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Herb - social history for every classroom

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"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 [...]

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 [...]

The Movement Before the Movement: Civil Rights Activism in the 1940s

In this activity, students read cards about various civil rights protests and events during the 1940s. For each event, students match the issue (voting rights, fair employment, fair housing, or segregation in public places) at stake, identify the [...]

The Iron Horse vs. the Buffalo: Indian-Settler Conflict on the Great Plains

In this activity, students read a series of primary source documents, including the 1872 print "American Progress," that depict the social, political and cultural conflicts between settlers and Native Americans during the 19th century. Then, working [...]

Debating Abolitionist Strategies

In this lesson, students will host an abolitionist meeting in the 1850s, after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Three strategies for ending slavery will be presented, and students will evaluate and debate the strengths and weaknesses of each [...]

Propaganda and World War II

In this activity, students compare World War II propaganda posters from the United States, Great Britain, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union. Then students choose one of several creative or analytical writing assignments to demonstrate what they've [...]

Exploring the Irish in America Through Found Poetry

In this lesson students read poems and letters that describe the work and lives of nineteenth-century Irish immigrants to the United States. As students read the documents, they choose words and phrases to create found poems that reflect their [...]

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 [...]

Debate: Should the U.S. Annex the Philippines?

In this activity students investigate various perspectives on the debate over the annexation of the Philippines by the United States after the Spanish-American War. Students read a variety of primary sources on the annexation question and the [...]

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