July 21, 2017

Featured Source: President Obama’s 2016 State of the Union Address

Read this In Custodia Legis blog post on State of the Union addresses from the Library of Congress. List the main points covered in the post. Then look at the Wordle™ made from the text of President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address given on January 12, 2016. What key themes are highlighted in this Wordle? How do those themes compare to the main headings of the address as categorized by the 2016 address White House web page? Read the full text of President Barack Obama's final … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart felt she was meant to fly. In 1932, she became the first woman to pilot a plane across the Atlantic Ocean and three years later, in 1935, she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Hawaii to California. On July 2, 1937, towards the end of her round-the-world flight over the Pacific Ocean somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan sent their last radio communication. The mystery of their disappearance has never been … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Lynching

Please be sure to review all primary sources prior to introducing students to them. You may also wish to read Selecting Primary Sources That Deal with Difficult Issues. Lynching by Helen Douglass 1859 manuscript "Lynch Law in the South" by Frederick Douglass The North American Review Volume 155, Issue 428 July 1892 Lynch Laws speech by Frederick Douglass The facts in the case of the horrible murder of little Myrtle Vance c 1893 Lessons of the Hour speech by Frederick Douglass, … [Read more...]

Primary Source Spotlight: Slavery (U.S.)

Library slavery collections Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves Caroline Hammond (a fugitive) "I was born in Anne Arundel County near Davidsonville about 3 miles from South River in the year 1844...." The story of Charles Crawley, ex-slave "God knows, how old I am. All I know is, I wuz born 'fore de war...." Voices from the Days of … [Read more...]

Teaching Now: Determining the Main Idea of a Text

This is a guest post from Glenn Jensen, a national board certified U.S. and world history teacher at Kennedy High School in Chicago, Illinois. Glenn has developed an exercise that is a great way to begin analyzing primary source texts because it has students focus on what they know, what they can extrapolate from that knowledge, and how they can apply that knowledge to their own lives. Below he describes how he recently implemented the text analysis with his students; the activity, which meets … [Read more...]

Today in History: Henry Cabot Lodge

Today in History–May 12–the Library of Congress features politician and historian Henry Cabot Lodge, born on this day in 1850. Lodge was a long-standing member of Congress, serving the state of Massachusetts as a U.S. representative from 1887 to 1893 and a U.S. senator from 1893 to 1924. This Republican statesman is perhaps best known for his staunch argument against U.S. participation in the League of Nations proposed by President Woodrow Wilson. Find out more about this fiery orator by … [Read more...]

Today in History: St. Patrick’s Day

Today in History–March 17–the Library of Congress features St. Patrick's Day. This Irish and Irish-American holiday commemorates the death of the patron saint of Ireland who, as legend has it, died on this date circa 492. The holiday has been celebrated in the United States since the 18th century. Across the country today, many people celebrate with parades and by wearing the color green. Learn more by visiting the Today in History section, then follow the links below to uncover St. Patrick's … [Read more...]

Today in History: Lincoln’s Inauguration

Today in History–March 4–the Library of Congress features the first inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, conducted  on this date in 1861. Times were tense  and Lincoln delivered his inaugural address under the guard of riflemen. In the speech he called for compromise and appealed for the preservation of the Union. Learn more about President Lincoln's first day in office by visiting the Today in History section, then click the links below to access more primary source about both … [Read more...]

Today in History: Valley Forge

Today in History–September 26–the Library of Congress features Valley Forge. On this day in 1777, the Continental Congress was forced to flee when British troops marched into the city of Philadelphia. The Continental Army under General George Washington spent the winter at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania while British troops held Philadelphia. Find out more about this difficult season during the American Revolution by visiting  the Today in History section, then click the links below to uncover … [Read more...]

Today in History: The Marshall Plan

Today in History–June 19–the Library of Congress features the Marshall Plan. On this day in 1947, British and French foreign ministers invited 22 European nations to participate in designing a plan for rebuilding war-torn Europe. Two weeks earlier in a speech at Harvard University, World War II general and U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall had called for a multi-billion dollar European aid package designed to stabilize the world economy and discourage the spread of communism. Nearly … [Read more...]