandate. We will see that last year when Utah asked thequestion, what if we just opt out of the Act? "…the U.S.Department of Education responded that not only would Utahlose its Title I funds, it would forfeit nearly twice that much inother formula and categorical funds…" That's coercion! (A billopting out of the Act was introduced last year by Rep. MargaretDayton. According to Rep. Dayton, the feds contribution toUtah of $105 million is "…about 5 percent of our state budget,but NCLB directs 100 percent of our state education. I didn'tfeel like it was worth that 5 percent." The Utah Senate didn'tagree.) The Report also addresses the other constitutional issue:the 10th Amendment. The Act "…pits the 10th Amendment,which reserves the powers to the states, against the spendingclause of Article I." For us Constitutional Conservatives, this isnonsense. The 10th Amendment couldn't be plainer: Education isnot an area that's delegated to the United States, therefore it isan area reserved to the states. Period. Unlike idealists like me, Isuppose that the NCSL must deal with reality. There actually is aDepartment of Education. Oh, well. Utah (the state that gave Bush his largest margin of victory) injust the last couple of weeks, is again challenging the Act.According to the Salt Lake Tribune, on February 18, "Membersof the Senate Education Committee unanimously passed twoUtah House measures meant to keep the federal No Child LeftBehind Act at bay. One was a resolution…to recognize Utah'sefforts to measure student competency and sustain qualityschools. The other was… (an) effort to mediate the powerstruggle between state priorities and President Bush's federalmandate to reform public schools with imposed standardizedtests." In other words, "state priorities trump NCLB – even if itmeans breaking the federal law." So how has Washington reacted? Tim Bridgewater, Gov. JonHuntsman Jr.'s education deputy said the bill "has been helpful inopening some dialogue with the Department of Education." Soon February 24, the Tribune wrote, "Federal education officialssay Utah's 8,500 veteran elementary school teachers are highlyqualified after all." On other issues? Bridgewater said, "We hit abit of an impasse…" Last week, Utah's unanimously passed billcompletely opting out of the Act now had the votes in theSenate, but the Bush administration put pressure on GovernorHuntsman, and the governor convinced the legislature to take nomore action until April 20 so that they would have more time tonegotiate with the feds. What does all this mean? When a state like Utah with legislatorslike Dayton, stands up to the federal government, it can getresults. It can also empower other states to action. Kim Cobb inthe Houston Chronicle wrote: "Fifteen states have introducedlegislation in the first two months of this year challenging the lawat a variety of levels…(and) many state leaders are taking theircue…from Dayton." For us Republicans who say we admire a Joe Liebermanbecause he has principles that he won't compromise, even to hisparty, we have to admire Ms. Dayton for her efforts to defendher state even against her president. And for us constitutionalists,we have to love a legislator who places her state's priorities overthe federal government. High five to the 10th Amendment! (WillUtah opt out in April? Stay tuned.)! Robert S. Sargent, Jr. is a senior writer for Enter Stage Rightand can be reached at Enter Stage Right --

Article B
Does Federal Spending Meet "The Tenth Amendment Challenge?" By Steve Lilienthal October 12, 2005

Congressmen. Too few Congressmen take it upon themselves to appear before the debt clock that flashes the size of our mounting debts. The appropriation for the CDGB program is over $4 billion for FY 2005.The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. Most mature Americans do not promote use of illegal, addictive drugs, particularly by younger Americans. The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) advertising and PR campaign urges Americans to talk to their children. It's a useful recommendation.The question needs to be asked: Given the current situation, there is one more reason for parents to talk to their children - to tell them about the bill we are passing on to them - the interest on the national debt -- thanks to our failure to curtail unconstitutional spending on programs like that of the ONDCP. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign received appropriations of $119,040,000 in FY 2005. Kids may be doing drugs but does ONDCP's media campaign have its own addiction problem?The Legal Services Corporation (LSC). The Constitution assures the accused in a criminal case a right to counsel. Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, and Counsel to the Legal Services Corporation in the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration, points out, "There is no constitutional right to file a lawsuit at government expense."The attorneys funded by this quasi-government agency have the discretion to pick their cases and often they are tilting against businesses, farmers and landlords. A House Budget Committee report from the 1990s emphasized, "A phase-out of federal funding for LSC will not eliminate free legal aid for the poor. State and local governments, bar associations, and other organizations already provide substantial legal aid to the poor." Appropriations in FY 2005: $330,803,705 (after two rescissions).The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Americans spend over $25.5 billion on the arts. Other than very limited projects in consonance with portraying our national history, there is no reason for the hundred million or so spent by NEA. It's great work if you can get an NEA grant but providing a subsidy for the arts is simply not a function of the federal government assigned by our Constitution. Artists will not starve without the NEA; they just will have to compete harder for all the other money out there. NEA appropriations for FY 2005, including two modest recissions made by Congress, was $121,263,000.Two ideas that can be of use in attempting to rein in Big Government have been advanced by Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS).Shadegg is sponsor of The Enumerated Powers Act (H.R. 2458), that would require each bill introduced in Congress to include a statement citing constitutional authority. Shadegg has introduced this bill in several Congresses. He argued in 2001 that the Enumerated Powers Act was needed because:"Our Founding Fathers believed the grant of specific rather than legislative powers to the national government would be one of the central mechanisms for protecting our freedoms while allowing us to achieve the objectives best accomplished through a national government. One of the most important things Congress can do is to honor and abide by the principles embodied in the Constitution -- no more, no less. Respecting the Tenth Amendment is the first way to ensure that the genius of the Constitution and its division of power between the national government,the States, and the people continues to guide our nation."If enacted, Shadeg's Enumerated Powers Act would become the constitutionalist version of Consumer Reports.After extensive research by the Free Congress Foundation, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KA) have introduced the Commission on the Accountability and Review of Federal Agencies Act (S.1155 and H.R. ), more frequently referred to as "CARFA." Many conservatives, upon hearing the title of Brownback's bill, will instantly say, "The last thing we need is another commission examining the problem. We know what's wrong; what we need is action!" Brownback's bill, if enacted into law, would provide just that.CARFA members would be appointed by the President and the Congressional Leadership. They would undertake an extensive study of federal agencies and programs, specifically looking for those that are wasteful, duplicative or simply obsolescent.The bill does not specifically mandate a Tenth Amendment test. Pressure would need to be exerted on those who appoint, particularly those representing the more conservative party, to place commissioners who respect the purpose of the Tenth Amendment and want to see it reflected in Federal Government expenditures. The Commission would issue its recommendations in a report to Congress which then would vote up or down on the whole package.The Executive Branch and Congress have each proven themselves to be careless in recent decades when it comes to exercising appropriate caution in spending taxpayer money. Worse, they have ignored the Constitution and its limits on federal power.The result is mounting deficits, leading to large interest payments on the national debt. That is not the legacy we want to leave to posterity.It's time to start pruning the federal government. (Reforming "third rail" entitlement programs, such as Medicaid and Social Security, is vital but something which Congress and the Executive Branch habitually defer.)The Constitution is clear about what the responsibilities of the federal government are and Members of Congress have taken an oath to uphold the course charted by our Founding Fathers. It's time Congress started to apply "The Tenth Amendment Challenge" to domestic spending. (Article A link) (Article B link)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

American Revolution Study Sheet

Review Sheet for AP Exam 11/ 2:
The American Revolution &
Foundations of US Government

Key Developments and Events
Ben Franklin’s Plan of Union/ Albany Plan of Union
Albany Conference of 1754French and Indian/ Seven Year’s War
Treaty of Paris/ Proclamation of Paris 1763
Royal Proclamation of 1763
Treaty of Land Harbor 1768
First Continental Congress
Committees of Correspondence
Sugar Act
Stamp Act
Stamp Act Congress
Nonimportation Agreement/ Movement
Declaratory Act
Revenue Acts
Townshend Acts
Tea Act
Boston Tea Party
Intolerable Acts
Coercive Acts
Boston Port Bill
Quartering Act
Quebec Act
Lexington and Concord
Second Constitutional Convention
Declaration of Causes for Taking up Arms
Olive Branch Petition
Declaration of Independence
Common Sense
Treaty of Alliance
French and Spanish Alliances
Continental Congress
Articles of ConfederationLand Ordinance 1785
Northwest Ordinance 1787
Shay’s Rebellion
Annapolis Convention
Post-Revolutionary Depression
Virginia Plan
New Jersey Plan
Great Compromise

General Vocabulary

Virtual representation
Actual representation

Key figures

William Pitt
Iroquois Confederacy
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
John Peter Zenger
James Otis
Samuel Adams
Patrick Henry
John Hancock
John Dickinson
Virginia House of Burgesses
Governor Hutchinson
Thomas Gage
Sons of Liberty
Crispus Attuckus
Committee of Safety
Provincial Congress
Committee of Safety
John Adams
George Washington
Ethan Allen
Abigail Adams
Deborah Sampson
Phyllis Wheatley
George Cornwallace
Horatio Gates
Daniel Shay
James Madison
Alexander Hamilton

In addition, be familiar with geography of the American Revolution and the impact this conflict had on colonial borders.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Blog #6 - The Bill of Rights: In action or not?

Directions: Actively read the following article posted below (also available for view at:

1. Based in the following NY Times article, summarize Richard Minsky’s (the artists’) view on the Bill of Rights and it’s role in modern US society.

2. Analyze two of his criticisms based on your knowledge of US government and the Bill of Rights.

3. Finally, respond to the following question:Is the Bill of Rights reflected in or distorted in modern US society. Refer to anecdotal (personal stories) or academic evidence to support your answer.

Your blog must be a miniminum of 200 words and include a response to at least one other student's post.For your reference, a copy of the Bill of Rights is available on page and at:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------May 20, 2002 "Artist Depicts the Bill of Rights in a World Out of Joint"


'I like art that gives you a reality fix,'' says Richard Minsky. A reality he treasures is the Bill of Rights, so Mr. Minsky, 55, a Greenwich Village artist and professional bookbinder, has found a way to exemplify the first 10 amendments to the Constitution as artworks.

For the First Amendment protecting freedom of expression, for example, he burned a copy of Salman Rushdie's ''Satanic Verses'' and sealed up the charred volume in an arabesque windowed reliquary.For the Sixth Amendment guaranteeing a speedy and public trial, he glued a black-leather glove daubed with red onto a copy of Jeffrey Toobin's best seller ''The Run of His Life: The People v. O. J. Simpson.'' (''I used paint, not real blood,'' Mr. Minsky said, ''not that I haven't, or wouldn't.'')And for the Eighth Amendment, barring cruel and unusual punishment, he took a book on penology, ''Forlorn Hope: The Prison Reform Movement'' by Larry E. Sullivan, a professor of criminal justice, rebound it in stripes and chained it to a little jail. ''You can take the book out for exercise,'' Mr. Minsky said, ''but then it must go back to its cell.''

The 10 works are on display at the Louis K. Meisel Gallery at 141 Prince Street in Soho through June 1. Twenty-five editions of the set are being offered at $18,000 each. (The works are viewable online at Minsky, who has been exhibiting his art for 30 years and founded the nonprofit Center for Book Arts at 626 Broadway, said he thought long and hard about celebrating the amendments, whatever their consequences. ''While you got them, enjoy them,'' he said.For the Second Amendment on the right to bear arms he chose a book about violent hate groups, ''Gathering Storm: America's Militia Threat'' by Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mr. Minsky depicts the author in the bull's-eye of a target.The Third Amendment, barring the forced quartering of soldiers in private homes, was represented by a reimagined nuclear football -- an attaché case like the one bearing the codes for unleashing atomic war. It contains a copy of ''Seven Days in May'' by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey, a novel about the nation's top military commander seeking to commandeer the White House, and a DVD of the movie with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas.For the Fourth Amendment, against unreasonable search and seizure, Mr. Minsky chose a copy of ''Neuromancer,'' William Gibson's 1984 science-fantasy novel presenting cyberspace as a realm vulnerable to governmental intrusion. He built a slipcase with an imbedded network interface card and hot-stamped it with the text of the amendment in hologram foil.

The Fifth Amendment, guaranteeing due process of law for criminal defendants, was exemplified by a novel in the form of an epic poem, ''Branches'' by Mitch Cullin, about a brutal Texas sheriff who takes the law into his own hands. Mr. Minsky bound the book in khaki, affixed a badge -- and peppered the cover with nine-millimeter slugs.For the Seventh Amendment, providing for jury trials in civil cases over $20, he selected ''The Litigation Explosion: What Happened When America Unleashed the Lawsuit'' by Walter K. Olson, and rebound it in mock $20 bills that replaced the image of President Andrew Jackson with that of James Madison, father of the Bill of Rights.For the Ninth Amendment, reserving all unenumerated rights to the people, Mr. Minsky highlighted ''the right to privacy,'' using a book of that name by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy and re-illustrating it with photos of Diana, Princess of Wales, including endpapers depicting her fatal car crash.The 10th Amendment, protecting states' rights, stumped Mr. Minsky for some time. ''I was wracking my brain, and then, out of nowhere, I thought of November-December 2000.''

He downloaded the United States Supreme Court decision intervening in the Florida-vote controversy and handing the presidential election to George W. Bush. Mr. Minsky bound the docket in brown leather like a law book with the spine title off-center. ''It's a little crooked,'' he said.The works are available only as a set, Mr. Minsky said. ''People ask me, 'Can I get one?''' he said. ''I say, 'The government is trying to take them away one by one; you have to have them all.' '

'Correction: May 23, 2002, Thursday An article in The Arts on Monday about Richard Minsky, an artist and bookbinder who has created artworks representing the Bill of Rights, gave an outdated address for the Center for Book Arts, a nonprofit group he founded in New York. It is at 28 West 27th Street, third floor

Monday, October 29, 2007

Weekly Assignments 10/29-11/2

You must meet with your study group one day this week to review notes and generate questions as a review for Friday's exam. One member of your group should submit notes with the names of all members present for the meeting.

For Tuesday, 10/30
Read pp.239-245 (up to "Bill of Rights") in Out of Many. Create a graphic organizer incorporating key terms, figures and developments in the "Critical Period" 1781-1788. Extra credit will be merited for creative efforts. (9 points, graded like a journal, but should be completed in your notes.)

Wednesday 10/31 and Thursday 11/1
Have a happy and safe Halloween! Study for exam, work on Signatory project.

Friday 11/2
Blog # 6 due
Exam on the American Revolution and Foundations of US Government

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Comparative History: Revolution and national identity in U.S. and France

In History Lessons: How Textbooks Around the World Portray American History, authors Dana Lindelman and Kyle Ward note that "we live in extraordinary times. Through our televisions, compuiters, radios and newsprint we have access to what seems like the entire world....What this instant access reveals to us is that people and groups around the world are very unique... One way to begin to understand these diverse societies is to look at their history, how time has formed them and who they are." The authors go on to point out that "It is ironic, that, today. many history classes in theUnited States are taught form an isolationist standpoint, where events in US history are portrayed as if they occurred in a historical vacuum. If other nations are mentioned in US History textbooks it is often only within the context of the impact of US foreign policy or from the viewpoint of US interests." (Lindaman and Ward, 2004.)

From this perspective, History Lessons promotes comparative history; examining events in US history through the lenses of historians and records from other nations as well as American narratives. This kind of historiography, they argue, leads to a more complete and accurate understanding of history and how it has shaped U.S. foreign relations, global politics in general. As memebers of the CSIHSIS community, we value these methods as they are fully aligned with our Graduate Profile goals of being Academically Prepared, Culturally Aware, Literate for the 21st Century and Aware of World Events and Global Dynamics. (

As most of you know, Ms. Kaplan has arranged a learning exchange between CSIHS and a high school in Carvin, France. In an effort to welcome to our French learning exchange partners who are presently studying U.S. History to this blogspace, I thought we could reflect together on one of the major connections among our respective national histories; the struggle for liberty embodied by both the American and French Revolution.

In order to prepare for this week's blog assignment, read the following article outlining similarites and differences among the revolutionary movements in 18th century France and Colonial America:

Then consider the following quotes from the foundational documents of American and French democracy (The Declaration of Independence, and The Declaration of the Rights of Man, respectively.)

The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, Et. al., 1776:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security..."

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Marquis de Lafayette, 1789:
"1. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be founded only upon the general good.

2 The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.

3. The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.

4. Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law.

5. Law can only prohibit such actions as are hurtful to society. Nothing may be prevented which is not forbidden by law, and no one may be forced to do anything not provided for by law.

6. Law is the expression of the general will. Every citizen has a right to participate personally, or through his representative, in its foundation. It must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes. All citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally eligible to all dignities and to all public positions and occupations, according to their abilities, and without distinction except that of their virtues and talents."

Reflection Guidelines:
Discuss how the fundamental principles laid out in each declaration have shaped the national identity of the nation where you live. Then explain wether or not you believe these principles are truly reflected in modern-day France and the United States: has society met the demands of your nation's revolutionary pioneers or have paridigms and priorities shifted since the 18th Century? Do you think people around the world would agree with your position on what it means to be a citizen of the United States or France? Provide evidence (anecdotal or academic) to support your answer.

CSIHS students are reminded to comment on at least one other post and write at least 200 words. This blog is due no later than 7 p.m. Sunday, 10/28/07. The deadline has been extended due to techincal delays.

You are all encouraged to include a brief bio or hello to our new online learning community.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Homework assignments for 10/22- 10/ 27

AP US History Assignment Sheet: Week 6

For Tuesday 10/23
please read 217-229 in Out of Many
Take notes in your journal on important developments in the revolution. There will be an open-note
reading quiz on this section tomorrow or Wed.
Journals last name A-M should be submitted

For Wednesday 10/24
Draft of DOI comparison paper on flash drive due - must be brought to class to workshop/peer edit.

For Thursday 10/25
Read: The Articles of Confederation (hand out)
Journal: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of this document using an analytical voice OR from
a fictionalized historical perspective (250 word minimum)
Journals last names N-Z should be sumbitted

For Friday 10/26
Blog is due

By Thursday 11/1 study groups are expected to meet and prepare notes on the key points in
Out of Many Chapters 6-7. Your group should come to consensus on accurate responses to the
chapter questions and make a list of key terms and figures. One set of notes should be sumbitted.
10 quiz points.

Test on the American Revolution and foundations of government scheduled for 11/2

Project on founding father due 11/7

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blog #4: Does popular culture promote a nationalistic view of U.S. History? (American Revolution case study)

"Ms. Francis, this class has challenged everything I know about US History!" - Sam Goon

Many of you have noted, as Sam did, that a lot of what is taught about US history in grammar and middle school is lacking historical context and accuracy. In fact, many historians argue that the conventional approach to teaching US History in public schools often " perpetuates popular myths (e.g., the first Thanksgiving)...lies by omission... leaves false impressions.... avoids negative images even from primary sources... fails to portray whole people, distort events and attitudes ... avoid conflict and controversy at all costs ...and fundamentally shun anything that would put history, people, and movements into context... Instead, students memorize the archetypes and the myths built around them without thinking about their likelihood—or improbability." (Scriff, Diane, 2004.
With that critical lens in mind, I'd like to devote this week's blog to reconsidering some popular culture potrayls of the American Revolution and the foundational principles of American Democracy.

"Schoolhouse Rock" was a saturday morning cartoon show that aired in the late 1970's- 1989. It covered everything from algebra to zoology. Predictably, my favortie episodes were those that focused on US History and Government. These resources are basic in their teachings but directly reflect the general public's understanding of critical events from US history.

1. Watch "No More Kings"
lyrics available at:


"The Shot Heard Around the World":

2. Assess the historical accuracy of these cartoons by comparing and contrasting them to our current class materials on the American Revolution. Then share your thoughts on the following questions:

Does popular culture promote a nationalistic view of US History? What cultural, political or economic purpose does this serve in modern US society?

I remind you to draw on direct facts from our current unit of study in your response. Also, remember to reflect on at least one other blog. 200 word minimum is required for a grade higher than N on this assignment.

Extra Credit:
Create your own creative representation of the american Revolution through images, music or video. It can be posted on the blog or emailed to me at

Monday, October 8, 2007

Blog#3 : Would you support the American Revolution?

This week's essential question asks you to balance various perspectives on the issue of American independence. Consider all the economic, political and cultural factors that led to the American Revolution. Then factor in the risks associated with taking on the British Empire and loosing the security of the food and munitions reserves that could be provided to you as colonists if a crisis should incur. Would the benefits of independence (liberty, representation and tax releif) outweigh the comforts of British rule?

You may respond to this essential question from a purely analytical standpoint OR reflect on it creatively by adopting one of the following characters and creatively presenting his/her perspective:
-a young man or woman who would be aiding in the war effort
-a wealthy merchant benefitting from colonial trade
-an indentured servant or slave

So, would you support the American Revolution? (Please leave baseball and Michael Vick out of this week's discussion.)

Be prepared to discuss your response in a seminar format on Friday 10/12.

Assignments for Tuesday 10/10

I made copies of the documents for those of you who don't have the ability to download them, but didn't see any of you at the end of the day. The assigned readings are pages 92-106 in Out of Many and documents 2-3 and 2-13 on the CD ROM. If you don't have the CD, you may use the following links to view the documents:

2-3 "An Act Concerning Servants and Slaves"

2-13: "The Passage of Indentured Servants"
if you don't have adobe Acrobat, you can view it as an html file at:

Your written assignment is to take chapter notes in your format of choice and journal on the following topic:

Identify and evaluate the justifications for slavery and indentured servitude in colonial America.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Blog Assignment #2: Is history destined to repeat itself? (Due Friday, October 5)

Read the articles a)"Fight for the Top of the World" :,8599,1663445,00.htmland b)"CIA Expands it's Inquiry into Interrogation Tactics":

Both articles make allusions to topics we've recently covered in class. Article A discusses the colonization of the Arctic and clearly relates to the scramble for colonial territories in the Americas that occurred during the 15th-17th centuries. Perhaps more controversial is the position that harsh interrogation tactics toward suspected terrorists as described in article B can be likened to the persecution of suspected witches in the New England colonies in the 17th century (collectively referred to as the Salem Witch Trials.)

Consider our recent study of culture and poltics in pre-revolutionary colonial North America. Reflect on the relationship between these current events articles and your study of history. When is the use of colonial power and harsh interrogation tactics justified? Is history destined to repeat itself?Sound off E Block!

You may reflect on one or both of the articles assigned. Remember to respond to the question as well as the comments of at least one other classmate. Your response should be at least 200 words.

Image: "The Snow Queen", Hans Christian Anderson, 1844.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Blog Assignment 1 : Was the New World superior to the Old World? (Due Thursday, 9/24)

Now that we've spent substantial time expolring the intial motives and consequences of European colonization in the Americas, I'd like to hear about your position on this week's essential question. Please refer to class materials and/or any research you've completed for your first project as evidence to support your point of view. Remeber, responding to one another is what will make this an inqury-driven learning community - that's the point of the blog!

Also, thank you so much for all the warm wishes and your sustained focus and hard work while I was out!