Many of you that had asked why this Monday would be different, so this can be a teachable moment for both of us. We made some connections to our course content. Below you can see the state standards and historical narrative that we study in 8th grade. These discussions were also fitting within the 7 things that holds Americans together from Professor Dallek. In our course we will learn about the industrial revolution and how workers deal with employers. We will learn more at a later date, but you can answer some of your basic questions with research on your own as United States history students. We have begun this discussion.
We did discuss the preview of the clash between Irish workers and African American workers in New York 1840-1860. We talked about the ideas on how Americans learned how to solve many problems in different sectors of our economy. We also mentioned the circular flow of markets, and how economies work under the ideas of "economic abundance" and "egalitarianism". The classes did mention these ideas in context of our families making ends meet, spending time with families, wages, health care, time to come to visit school, your place in the society, and participation in our democracy. We study the historical cycles of the American economy, and what happens with Xenophobia, and immigration policies in difficult times always shapes our socio-political literacies.
So have a great day and follow the social contract. See you Tuesday.
Why we go to school...
How did work change in the first half of the nineteenth century? This was a period of dramatic urbanization, as immigrants flocked to the cities, drawn by the “pull” factor of economic opportunity. The Great Irish Famine can be studied as an example of a “push” factor that affected the flow of immigrants to the United States. At the same time, the small African American population in the Northeast moved toward freedom, as the American Revolution initiated a long process of emancipation and indenture in this region. African Americans continued to occupy circumscribed social, economic, and political positions but created institutions to advance their rights and develop their communities, such as the African Methodist Episcopal Church founded by Richard Allen, Absalom Jones, and others in 1816.
Periods of boom and bust created both progress and poverty. In response to the strains brought about by rapid industrialization, an age of reform began that attempted to make life more bearable for the less fortunate and expanded opportunities for many. Students explore the significance of Charles Finney as the most famous leader of the Second Great Awakening, inspiring religious zeal, social reforms, such as equal education for women and African Americans, and eventually, support for the abolitionist movement. As more Americans grew concerned about people who were considered to be “downtrodden,” they turned their reform impulses from churches and philanthropies to other sectors of society. Students can explore campaigns to reform hospitals, mental institutions, and prisons by studying the reformers, those considered in need of reform, and the methods by which reform was initiated. To make this topic more personal, students can study the work of Dorothea Dix and consider the following question that addresses change over time and causality:
How did Americans help people in need? Other impulses for reform may be found in transcendentalism and individualism, as represented by the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
In addition to learning about reform through philosophy, health, and religion, students can learn about nineteenth-century reform through education. Students can study what life was like for young people in the 1830s in order to appreciate Horace Mann’s crusade for free public education for all, as well as the argument for public investment in education, both in the 19th century and today.
Grade Eight Classroom Example: The Civic Purpose of Public Education
In Mr. Lopez’s 8th-grade history class, students read and analyze excerpts from primary-source documents explaining the social and civic purposes of public education. Mr. Lopez begins the class by explaining to students that they will consider the question: Why go to school? As a brief opening activity, Mr. Lopez asks students to discuss their personal answers to this first question, and then to attempt to address it for people in the nineteenth century. As students complete the activity, Mr. Lopez charts on the board many of the common answers including but not limited to: literacy, economic benefits, to get an informed electorate, and childcare.
Next, Mr. Lopez introduces the idea of compulsory education in the nineteenth century by showing them examples of typical schoolbooks from the era. He highlights elocution exercises, moral lessons, and orations (for example, The Columbian Orator). He also provides students with an explanation of Why go to school? from two leading nineteenth-century intellectuals: Benjamin Rush and Catherine Beecher. Using selected sentences from Rush’s “Of the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic,” and Beecher’s A Treatise on Domestic Economy (chapter 1), students consider two radically different answers to the question. Working in pairs for a few minutes in preparation for a whole class discussion, the class charts similarities and differences between the justifications for education of the nineteenth century and more recent educational systems. They also discuss the perspectives of both authors by considering their personal background, the purpose of the document itself, and its intended audience. Although short, these excerpts aredense and filled with archaic language. To ensure student comprehension, Mr. Lopez works carefully with his students to help them understand how common terms can often have multiple meanings. For example, he has student groups look up the multiple meanings of the word “interest” and then displays the following excerpt from the Beecher reading on the elmo: “The proper education of a man decides the welfare of an individual; but educate a woman, and the interests of the whole family are secured.” Mr. Lopez then asks each student group the meaning they believe best fits with the context of the sentence. After all the groups report and explain their reasoning, Mr. Lopez reveals/confirms the correct meaning for this context. Next he distributes a reference analysis chart which pinpoints the subtle references to religion and philosophy in the two documents. He uses a Think-Pair-Share to work through the chart with students. Finally he models for students a breakdown of the rhetorical structure that Rush uses to make his argument. He has student groups break down Beecher’s rhetorical structure with the help of a graphic organizer tailored to the chosen excerpt.
Mr. Lopez then asks students to discuss the following question in pairs, using evidence from the chart: Why did Benjamin Rush believe it was important to go to school? Why did Catherine Beecher believe it was important to go to school? How did their individual perspective affect their answers? As students discuss, Mr. Lopez circulates throughout the discussion to make sure that students’ answers are supported by relevant evidence and encourages them to think about how this answer might be similar or different if it was answered today.
As a culminating activity, Mr. Lopez asks students to assume the perspective of one of the two 19th century authors in order to write a short critique of the other. Students then use their discussion notes to explain (in a few paragraphs) how their selected author’s views align with and differ from the other, all in response to the question: Why Go to School?
History–Social Science Framework
Adopted by the State Board of Education on July 14, 2016
- Trace patterns of agricultural and industrial development as they relate to climate, use of natural resources, markets, and trade and locate such development on a map.
- Identify the reasons for the development of federal Indian policy and the wars with American Indians and their relationship to agricultural development and industrialization.
- Explain how states and the federal government encouraged business expansion through tariffs, banking, land grants, and subsidies.
- Discuss entrepreneurs, industrialists, and bankers in politics, commerce, and industry (e.g., Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Leland Stanford).
- Examine the location and effects of urbanization, renewed immigration, and industrialization (e.g., the effects on social fabric of cities, wealth and economic opportunity, the conservation movement).
- Discuss child labor, working conditions, and laissez-faire policies toward big business and examine the labor movement, including its leaders (e.g., Samuel Gompers), its demand for collective bargaining, and its strikes and protests over labor conditions.
- Identify the characteristics and impact of Grangerism and Populism.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.