Archive for the 'Agendas' Category

For 4/23 – Presidents on Trial

by Tona H - April 15th, 2012

We have some rich, complicated cases to consider in rapid succession as three presidents face serious Constitutional crises during their terms in office: Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

Reading: MP Chapter 15, 531-536 (US v. Nixon). Yes, that’s all the reading there is – you have your papers to turn in, so this session will be more lecture-like than usual and less reading-heavy. The presenters are: J. Fails, M. Lynch, and S. Boosahda – if you need a suggestion, each of you could take one of the three presidential cases and provide either a quick overview of the episode and the Constitutional issues involved, or perhaps a discussion of a useful resource for studying that president’s moment of crisis and its resolution.

We will also have a very special opportunity during our class time. Our campus Women’s Studies program is hosting historian Brigid O’Farrell on Monday the 23rd, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: She Was One of Us. A sociologist by training, O’Farrell uses labor history to better understand the issues and barriers confronting today‚Äôs workers and their unions. She is currently a lecturer and project director at Mills College and affiliated with the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, George Washington University.

Earlier in the day she will be speaking about the content of her work on Eleanor Roosevelt, but in the evening she’s giving a special session for history graduate students and the general public about archival research, titled “The Challenge of Archives and Audiences, Unions and Universities.” We will all attend her talk (along with Dr. Haller’s research methods class) from 6-7 in the Student Center’s Blue Lounge, and then stroll back to our regular classroom to ponder presidential travesties.

Here’s a campus map – I marked our classroom location, and the location of the Blue Lounge. It’s in the ground floor of the Student Center in the corner closest to the landscaping pond and athletic fields.


For Mon 4/2 – Brown v. Board of Education

by Tona H - March 30th, 2012

For Monday’s discussion, read at least these bits in the Waldo Martin Bedford book (the small size is a little deceiving, this book is *packed*)

Intro essay, pp. 1-41 (and take notice of the footnotes, too)

Ch. 4, the case: the appellant’s brief 1952, 137-151

Warren’s decision, giving the opinion of the court, 168-174 and the appellant’s brief 1954 regarding the remedy, 175-183

3 of the Newspaper editorials, letters or cartoons (your choice) from pp. 199-218

White Backlash 218-223

National Progress Reports from 1964, 1974, 1984, and 1994 pp. 223-229

Epilogue, 230-237

Reminder: Your review is due – guidelines are here, and also posted under the “Papers” tab.

Image source: State Library of Kansas

Reading for Mon 3/26 – Japanese-American Internment

by Tona H - March 16th, 2012

Our next class meeting will be Monday 3/26 when we talk about World War II, and in particular the internment of Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans. The reading will be a 7-page excerpt from Melvin Urofsky’s constitutional history, download it here as a PDF.

In addition, please explore two websites that can help give a human dimension to this episode:

JARDA, the Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive – a rich digital collection of text, artwork, and other material from the first-person perspective of internment camp residents and staff. Spend some time looking around, and bring/print/highlight/note some of the items that catch your notice for our class discussion.

Drama in the Delta, a RPG (role-playing game) currently under development, designed to help young people understand life in the camps, based on the Rohwer and Jerome camps, which were located in Arkansas. You can, depending on your time, inclination and hardware, download a prototype for Windows machines and try it out, or just explore the website and what the developers hope the game will accomplish.

See also: “A More Perfect Union: Japanese Americans and the U.S. Constitution,” Smithsonian online exhibit

And, if you’re interested you may want to look at the relevant Supreme Court cases:
Hirabiyashi v. United States (1943)
Yasui v. United States (1943)
Korematsu v. United States (1944)
Ex parte Endo (1944)
Duncan v. Kahanamoku (1946)

Image: courtesy of the American Memory collection of Ansel Adams photographs at the Manzanar Camp

The New Deal for Mon 3/12

by Tona H - March 10th, 2012

Reading: MP 10 + Amar 428-38

Due: Your prospectus, see guidelines under the “Papers” tab above.

Links and Resources
America in the 1930s (University of Virginia)
New Deal Network (FERI)
Specially recommended: Rondal Partridge photographs from NYA
WPA Posters (Library of Congress American Memory)
Studs Terkel, Hard Times oral histories with full audio

Also please note: I added a section at the foot of the “Papers” tab of resources for historical research and Chicago Style citation. Click here to jump to the resource list.

Unit 2: Suffrage, Progressivism, the New Deal & the Constitution 1890-1940

by Tona H - February 20th, 2012

Mon 2/20: No class

Mon 2/27: Civil Liberties and Wartime. Reading: MP 9 and Amar 405-419. Due: Your research topic (a paragraph is fine)

Relevant Links:
Poster Art from World War I
The Art of War (a “Teaching with Primary Sources” lesson plan comparing WWI and WW2 propaganda)
Article from “Worker’s World” commenting on the Palmer Raids
Mark Ruffalo reads Deb’s Canton Speech (Zinn, People’s History DVD)

Mon 3/5: Women’s Suffrage. Reading: Amar 419-428 and 2 PDF articles: Nancy Cott, “Marriage and Women’s Citizenship in the United States, 1830-1934,AHR December 1998 and Elizabeth Kenny Sparacino, “An Online Bibliography of Resources for the Study of Woman Suffrage,History Teacher Feb 2004.

Mon 3/12: The New Deal. Reading: MP 10 + Amar 428-438. Due: Research prospectus (Guidelines here).

Day Three: The Plessy Case

by Tona H - February 4th, 2012

1875 Portrait of PBS Pinchback Last Monday, we suggested that the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case is (yet another) endpoint to Reconstruction. With it, the last practical enforcement of nearly any part of the Radical Republican’s program for black civil rights disappeared and it marked the beginning of a 50-year period of Jim Crow state legislation across the South. This is the “racial nadir,” the codification of racial segregation and legal inferiority of Americans of color.

Please read and bring with you the slender (but packed!) Bedford book on the case.

Note: this photograph is NOT of Homer Plessy (although it shows up all over the web as his portrait), but rather Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, who briefly served as the state’s first non-white governor during the Reconstruction era in 1872-1873. Just to clarify. I have made the same mistake myself.

And here are some additional links and resources we may use in class:
Brief bio of Plessy, New Orleans Public Library, “Notable African Americans from Louisiana”
Plessy and Ferguson: Descendants of a Divisive Supreme Court Decision Unite,” Washington Post 5 June 2011
Plessy v. Ferguson 163 US 537 (1896) at Oyez Project
Plessy v. Ferguson at Our Documents
Related lesson plans, by Karen Wolff from the Yale-New Haven CT Teachers Institute
Constitutional Conflicts: The Road to Brown, on Doug Linder’s site “Exploring Constitutional Law”
Jim Crow Gateway Resources on Plessy v. Ferguson
The Plessy case on
Texas HS Civics online lesson on the case (Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! – created by the State Bar of Texas)
3.5 minute resource video on the case, from PBS “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” posted on the Teacher’s Domain
Charles Thompson, “Harlan’s Great Dissent,” Kentucky Humanities 1996 (1), posted at the Brandeis School of Law

Day One: Meet Each Other, Meet the Constitution

by Tona H - January 23rd, 2012

Today’s agenda and tasks:
Getting acquainted
Agreeing on course outcomes and expectations
Pre-Assessment Exam
Technical Stuff

  • Website, RSS Reader
  • Cell phone text messaging signup
  • Blackboard –> Digital Dropbox
  • Library resources
  • Online research resources
  • Discussion-leader calendar
  • Sidebar links?

Revisiting the Constitution, NPR “We the People” virtual convention, Fall 2011
Get to Know Your Constitution
Planning for Next Week