Archive for US History

Spanish American War!

US History Honors, Period 1, 4 & 7
Mrs. Sullivan
December 8-9, 2008

Spanish American War:
Library Assignment

Objective: Create a study guide/information sheet on the Spanish American War.

Components: You may be creative with the format, but please including the following information:
-Events leading up to the war
-Causes of the War
-Main events/battles during the war
-3 key historical figures associated with the war
-at least two images associated with the war
-how the war ends, details of the peace agreement
-long term impact for the United States
-A correctly formatted bibliography of all the sources you use (don’t forget to include citations for your photos).

DO NOT cut and paste information, but make sure to put it in your own words. If you directly cut and paste information, you will not receive full credit for the assignment!

Your Sources:
-Your Works Cited page can be at the bottom of your study guide or on a separate page, stapled to the study guide. Don’t forget to use to make sure it is perfectly formatted!
-Make sure that ALL your sources are reputable. Suggestion: The Library of Congress and PBS have good information sites about the Spanish American War. For additional resources, see:

Due: Tuesday at the end of class

Partners: groups of 2 are OK

Points/Value: 50 points (5 points for each of the components listed above, plus 10 points for in-class work)

Published in: US History on December 8, 2008 at8:03 am Comments (2)

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Explore the resources on this excellent website by Cornell University dedicated to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  Click here for the main page.

Particulartly pay attention to the photographs, list of victims, and personal accounts.

After looking through the data, stories, and photos respond in writing to the tragedy.  You may respond in one of the following ways:

  • Write a detailed obituary for one of the victims.
  • Pretend you are a lawyer preparing to sue the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.  Write your opening statement to the court.
  • Imagine you are a survivor.  Write about the horros that you wittnessed.
  • Select a photograph and use that as the inspiration for a short historical fiction piece.
  • Write a letter to president Taft demanding workplace reform.
  • Write a poem to repond to the tragedy.
  • OTHER:  do you have another idea?  Check with me first for approval…

Due:  end of the period

Value: 20 points

You may print out your response OR e-mail it to me at [email protected]

HOMEWORK: Read NY Times article from March 26, 1911 and answer 1-5

Published in: US History on September 30, 2008 at6:19 am Comments (0)

Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb…?

Dropping the bomb…  


In August of 1945 President Truman authorized the use of the atomic bomb on the island nation of Japan.  Today you will be exploring this decision.


  1. Explain the Manhattan Project—what is it?  Who was involved?
  2. There are compelling arguments both in favor and opposed to dropping the bomb on Japan.  Research these arguments and provide two arguments for each side.
  3. Ultimately, which argument do you feel is most compelling?  Explain.
  4. Once the decision to drop the bomb was made, describe the logistics.  How were the bombs dropped? How were the cities selected?
  5. What was the long-term effects of dropping the bomb (both from a health and political perspective).
  6. 63 years later, the decision continues to be controversial.  What are you feelings about the topic?
Published in: US History on May 13, 2008 at12:04 pm Comments (0)

Creative Writing…

Explore photographs from the Great Depression:

 Next, select a photograph that inspires you.

Create a story about this photograph.  Perhaps the main character in your story will be in the picture.  Use the caption information to help you as well.

You may work with a partner.  Due at the end of the period.

Please print out your story!

Published in: US History on March 19, 2008 at6:31 am Comments (0)

Over The Top

Click here to play “Over the Top”

Published in: US History on February 11, 2008 at7:14 am Comments (0)

Black History Month

Hello period 2 & 6… As you’ve figured out by now, I’m out sick :(

February is Black History Month.  Today I wanted to give you a chance to research and reflect on African Americans who made important contributions to our society.  For each of the following categories, select one African American (or person of African descent) that you admire.

1.  List the person

2.  Provide the URL where you found good information on this person

3.  Provide 2-3 sentences on what they’ve accomplished

4.  Lastly, provide 2-3 sentences on why you admire this person.

5.  Submit your responses via e-mail to [email protected] OR print them out and hand them to the substitute.

Have a wonderful weekend

The categories:

1. Musician/Songwriter/Composer  (past or present):

2. Inventor or Scientist:

3. Mathematician:

4. Humanitarian:

5. Sports Hero:

6. Historian:

7. Statesman:

8. Visual Artist:

9. Writer or Poet:

10. Actor/Actress:


Published in: US History on February 8, 2008 at7:04 am Comments (0)

Holiday Extra Credit #2 (Finally)

OK, so the first extra credit asked you to interpret a quote about history.  Now I would like you to use your internet sleuthing skills to find another quote about history that you like.

1.  Copy & paste the quote and who said it.

2.  Provide the URL of the site where you got it.

3.  Explain why you chose it.

Make sure to check each other’s responses to avoid repetitions.

Published in: US History on January 5, 2008 at12:42 pm Comments (37)

Holiday Extra Credit #1

Hello!  I hope you’re enjoying the break.  My entire family has invaded my house, so things are a little hectic.

OK, what you’re really here for…

The extra credit!  Please respond to the following quote.  What does it mean to you?  Do agree/disagree?  Explain!

E. L. Doctorow:

“History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.”

Published in: US History on December 26, 2007 at11:06 am Comments (37)

December Library Assignment

Same directions as usual :)  You may work with 1 other person and please submit work by the end of the period through e-mail:  [email protected] .  Alternatively, you may print out a copy.

Answer the following questions completely:

Presidential Questions

1.  IN YOUR OWN WORDS: Write a brief biography of former president William McKinley.  If you quote anything, you must use ” ” and provide an in-text citation. Use at least 2 different sources and cite them!

2.  Do the same for Teddy Roosevelt.

3.  Find a policial cartoon about Teddy Roosevelt.  Copy and paste the image (or the URL if it won’t let you paste the image).  Next, explain the symbols and the message of the cartoon.

Panama Canal Questions

4.  How long did it take to construct the canal.

5.  Approx. how long is the canal?

6.  Approx. how wide is the canal?

7.  Reserach about when and how the canal was returned to Panama.  In a brief paragraph, explain the process and why it happened.  Make sure to cite your sources!

Website Evaluation

For each of the websites listed, answer the following questions.




8.  Who (group or individual) is responsible for creating this site?

9.  What is the purpose of this site?

10.  Do you trust the information in the site?  Why or why not?

11.  Would you recomend this site to students interested in learning about American Imperialism?  Why or why not?

Published in: US History on December 12, 2007 at7:16 am Comments (0)

Art and Diplomacy

Read the NY Times article Philharmonic Agrees to Play in North Korea.

Do you think this trip is a good idea?  What are the possible side-effects of this trip?  Can art be used as a tool of diplomacy?

December 10, 2007

Philharmonic Agrees to Play in North Korea


Adding a cultural wrinkle to the diplomatic engagement between the United States and North Korea, the New York Philharmonic plans to visit Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in February, taking the legacy of Beethoven, Bach and Bernstein to one of the world’s most isolated nations.

The trip, at the invitation of North Korea, will be the first significant cultural visit by Americans to that country, and it comes as the United States is offering the possibility of warmer ties with a country that President Bush once consigned to the “axis of evil.”

“We haven’t even had Ping-Pong diplomacy with these people,” said Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, the Bush administration’s main diplomat for negotiations with North Korea and the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

Just last week Mr. Bush sent a letter to Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s leader, suggesting that ties would improve if North Korea fully disclosed all nuclear programs and got rid of its nuclear weapons. Conservatives have criticized the Bush administration for engaging with North Korea when it has violated nuclear promises, and in the face of recent intelligence indicating its possible assistance to Syria in beginning work on a reactor.

State Department officials said the orchestra’s invitation from North Korea and its acceptance represented a potential opening in that Communist nation’s relationship with the outside world, and a softening of its unrelenting anti-United States propaganda.

“It would signal that North Korea is beginning to come out of its shell, which everyone understands is a long-term process,” Mr. Hill said. “It does represent a shift in how they view us, and it’s the sort of shift that can be helpful as we go forward in nuclear weapons negotiations.”

The Philharmonic’s trip, which has generated some controversy among orchestra musicians and commentators, will follow a venerable line of groundbreaking orchestra tours that have played a role in diplomacy, the most famous one, perhaps, taking place in 1973, when the Philadelphia Orchestra traveled to China soon after President Nixon’s historic visit and amid what came to be known as Ping-Pong diplomacy. In 1956 the Boston Symphony was the first major American orchestra to travel to the Soviet Union. The New York Philharmonic, under Leonard Bernstein, went three years later.

Of the Philharmonic’s excursion, Mr. Hill said, “I hope it will be looked back upon as an event that helped bring that country back into the world.”

The Philharmonic, led by its music director, Lorin Maazel, has been considering the visit since an invitation arrived by fax in August. It was a typed letter from the North Korean culture ministry, in English, accompanied by a cover letter from a private individual in California who said he was acting as an intermediary. The orchestra had the invitation authenticated by the State Department, which has provided advice and help in negotiating the terms of the visit. Mr. Hill said that he did not know how the invitation had come about. But its timing was significant, after a series of breakthroughs in a decade-long effort to have North Korea halt its nuclear program.

In February North Korea agreed to shut down its main reactor in exchange for economic aid and other inducements. The reactor was switched off in July, a month before the invitation. And in September the Bush administration said that North Korea had agreed to disable its main nuclear fuel plant and give an accounting of its nuclear facilities, fuel and weapons by the end of the year. Progress toward the Philharmonic’s visit accelerated when orchestra executives and a State Department official visited Pyongyang in October.

The final major logistical pieces of the concert fell into place late last week, after a visit to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, by Zarin Mehta, the orchestra’s president. The Philharmonic’s spokesman, Eric Latzky, confirmed that the trip was on, but he declined to discuss details publicly until a news conference at Avery Fisher Hall tomorrow, when it is to be formally announced.

Mr. Hill, who was in Pyongyang last week delivering Mr. Bush’s letter and inspecting nuclear facilities, said he planned to attend the news conference. He has spoken privately to the orchestra members. Even more surprising, the Philharmonic said that Pak Kil-yon, North Korea’s representative to the United Nations, would also attend, a rare public appearance by a North Korean diplomat. Mr. Hill said he believed that the conditions sought by the Philharmonic had been met. They included the presence of foreign journalists; a nationwide broadcast to ensure that not just a small elite would hear the concert; acoustical adjustments to the East Pyongyang Grand Theater; an assurance that the eight Philharmonic members of Korean origin would not encounter difficulties; and that the orchestra could play “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Once the orchestra members had given their approval, the major stumbling block became transportation. The orchestra, staff members and journalists are expected to number about 250. A plane that can also carry the many large instruments had to be found. Asiana Airlines, a South Korean carrier, offered such a plane, provided that financing could be secured, said Evans Revere, a former senior United States diplomat who is president of the Korea Society, which helped plan the visit.

MBC, one of three main broadcasters in South Korea, offered to pay for the charter in exchange for the rights to broadcast an extra concert by the Philharmonic in Seoul on its return from Pyongyang, Mr. Revere said.

“The balance that’s being achieved here is pretty nifty,” he said. “It’s a nice message being sent to the peninsula that the premier American orchestra is performing in both capitals within hours of each other.”

One of the remaining loose ends is the procurement of climate-controlled trucks to transport instruments to and from the airport. One possibility is arranging for South Korean trucks to be driven across the border. The North Korean government can be unpredictable, and there is always the possibility that the visit could be derailed.

The concert is planned for Feb. 26 at the end of a previously planned tour in China. The orchestra is expected to stay in Pyongyang for two nights, with some teaching and a ceremonial dinner thrown in.

Some questions have been raised about the appropriateness of visiting a country run by one of the world’s most repressive governments. North Korea’s policies have been blamed in part for the famine-related starvation of perhaps two million people and it confines hundreds of thousands of people in labor camps.

If the orchestra goes to Pyongyang, “it will be doing little more than participating in a puppet show whose purpose is to lend legitimacy to a despicable regime,” Terry Teachout, an arts critic and blogger, wrote on the online opinion pages of The Wall Street Journal in late October.

Richard V. Allen, a national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, and Chuck Downs — both board members of the United States Committee for Human Rights in North Korea — made a similar point on Oct. 28 on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. “It would be a mistake to hand Kim Jong-il a propaganda coup,” they wrote.

Mr. Hill acknowledged that “in a very theoretical way” any kind of opening lends legitimacy to the North Korean government. “But not opening up has not had any positive effect in bringing North Korea out of its shell,” he said.

Mr. Latzky declined to discuss the concert program, but orchestra officials have said from the beginning that it would probably include American music.

Published in: US History on December 10, 2007 at3:05 pm Comments (44)

Junk Food & Schools?

Junk food is readily available in many public schools whether in vending machines or served in the school cafeteria.  Recently there has been some discussion about limiting junk food in schools.  In fact, lawmakers are considering a law that would ban certain forms of junk food from schools (see article for specifics). 

Read the article and consider the following questions when blogging about your response to this article.

1.  Is this law a good idea?

2.  Why do you think there is so much opposition to something that seems to be in the best interest of the students’ health?

3.  What do you think the outcome of this will be?

 Article text below (if the link didn’t work):

December 2, 2007

Effort to Limit Junk Food in Schools Faces Hurdles


Correction Appended

Federal lawmakers are considering the broadest effort ever to limit what children eat: a national ban on selling candy, sugary soda and salty, fatty food in school snack bars, vending machines and à la carte cafeteria lines.

Whether the measure, an amendment to the farm bill, can survive the convoluted politics that have bogged down that legislation in the Senate is one issue. Whether it can survive the battle among factions in the fight to improve school food is another.

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, has twice introduced bills to deal with foods other than the standard school lunch, which is regulated by Department of Agriculture.

Several lawmakers and advocates for changes in school food believe that an amendment to the $286 billion farm bill is the best chance to get control of the mountain of high-calorie snacks and sodas available to schoolchildren. Even if the farm bill does not pass, Mr. Harkin and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, a sponsor of the amendment, vow to keep reintroducing it in other forms until it sticks.

They are optimistic about their chances because there is more public interest than ever in improving school food and because leaders in the food and beverage industry have had a hand in creating the new standards.

But that intense corporate involvement, along with exemptions that would allow sales of chocolate milk, sports drinks and diet soda, has caused a rift among food activists who usually find themselves on the same side of school food battles.

“This pits ideals about what children should eat at school against the political reality of large food corporations insisting their foods be available to children at all times,” said Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University and the author of two recent books on food politics and diet. “The activists want vending machines out of schools completely.” Dr. Nestle has taken no public stand on the measure.

The nutrition standards would allow only plain bottled water and eight-ounce servings of fruit juice or plain or flavored low-fat milk with up to 170 calories to be sold in elementary and middle schools. High school students could also buy diet soda or, in places like school gyms, sports drinks. Other drinks with as many as 66 calories per eight ounces could be sold in high schools, but that threshold would drop to 25 calories per eight-ounce serving in five years.

Food for sale would have to be limited in saturated and trans fat and have less than 35 percent sugar. Sodium would be limited, and snacks must have no more than 180 calories per serving for middle and elementary schools and 200 calories for high schools.

The standards would not affect occasional fund-raising projects, like Girl Scout cookie sales.

Although states would not be able to pass stronger restrictions, individual school districts could.

The rules have the support of food and drink manufacturers, including the American Beverage Association, which worked closely on the amendment with Mr. Harkin’s office and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that has been critical of the food industry.

“This whole effort has momentum because of the variety of interests that have come together who do not usually find agreement,” said Susan Neely, president of the beverage association.

Some parents and nutritionists are angry that states will not be able to enact even tougher limits.

“My little fights in school districts are just going to be harder and harder because they’ll say, Well, here are the federal guidelines,” said Dr. Susan Rubin of Chappaqua, N.Y., a nutritionist who helped found the Better School Food advocacy group.

“It’s crazy to think we are going to fix children’s health just by letting companies sell schoolchildren smaller portions of Gatorade and baked chips,” she said.

Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, has long been a critic of companies that produce food that she considers unhealthy and of government policy toward them.

That is why some of the center’s allies were surprised that Ms. Wootan had worked so closely with manufacturers on the standards. Conversely, she was surprised to find herself on the defensive for finally arranging food limits that actually have a good chance at becoming law.

“I do not understand why some groups would try to stand in the way of legislation that is going to get soda, snack cakes and other high-fat, high-salt food out of virtually all schools,” she said.

Correction: December 3, 2007

Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about a proposal to limit the types of food and beverages for sale at schools was imprecise in some editions about the extent of the proposal. It covers food served on special à la carte lines, in vending machines and in snack bars. It would not cover standard school cafeteria food, which must meet Department of Agriculture nutritional standards.

Published in: US History on December 3, 2007 at12:20 pm Comments (37)

Ragtime Music: Gilded Age Library Scavenger Hunt

Ragtime Music: Gilded Age Library Scavenger Hunt

Directions: Use the internet to research responses to the following questions. You may work with 1 other person, and your responses must be e-mailed ([email protected]) or printed out by the end of the period.

1. What is ragtime music?

2. Cite the source where you found this information.

3. Describe how it sounds (find an on-line description)

4. List 3 musicians associated with ragtime music. Of these, who is the most famous?

5. Write a brief one paragraph biography on one of the musicians above. Consult at least two different sources and cite them!

6. Why did ragtime music develop?

7. Why is ragtime music significant to the history of music.

8. Find a website where you can listen to samples of ragtime music for free. Paste the URL in your answer document.

9. What are examples of ragtime music that appear in popular culture? (Movies, for example).

Extra Credit: Write a brief bio of another musical from #4. Cite your sources.

Published in: US History on November 16, 2007 at7:34 am Comments (0)

Ain’t That America


Firstly, I wanted to compliment you on the quality of your comments.  Many of you have made insightful, wise, and intelligent comments on the previous blogs.  Kudos to you!  You continue to impress me every day!

This week we’ll be discussing immigration and reading an editorial from today’s NY Times called “Ain’t that America”.

Remember, an editorial is an opinon piece.  This week I would like you to respond to the editorial.  Do you agree with the author’s opinions?  Have you personally seen an increase in prejudice directed towards Spanish speaking individuals?  What do you think is the best solution to the “immigration problem?”

Published in: US History on October 22, 2007 at10:38 am Comments (55)

Westward Expansion: Library Scavenger Hunt

Complete the following tasks by the end of the period.  You may work with one other person.  Please submit your assignment via e-mail (prefered) or a hard copy.  My e-mail address is: [email protected].  Please put your name, your partner’s name, and your period number in the subject line.

 1.  What was Sitting Bull’s real name?

2.  Provide the citation for the site where you found that information.

3.  What about the website convined you that it was trustworthy?  (Provide at least 3 reasons)

4.  Write a brief paragraph describing Benjamin “Pap” Singleton.  Use information from at least two different websites.

5.  Cite your two sites.

6.  For each, identify what about the website convined you that it was trustworthy?  (Provide at least 3 reasons for each- they can be some of the same reasons, however).

7.  If you wanted to know more about “Pap” Singleton, list two books that you might consult.

8.  Google the Homestead Act of 1862.  Explore the different hits.  If someone had never heard about the Homestead Act, which site would you recomend that they visit.  Explain why it was better than the others you evaluated.  Provide a link to the site.

9.  Who is Helen Hunt Jackson?  Why is she famous? 

10.  Cite the website you used to answer that question. 

11.  Define:  Boomers, Sooners, and Dry Farming.

Turn it in!  :)

Published in: US History on October 15, 2007 at6:19 am Comments (0)

Jena 6

Hello periods 2 & 6,

 I had a request that we blog about the Jena 6… so that is what we’ll do.  There aren’t any BRAND NEW articles about this, but the NY Times does have a nice page with information, op-eds, and articles about this event.  Please explore this site and read a few articles.   Then, respond to these questions:  to what extend are the events in Jena, Lousianna a result of our history of slavery?  Why does our country, 142 years after emancipation, still have occurances like this?  What can be done to improve the attitudes of many Americans (of ALL races) to be more accepting and open to people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds?

 PS:  If you see something interesting in the news that you would like to discuss on the blog, let me know… and hopefully we’ll be able to blog about it!

Published in: US History on October 8, 2007 at6:32 am Comments (54)