Election of 1860: Slavery Splits the Democrats

This four-minute video explores the causes and consequences of the Democratic Party’s division into two parties following the Democratic national convention of 1860. After rejecting Stephen A. Douglas’s failed attempt to reconcile the Northern and Southern factions of the party with his doctrine of “popular sovereignty,” the Southern delegates walked out of the convention. That decision led to the election of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and 50 years of Republican dominance in national politics. A concise summary of the unusual events that allowed Abraham Lincoln to win the election of 1860, the video fits into any sequence of lessons on the factors leading to secession and the Civil War.

Immigration in the 1990s: Proposition 187

This 9-minute video illustrates how demographic trends and a changing California economy in the 1990s created a backlash against immigration, only to be followed by an even larger one over time. The video shows students how economic and demographic forces affect the strategies of the political parties, and demonstrates how policies like Proposition 187 can produce unintended and surprising consequences. It also draws parallels with some aspects of President Trump’s rhetoric on immigration.

Aftermath of the War on Terror

This 11-minute video and lesson plan enable students to examine the experiences of Muslims and Arab Americans following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Students will investigate one example of a flawed prosecution of Arab immigrants living in Detroit as a case study in the climate of fear following the attacks. Students will then choose from among other primary source materials to describe particular experiences and generalize about the broader experiences of Muslims and Arab Americans.

The War on Terror and the Debate Over Torture

This 13-minute video and lesson plan are designed for students to analyze the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the public debate over the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques by U.S. officials and government contractors. Students will evaluate multiple perspectives from a mix of resources (video clips, a short film, documents and political cartoons) and classify arguments as being supportive, neutral or critical of government action.

Gerrymandering

The process of redistricting, or redrawing congressional and state legislative boundaries, often becomes politicized. Drawing district lines to create partisan advantages and disadvantages is a tactic known as gerrymandering. Examine interactive resources to explore how changing district lines can affect the balance of partisan power, and evaluate criteria for drawing district lines.

American Reckoning

The video segments for this activity come from “American Reckoning,” a Frontline and Retro Report collaboration that examines a little-known story of the civil rights era. This activity centers on the attempted murder of George Metcalfe and the response by the N.A.A.C.P. and Deacons for Defense chapters of Natchez, Miss.

The Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue on the African American Experience

The Plainest Demands of Justice: Documents for Dialogue on the African American Experience explores, through primary source analysis, the efforts to realize the Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice by examining key periods in African American history. Six chronological primary source sets covering the colonial era to the present day allow students to consider how the efforts of law- and policy-makers, the courts, and “We the People” – individuals and groups – have worked to ensure a society faithful to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. A culminating assessment has students choose a topic to research and present to make connections to how the work to ensure a society aligned with Founding principles continues in the present day.

Grades 9-12
Citizenship