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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Civil War and Reconstruction (1861-1877) (x)

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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.

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 [...]

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 [...]

A Committee of Freedmen on Edisto Island Reveal Their Expectations

This letter was written by a group of freedmen to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Land (known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The freedmen were from Edisto Island, South Carolina, an area that came under Union [...]

A North Dakota Newspaper Proposes War Against Native Americans

White settlers found all sorts of ways to defend the destruction of Native American communities. The Manifest Destiny ideology held that Americans' westward march was sanctioned by God. Social Darwinists adopted the idea of "survival of the [...]

Forty Acres? The Question of Land at the War's End

In this activity students consider different viewpoints on whether former slaves should be given land at the end of the Civil War. Students read one of five primary sources and summarize the author's viewpoint. This activity makes a good [...]

The First Vote

This illustration from Harper's Weekly features three figures symbolizing black political leadership: a skilled craftsman, a sophisticated city dweller, and a Union Army veteran.

The New York City Draft Riots: A Role Play

In this activity students research roles as either Irish immigrants or African-American residents in the midst of the New York City Draft Riots that took place in July 1863. Students gather evidence from primary sources to develop their characters, [...]

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