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Herb - social history for every classroom

menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

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Background Essay on Why They Fought

This essay explores the motivations of soldiers on both sides of the U.S. Civil War.

Description of Sharecropping

This short essay describes the sharecropping system that supported the agricultural economy of the South after slavery.

Item Type: Article/Essay
For New Life, Blacks in City Head to South

This article explores the return migration of African Americans from New York City to the South, reversing the Great Migration that took place in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Background Essay on Iron Horses and Indians

This essay discusses the impact of the transcontinental railroad on Native American life. It focuses on the role of buffalo hunters in the federal government's policy of Indian removal. This essay, and the related Iron Horse vs. the Buffalo [...]

Background Essay on San Francisco's Chinatown (short version, with text supports)

This essay describes the origins of San Francisco's Chinatown, as well as some of its major economic, political, and social features. The essay also describes the challenges San Francisco's Chinese community faced from the city's white politicians [...]

Background Essay on the March on Washington Movement

This essay describes the history of the March on Washington Movement, from its beginnings in 1941 to the famous 1963 March.

Background Essay on Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl

This essay explains the significance of young female immigrants in the labor upheavals that helped define the Progressive Era.

"To Increase Common Labor Supply with Porto Ricans"

With the passage of the Jones-Shafroth Act in 1917, Puerto Ricans became citizens of the United States. At the same time, penetration of the island by American-backed sugar interests displaced thousands of rural inhabitants, pushing them into a wage [...]

Background Essay on Cuban Immigration and Puerto Rican Migration to the United States

This essay explores the dual phenomena of Cuban immigration and Puerto Rican migration to the United States, noting their relationship to those countries' respective independence movements as well as U.S. intervention in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

A Professor Condemns Mexican Immigration

Mexican immigration to the United States increased dramatically during the decade of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20). Some in the U.S. welcomed the newcomers, while others worried about the effects they would have on American society. This 1912 [...]