Tag Archives: APUSH

Reflecting on APUSH Strategies

[notice]A colleague of mine recently asked me about teaching strategies for APUSH, specifically in regard to having students learn from their textbook and lectures. As I was responding, I thought it would be a good idea to share and reflect a bit more in depth on what worked and what didn’t. Here are some of the ups and downs I had last year.[/notice]

I began the year using a couple of different strategies. First, I made a pacing guide with each day mapped out for what students had to read. This meant that the topics we covered in class that day would come from the reading the night before. Quizzes could follow on that pace too. Kids actually loved the quizzes. It compartmentalized their studying. That has strengths and weaknesses, but overall it kept people on their toes.

I also used Schoology discussion boards in the beginning of the year to have students identify three strengths concerning the content and three weaknesses. I asked them to share them on the discussion board each week/chapter.

It was a graded assignment. Here’s how I framed it to students:

Knowing what we don’t know if the first step to understanding. Very simply, write three statements of topics in your reading so far that you understand well and then list three topics (events, issues or individuals) that you would like to know more about. We’re going to help each other study. Respond to students that you have a common strength with from the text, and help another student with an area that they do not fully understand.

Evaluation: You will receive 20 points for sharing a strength and 80 points for helping another student with a weakness. Thanks!

So, for instance, one student wrote: ‘Strengths- Early War, Anaconda Plan, War in the West
Weaknesses- Changes wrought by war, Homefront’ and another student responded:

‘For the Homefront, a big issue was keeping the civilian morale high during the Civil War. Both the Union and the Confederacy desperately needed the loyalty of the people living within their territories in order to win the Civil War. There were religious revivals during this time to help keep civilians enthusiastic about the war and loyal to their side, these revivals also helped people deal with the death of families members who were fighting and gave them hope to a wars end. Also during this time, newspapers and letters were being written and read more often by ordinary citizens who were trying to keep tabs on the war. For some lucky Americans, the war brought riches to them, and in the South those who broke through the Union’s blockade were able to make hefty profits from selling goods. Although some Americans made money during the war, most were deprived of resources that were given to the armies. In the North, the war opened up job opportunities for women and blacks, but the working wages were low and the inflation of money was high. In the South, there were a lot of supply shortages and many hardships for civilians to endure. Families had lost their slaves and homes, and food was becoming scarce.’

This worked fairly well for the students in the beginning of the year. They were helping each other understand the content, and because 80 points was the big ‘grade’, they needed to do so. 20 points for touting what you know well is only the icing on the cake. I called this whole thing ‘collaborative study’, and because it was online, it managed itself. I just had to moderate it and add follow ups and comments to facilitate a deeper discussion and answer some weaknesses that didn’t get responses.

Textbook discussion: Please post comments and questions here concerning the textbook, or any one particular part in it. This week’s topic is progressivism and there’s a lot that’s new here. Let’s break down and build up our understanding. :)

Monday Essential Questions: Scan the chapter. Everyone is responsible for creating one essential question. The EQ should focus on broad topics that provoke deeper thinking. For examples, look here: http://webs.rps205.com/departments/TAH/EQs.html. You don’t need to answer them. This isn’t an essay assignment. I’ll facilitate a discussion based on your questions. If I ask a follow up, please respond and jump in.

Tuesday ID/Vocabulary: First come, first served. Everyone will add 2 ID terms, with a definition that explains the content and context of the term. They do not have to be proper nouns, but they should be central to the chapter’s topics and themes. If you really need help, go to the flashcards section of MyHistoryLab.

Wednesday Primary Sources: Each student will add 1 image and 1 quoted document from the time period and content covered in the chapter. For each image, you must describe it fully and draw 2 inferences, fully explained. For each document, you must provide the link, quote a selection, and then draw 2 inferences from it, fully explained. First come, first served. No duplications. Use MyHistoryLab if you need help.

Thursday Q & A: Each student will ask 5 questions concerning the content in the chapter. Questions can be ones that you would like to know or about something you don’t understand. Each student will answer at least 1 question. I will answer some as well. Each question must be a separate post.

Friday Smackdown (Debate): OK. Here’s where we debate different topics, depending on the content of the chapter. Each student will take one position. They will have to defend it, using reason and evidence. They also have to respond to three others. Choose from strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose. The goal is to win the most supporters, and create consensus for your position. Try to win over others. This is first come, first served as well. Debate it over the weekend.

Towards the end of the semester, I asked students to do more weekly assignments (essays, projects, debates, etc.) and this broke them out of the mold of the daily assignments. To be honest, some of those after 10 weeks or so were becoming stale. The EQ were not as sharp, and the Q/A were formalities rather than authentic questions. I needed to shake it up.

I began to structure debates/discussions in the class around specific topics for greater depth. Here’s an example of the four corners approach on the 1960’s. It’s a pretty straight forward assignment, and its easy to do in class too (and often more authentic):

In this graded discussion assignment, you will take the positions of strongly support, strongly oppose, somewhat support and somewhat oppose. Each position that you take must have a primary source that supports your point, and/or provides context for the point you are making.

The Civil Rights Movement increased equality in America.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was exaggerated.

The Vietnam War was not winnable.

The Great Society was a success.

Choose two of the four above and take a stand. Please include your primary source documents as viewable attachments to your posts. Remember to respond to another student’s post to build a discussion on these issues, events and people. Greater participation in the discussion increases your grade.

This is a lot more work, and requires more preparation and content knowledge up front, but it produced some interesting results. Obviously, the statements have to be structured so that they are more open ended, able to be answered with different perspectives. Lots of kids strongly disagreed with the Cuban Missile Crisis statement. That one was too much of a softball from me.

I got a little more controversial (or engaging, depending on how you look at it) with the WW2 Support/Oppose statements:

  • The good of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
  • The Axis Powers had to be stopped, no matter what.
  • Killing civilians is a war crime.
  • All citizens must sacrifice when their country goes to war.
  • Hitler’s racism was worse than America’s racism.
  • Women won the war.
  • Stalin killed more people than Hitler. Allying with him was wrong.
  • Appeasement only makes the aggressor more aggressive.
  • If the US has the power to stop a genocide, it must.
  • America could have remained neutral.
  • When the war was over, women should give up their jobs to men.
  • The US must continue to use atom bombs until the Japanese surrender.
  • A draft is undemocratic.
  • Dissent is treason during a war.
  • The Jews could have fought back.
  • Winning the war means destroying the enemy completely.
  • Every NAZI soldier is guilty of war crimes.
  • Creating peace is harder than fighting a war.
  • Another World War is impossible today.

Howard Zinn’s Teaching Guide to Voices from a People’s History of the US (available on the Zinn History Project website for free) was also a great repository of ‘debatable’ conclusions on recent history. I used some of them the closer I got to the present. This set is from the 1970’s:

Please take a position on four of the following statements and provide primary source evidence to support your position. Remember to choose from strongly support, somewhat support, strongly oppose or somewhat oppose.

  1. Throughout history, those in power used a long-standing practice of “divide and conquer” to keep marginalized groups of ordinary people from demanding their rights.
  2. The voices of resistance from the 1960s are the direct consequence of historical social, political, economic, and ideological oppression.
  3. A counterculture comprised of persons and groups who are ignored and marginalized by society profoundly influenced United States politics in the 1960s and 1970s.
  4. Many of the counterculture social movements saw issues of oppression as being interlinked.
  5. An ideology of social control and punishment has dominated United States incarceration practices, rather than a philosophy of rehabilitation.
  6. The political, economic, and social ferment of the 1960s created a positive environment for the growth of the counterculture movement.
  7. Women of the 1960s united in many ways to give voice to their desire for liberation: demanding equality; legally challenging the right to make decisions about their own bodies; joining consciousness-raising women’s groups; and frankly discussing sex and sexual roles.
  8. Within the myriad liberation efforts of the 1960s, many people expressed a desire to unite against the “common oppression . . . of control and indoctrination.”
  9. Because the United States prison system was “an extreme reflection of the American system itself,” it was in need of the same dramatic reforms that the counterculture demanded for United States society as a whole.
  10. During the 1960s and 1970s, there was a “loss of faith in big powers” and a corresponding “stronger belief in self.”

Evaluation: Students receive 80 points for their positions and 20 points for a detailed response to another student’s post. Thanks.

Finally, as we were in April and the exam was approaching, I showed some of the PBS Presidents series on the American Experience. Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton… and we ‘crowd-sourced’ the videos. Students got out their mobile devices and texted into a specific discussion board. They were texting while watching and reporting out on anything that they thought was important. Quotes especially. We then analyzed them more at night for homework. I asked questions also during the documentary and students were able to respond.

Those are some of the strategies I used last year with APUSH. Thanks for asking. It got me to reflect a bit on what worked and what didn’t. Again, I relied on Schoology for the online platform for all of this, and it worked great. Kids groaned about the work at times (they formed a private FB group to organize the groaning!) but overall they valued it. I think the approach in general was much more interactive than reporting out the content. I’m thinking of repeating some of these strategies this year, with modifications. Again, this is just one way I explored learning. Its not the only (or even the best way). I’m also extremely open to other ideas. :)


#APUSH on Twitter

All I know about test taking I learned from kids. Maybe there’s a deeper wisdom that comes through in the middle of the night when the pressure is on. Now, thanks to Twitter, I have a window into the madness. Take a look! Is this you? (more coming…)
  • Trying to explain to your parents why you’re not studying for #APUSH and all you can come up with is “it’s just an exam…” #badexcuses
  • How am I supposed to remember 200+ years of history if I can’t even remember what happened last year #apush #helloaptestfail
  • Communists are out to steal Christmas #apush
  • I got 99 problems, and the lend-lease-act aint one #apush
  • I feel so old with all this historical knowledge. #apush #final
  • I love the low-key sarcasm in my cram book #APUSH
  • it’s that really awful moment in life when you realize that sleep just doesn’t fit your schedule.. #apush #icanteven
  • All of the followingare true EXCEPT A) i hate apush b) i hate apush c) i hate apush d) i hate apush e) i love apush #APUSH
  • Haven’t used my stereotypical consumer culture iPhone apps in a couple of weeks. #APUSH #facepalm
  • Well at least I don’t live in Italy. We have 300 years of history. They have 5000… #APUSH #newishcountry
  • You know what? I’m done. I’m sick of this. I’m breaking up with #APUSH. Peace out, girlscout.
  • the day I learned that re-writing notes is how I study best was the most regretful day of my life #sotired #phyiscs #apush #death
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “The only thing we have to fear….is scary stuff.” #APUSH
  • I smell like highlighter ink pen and Reese’s #yum #apush
  • Who needs sleep when you have sharpies an a shower curtain? #apush
  • US flirted with china so they gave us panda bears. “AWWWWWW” no. They were sterile. “those bastards.” #apush
  • Hell week is upon us. #apush
  • I would have been done with this DBQ a long time ago if I didn’t have the attention span of a 2 year old -_- Omg. #apush
  • Sleep is a distant friend. #sleep #apes #apush #aplang #finals #aptest #junioryear #junioryearsucks #stressed #studying #dying #why
  • Crawling in a hole and dying see ya. #apush
  • “I Like Ike” vs. He stabbed a child 19 times, raped 4 women, and kicked puppies on a weekend pass from jail. Ok politics. #APUSH
  • Failing a test doesn’t really phase me anymore. Thanks #APUSH
  • does anyone remember learning about kennedy? cause i sure dont #apush problems
  • My secret is speaking it out Loud with a knowledgeable adult. #apush
  • You know #apush sucks when the Role of Women in the War section is longer than the actual War section
  • That weird moment when you discover a somewhat sarcastic, humorous tone in your #APUSH reviews…
  • I bombed that test as bad as we bombed Japan… #APUSH
  • Chapter 40… #apush should die.
  • 405 years of history in one night #challengeaccepted #APUSH

Chapter 12 Study Guide

Andrew Jackson… What else can be said of this era? His boot is all over it, but there’s more. The nation was in a transition from the end of its beginning and the beginning of its end. Your book puts it this way:

In September 1835, the Niles Register commented on some 500 recent incidents of mob violence and social upheaval. “Society seems everywhere unhinged, and the demon of ‘blood and slaughter’ has been let loose upon us. . . . [The] character of our countrymen seems suddenly changed.” How did Americans adapt to these changes? In a world that seemed everywhere “unhinged” and out of control, in which old rules and patterns no longer provided guidance, how did people maintain some sense of control over their lives? How did they seek to shape their altered world? How could they both adopt the benefits of change and reduce the accompanying disruptions? One way was to embrace the changes fully. Thus, some Americans became entrepreneurs in new industries; invested in banks, canals, and railroads; bought more land and slaves; and invented new machines. Others went west or to the new textile mills, enrolled in Common Schools, joined trade unions, specialized their labor in both the workplace and the home, and celebrated modernization’s practical benefits. Many Americans were uncomfortable with the character of the new era. Some worried about the unrestrained power and selfish materialism symbolized by the slave master’s control over his slaves. Others feared that institutions such as the U.S. Bank represented a “monied aristocracy” capable of undermining the country’s honest producers. Seeking positions of leadership and authority, these critics of the new order tried to shape a nation that retained the benefits of economic change without sacrificing humane principles of liberty, equality of opportunity, and community virtue. This chapter examines four ways in which the American people responded to change by attempting to influence their country’s development: religious revivalism, party politics, utopian communitarianism, and social reform.


  1. The social and economic changes of the 1830s were both promising and unsettling.  This chapter explores the question of how people  (both ordinary and prominent) sought to maintain some sense of control over their lives in the 1830s and 1840s.  Some, like the Robinsons, poured their energies into reform.  Others turned to politics, religion, and new communal lifestyles in order to shape their changing world.
  2. Throughout the chapter, social, political, cultural, and economic topics are interrelated and seen as a whole.  The chapter merges two major events—democratic Jacksonian politics and the many forms of  perfectionist social reform. They began from distinctly different points of view but in fact shared more in common than has usually been recognized.
  3. The explanation of politics in the age of Jackson looks at the social and ethnocultural basis of politics, while the analysis of revivalism, religion, and utopian communitarianism stresses the socioeconomic basis of these cultural phenomena.
  4. The timeless dilemmas and problems of reformers, especially of temperance, abolitionist, and feminist reformers, are a sub-theme running through the chapter.


Familiarity with Basic Knowledge
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the connection between religious revivalism and reform efforts to erase social evils.
  2. Describe three ways in which political culture changed between the early 1820s and 1840.
  3. Explain the key events and significance of the three major issues in Jackson’s presidency—the tariff, the war against the bank, and Indian removal.
  4. List and explain the leaders, principles, programs, and sources of support of the two major parties, Democrats and Whigs.
  5. List several evils that Americans wanted to reform in the 1830s and 1840s and the major influences that contributed to the reform impulse.
  6. Describe some of the purposes, patterns, and problems that most utopian communities shared.
  7. Describe the major goals, tactics, and problems in the antebellum reform movements for temperance,  abolitionism, and women’s rights.

Practice in Historical Thinking Skills
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  1. Analyze how Jacksonian politicians and social reformers both opposed one another and had much in common.
  2. Explain how the changing numbers and composition of voters affected the political  structure.
  3. Explain the development of the second American party system, showing how it evolved from and differed from the first party system.
  4. Understand and explain why people turn to politics, or to religion and revivalism, or to utopian communitarianism, or to specific issue reforms in order to shape their world; and then explain how well these seemed to work.


1824   New Harmony established (Indiana)
1825   John Quincy Adams elected president by the House of Representatives
1826   American Temperance Society founded
1828   Calhoun publishes “Exposition and Protest”, Andrew Jackson defeats John Quincy Adams for the presidency, Tariff of Abominations
1828-1832  Rise of workingmen’s parties
1830   Webster-Hayne debate and Jackson-Calhoun toast, The Book of Mormon published by Joseph Smith, Indian Removal Act
1830-1831  Charles Finney’s religious revivals
1831   William Lloyd Garrison begins publishing The Liberator
1832   Jackson vetoes U.S. Bank charter, Jackson reelected, Worcester v. Georgia
1832-1833  Nullification Crisis
1832-1836  Removal of funds from U.S. Bank to state banks
1833   Force Bill, Compromise tariff, John Calhoun resigns as vice president, American Anti-Slavery Society founded
1834   New York Female Moral Reform Society founded, National Trades Union founded, Whig party established
1835-1836  Increasing incidents of mob violence
1836   Gag rule, Specie circular, Martin Van Buren elected president
1837   Financial panic and depression begin, Sarah Grimké’s Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, Emerson’s “American Scholar” address
1837-1838  Cherokee “Trail of Tears”
1840   William Henry Harrison elected president, American Anti-Slavery Society splits, World Anti-Slavery Convention, Ten-hour day for federal employees
1840-1841  Transcendentalists found Hopedale and Brook Farm in Massachusetts
1843   Dorothea Dix’s report on treatment of the insane, Henry Highland Garnet’s call for slave rebellion
1844   Joseph Smith murdered in Nauvoo, Illinois
1846-1848  Mormon  migration to Great Basin under leadership of Brigham Young
1847   First issue of Frederick Douglass’s abolitionist newspaper North Star
1848   Oneida community (New York) founded, First women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York
1850   Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter published
1851   Maine prohibition law, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick published
1853   Children’s Aid Society established in New York City
1854   Henry David Thoreau’s Walden is published
1855   Massachusetts bans segregated public schools



Chapter 11 Study Guide

Slavery has many faces. First, let’s begin with your books description and explanation:

Slavery in America was both an intricate web of human relationships and a labor system. Two large themes permeate this chapter. First, after tracing the economic development of the Old South in global context, in which slavery and cotton played vital roles, this chapter will emphasize the dreams, daily lives, and relationships of masters and slaves who lived, loved, learned, worked, and struggled with one another in the years before the Civil War. Perhaps no issue in American history has generated as many interpretations or as much emotional controversy as slavery. Three interpretive schools developed over the years, each adding to our knowledge of “the peculiar institution.” The first saw slavery as a relatively humane institution in which plantation owners took care of helpless, childlike slaves. The second depicted slavery as a harsh and cruel system of exploitation. The third, and most recent, interpretation described slavery from the perspective of the slaves, who, like Douglass, did indeed suffer brutal treatment yet nevertheless survived with integrity, intelligence, and self-esteem supported by community and culture. While the first and second interpretive schools emphasized workaday interactions among powerful masters and seemingly passive, victimized slaves, the third focused on the creative energies, agency, and vibrancy of life in the slave quarters from sundown to sunup. In a unique structure, this chapter follows these masters and slaves through their day, from morning in the Big House through the hot afternoon in the fields to the slave cabins at night. Although slavery crucially defined the Old South, diverse social groups and international trade patterns contributed to the tremendous economic growth of the South from 1820 to 1860. We will look first at these socioeconomic aspects of antebellum southern life and then follow whites and blacks through a southern day from morning to noon to night.

You’ve already seen my previous post titled, Slavery: Then and Now. Now, let’s hear from slaves themselves. One of the best ways to do so is from the HBO series, Unchained Memories. Here’s a student packet from the series. Check it out.


  1. The tremendous growth of agriculture in the Old South was dependent on cotton and slavery.  But contrary to myth, the South  was an area of great diversity, regionally, socially, and in terms of class and slave ownership.  These differences bred tensions among whites as well as between masters and slaves.
  2. Although slavery was a labor system, the chapter emphasizes the daily life and complex, entangled relationships of white masters and black slaves and points out the difficulties of generalizing about their relationships.  The experiences of the family of rice planter Robert Allston suggests some of the dimensions of white slaveholders’ lives, while the youth of Frederick Douglass illuminates the lives of black slaves.
  3. A unique structure in this chapter discusses slavery in three sections: morning in the Big House, which focuses on white masters; noon in the fields, which looks at daily work and other hardships of the slaves; and nighttime in the quarters, which describes a slave culture and community centered around religion, music, the family, and other adaptive survivals from African culture.
  4. Racism was not confined to the South but existed throughout American society.  Racism as well as slavery limited black freedom.  To a much lesser extent, southern slaveholders also suffered limitations on their freedom from the burdens of the slave system.


Familiarity with Basic Knowledge
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  1. Distinguish several geographic regions  and the main crops; then describe the socioeconomic class variations of slaveholding patterns in the Old South.
  2. Explain the distribution of slaveholders and nonslaveholders in the South.
  3. Describe the burdens of slavery from the perspective of the slaveholders and explain five ways in which they justified slavery.
  4. Describe a typical day on the plantation for slave men and women, both in the house and in the fields.
  5. Explain the nature of black family life and culture in the slave quarters, including how religion, music, and folklore gave the slaves a sense of identity and self-esteem.
  6. List five ways in which the slaves protested and resisted their situation.

Practice in Historical Thinking Skills
After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  1. Develop arguments for and against slavery from the perspective of southern slaveholders, non-slaveholding southerners, northern whites, slaves, and freed  blacks.
  2. Discuss and evaluate the question of who was “free” in southern antebellum society.
  3. Identify the author’s interpretation of slavery and other possible interpretations.


1787   Constitution adopted with proslavery provisions
1793   Eli Whitney invents cotton gin
1794-1800  The Haitian Revolution
1800   Gabriel Prosser conspiracy in Virginia
1808   External slave trade prohibited by Congress
1820   South becomes world’s largest cotton producer
1822   Denmark Vesey’s conspiracy in Charleston, South Carolina
1827    John B. Russwurm and Samuel Cornish publish the first African American newspaper Freedom’s Journal
1829   David Walker’s Appeal
1830s   Southern justification of slavery changes from a necessary evil to a positive good
1831   Nat Turner’s slave revolt in Virginia
1845    Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass published
1850s   Cotton boom
1851   Indiana state constitution excludes free blacks
1852   Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes best-selling Uncle Tom’s Cabin
1860   Cotton production and prices peak



Blog 31: Cotton Kingdom

Slavery proved to be one of the worst chapters in our nation’s history.  Dealing with this legacy is something that has shaped our identity and created patterns within race relations for hundreds of years.  Racism and slavery are two sides of the same coin.  How do you teach it?  That’s the issue.  That’s what we’re going to take a look at in this chapter.  If you’ve noticed, it is structured a bit differently than other chapters.  Not only is it thematically divided, but it is also built along a continuum from the perspective of the owners to those who either fought or found freedom.  It is well written.  Let’s take a look.

THE EXPANSION OF SLAVERY IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY (359)  In the introduction, there are a couple main points worth mentioning: cotton was king, most whites didn’t own slaves (75%) and the South was geographically diverse but predominantly agriculturally driven in its economy.  Remember those points.  Now, on to the topic.  Notice one of the first points brought up: per capita income in the South in 1860 was one of the highest in the world.  Ouch.  Why? C-O-T-T-O-N: the fabric of our lives, right?  Notice also that cotton production on its own doesn’t produce wealth.  There’s a global trading network that our cotton fits right into – and that makes it profitable.  Where would the South be without the British navy on its side?  Do you think that we would do so well if we were still fighting off the British and the French, as we did in the early 1800’s?  Finally, there are some important points at the end.  One is that slavery became entrenched economically and the second is that slavery began a domino effect – causing links that others did not want to break – even for moral reasons.  Your book doesn’t mention that Great Britain banned the slave trade and slavery by the 1830’s – and yet they still took in the cheap cotton.  Think about all of the businesses in the global marketplace today that sell products from sweatshops that consumers in the US buy.  Makes you go ‘Hmm…’

SLAVERY IN LATIN AMERICA (359)  Hey, Portugal gets slammed!  Well, it was one of the first nations to begin the slave trade and one of the last nations to give it up.  Note that in comparison, you book states that,

“Historians used to argue that because of restraints of Catholicism, Roman legal codes, and the greater frequency of racial intermarriage, slavery was more benign and less barbaric in Spanish Latin America than in the United States, and that slaves enjoyed more dignity as people. Though it is true that Latin American slaves had more religious holidays and days of rest than in the North, and that caste distinctions based on gradations of color were more prevalent, it is now thought that slavery was just as harsh, if not more so, and that differences within Latin America and between Latin and North American slavery were more economic, demographic, and regional than religious and cultural.”

This is an interesting point about the changing nature of historical scholarship.  What do you think caused historians to change their minds?  Moral relativity?  Political dynamics?  Class consciousness?  Let’s talk about it.

Another interesting point that is not mentioned here is that Latin America actually imports more slaves than the colonies, but by 1860, the US has over 3 times as many slaves as some other nations.  Families and slave codes make the difference.  Look at the intermarriage statistics in Latin America, though, and compare them to the US.  Racism and slavery – two sides of the same coin.

WHITE AND BLACK MIGRATIONS IN THE SOUTH (361)  A brother of a friend of mine actually is a professor and wrote a book on the internal slave trade.  I’ll bring it in if you want.  It’s something not really mentioned in most texts when I was in high school.  There’s a great amount of information on this from narrative history.  If someone wants an extra credit project, let me know.

SOUTHERN DEPENDENCE ON SLAVERY (362)  This section focuses almost exclusively on the economic role that slaves played in different fields, but mostly in agriculture.  Notice the title of the section, though, and think about its meaning.  Was slavery necessary for the economic health of the nation?  Was the nation dependent on slavery?  If so, why?  If not, then why was it continued, if not for its economic role?  At the end of the section is the piece that most texts include from DeBow’s Review, which talks about how the South needs to change.  These are important points that connect to the economic development AFTER the Civil War devastates the Southern economy and it has to rebuild.  Some people in history can’t avoid the ‘I told you so’ moments.

PATERNALISM AND HONOR IN THE PLANTER CLASS (362)  This section is brief, but talks about the relationship between a code of honor and the racism explicit in how ‘good whites’ take care of their slaves.  The justification for oppression is spread throughout history: in American schools on Native American reservations, in working conditions in factories by owners, in South Africa by the white government, etc.

SLAVERY, CLASS AND YEOMAN FARMERS (364)  Look at who owns the slaves.  There’s also an interesting narrative story here about a slave-owner.  What’s the message between the lines?  Notice the tension between poor whites and plantation owners?  It’s like a give and take in terms of power, but below it all is the slave system.  Even the poorest white was still white.  This is the institutionalized racism that doesn’t go away once the 13th Amendment ends slavery.  Do elements of this tension blurred class and race relations still exist today?

THE NON-SLAVEHOLDING SOUTH (366)  OK.  Non-slaveowning farmers were not the poorest, but they had a tough time making a living as well.  They are also most of the fighters in the Confederacy once war breaks out.



Blog 21: Indian-White Relations

Was there a chance of co-existence?  That’s the big question that is asked when studying Indian-White relations during this period.  Was it profit that doomed the Native Americans?  Was it racism?  Was it a symptom of power, where technology provides an advantage from one side to another?  Let’s see.

THE GOALS OF INDIAN POLICY (291)  What were the goals, implicit and explicit?  Think of it as a question of ends and means.  Was assimilation an end or a means towards an end?  What about treaty arrangements?  Was it only about the land?  The other question is whether one policy or another changes with the wind.  In other words, was there a consistency of policy or were policies politically expedient, depending on circumstances?

Your text also talks about one of the most effective weapons against Native American tribes: rum.  Then there’s the factory system, or trading posts.  Finally, Christianizing the Native Americans.  Oh, there’s education too.  Let’s see if I get this right: assimilation, treaties, trading posts, rum, education, missionaries, etc.  All in an attempt to reduce the Native Americans to a non-threat on the frontier?  Or some other objective?  What was the real goal?  What do you think?

STRATEGIES OF SURVIVAL: THE IROQUOIS AND THE CHEROKEE (295)  What is their solution?  Assimilation, full steam ahead, and it doesn’t work.  But there’s another message here.  It’s about the nature of democracy and power – and how the two relate to one another.  Is it possible that the Cherokee could have asserted their natural born rights against the will of the majority, or does democracy only mean that those in power have authority?

PATTERNS OF ARMED RESISTANCE: THE SHAWNEE AND THE CREEK (296)  There are different stories here with the same end, but one of the most perplexing is that of the Cherokee helping Jackson fight against their enemies, the Creek, at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.  It was the largest slaughter of Native Americans in US History and Jackson would not have won without the help of the Cherokee.  Why would they do this?  Was Pan-Native Americanism a complete myth?  The deeper issue in the history of human relations is the ethical question of doing what you believe to be right versus saving yourself.  Are there other examples of this in US History?



Blog 20: Nation of Regions

How much does geography shape identity? Consider that the early republic established many norms for the nation before the Civil War. Technology, communication, transportation, jobs, homes, the land, relationships, and more were all established in this time of tremendous change. Where would you live if you could choose a particular region?

THE NORTHEAST (284) What are the characteristics of the Northeast? Is it based on the people or the geographic conditions? Reading through the text, also take a look at how the land is used. Firewood, for instance, was burned at huge numbers. Livestock was precious. Also consider the map on the bottom of page 285. Notice where early industries are located. Is there a pattern? Also, think about what’s important to remember in a map in your AP text. Look for those relationships… not just want it says specifically but what inferences you can make from the information on the map. That’s the key. We’ll do a lot of that in class this year.

THE SOUTH (287) Cotton, cotton, cotton. On of the first important points you should note in your text is the list provided at the beginning of the section. This is a good study technique: look for lists. Often your book puts ideas together for a specific reason. Here it is: “A fortuitous combination of circumstances fueled the transformation: the growing demand for raw cotton by textile mills in England and the American Northeast; wonderfully productive virgin soil; a long, steamy growing season; an ample supply of slave labor; and southern planters€™ long experience in producing and marketing staple crops.” Also notice the statistics of change. Notice that the text mentions cotton production in one year and then another. There’s lots of inferences there. Think about the change; don’t just memorize it.

TRANS-APPALACHIA (288) 900,000 settlers move west in just 20 years? Holy moley! That’s a huge demographic transformation. Consider how this affects different themes in US History. Here’s the list of themes. Look at it and then think about this one issue. How many themes can you connect to this section? How about some of the other sections?

Oh, there’s another quote I’d like you to consider: “In this constantly shifting borderland, people of different ethnicity, race, class, and regional origin mingled together, their conflicting social, economic, and cultural values often generating tension. But as they built new communities, they fashioned new ways of life, in the process strengthening belief in America as a land of opportunity.” Think about the ‘land of opportunity’ message. It’s true, for some, that there was widespread opportunity, but also consider the other side and then the question… Does opportunity for some have to come at a cost to others? Are there other situations like this in US History? Are there examples where this question is not true?

THE NATION’S CITIES (289) Cities grew. Bye, bye Jefferson’s vision of America. Hey, what’s up! to Hamilton’s vision. 30% of the nations population was in interior cities by 1830. Wow. That speaks volumes about the growth of the internal trade network, transportation and migration. Cities are very American, though, and so the question has to be asked about how much of a role they played in the development of a distinct American culture and identity versus that role of the frontier and farms.



Blog 19: Foreign Policy

1) Break free of a dependence on Europe, 2) clear the Great Lakes of British troops and 3) protect American interests on the high seas.  What’s the common factor in all of these objectives?  Is it defensive or offensive?  Does the US have similar goals in 2009?

JEFFERSONIAN PRINCIPLES (276)  Your text states that one of Jefferson’s goals was peace.  Let’s think about this for a minute.  First, I believe that.  Jefferson realized his geopolitical position and he also was a man of principles.  Second, Jefferson wanted to protect and promote American interests.  This deserves some thought.  What tools and what methods will a US president use to achieve that end?  Is it acceptable to use force to promote trade?  Is it acceptable to protect American interests at the cost of something else, like slavery?  These are questions that all presidents face, and the same was true of Jefferson.  Do you believe that Jefferson should have done more to protect US interests against England and France?

STRUGGLING FOR NEUTRAL RIGHTS (276)  So what did Jefferson do?  He and Congress ushered the Non-Importation Act through and then there was the Chesapeake Affair.  Then the Embargo Act.  Was being neutral worth the loss?  Was a war worth the risk?



October/November Calendar

One and a half months in… Not so bad so far. Many of you are doing well with the transition to an AP course. I know there’s a lot of hard work that is going on behind the classroom scenes and I appreciate and respect that. Please make sure you feel comfortable asking for help, whether it be in class, after school or online. That’s my job. :)

OK. Here is the October/November calendar. RQ stands for Review Quiz. Click on the image for the full document.

Also, here’s the whole bleepin’ reading list. :) Don’t worry. We’ll get through it!

Screencast Intro

I remember when I was a child, my school went on a field trip to Boston to visit the Museum of Science there. It was so cool! There were stairs that made music and lots of other neat things that I don’t really recall the specifics of… but one thing I remember well is the telephone exhibit. Back then, telephones were really basic. You put your finger in the slot and dialed by spinning the wheel. You would talk into it, but you wouldn’t hear your own voice back through the wires, until now. The Museum of Science somehow found a way to automatically record and play back your own voice. It was weird. I heard it and thought that it must be someone else. That’s not how I sound!

So, welcome to the future! My voice does actually sound like that. It’s something I am going to have to get used to if I am going to jump on a YouTube stage! So, I’m going to make videos for my students about their text, notes, PowerPoints, and historical websites that will help them learn (if all goes well). This is my super-first attempt. Will there be mistakes? Yup. Will my voice crack? Maybe. Will I spend hours preparing and producing the video? Sure.

It’s my attempt to flip the classroom. Notes at home. Homework in school. Enjoy!