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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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John Adams Explains Why Women Should Not Be Able to Vote

James Sullivan, a state court judge in Massachusetts and colleague of John Adams, was often sympathetic to those who thought women and non-elite men should have a voice in the new nation’s government. Adams disagreed, explaining to Sullivan [...]

Virginians Petition to Prevent the Emancipation of Slaves

The spirit of the American Revolution inspired some slaveholders to manumit, or free, their slaves. In 1782, Virginia passed a law that allowed slaveholders to set slaves free in their wills, where before manumission required a special act of the [...]

Slaves Petition the Massachusetts Legislature (short version)

Throughout the revolutionary era, scores of slaves signed petitions that linked their demands for freedom with the cause of American independence. Below is the text of one such petition presented to the Massachusetts legislature.

Colonial Women Spin for Liberty

During the colonial period, colonists imported most of their manufactured goods. In 1767, the British government passed laws that required American colonists to pay taxes on imported goods from England. Many colonists responded by forming [...]

An Apprentice's Indenture Contract

Many English settlers arrived in the colonies as indentured servants. Because poor men and women could not afford the cost of travel to North America, they bound themselves for four to seven years’ labor in return for passage across the [...]

The Evolution of the Preamble

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

Scaffolded Reading of "Drawing of an African Burial Ground Grave In Situ"

This brief activity leads students through analysis of an archaeologist's sketch of the grave of an African buried in colonial New York.

A Revolutionary Veteran Describes His Experience

Massachusetts shoemaker Sylvanus Wood served the Patriot cause in the American Revolution in a variety of ways. He fought as a Minuteman at the battle of Lexington and Concord, served three tours of duty in the Continental army, and made shoes for [...]

Colonial Women Spin for Liberty (with text supports)

During the colonial period, colonists imported most of their manufactured goods. In 1767, the British government passed laws that required American colonists to pay taxes on imported goods from England. Many colonists responded by forming [...]

A Union Army General Describes the Impact of Contraband Slaves

In the testimony that follows, a general tells Congress how contraband slaves served his army and had a dramatic impact on the way Union soldiers thought about slavery and freedom.

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