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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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The Preamble to the United States Constitution went through at least two drafts. The first draft and the final draft are included here.

The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed on May 6, 1882, was the first major restriction placed on immigration in the U.S., and the only immigration law that explicitly barred a specific group from entering the country. The Exclusion Act forbade Chinese…

This short activity helps students compare two drafts of the Preamble to the United States Constitution. It contains scaffolds for low-level readers.

In the midst of debating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which concerned the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, to become citizens and vote, Senator Charles Sumner often urged more liberal and democratic application of the law. In…

On January 6, 1865, General William T. Sherman issued Special Field Order #15, which gave millions of acres of land along the Atlantic coast to emancipated slaves, in lots of not more than 40 acres per family. In March 1865, Representative Thaddeus…

Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery, before the Civil War had ended. Once the war was over, white southerners passed laws (known as Black Codes) to keep freedmen from exercising their rights, and Congress…

America fought World War II to preserve freedom and democracy, yet that same war featured the greatest suppression of civil liberties in the nation’s history. In an atmosphere of hysteria, President Roosevelt, encouraged by officials at all…

During his first two years in office, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Congress passed programs intended to provide temporary but immediate relief to those who were struggling and restore confidence in the banks. Roosevelt’s critics demanded…

We Want Lights.jpg
The sign on this car is addressed to the head of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), which developed electrical infrastructure (power lines, hydroelectric dams) and cooperatives for farmers to buy electricity and electric appliances. Only about…

Conservative critics of the New Deal disliked the new regulations on businesses and feared the long-term consequences of deficit spending, which they likened to socialism and the end of freedom. Some also expressed nativist or racist feelings that…
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