March 21

Google Docs – ch. 25-26

2nd Hour –

3rd Hour –

5th Hour –

Due Monday night (3/27) by 10pm.  

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This film below, Sunshine and Shadow, is one we watched on Monday and took the quiz w/ our notes.  We watched the first 37 minutes.

March 11

Google Docs – Industry and Labor

2nd Hour –

3rd Hour –

5th Hour –


Due Wednesday night, 3/15, by 10pm.

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Top Six Reasons Why American Industry Exploded in late 19th Century –

Men Who Built America, part 1 – A New War Begins

Men Who Built America, part 2 – Oil Strike

Men Who Built America, part 3 – A Rivalry is Born

Men Who Built America, part 4 – Blood is Spilled

March 1

Final Exam Stuff – Trimester 2

Here’s a link to the primary sources in a Google Doc –

Things / People / Events you need to know.

Know primary characteristics of the colonies / regions -17th / 18th Century                          John Winthrop

Atlantic slave trade                                         Encomienda system                                                   Silent Majority

Great Society                                                     Containment in Asia                                                  Marshall Plan

Conservative movement in 1980s             End of the Cold War – Gorbachev                        Persian Gulf War

National Debt in the 1980s                           Deregulation                                                                  Ku Klux Klan

Women’s suffrage in 1870                           Election of 1876 / Compromise of 1877                   Brown v. Board of Ed., Kansas

13th , 14th, and 15th Amendments               Gettysburg and Antietam                                  Lincoln’s 10% plan

Carpetbaggers                                                  Kansas-Nebraska Act                                         Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Waving the Bloody Shirt                                Radical Republican plan for Reconstruction          Dred Scott

Johnson’s impeachment                              James K. Polk and his land grabs                                Mexican War

War Hawks like Henry Clay and Calhoun                Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

Republican motherhood                               Lowell mills                                                      Marbury v. Madison

3/5 Compromise                                              Shays Rebellion                   Eli Whitney – interchangeable parts

Temperance Movement         Seneca Falls Convention                            Red Scare / McCarthy / Rosenbergs

NSC -68              Olive Branch Petition           First Continental Congress       Salutary Neglect

Battle of Saratoga – turning point        Emancipation Proclamation      Common Sense

Gibbons v. Ogden              William Lloyd Garrison / ACS

Review Sessions – Thursday (3/2 ) X-Block 7:40 – 8:15, Monday (3/6) after school, 2:55 – 3:20

February 26

Post #95 – Why We’re Still Fighting the Civil War

You’re in an Advanced Placement U.S. History class that analyzes different approaches to history.  As we have learned, history’s interpretation can change – use the formation of the Constitution’s interpretation as an example (Blog #93).  History can also be used as a weapon to support or discredit opponents like the way Richard Nixon / Watergate, Frederick Douglass, and Japanese internment camps are being used to discredit President Trump.  In the same way that history can be weaponized, the history of the Civil War has been discussed and fought over ever since General Lee surrendered to General Grant at Appomattox Court House in April 1865.  Using the article, “The Way We Weren’t,” author David Von Drehle dissects the way Americans have viewed the bloodiest conflict in our history.

People in 2011 were polled in the 11 states of the Confederacy, and they answered that the primary cause of the Civil War was states rights, or in this case, the primacy of the states over the federal government, despite what the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause said.  However, as we have seen with the recent history we’ve studied, states rights was not just a Southern thing.  Northern states and cities resisted the new Fugitive Slave Law (and the federal government) and tried to foil sending slaves to their original owners.  Eminent Civil War historians like James McPherson and David Blight state that almost everything in the events leading up to the Civil War dovetail w/ slavery.

Confederate soldiers and citizens, the losers in the conflict, had to mentally hold onto their “due pride” after fighting so hard, so they invented the states rights cause.  Many historians, novelists, and filmmakers were willing to go along with this denial and write narratives that supported the states rights cause.  Confederate generals wrote their memoirs in the post-war world which distanced their sacrifice from slavery and attached it firmly to something more noble (in their minds) like states rights.  Insidious inside the states rights cause was the Lost Cause, the belief that slavery was a benign institution and that Black people had it better under slavery than freedom.  Freedom, as defined by the profit-hungry, industrial North, included working for tiny wages and ruthless competition. In Jefferson Davis’s book about the war, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, he portrays the South as hopelessly outgunned and outmanned (which it was) and compares the North to the serpent infiltrating the Garden of Eden (the South) where slave owners lived with their slaves in paradise.

However, this is not to blame the Civil War on just the South.  Yes, they were treasonous.  Yes, they killed hundreds of thousands of Northern soldiers, but EVERYONE was complicit in slavery.  As mentioned in the article, many Northern states, including Wall Street, benefitted dramatically from it.  Check out the New York Historical Society’s online exhibit, Slavery in New York.  There should be little doubt that the war was a long time coming, exacted a horrific toll on the nation, and still leaves us with a legacy that we are dealing with as a nation.


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By User:GolbezOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Questions to answer:

  1. Why was the Lost Cause or denial of slavery as the central cause so attractive to Americans in the aftermath of the war (even up until the 20th Century Civil Rights Movement)?
  2. On page 40 (1) of the article, it mentions several different causes of the Civil War:
    • Northern aggressors invading an independent Southern nation;
    • High tariffs like the Tariff of Abominations;
    • Blundering statesmen like Stephen Douglas, Roger Taney, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan;
    • Clash of industrial vs. agrarian cultures;
    • Caused by fanatics like John Brown and Southern “fire eaters”;
    • Representive of a Marxist class struggle – Southern aristocracy vs. Northern factory workers.

Which of these is most persuasive as a cause and which is the least persuasive cause?  Why?

3. The article focuses a lot on Bleeding Kansas as the pivotal point in which the Civil War seemed inevitable.  Would you agree with this assertion?  Why or why not?

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4. What are some major arguments that poke holes in the Lost Cause?  Think of movies like Birth of a Nation and Gone With the Wind  and their portrayal of the South.

5. When and why did America finally start to break away from the Lost Cause mythology (a.k.a. The Dunning School of Post War America)?

Pick 4 of the questions (including #1) and answer them in 400 words minimum total.  Due Friday, March 3 by class. 

February 22

I am Not Your Negro – review and extra credit

“There are days — this is one of them — when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it.” – James Baldwin, 1963.

This film, I am Not Your Negro, directed by Raoul Peck, is a testament to James Baldwin’s brilliance.  It in one fell swoop places him within the context of the Civil Rights Movement and also as someone who was a latecomer to its activism (though he fought racism through his words while living in France).  He was one of America’s leading intellectuals and social critics and found a way to cut through the baloney, the white ignorance of the time, the cluelessness, like a knife.  At once, the film is a unique history of the CRM, of the past sixty years of race, and also it’s a warning for us today that we still have racial problems left festering.

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

The film’s narrative is loosely based upon Baldwin’s attempt to write a history of the CRM using his friends, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Dr. King, as touchstones.  Apparently, Baldwin only got as far as 30 pages of notes before he gave up on the project in 1979.  What shocked me (though I knew this fact in the back of my mind, being a history teacher) was the fact that all three men were killed before they hit the age of 40.  As someone who is almost 50, I am both in awe and in shock of how much these three men had accomplished in such a short span.

The film begins with Baldwin’s appearance on The Dick Cavett Show in 1968 as the host earnestly implores Baldwin as to where there might be a glimmer of hope in race relations.  Baldwin smiles that toothy grin and kind of shakes his head as if to say he doesn’t know.  But he does.  What Dick Cavett asked him is probably indicative of what other white people have asked themselves during and since the CRM – when will Black people be satisfied with the advances that their race has made?   When Cavett brings an older, white professor of philosophy to come on, all he does is whitesplain the problem of race in America to Baldwin.  Below is Baldwin’s response:

At an interview with Attorney General Robert Kennedy in 1963, James Baldwin and playwright Lorraine Hansberry (among others) were gathered together to discuss improving race relations, a “quiet, off-the-record, unpublicized get-together of prominent Negroes”.  JFK was still thinking about 1964 and running again, so he couldn’t look like he was kowtowing to Black people for fear of losing the Southern vote, yet he still had to appear to be leader of ALL Americans. The meeting took place in late May, soon after the film footage of the Children’s Crusade was broadcast to the nation – blasting Black children with water from fire hoses and attacking protestors with dogs.  This meeting, though just briefly mentioned in the film, seems like a typical Kennedy maneuver where the Kennedys do something on the surface but don’t seem to understand the deeper, underlying causes.  The actors and activists at the meeting were told by Robert Kennedy that maybe in forty years there might be a Black president.  Baldwin’s answer, two years later in a debate with William F. Buckley, conservative critic, is telling:

“From the point of view of the man in the Harlem barber shop, Bobby Kennedy only got here yesterday and now he is already on his way to the Presidency… We were here for 400 years and now he tells us that maybe in 40 years, if you are good, we may let you become President.” – 1965

It reminds me of something that I had heard once that, when asked, how many more women did Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg feel need to be on the court in order to make women feel equal?  Her answer was nine, with the rationale that the Supreme Court had been all male for 190 years, it’s time to make up some ground.  In the same respect, maybe we need a string of minority presidents of women and people of color to help make America more equal.

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

There was a telling scene, a powerful scene, when Baldwin was talking about growing up in Harlem and watching his friends die way too early.  Then, the film cuts to snapshots of modern young Black Americans, all cut down before their 18th birthday, like Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, and ends with someone holding up a sign that says “We Live in a Police State” or something to that effect.  There are shots of the Ferguson disturbances interspersed with shots of white police officers clubbing Black people on the streets of Oakland, California and Birmingham, Alabama, ramming home the message that though we whites might think this awful string of police brutality is relatively new in America, it’s not.  Now, more things are just being caught on video than ever before.

“I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.” 

Baldwin’s social critiques of the nation in the film are just as prescient as they were fifty years ago, maybe even more so.  Because the film is so dense, with layers of meaning and visuals and voice overs going on all at the same time, I feel like I would need to see this film two or three more times to get the entire message.  But one scene struck me, as Baldwin decries the vacuousness of American life, about how that once we discover how pointless life is with an accumulation of stuff, we’ll go crazy.  As he says this (with narration by Samuel L. Jackson), there is some colorful movie with white people dancing all around, and then he cuts to a scene from Gus Van Zant’s 2003 film, Elephant, about a Columbine-like school shooting.

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

One of the things that Baldwin stresses the most, where I think he is most consistently portrayed in the film, is his undying belief that it is our humanity that ties us all together.  Peck, the filmaker does an excellent job of contrasting how two different groups of people can see the same thing and view it differently, so I am certain that my film review would be markedly different than a Black film critic (I’m not calling myself a critic, I just love movies).  And it is this underlying humanity and how we figure out who we are in America is what seems to fascinate Baldwin the most.  This humanity is what ties us together, and because of it, we are inextricably woven as a fabric in one piece in American history. To separate the strands between white, black, brown, red, yellow, is to render the fabric useless.

For extra credit, see the film and answer three of the questions below (you must answer #2 as one of the three): 

  1. How did films shape how James saw the world when he was younger?  Also, how are films, especially ones with the great actor Sidney Poitier, used?
  2. How does this film act as a history of the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 – 1968?  How is it not a history but yet the story of James Baldwin?
  3.  One of the things that the film brings up is how white and black people see things differently, specifically using the pivotal scene in the movie, The Defiant Ones.  How do you think your perception of this film is different than somebody of another color?  Why?
  4. “The story of the Negro in America is the story of America. It is not a pretty story.”  Explain whether or not you agree with this quote and why.

Blog is due by Friday night, March 10.  350 words minimum.  

February 15

Google Docs – Ch 20 -22

2nd Hour –


3rd Hour –

Presentation –

4th Hour –

Presentation –

5th Hour –

Presentation –

GDs are due Thursday, March 2 by 10pm. 

Also, please register for the APUSH exam.  See info below.

Registration for AP Exams will be online this year.

 Go to

 Registration begins Wednesday, February, 1st and ends Monday February 27th


 Cost for each exam is $ 95.00

 Have your credit card or debit card available when you go to register.

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February 8

Cotton cleaning – APUSH Style

Interactive Lesson Plan on Antebellum Cotton

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What was done previously: Students have read notes from Ch. 16 of the textbook on the rise of the Cotton Kingdom.  They have also read primary sources from James Hammond, “Cotton is King,” David Walker, “Walker’s Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World,” an excerpt from William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator, John C. Calhoun, “Slavery as a Positive Good,” and are currently reading the short book, Autobiography of Frederick Douglass. In the last unit, the students have also read excerpts of Daniel Walker Howe’s book, What Hath God Wrought, in an essay entitled, “The Changes Wrought by Cotton, Transportation, and Communication” and answered questions about the essay (essay located in Major Problems in American History, Volume 1: To 1877, 3rd edition).

Overall plan: Students will have an immersion experience into the antebellum slave plaImage may contain: one or more people and indoorntation life by cleaning a boll of cotton.  They will have to pick the seeds out and save them for later, and clean the cotton so that it is free of stems and leaves.  Cotton can be purchased at several locations on the internet, especially at,, and also on Amazon.   While cleaning the cotton, a YouTube compilation of Negro spirituals will play (, and a Power Point w/ pictures of black Americans picking cotton will be on a loop on the screen projector.   Afterwards, students will read segments of an interview with an ex-slave from the WPA interviews in 1937-41 found on the American Memory section of the Library of Congress’s website, and then they will listen to a short interview from another slave.

  1. Read Mollie Williams’ interview from Mississippi Federal Writers. pgs. 157- 164.

– Questions afterward:

  1. What did you learn from Mollie’s experience as a slave? Explain.
  2. Does this excerpt present a different view / challenge your perception of what slavery was like? Why?
  1. Show video on cleaning cotton.
  1. Pass out one cotton boll to each student. Have them clean the cotton and seeds and stem and leaves as best as they can. Separate into three piles.
  1. While they clean, play the music, Negro spirituals. may contain: one or more people and people sitting
  1. Also while the students are cleaning their cotton boll, show Power Point.
  1. Afterwards, have students pile seeds onto a table. Put cleaned cotton into a bag or box. Throw out the stems and leaves.
  1. Listen to slave interview located here, to Fountain Hughes, aged 101. You can start around 6 minutes in or listen to the whole thing. Famous line about being a slave but nothing but a dog is around 19:00. Finish at 20:05.
  1. Student reflection. Start writing in class:
    1. What did you learn from this experience with the interviews and the cotton?
    2. What is the benefit of learning history (or anything for that matter) in a format like this? Why?



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Student reactions: 

  1. What did you learn from this experience with the interviews and the cotton?

I learned that it was very time consuming to pick just one boll of cotton, and that if I had to clean 50 maybe 100 of those a day that I might really struggle.” Henry V. 

“Listening to the interviews and doing the physical task of cleaning cotton personalized what slavery was like. Instead of reading about far off slaves who died a long time ago, and thinking “wow that really sucks for them” it sort of increases both sympathy and empathy for the situations that so many people had to deal with.” Camille W.

” We usually only talk about the politics and conflicts surrounding slavery, not the people whose lives were controlled by it. It was very interesting to “zoom in” on a few specific people and learn how their lives were shaped by slavery.” Ben I.

“Being able to actually touch and feel and experience the cotton picking, it gave me a greater respect for the work slaves had to do.” Davit T.


2. What is the benefit of learning history (or anything for that matter) in a format like this? Why?

“We were always taught that the Slaves were primarily used to pick cotton, we’ve always known that. We’ve always known that it was a difficult task and that it was back breaking. So while we may have understood, we never could relate. So being able to hold the cotton in our hands and do the task of taking a part the cotton, taking out all the seeds and leaves, it was so cool. We got to see first hand what the slaves had to do everyday from sunrise to sunset.” – Tania M.


February 8

Ch. 18 -19 Google Docs

2nd Hour –

3rd Hour –

4th Hour –

5th Hour –

Due Sunday, February 12 by 10 pm.  

Extra credit film, Oklahoma City for PBS –

Extra credit film, Race Underground for PBS –

Extra credit film, Ruby Ridge from PBS (available 2/14) –

All extra credit films are due 2 weeks after they’ve aired, so Race is due 2/14, OKCity is due 2/21, and Ruby is due 2/28.  Minimum 1/2 page summary, minimum 1/2 page connection to APUSH.


February 1

Google Docs – ch 16-17

2nd Hour –

3rd Hour –

4th Hour –

5th Hour –

Due Saturday night, February 4, by 10 p.m. 

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