Tag Archives: United States History

Cultural Literacy: Red Scare

Moving right along on a gorgeous August morning in Vermont, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Red Scare of 1919 and 1920 in the United States.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, August 2, 2019

[Today is Tuesday, July 30; I have a very busy week in store making the rounds of job interviews, so I am publishing The Weekly Text for this week today.]

The dog days have arrived. You are, I hope, by a body of cool water with your favorite cold beverage nearby. Remember: stay cool and hydrated!

The Weekly Text for this first Friday in August is this reading on muckraker Jacob Riis and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. New York City teachers, nota bene: Riis’s name is on parks, monuments, and buildings in your town.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Henry David Thoreau

This Cultural Literacy worksheet on Henry David Thoreau is a good–and perhaps more importantly, short–general introduction to the this paragon of Transcendentalism and important American thinker and writer.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Military-Industrial Complex

Some years ago, I watched a documentary called “Why We Fight” (whose title alludes to a series of documentary films, also called “Why We Fight,” most of them directed by Frank Capra, which sought to justify the United States involvement in World War II) that reported, among other things, that President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in one of the original drafts of his famous farewell speech to the nation, referred not just to a nascent “military-industrial complex” but to a “military-industrial-congressional complex.” The danger of the weapons industry’s interest, for the sake of profit, in global conflict ought to be obvious enough, as should its influence. These are some the biggest, most well-capitalized corporations in this nation.

But when Ike, who wasn’t exactly a conspiracy-minded hippie, said it, it had real gravitas. Too bad we as a nation appear not to have heeded his warning about this phenomenon.

Anyway, maybe this reading on the military-industrial complex and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet might have some utility in your classroom.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Five Points

Have you seen Martin Scorsese’s film Gangs of New York? Or perhaps read Herbert Asbury’s book, The Gangs of New York, from which most of the historical material in the film is drawn? You might also have come across Tyler Anbinder’s book–highly recommended, if the subject interests you–on the infamous Lower Manhattan neighborhood which is now subsumed by Chinatown. I became interested in the district after seeing Mr. Scorsese’s film, and spent some time reading, thinking about, and visiting it.

For my esteemed colleagues teaching in New York City, I can assure you from direct experience with my own students in The Bronx and Manhattan that this reading on the Five Points is generally of high interest to kids in the Five Boroughs. Here is the reading’s accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Know-Nothings

Given the recent outbreak of bigotry in this country (I guess we were all aware of this persistent latent tendency in the American mind, but yeesh, you know?), I’m hard-pressed to think of a better time to post this reading on the anti-Catholic Know-Nothing party and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Walter Wallace Decodes the Rockingham Meeting House Cemetery

While I realize that it’s not most people’s idea of fun, I like to spend time in cemeteries. I appreciate funerary art. I enjoy the solemnity and quiet of cemeteries. I benefit from the perspective cemeteries provide. And, since the advent of the smartphone, I enjoy using cemeteries as a primary source in historical research. One can learn a lot about the demographics of a town by its deceased citizens.

So, I am pleased to see that my pal Walter Wallace, in Springfield, Vermont, has worked with a local cable access production company to offer this video on Puritan symbolism on gravestones at the Rockingham Meeting House, in Rockingham Vermont, where he is a docent. Incidentally, this meeting house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Great work, Walter!