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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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New Liberties, New Threats worksheet

This series of worksheets accompanies the activity "New Liberties and New Threats During Reconstruction." The worksheets feature primary sources and descriptions that have been edited for different reading levels, as well as scaffolded questions.

"Troubles in the South-West": Ideology and the U.S.-Mexican War

In this lesson students read a series of documents about the American and Mexican reasons for and against the 1846 U.S.-Mexico War. As they read the documents students identify when the authors employ various foreign policy ideologies such as [...]

A Slave Ship Captain Negotiates with an African Ruler

As captain of the slave ship Sally on its 1764-1766 voyage, Esek Hopkins was responsible for recording information about his ship's trade with sellers and buyers of enslaved human cargo. This page from his log details the complex negotiations that [...]

Federal Agents Hope to Change Indians' Attitudes about Land Ownership

Federal bureaucrats devised several methods to assimilate Native Americans into mainstream American values and culture. One strategy involved trying to change Native Americans' traditional sense of communally held land to a belief in individually [...]

Militant Abolitionists Rescue a Fugitive Slave in Troy, New York

Militant black and white abolitionists organized opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act. In 1859 Harriet Tubman, an ex-slave and leader of the underground railroad, played a central role in rescuing a fugitive slave named Charles Nalle. Nalle, who had [...]

Debating Immigration Restriction: The Ellis Island Era

In this activity, students consider arguments for and against unrestricted immigration during the Ellis Island era. Students analyze political cartoons, letters, newspaper articles, posters, and other sources, noting evidence in the documents to [...]

New Liberties and New Threats During Reconstruction

This activity features differentiation and scaffolding to help students understand the new social freedoms and new threats to the families of freedmen during Reconstruction. Students work in heterogeneous skill-level groups to analyze several [...]

Bar Graph of Lynchings of African Americans, 1890-1929

From 1890 to 1900, an average of 175 African Americans were lynched each year. Lynchings were attacks motivated by racism where white mobs brutally murdered black victims, sometimes in the night, but often in a public way with many witnesses. Lynch [...]

"Father Mathew" Teacup from Five Points

Uncovered during an archaeological dig of the former Five Points neighborhood, this teacup depicts the Irish temperance reformer Father Theobold Mathew, who during the late 1830s and 1840s convinced Irish on both sides of the Atlantic to embrace [...]

Piedmont Farmer: The Journals of David Golightly Harris

Before the Civil War, David Golightly Harris (1824-1875) had been a small slaveholder in Spartanburg District, South Carolina. According to the 1860 census, he owned ten slaves and 550 acres of land, 100 of which he had under cultivation. Though not [...]

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