Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the House of Burgesses – July 30, 2629

Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the House of Burgesses – July 30, 1619

Hank Bitten, Executive Director, New Jersey Council for the Social Studies

The teaching of colonial American history and civics in the first months of the 2018-19 school year offer a unique opportunity to celebrate the foundations of American democracy! Most lessons on the colonial period are in the beginning of the academic year and the 399th year is the best time to teach the historical significance of the 400th anniversary! It’s a milestone event

During “the starving time” of 1618-19, Jamestown was under martial law. In April 1619, the new governor, George Yeardley arrived and announced that the Virginia Company voted to establish a legislative assembly in the colony. The first assembly met on July 30 in the pews reserved for the church choir in the church at Jamestown and in 1700 was moved to Williamsburg.

The first law passed in the House of Burgesses was to meet in the local church: “The most convenient place we could finde to sitt in was the Quire of the Churche Where Sir George Yeardley, the Governor, being sett downe in his accustomed place, those of the Counsel of Estate sate nexte him on both hands excepte onely the Secretary then appointed Speaker, who sate right before him, John Twine, clerke of the General assembly, being placed nexte the Speaker, and Thomas Pierse, the Sergeant, standing at the barre, to be ready for any service the Assembly shoulde comaund him. But forasmuche as men’s affaires doe little prosper where God’s service is neglected, all the Burgesses tooke their places in the Quire till a prayer was said by Mr. Bucke, the Minister, that it would please God to guide and sanctifie all our proceedings to his owne glory and the good of this Plantation. Prayer being ended, to the intente that as we had begun at God Almighty, so we might proceed with awful and due respecte towards the Lieutenant, our most gratious and dread Soveraigne, all the Burgessess were intreatted to retyre themselves into the body of the Churche, which being done, before they were fully admitted, they were called in order and by name, and so every man (none staggering at it) tooke the oathe of Supremacy, and entred the Assembly.”

(An order concluded by the General assembly concerning Captaine Warde, July 30th, 1619, at the opening of the said Assembly.)

Jamestown Church

One important reason for the success of the American Revolution is with the traditions of these small colonial legislative bodies dedicated to protecting the rights of Englishmen, determining taxes, and making laws on local matters. King James 1 attempted to dissolve the assembly but the Virginians persevered. The colonies of Spain and France were ruled by divine right monarchs and the lessons of history are harsh with popular revolutions in France (1789), Russia, 1917), and China (1949) giving rise to rulers (i.e. Napoleon, Lenin, Mao) more autocratic than the ones the people rebelled against.

The first 22 representatives or burgesses represented 11 plantations in an assembly with Governor Yeardley and the Virginia Council. Representatives had to be male, white, and property owners. One of their first actions was on a fair price for the tobacco trade.

“This being dispatched we fell once more debating of suche instructions given by the Counsell in England to several Governors as might be converted into lawes, the last whereof was the Establishment of the price of Tobacco, namely, of the best at 3d and the second at 18d the pounde. At the reading of this the Assembly thought good to send for Mr. Abraham Persey, the Cape marchant, to publishe this instruction to him, and to demaunde of him if he knewe of any impediment why it might not be admitted of? His answere was that he had not as yet received any suche order from the Adventurers of the in England. And notwithstanding he sawe the authority was good, yet he was unwilling to yield, till suche time as the Governor and Assembly had layd their commandment upon him, out of the authority of the foresaid Instructions as followeth:

By the General Assembly. “We will and require you, Mr. Abraham Persey, Cape Marchant, from this daye forwarde to take notice, that, according to an article in the Instructions confirmed by the Treasurer, Counsell and Company in Englande at a general quarter courte, both by voices and under their hands and the Comon seall, and given to Sir George Yeardley, knight, this present governour, Decemb. 3, 1618, that you are bounde to accepte of the Tobacco of the Colony, either for commodities or upon billes, at three shillings the beste and the second sorte at 18d the punde, and this shalbe your sufficient dischardge. James citty out of the said General Assembly, July 31, 1619.” http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1296&context=masters

House of Burgesses Assembly

Teaching about the 400th anniversary is an opportunity to remember the contributions of Patrick Henry, Edmund Randolph, Peyton Randolph, George Mason, William Byrd, George Washington, John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson and others in the House of Burgesses. There are excellent resources on the web for developing lesson activities on the House of Burgesses including simulations, analysis of documents, images, videos, and biographies. In November 2018, Americans will vote for their representatives in Congress and one-third of the nation will also be voting for their senators. This is an opportunity for students to understand the evolution of democracy in America from its historic origins in 1619, the importance of the franchise to vote, expansion of democracy, and the issues their representatives are voting on.

The extension of the House of Burgesses becomes real for students with applications to the local Board of Education, student government, and city or town councils. Students as citizens need to be educated about the people who are up for election, budget decisions, local issues, public forums, voter registration, how their representatives voted on issues, and the election process.

The House of Burgesses experienced difficulty within its first 30 years because of corruption, the unequal distribution of wealth, the concentration of power in the hands of Governor Berkeley and his supporters, attempts to prevent elections, and Bacon’s armed rebellion in 1676. After the defeat of Bacon’s Rebellion, Nathaniel Bacon was hanged and racist laws were passed. Thomas Jefferson failed in his legislative efforts to end the slave trade and provide freedom for children of a mother who was a slave. The secret of America’s political strength during the past 400 years has been with the perseverance of ordinary citizens who are committed to a durable government. As a result of dedicated representatives in the colonies and over time in our 50 states and territories, democracy has endured.

Photo-Burgesses

The House of Burgesses was relocated to Williamsburg in 1700

Our modern democracy has also experienced difficulty because of corruption, restricting freedoms, forced migration, internment of citizens, and segregation. There are examples of laws that were passed by only one vote, votes influenced by political and economic influence, and laws that were declared unconstitutional. One reason why representative government worked in Virginia is that the burgesses needed the votes of the people to get re-elected. As a result they needed to pass laws that helped the people and maintained a positive relationship with them.

We are living in a time when too many Americans are dissatisfied with their representatives in Washington and in their states and communities. We are frustrated by gridlock, uncertain about the facts, at times uninformed on the issues or candidates, and influenced by the media. Although our representatives are part of our community, we find it difficult to communicate with them and often have no idea as to how they voted on a bill.

According to Jon Meacham in Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Thomas Jefferson learned from his days in the House of Burgesses that constant conversation between the president and the lawmakers was important and necessary. Jefferson thought that “if the members are to know nothing but what is important enough to put into a public message…it becomes a government of chance and not of design. The president had to be able to trust lawmakers with insights and opinions that he might not offer a broader audience,, creating a sense of intimacy and common purpose. Making speeches at other politicians – or appearing to be only making speeches at them – was not the best way to enlist their allegiance or their aid, nor to govern well.” Let your students debate if collaboration or twitter messages best facilitates consensus among lawmakers.

The 400th anniversary is an opportunity for student discussion, presentation, simulation, and engagement in their local community and school. It is a time to become better acquainted with the people who represent them and make decisions for their school district, community, state, and our national government. With all the avenues available for communication – Facebook, live streaming, twitter, Instagram, newspapers, radio and television, and personal attendance at a public meeting, everyone should understand the problems, policies, and reasons for change. During this anniversary year, educate students on the ideas and positions of their decision-makers. The content and inquiry by design model is an integral part of the social studies curriculum

New Jersey Standards, K-5

6.1.4.A.1Explain how rules and laws created by community, state, and national governments protect the rights of people, help resolve conflicts, and promote the common good.
6.1.4.A.2Explain how fundamental rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights (i.e., freedom of expression, freedom of religion, the right to vote, and the right to due process) contribute to the continuation and improvement of American democracy.
6.1.4.A.3Determine how “fairness,” “equality,” and the “common good” have influenced new laws and policies over time at the local and national levels of United States government.
6.1.4.A.4Explain how the United States government is organized and how the United States Constitution defines and checks the power of government.
6.1.4.A.5Distinguish the roles and responsibilities of the three branches of the national government.
6.1.4.A.6Explain how national and state governments share power in the federal system of government.
6.1.4.A.7Explain how the United States functions as a representative democracy, and describe the roles of elected representatives and how they interact with citizens at local, state, and national levels.
6.1.4.A.8Compare and contrast how government functions at the community, county, state, and national levels, the services provided, and the impact of policy decisions made at each level.
6.1.4.A.9Compare and contrast responses of individuals and groups, past and present, to violations of fundamental rights (e.g., fairness, civil rights, human rights).
6.1.4.A.11Explain how the fundamental rights of the individual and the common good of the country depend upon all citizens exercising their civic responsibilities at the community, state, national, and global levels.
6.1.4.A.12Explain the process of creating change at the local, state, or national level.
6.1.4.D.5Relate key historical documents (i.e., the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights) to present day government and citizenship.
6.1.4.D.6Describe the civic leadership qualities and historical contributions of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin toward the development of the United States government.
6.1.4.D.14Trace how the American identity evolved over time.

Grades 6-8

6.1.8.A.2.b  Explain how and why early government structures developed, and determine the impact of these early structures on the evolution of American politics and institutions.

Grades 9-12

6.1.12.A.1.a  Explain how British North American colonies adapted the British governance structure to fit their ideas of individual rights, economic growth, and participatory government.
6.1.12.A.1.bAnalyze how gender, property ownership, religion, and legal status affected political rights.

New York Standards, 11.1c

  • Colonial political developments were influenced by British political traditions, Enlightenment ideas, and the colonial experience. Self-governing structures were common, and yet varied across the colonies.
  • Students will examine colonial political institutions to determine how they were influenced by Enlightenment ideas, British traditions such as the Magna Carta, and the colonial experience.
  • Students will examine colonial democratic principles by studying documents such as the Mayflower Compact and the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, colonial governmental structures such as New England town meetings and the Virginia House of Burgesses, and the practice of the right of petition in New Netherland.

The Hornblower Decision and Fugitive Slaves in new Jersey

The Hornblower Decision and Fugitive Slaves in New Jersey

John Zen Jackson

Reprinted with permission from the February 12, 2018, issue of the New Jersey Law Journal. © 2018 ALM Media Properties, LLC. Further duplication without permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.
https://www.law.com/njlawjournal/sites/njlawjournal/2018/02/12/the-hornblower-decision-and-fugitive-slaves-in-nj/?slreturn=20180112102020

Joseph C. Hornblower was the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1832 to 1846. He died on June 11, 1864. His New York Times obituary described him as a generally well-regarded lawyer and jurist whose decisions were “marked by learning, legal acumen and high moral principle.” His claim to historical importance arises out of his 1836 opinion in State v. Sheriff of Burlington County identifying constitutional deficiencies in the Fugitive Slave Act (FSA) of 1793.

This federal statute allowed escaped slaves to be reclaimed and also permitted misidentified free African-Americans to be kidnapped and placed into slavery. Unfortunately the full opinion was not officially published. There are contemporaneous newspaper accounts summarizing the ruling. In 1851 the opinion’s most important part was published in a pamphlet. It is reprinted in Fugitive Slaves and American Courts: The Pamphlet Literature, Series II, Volume 1, 97-104 (Paul Finkelman ed. 1988).

Overview of the Historical Context

Slavery existed in New Jersey from early colonial times until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in 1865. In fact, New Jersey was the last Northern state to outlaw slavery. Legislation passed in 1804 had only provided for the “gradual abolition of slavery.” A statute enacted in 1846 stated that “slavery in this state be and it is hereby abolished” but left all the former slaves as “apprentices” or “servants” of their owners for the rest of their lives. That only changed with the Thirteenth Amendment.

The attitude toward slavery in New Jersey has been attributed to the supposed fact that the southern one-third of the state is below the Mason-Dixon Line, the traditional dividing line between free and slave states. However, the Mason-Dixon Line does not actually cross New Jersey. Furthermore, until 1865, the northern counties had more slaves than the southern counties. Most of the southern counties were part of West Jersey, heavily influenced by the Quaker settlers who dominated the area’s population and opposed slavery. The early Quaker abolitionist John Woolman was from Burlington County.

Nonetheless, the southern counties were the frequent hunting ground of slave-catchers tracking down escapees from the slave-holding states who came across the Delaware River into Salem County. The constitutional basis for pursuing the escapees was Article IV, Section 2:

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

In 1793 Congress implemented the Fugitive Slave Clause with the FSA. This statute allowed an owner or an owner’s agent to seize someone allegedly a fugitive slave and have them brought before a federal judge or a local magistrate. With undefined “proof to the satisfaction” of the judge or magistrate that the person seized was really a fugitive and was owned by the claimant, the judge or magistrate could issue a certificate authorizing the claimant to remove the fugitive to the state from which he or she had allegedly fled. Even if the captured person contested the claim, no hearing was required. There were no procedural safeguards. The FSA authorized the imposition of criminal penalties on any person who obstructed the capture of a fugitive, or who rescued, aided or concealed the fugitive. Early case law provides an unsettling attitude toward the subject matter of these laws.

In Gibbons v. Morse (1821), New Jersey’s highest court declared: “In New Jersey, all black men are presumed to be slaves until the contrary appears.” A 1798 New Jersey statute supplemented the federal FSA but was replaced in 1826 with another statute requiring a warrant from a local judge before a fugitive slave could be seized and removed. Procedural safeguards were still largely absent.

The Helmsley Case

In 1835 a Maryland slave-owner’s representatives came to New Jersey seeking a warrant for a man known as Alexander Helmsley, claiming Helmsley was actually Nathan Mead who escaped from Maryland in 1820. He was brought before a Burlington County judge. Over several days witnesses from Maryland testified they recognized Helmsley as Nathan.

The Burlington County judge was expected to rule that Helmsley was the claimant’s escaped slave and order his return to Maryland. However, one of Helmsley’s lawyers traveled overnight to Newark to obtain a writ of habeas corpus from Chief Justice Hornblower. The writ was served on the sheriff just as the judge was rendering his decision to send Helmsley back to Maryland.

The writ brought the case to the New Jersey Supreme Court. A three-justice panel in Trenton ruled on March 3, 1836, that Helmsley was to be discharged from custody of the sheriff. Following his release, Helmsley relocated to Canada.

Hornblower’s Analysis

In his opinion for the court, Chief Justice Hornblower noted that both Congress and the New Jersey General Assembly had enacted legislation concerning the Fugitive Slave Clause but with different modes of proceeding. Acknowledging the Constitution and federal law pursuant to the Constitution as “the supreme law of the land,” he questioned Congress’ constitutional authority to determine the manner for resolving a claim in which a person in a free state is to be arrested and transferred to another simply because they are alleged to be slaves. He pointed to the text and structure of the Fugitive Slave Clause in Article IV rather than Article I. Nothing in it gave Congress power to pass such a law. Furthermore, the Clause only required returning those who actually owed service and not those who were merely claimed to have that obligation. While his comments regarding lack of congressional power to enact the legislation presaged a declaration of unconstitutionality, the Chief Justice said it was not necessary to rule on that since the case before him had been based on the New Jersey statute enacted in 1826 and not the 1793 FSA. He highlighted features of the state law. It allowed seizure and transport of a person out of the state with only a summary hearing before a single judge without a jury or right of appeal. Hornblower posed the rhetorical question: “Can such a law be constitutional?” The opinion has several instances of impassioned writing regarding a person “dragged in chains” and being “falsely accused of escaping.” Responding to the contention that a seized suspected fugitive would eventually have a hearing, the Chief Justice wrote:

What, first transport a man out of the state, on the charge of his being a slave, and try the truth of the allegation afterwards separate him from the place, it may be, of his nativity — the abode of his relatives, his friends, and his witnesses — transport him in chains to Missouri or Arkansas, with the cold comfort that if a freeman he may there assert and establish his freedom! No, if a person comes into this state, and here claims the servitude of a human being, whether white or black, here he must prove his case, and here prove it according to law . . .

For Hornblower, this meant a jury trial. The Chief Justice also rejected the presumption of slave status based on skin color and “the danger of oppression and injustice by an unfounded or mistaken claim.” He pointed out that by statute as of the next Fourth of July no person of color in New Jersey under the age of 32 would be a slave because pursuant to the statute providing for “gradual abolition” of slavery “[a]ll that have been born since the 4th July, 1804, are freemen.”

Aftermath

In apparent response to the 1836 Helmsley decision, in 1837 the legislature revised the procedures regarding fugitive slaves to provide for a jury trial. In 1844, New Jersey adopted a new constitution. Article I stated that “All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.” In State v. Post (1845), the court considered the contention that adoption of the new constitution abolished slavery. A majority of the Supreme Court ruled that it did not. Chief Justice Hornblower dissented. He retired the next year.

The progressive view set forth in the Chief Justice’s opinion in State v. Sheriff of Burlington County was effectively rejected by the United States Supreme Court in the 1842 decision of Prigg v. Pennsylvania, but without any reference to the unpublished New Jersey decision. In his opinion for the court, Justice Joseph Story upheld the constitutionality of the FSA of 1793. This statute was later replaced by the more punitive Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In correspondence dated Sept. 15, 1851, with Salmon P. Chase, the retired Joseph Hornblower commented on this new Fugitive Slave Act: “The law of 1850, even if Congress has a right to legislate on the recapture of runaway slaves, is a disgrace to our Country, an affront to humanity, an insult to the great principles of the common law, and calculated to provoke disunion and rebellion.” This was a prescient comment. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, often referred to as the Man-Stealing Act, is considered one of the precipitating factors for the Civil War.

Teaching with Tunes: An Educator’s Guide to utilizing Hamilton in the Classroom

Teaching with Tunes: An Educator’s Guide to Utilizing Hamilton in the Classroom

Juliana Kong and Heather Pollak, Drew University

The American musical Hamilton took not only the history community, but the entire world, by storm when it premiered on Broadway in 2015. One of the most popular, innovative, and significant musicals of all time, Lin Manuel Miranda’s work has been lauded lyrically and musically. His ability to modernize and popularize the history of the American Revolution and founding of our nation through the eyes of former Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, has earned him well-deserved praise and global recognition. Through contemporary music spanning multiple genres (primarily hip-hop and rap), Miranda has piqued domestic and global interest in this forgotten Founding Father, revolutionizing the way we think about early American history.

Hamilton spans from the pre-Revolutionary period all the way to Alexander Hamilton’s death in 1804, following his infamous duel with Aaron Burr. Hamilton covers the Revolutionary War, the United States’ first two presidencies, the development of political parties, and, of course, the personal drama of Mr. Alexander Hamilton. Embedded in this groundbreaking hip-hop musical are infinite opportunities for educators to increase student engagement, practice with higher order thinking skills, and develop student analysis and inquiry abilities.

Secondary Level

Farmer Refuted- Conflicting Concerns regarding British Rule in pre-Revolutionary America

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Farmer Refuted” to develop student understanding and comprehension of the conflicting perspectives and loyalties regarding the American Revolution and concept of going to war against the ruling British King.

Key Questions:

  1. In “Farmer Refuted”, who is supporting the British? What would this person be referred as?
  2. Why is this person supporting the British?
  3. Who is supporting the idea of the Revolution? What would this person be referred as?
  4. Why are these people supporting the idea of Revolution?
  5. What factors might affect people’s loyalties and why do those factors influence people’s beliefs?
  6. How is the Loyalist in “Farmer Refuted” portrayed? The Patriots?
  7. Why might have Lin Manuel Miranda decided to portray them this way?
  8. Is this a necessarily fair portrayal? Why or why not?
Materials:

The Battle of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)- Content Lesson

Teachers may use Hamilton (2015) song “The Battle of Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” to engage student interest in the historical content of the American Revolution and its conclusion.

Activity: With Personal Devices- Yorktown Research and Timeline

  1. Hand out a copy of “The Battle of Yorktown” lyrics to students (electronic or printed)
  2. Have the class watch The Tony Awards performance of “The Battle of Yorktown” and take note of lyrics they do NOT understand
  3. Have students independently research their noted lyrics
    1. Have student post their lyrics and summarized research on the class Padlet timeline
  4. Project class Padlet
  5. Have students rearrange their posts in (what they believe is) chronological order
  6. Summarize the Battle of Yorktown for student clarification

Materials:

Activity: No personal devices- Lyric Scavenger Hunt

  1. Hand out a printed copy of “The Battle of Yorktown” lyrics to students
  2. Have the class watch The Tony Awards performance of The Battle of Yorktown and take note of lyrics they do NOT understand
  3. Give informational lecture on the Battle of Yorktown. Have students write down/take notes when students “find” their misunderstood/mystery lyrics
  4. At the end of the lecture, ask students if anyone found the answer to their misunderstood/ mystery lyric
  5. Take student volunteers’ answers
    1. (ex. “(Lafayette) I go back to France, I bring freedom to my people if given the chance” = Marquis de Lafayette returns to France after the American Revolution to bring the principles and ideals of the Revolution to monarchist France)
  6. Ask if anyone has an unanswered lyric and clarify any information students have questions on.

Materials:

One Last Time- George Washington’s Farewell Address

Teacher can compare and compare and contrast George Washington’s original/abridged Farewell Address to the Hamilton (2015) song, “One Last Time” in order to highlight key concepts and themes that occur within the Address and early American politics.

Key Questions:

  1. What ideas occur in both the original Address and “One Last Time”?
  2. What does that double occurrence say about the personal importance of those ideas to
    George Washington? To us?
  3. What are three concepts in George Washington’s Farewell Address that DON’T appear in “One Last Time”?
  4. Why do you think these concepts don’t appear in “One Last Time”?
  5. Are George Washington’s concerns still relevant to today’s political concerns?

Materials:

The World Was Wide Enough- Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s Duel

Teachers may use Hamilton (2015) song “The World Was Wide Enough” about the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton (regarding the severe political disagreements and hostile relationship between the two) to introduce students to the historical literacy skill of sourcing and corroboration. Students can compare and contrast “The World Was Wide Enough” with primary source accounts of the legendary duel and determine the accuracy of Hamilton’s interpretation of the duel.

Key Questions:

  1. From whose perspective did Lin Manuel Miranda base
    Hamilton on?
  2. Whose perspective is “The World Was Wide Enough” from?
  3. Which person is “The World Was Wide Enough” more sympathetic towards?
  4. Does this perspective follow the general trend of the musical’s perspective? Why or why not?
  5. Looking at primary sources, who do you (students) think is the “villain” of the duel, Burr or Hamilton? Why?
  6. Why might Van Ness’s and Pendleton’s joint statement on the duel might be a more accurate account than Angelica Church’s?
  7. What is Van Ness’s and Pendleton’s relationship to Hamilton and Burr?
  8. What is Angelica Church’s?
  9. Why might those relationships affect the accuracy of each primary source’s version of the duel?
  10. Based on primary source perspectives, what do you (students) think really happened?

Materials:

Cabinet Battle 1-Cabinet Debate on Economic Policy

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Cabinet Battle 1” either in conjunction with “Cabinet battle 2” to identify the fundamental differences between Federalists and Republicans or to analyze Hamilton’s economic plan to establish a national bank.

Key Questions:

  1. What political party was Alexander Hamilton a part of?
  2. What political party was Thomas Jefferson a part of?
  3. What did Hamilton believe the role of government in economic affairs should be?
  4. What did Jefferson believe the role of government in economic affairs should be?
  5. How did their views differ?
  6. What lyrics from the song support Hamilton’s position?
  7. What lyrics from the song support Jefferson’s position?
  8. According to Jefferson, who does not benefit from Hamilton’s financial plan?
  9. What other major issue is referenced in debate?
  10. Why is this issue of importance?
  11. Whose position do you most agree with? Why (use evidence to support your answer)?

Materials:

http://teachers.d11.org/teachers/knoppsa/Documents/Cabinet%20Battle%201%20Lyrics.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1e93nQakos

Cabinet Battle 2-Cabinet Debate on America’s involvement in international affairs?

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Cabinet Battle 2” either in conjunction with “Cabinet battle 1” to identify the fundamental differences between Federalists and Republicans or to critique the cabinets position on whether or not to aid the French in their Revolution.

Key Questions:

  1. What issue/issues are Hamilton and Jefferson debating over?

     2. Summarize, in your own words, the main points of Hamilton’s argument.

  1. Summarize in your own words, the main points of Jefferson’s argument.
  2. Whose argument do you agree with? Why?
  3. Why did George Washington agree with Hamilton?

Predict: How would this decision affect the future of Washington’s administration?

  1. How might this decision impact the United States future relationship with France?

Materials:

https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-cabinet-battle-2-lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAc9pchlMWg

Washington On Your SideThomas Jefferson’s decision to resign as Secretary of State

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Washington On Your Side” as an extension lesson following “Cabinet Battle 2,” Students can compare and contrast the lyrics and content of the song with primary source letters written by Jefferson leading up to his resignation.

Key Questions:

  1. Why did Jefferson, Burr, and Madison dislike Hamilton?
  2. Why did Jefferson want to resign from Washington’s cabinet.
  3. How did the song and the primary source differ?
  4. What ideas occur in both the original Jefferson’s letters to Washington and the song “Washington On Your Side”?
  5. How do you predict Hamilton and Washington will take the news of Jefferson’s resignation?

Materials:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j9I-XN1jto
https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-washington-on-your-side-lyrics (Teacher will have to edit lyrics before distribution)
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-11-02-0095
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-13-02-0212
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-11-02-0015

Non-Stop-The Federalist Papers

Teachers may use the Hamilton (2015) song “Non-Stop” to examine Hamilton’s role at the Constitutional Convention and the battle for ratification that followed.

Key Questions:

  1. Why was Aaron Burr so adamant about not writing Federalist Papers?
  2. What evidence (lyrics) support your (student) answer?
  3. Why did Hamilton feel it was necessary to ratify the constitution?
  4. What was the purpose of the Federalist Papers?
  5. What did Hamilton and the other founding fathers write in the 85 essays of the Federalists Papers?
  6. What arguments did they make in favor of the Constitution?
  7. What was the response from anti-Federalists?
  8. What other concerns did Hamilton express at the beginning of the song?
  9. Predict: How do you think the nation would have been affected if Hamilton did not write the Federalists Papers? Why?

Materials:

https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-non-stop-lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9iLfPP4Ps8

The Room Where It Happens-The Compromise of 1790

Teachers may use Hamilton (2015) song “The Room Where it Happens” to analyze the Compromise of 1790 which agreed to place the U.S. capital on the Potomac and America’s financial center to remain in New York by comparing primary sources to Manuel’s version of what happened.

Key Questions:

  1. What historical event is this song about?
  2. What evidence (lyrics) supports that?
  3. What was at stake in this compromise?
  4. Why is this of historical importance?
  5. What was the outcome of the Compromise?
  6. Whose version of the story seems more reliable, Jefferson or Hamilton? Why?
  7. Whose perspective is “The Room Where It Happens” from?
  8. Is this perspective an accurate account of what happened? Why?
  9. How does Jefferson’s account of the event differ or agree with Manuel?
  10. Is his account trustworthy? Why or why not?
  11. Why does Manuel mean by no one

Materials:

https://genius.com/Lin-manuel-miranda-the-room-where-it-happens-lyrics
https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/Residence.html#American

1968: The Year That Changed History

1968 – The Year that Changed History

This curriculum package was developed by students in the Hofstra University teacher education program including Tina Abbatiello, Arwa Alhumaidan, Ashley Balgobind, Megan Bernth, Carrie Hou, Nabila Khan, Alyssa Knipfing, Thomas Masterson, Olivia LaRocca, Kyle Novak, Marc Nuccio, Steven Rosino, Jackson Spear, and Mark Vasco.

In January 2008, The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/observer/gallery/ 2008/jan/17/1), described 1968 as “the year that changed history.” A photo essay began: “It was a year of seismic social and political change across the globe. From the burgeoning anti-Vietnam war and civil rights movements in the United States, protests and revolutions in Europe and the first comprehensive coverage of war and resultant famine in Africa. The world would never be the same again.”

Events that Shook the United States and the World

In January, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo claiming the ship violated its territorial waters and the Viet Cong launched the Tet Offensive including an attack on the U.S. embassy in Saigon. begins, as Viet Cong forces launch a series of surprise attacks across South Vietnam. In February, the world was shocked by a photograph of South Vietnamese police official murdering a captured Viet Cong soldier and President Johnson’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the Kerner Commission, warned that racism was causing America to move “toward two societies, one black, one white — separate and unequal.” In March, student protests sparked a political crisis in Soviet-dominated Poland; American soldiers massacred civilians in the Vietnamese village of My Lai Massacre; student at Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C., held a 5-day sit-in protesting against the War in Vietnam and demanding that the university end its ROTC program and offer more courses on the Black experience; and after a disappointing showing in the New Hampshire primary, Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would not seek re-election. In April the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee leading to riots across the country; and student protesters occupied buildings and shut down Columbia University. In May, one million students marched through the streets of Paris demanding fundamental reform; the Catonsville Nine destroyed selective service draft records in a protest against the Vietnam War. In June U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles and photographs of starving children and evidence of a humanitarian crisis in rebel Biafra during the Nigerian civil war became public. In July, following a coup d’état, Saddam Hussein became Vice Chairman of the Revolutionary Council in Iraq. In August the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida nominated Richard Nixon for President; 750,000 Warsaw Pact troops and 6,500 tanks with 800planes invaded Czechoslovakia crushing reform efforts; and Chicago police went on a rampage attacking anti-war protesters at the Democratic National Convention. In September, New York City teachers went on strike against community control of schools in a strike that continued off and on for months and contributed to racial tension in the country; 150 women protested in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the Miss America Pageant. In October, Mexican police and soldiers massacred hundreds of student protesters in Mexico City prior to the opening of the Summer Olympics; at the Olympics American track stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their arms in a black power salute on the victor’s podium; and police attacked civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland, leading to period that became known as The Troubles. In November, Richard Nixon (Republican) defeated Hubert Humphrey (Democrat), and George Wallace (American Independent); Yale University announced would admit women; and the first National Women’s Liberation Conference was held. In December, Apollo 8 orbited the Moon.

North Korea seizes the USS Pueblo (January 23, 1968)

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/19/opinion/remember-the-pueblo.html

USS Pueblo

The USS Pueblo on display in the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang in 2006. It was captured in North Korean territorial waters on January 23, 1968.

New York Times: “Moored on a river here in the North Korean capital is the U.S.S. Pueblo, described as an “armed spy ship of the U.S. imperialist aggression forces.” The Pueblo is the Navy ship that North Korea seized in 1968 in waters off the country’s east coast, setting off an international crisis. One American sailor was killed and 82 others were imprisoned for nearly a year and tortured into writing confessions. To signal that the confessions were forced, the sailors listed accomplices like the television character Maxwell Smart. When forced to pose for a photo, some crew members extended their middle fingers to the camera, explaining to the North Korean photographer that this was a Hawaiian good luck sign. After the photo was published and the North Korean guards realized they’d been had, the sailors suffered a week of particularly brutal torture.

USS Pueblo sailors

As the first Navy vessel to surrender in peacetime since 1807, the Pueblo was a humiliation for America. And it has become a propaganda trophy for North Korea, with ordinary Koreans paraded through in organized tours to fire up nationalist support for the Dear Leader, Kim Jong Il.”

Questions

1. What is the USS Pueblo?

2. Why did it become a symbol of the Cold War?

3. Why did captured U.S. sailors pose this way?

4. In your opinion, why does the Korean peninsula remain a source of international tension?

Kerner Commission Report (February 29, 1968)

“The summer of 1967 again brought racial disorders to American cities, and with them shock, fear and bewilderment to the nation. The worst came during a two-week period in July, first in Newark and then in Detroit. Each set off a chain reaction in neighboring communities. On July 28, 1967, the President of the United States established this Commission and directed us to answer three basic questions: What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again?

To respond to these questions, we have undertaken a broad range of studies and investigations. We have visited the riot cities; we have heard many witnesses; we have sought the counsel of experts across the country. This is our basic conclusion: Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal. Reaction to last summer’s disorders has quickened the movement and deepened the division. Discrimination and segregation have long permeated much of American life; they now threaten the future of every American. This deepening racial division is not inevitable. The movement apart can be reversed. Choice is still possible.

Our principal task is to define that choice and to press for a national resolution. To pursue our present course will involve the continuing polarization (division) of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values. The alternative is not blind repression or capitulation (surrender) to lawlessness. It is the realization of common opportunities for all within a single society. This alternative will require a commitment to national action—compassionate, massive and sustained, backed by the resources of the most powerful and the richest nation on this earth. From every American it will require new attitudes, new understanding, and, above all, new will. The vital needs of the nation must be met; hard choices must be made, and, if necessary, new taxes enacted. Violence cannot build a better society. Disruption and disorder nourish repression, not justice. They strike at the freedom of every citizen. The community cannot—it will not—tolerate coercion and mob rule. Violence and destruction must be ended—in the streets of the ghetto and in the lives of people. Segregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans. What white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain, and white society condones (allows) it.

It is time now to turn with all the purpose at our command to the major unfinished business of this nation. It is time to adopt strategies for action that will produce quick and visible progress. It is time to make good the promises of American democracy to all citizens—urban and rural, white and black, Spanish-surname, American Indian, and every minority group. Our recommendations embrace three basic principles: To mount programs on a scale equal to the dimension of the problems; To aim these programs for high impact in the immediate future in order to close the gap between promise and performance; To undertake new initiatives and experiments that can change the system of failure and frustration that now dominates the ghetto and weakens our society. These programs will require unprecedented levels of funding and performance, but they neither probe deeper nor demand more than the problems which called them forth. There can be no higher priority for national action and no higher claim on the nation’s conscience . . .”

Questions

  1. Why was the Kerner Commission established?
  2. Why were there so many urban riots?
  3. What did the Committee fear would happen if the riots continued?
  4. According to the report, what are two ways to help resolve America’s racial divide?
  5. In your opinion, has the United States achieved the objectives of the Kerner commission? Explain.

Tet Offensive (January – February 1968)

Excerpt from North Vietnamese General Tran Van Tra’s Comments on Tet ‘68.”

“Prior to the arrival of the U.S. troops, if the balance of forces between ourselves and the enemy had been viewed simply in terms of specific, material forces, who would have thought that we were strong and were capable of annihilating the puppet army and overthrowing the puppet regime? Later, when the United States sent in at the same time about 200,000 troops who had modern equipment and relied on the strength of overwhelming firepower and rapid mobility, to carry out a strategic counter offensive during the 1965-1966 dry season, we concluded that the Americans and puppets were not strong but were passive, and continued to press the strategic offensive, launched the Bau Bang-Dau Tieng offensive campaign, gained the initiative on the battlefield, and won many victories. In 1968, when the U.S. troops numbered nearly 500,000, with all kinds of modern weapons except the atomic bomb and with the purchasing of the services of lackey vassal troops in addition to Thieu’s army, we could clearly see the enemy’s weakness and our strength, and exploited that strength to a high degree in carrying out the general offense and uprising of Tet Mau Than, a unique event in the history of war. During Tet we not only attacked the enemy simultaneously in all urban centers, including the U.S. war headquarters in Saigon, the puppet capital, but also defeated the U.S. limited war strategy and forced the United States to deescalate the war, being peace talks in Paris, and adopt the strategy of “de-Americanizing the war” and then “Vietnamizing the war.” We thus smashed the U.S. imperialists’ strategic global “flexible response” strategy. The international gendarme became terrified of the role it had taken for itself; and the illusion of the “absolute military superiority of the United States” was shattered.

However, during Tet of 1968 we did not correctly evaluate the specific balance of forces between ourselves and the enemy, did not fully realize that the enemy still had considerable capabilities and that our capabilities were limited, and set requirements that were beyond our actual strength. In other words, we did not base ourselves on scientific calculation or a careful weighing of all factors, but in past on an illusion based on our subjective desires. For that reason, although that decision was wise, ingenious, and timely, and although its implementation was well organized and bold, there was excellent coordination on all battlefields, everyone acted bravely, sacrificed their lives, and there was created a significant strategic turning point in Vietnam and Indochina, we suffered large sacrifices and losses with regard to manpower and materiel, especially cadres at the various echelons, which clearly weakened us. Afterwards, we were not only unable to retain the gains we had made but had to overcome a myriad of difficulties in 1969 and 1970 so that the revolution could stand firm in the storm. Although it is true that the revolutionary path is never a primrose path that always goes upward, and there can never be a victory without sacrifice, in the case of Tet 1968, if we had weighed and considered things meticulously, taken in to consideration the balance of forces of the two sides and set forth correct requirements, out victory would have been even greater, less blood would have been spilled by the cadres, enlisted men, and people, and the future development of the revolution would certainly have been far different. In 1972, after a period of endeavoring to overcome many difficulties make up for the recent losses and develop our position and strength with an absolute revolutionary spirit on the part of the soldiers and people, our troops participated in winning victories in Kampuchea and Laos. However, not all of our main-force units could return to South Vietnam. In that situation we correctly evaluated the positions and forces of the two sides, destroyed many fortified defense lines of the enemy in Quang Tri, the Central Highlands, and eastern Nam Bo, and created many integrated liberated areas at Dong Ha, Dac To, Tan Canh, Loc Ninh Bu Dop, and northern Tay Ninh then, in coordination with the great “Dien Bien Phu in the air” victory in the North, attained our goal of smashing the American’s scheme of negotiating from a position of strength, and forced the Americans to sign in Paris, agreements, which benefited us.”

Questions

  1. According to General Tran Van Tra, what advantage did the U.S. military had in the initial conflict?
  2. What was the Tet Offensive?
  3. According to General Tran Van Tra, what was the result of the Tet Offensive?
  4. Why did General Tran Van Tra say, “the illusion of the ‘absolute military superiority of the United States’ was shattered”?
Saigon execution Murder of a Vietcong by Saigon Police Chief, 1968
South Vietnamese Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan, chief of the national police, shoots Vietcong officer Nguyen Van Lem, also known as Bay Lop, on a Saigon street on Feb. 1, 1968.

Background: After Nguyen Ngoc Loan raised his sidearm and shot Vietcong operative Nguyen Van Lem in the head he walked over to the reporters and told them that: “These guys kill a lot of our people, and I think Buddha will forgive me.” Captured on NBC TV cameras and by AP photographer Eddie Adams, the picture and film footage flashed around the world and quickly became a symbol of the Vietnam War’s brutality. Eddie Adams’ picture was especially striking, as the moment frozen is one almost at the instant of death. Taken a split second after the trigger was pulled, Lem’s final expression is one of pain as the bullet rips through his head. A closer look of the photo actually reveals the bullet exiting his skull.

Howard University

Howard University Dispute Settled After Four-Day Protest (March 19, 1968)

The four-day student protest at Howard University ended Saturday afternoon in what protest leader Ewart Brown described as “an atmosphere of fatigue and victory.” The protest, which involved over two thousand students in a massive Administration building sit-in, ended after three days of round-the-clock negotiations between the protest steering committee and Administration officials. The sit-in was brought to a close when Administration officials granted two of the four steering committee demands and promised “immediate negotiations to resolve other problems.”

Howard officials agreed to create a student judiciary committee to review charges against 37 students for disrupting a University program on March 1st. The Administration declared “unnegotiable” the student demand for the resignation of Howard President James Nabrit. They also said that the students’ fourth demand for curriculum changes “will require further discussion.”

Kenneth Clark, prominent Negro psychologist and Howard trustee, read the agreement at 2 p.m. on the steps of the Administration Building before a noticeably tired group of 2500 students. “Any interpretation as to winning or losing by either side misses the whole point,” Dr. Clark said. “We are very happy this was resolved without bringing law enforcement officers on the campus.” However, both protest leaders and the student body as a whole regarded the settlement, in Brown’s words: “(As a) victory for black students not only at Howard but at every black college.”

As 1000 students filed out of the administration building Saturday afternoon carrying blankets and suitcases, conversation centered around today’s return of Howard President James Nabrit. The resignation of Nabrit became the chief student demand as sentiment swelled during the protest. Students claimed that Nabrit spent too much time away from the campus and neglected the “problems and issues raised by the student body.”

Questions

  1. What method(s) did the Howard students use to protest?
  2. How long did their protest last?
  3. What was the student protesters’ chief demand?
  4. Why do you think the protesters considered the protest, “a victory for black students not only at Howard but at every black college?”

Echoes of a New York Waterloo – New York City Teachers Strike (September-November, 1968)

NYC Teacher Strike

A. For American cities and education, it seemed the worst of times. Pickets and the police ringed schools as onetime allies in the civil rights struggle shrieked accusations of racism and anti-Semitism at each other. The 1968 battle over school decentralization in an obscure Brooklyn district called Ocean Hill-Brownsville ripped apart New York City as nothing has before or since. Its impact on the city and beyond is hard to overstate. It played an early role in the deterioration of relations between blacks and Jews. New York liberals, previously rock-solid in their advocacy of social causes, were split into warring camps. Albert Shanker rose in stature from local union chief to hero to some and anti-hero to others, becoming a national educational leader and household name who even made his way into a Woody Allen movie.

B. And far from being a catharsis to cleanse New York City education of its poisons, Ocean Hill-Brownsville came to stand as a symbol of hifalutin good intentions gone awry — an effort to transfer power from a hidebound bureaucracy back to the people that turned into a political and educational disaster. “The New York teacher’s strike of 1968 seems to me the worst disaster my native city has experienced in my lifetime,’” Martin Mayer wrote soon after the events in a book chronicling the fight.

C. Mr. Shanker was one of the central figures in a fight with few if any heroes — a tough teachers’ union leader who shut down city schools in three bitter strikes, enraging black advocates of local control and defying City Hall and much of the political establishment. If there was one thing virtually all the participants could agree on at the beginning, it was that schools in poor, black neighborhoods were doing a terrible job. The all-powerful central Board of Education’s very address — 110 Livingston Street — had become a synonym for a vast, entrenched bureaucracy, the target of mounting black protests.

D. Anti-Semitism surfaced when a black teacher, Leslie Campbell, read a girl’s poem that included a slur toward Jews. (The school system’s underpaid staff was 90 percent white and heavily Jewish.) The United Federation of Teachers reproduced and distributed anti-Semitic leaflets it said were circulating in the schools. ”The whole alliance of liberals, blacks and Jews broke apart on this issue,” Mr. Shanker remembered. ”It was a turning point in that way. It was a fact in the late 1960’s that the African-American community was moving from the idea of integration toward the idea of black power, toward organizations like Rap Brown or the Black Panthers. Was it civil rights for minorities or civil rights for everybody?”

E. Later, when the state legislature met in 1969 to consider a citywide decentralization plan, the teacher’s union was in Albany in force. ”It was horrible, a very highly charged environment,” recalled Jerome Kretchmer, then a liberal Assemblyman from the Upper West Side who backed a bill originally calling for strong community control that eventually was modified to a bill acceptable to the union, including strong job protections. “The bill that passed was Shanker’s bill, not ours,” Mr. Glasser recalled. “Real decentralization threatened two major interests, the Board and its bureaucracy, which was unalterably opposed to change, and the power of the union. It was really a power struggle in which the black kids were sacrificed.” “In the end,” said Mr. McCoy, the Ocean Hill-Brownsville struggle “had nothing to do with education; it was all politics and money.”

Questions

1.      What issue caused teachers to strike?

2.      What two ethnic groups were directly affected by the conflict?

3.      What was Albert Shanker’s role in the strike?

4.      According to excerpt E, what major interests did decentralization threaten?

5.     In your opinion, what was the underlying cause of the struggle?

Yale University Decides to Admit Women (November 9, 1968)

Source: “On The Advisability And Feasibility of Women At Yale,” Yale Alumni Magazine.

  1. “Yale may admit women,” read a headline in the New York Times.”Nothing Stands in the Way But Lack of Funds.” That was in 1891. A Miss Irene W. Coit had passed the Yale College entrance exam. It was a purely academic exercise, but President Timothy Dwight was nevertheless interested in opening a “woman’s annex.” There was no question, the Timesstressed, of men and women taking classes together. In fact, men and women had been taking classes together at Yale since 1869, the year the art school opened. The graduate school began admitting women in 1892. By the late 1960s, nearly 1,000 women enrolled at Yale every year. But in 1891, “Yale” to the Times (and most of the campus) meant Yale College. And almost 80 years would elapse between Miss Coit’s successful exam and the admission of the first female undergraduates at Yale.

A. Yale started thinking seriously about college coeducation in 1966, when Yale and Vassar decided to explore “coordinate coeducation.” The idea was for Vassar, which was then a women’s college, to sell its campus and relocate its students to Prospect Hill. Vassar would become Yale’s Radcliffe. This plan for a simple add-on — a twentieth-century “woman’s annex” — had decided political attractions. President Kingman Brewster ’41 . . . lived in “fear and trembling” about how college alumni would react to coeducation if their sons couldn’t get into Yale. Yale College was more than an exclusively male school; it was a school that cultivated and cherished a particular ideal of maleness.

B. But as the alumni resisted, the students pushed . . . Undergraduates held rallies, wrote imperious opinion pieces for the News,even organized “Coeducation Week” as a kind of pilot project. Brewster himself had unwittingly set up this conflict between the alumni and the alumni-to-be, by starting to admit college applicants based more on academic performance than on Yale family connections and where they had prepped. Yale was admitting ever-larger numbers of public school students, and most of them had never experienced sex-segregated schooling, let alone thought of it as a matter of honor.

C. Then, in November 1967, Vassar’s board turned down the merger. The move left Yale with no plan and little time. All the other Ivies except Dartmouth were by now either coeducational or preparing to become so, putting Yale at a disadvantage in the competition for academically outstanding college applicants . . . On November 9, 1968, the Corporation, Yale’s board of trustees, approved Brewster’s plan to admit 250 female freshmen and 250 female transfer students to Yale College the following September. . . There were rocky patches in the first few years. The lopsided gender ratio left some women feeling isolated, some overwhelmed by excessive male attention. Facilities were overcrowded. Brewster tried to appease furious alumni with the promise that Yale College would continue to produce “a thousand male leaders” every year. But in the end, coeducation succeeded, settled in, and became the norm. In the pages that follow, we excerpt passages from publications of the time and recent interviews with participants in the transformation.

Questions

  1. According to Excerpt A, how many years lapsed between Coit’s successful exam and the admission of the first female undergraduates at Yale?
  2. According to Excerpt B, why did Yale decide to seriously considered coeducation at the college?
  3. According to Excerpt C, what was Yale admittance traditionally based upon? How did that measure change over time?
  4. In your opinion, how did resistance to the admission of women into the university exemplify the patriarchal tones of American society? Explain.

New York Times Reports a Year of Turmoil

New York Times Reports a Year of Turmoil

Students in Poland Clash with Police in Two More Cities

(March 14, 1968)

Warsaw University Protest
People running away as police attack near the Warsaw University during student protests.

University students and the police clashed today in Cracow and Poznan as student demonstrations spread across Poland despite threats of punishment by the Government. Reports to Warsaw indicated that students in eight provincial cities had held protest meetings in sympathy with students in the capital since the first clash with the police at Warsaw University last Friday. In Warsaw, 8,000 students crowded today into the main auditorium of the Polytechnic School and applauded a motion that said they did not want to become the object of factional maneuverings in the Communist Party. The resolution adopted by the students of the Polytechnic School included the following points:

  • Respect of the Constitution especially its guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly.
  • Release of all students arrested since the first demonstrations last Friday.
  • Punishment for those who called the police onto the school grounds in violation of the traditional right of extra-territoriality accorded institutions of higher learning.
  • Guarantees that the school staff and professors who sympathized with the students would not be persecuted.
  • A request that “secret police now among us” within the auditorium should leave immediately.A stand dissociating students from anti-Semitism and also Zionism.
  • Increased possibilities for free discussions with professors.

The rector promised to discuss the resolution Friday with the Senate, the school’s highest executive body, which in turn would send the resolution to Parliament and appropriate authorities. However, he said some unspecified points in the resolution might be watered down.

Questions:

  1. Why did 8,000 students crowd into the auditorium of the Polytechnic School?
  2. Based on the photograph, what is one inference you can make about these protests?
  3. What do you think is the most important point of resolution adopted by the students of the Polytechnic School? Why?
  4. What do you think is the most unreasonable point of resolution adopted by the students of the Polytechnic School? Why?

United Farm Workers Strike

Background: Starting in 1965, hundreds of Mexican and Mexican-American farmworkers in Delano, California went on strike against grape growers led by Cesar Chavez, a co-leader of the National Farmworkers Association. The strike was about wages and work conditions, but also about respect, justice and equality. It pitted the powerless against the powerful. Eventually, tens of thousands more joined the fight rallying around the slogan around “Viva La Causa” (Long Live the Cause). In 1968, union President Chavez fasted for 25 days, promoting the principle of non-violence. By the late 1970s, growers in California and Florida finally recognized the United Farm Workers (UFW) union.

California Farm Workers

Striking Farm Workers

Coast Farm Union Chief to End Fast on 25th Day (March 6, 1968)

Upon urging of doctors, Ceasar Chavez, farm union leader, announced tonight that he would end his spiritual fast in its 25th day at a “mass of thanksgiving” this Sunday. He has been drinking only water since starting the fast 20 days ago to rededicate himself and his followers to non-violence in their attempts to organize farm workers. Doctors said the head of the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee faced permanent kidney damage if he continued to go without food. They said the lactic acid count in his blood was dangerously high.

Deal for Farm Workers (June 17, 1968)

A point of decision is nearing on Capital Hill in the long fight to extend agricultural workers the freedom to unionize that workers in industry generally have been guaranteed for more than thirty years. Hired farm labor is the most deprived section of the entire work force. Even now, with a Federal minimum wage finally in effect, the average annual earnings for farm workers run to substantially less than half the poverty level set by the Federal Government. A bill to give them the same organization and bargaining rights that now prevail for all other workers has been reported out of the House Labor Committee and is now bottled up in the Rules Committee . . . Agriculture is becoming big business. It is time that the 1.5 million laborers on the largest farms were brought under the umbrella of industrial democracy.

Questions:

  1. Why were Mexican-American farm workers on strike?
  2. How did Cesar Chavez try to revive the spirit of strikers and win public support?
  3. Why was the federal government considering changing labor law?

Johnson Says He Won’t Run (March 31, 1968)

(A) Lyndon Baines Johnson announced tonight: I shall not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party as your President. Later, at a White House news conference, he said his decision was completely irrevocable. The President told his nationwide television audience.

(B) What we have won when all our people were united must not be lost in partisanship. I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in partisan decisions. Mr. Johnson, acknowledging that there was division in the American house, withdrew in the name of national unity, which he said was the ultimate strength of our country.

(C) With American sons in the field far away, he said, with the American future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the worlds’ hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do not believe that I should devote an hour or a day of my time to any personal partisan causes or to any duties other than the awesome duties of this office, the Presidency of your country.

(D) He began by quoting Franklin D. Roosevelt: Of those to whom much is given- much is asked. He could not say that no more would be asked of Americans, he continued, but[HB1]  he believed that now, no less than when the decade began, this generation of Americans is willing to pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This quotation from a celebrated passage of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address of Jan. 10, 1961, appeared to be a jab at Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who now is campaigning against the war in Vietnam.

(E) In his 37 years of public service, he said, he had put national unity ahead of everything because it was as true now as it had ever been that a house divided against itself by the spirit of faction, of party, of region, of religion, of race, is a house that cannot stand. But these gains, Mr. Johnson said, must not now be lost in suspicion and distrust and selfishness and politics. I have concluded that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing.
(F) There was some speculation tonight that Mr. Johnson might believe he could work more effectively for peace in Vietnam if he were not a partisan candidate for re-election- despite the lame duck status that would confer on him. In support of this thesis, Mr. Johnson’s speech on Vietnam- which came before his withdrawal announcement- was notably conciliatory, although Senator Gore pointed out that the President did not reveal a change in war policy tonight. He discussed only tactics- a partial bombing halt.

Questions:

1.      What does President Johnson mean by partisanship?
2.      Why does he think there is division in the American house?
3.      What did the President say was the ultimate strength of our country?
4.      In your opinion, why do you think Johnson referenced a quote by former President Roosevelt?
5.      Which former president used the phrase a house divided against itself in their public address?
6.      Why did President Johnson decide not to run for reelection?
LBJ

Image Source: Envisioningtheamericandream.com

Student Unrest Spreads to South Africa (August 15-23, 1968)

South Africa

Capetown Students Sit in Over Bar to a Sociologist (August 15, 1968)

Students protest against the rescinding of Professor Mafeje’s appointment as a senior lecturer at the University of Capetown.

About 300 students singing “We Shall Overcome” entered the Capetown University administration building today to stage a sit-in. Student leaders said they intended to remain until the University Council also protested against the barring of Archie Mafeje, an African sociologist, from joining the lecturing staff by central education authorities. The education officials have said his appointment would contravene tradition. He had been the favored candidate for the vacant position. The students also want August 20 to be declared Mafeje Day as an annual protest against Government interference with university autonomy.

Vorster Bars March by Students in Johannesburg (August 19, 1968)

Prime Minister Balthazar J. Vorster forbade a student march through Johannesburg today in a firm move against mounting student protest over South African apartheid laws. But students massed outside the gates of Witwatersrand University near of the of the city in a defiant demonstration against the government’s veto of the appointment of Archie Mafeje, an African, to the staff of Capetown University.

Vorster Agrees to Meet Students (August 20, 1968)

Prime Minister Balthazar J. Vorster promised today to meet dissident students in 10 days to hear their complaints of too much Government interference in South African universities. The promise came as the student revolt over a Government veto on the appointment of an African anthropologist, Archie Mafeje, to a lecturing post at Capetown University entered its seventh day. A group of Witwatersrand students drove 30 limes to Mr. Vorster’s residence in Pretoria last night to present a Petition – and returned with their heads shaved by rival demonstrators. A student leader, Neville Curtiss, said Mr. Vorster had refused to accept the petition. Then, he said, Afrikaner students from Pretoria University seized the protesting group and shaved their heads.

Students in Capetown End a Nine-Day Sit-In (August 23, 1968)

Students of the University of Capetown ended a sit-in protesting Apartheid and Government interference in academic affairs today. They had spent nine days in the university’s administration building. The students, numbering about 100, successfully resisted an attempt by other students to evict them last night.

Questions:

  1. Why were South African students in Capetown protesting?
  2. What happened when they tried to present petitions to Prime Minister Vorster?
  3. Archie Mafeje was never appointed to the University. Why were his appointment to the university position and student protests seen as a challenge to Apartheid in South Africa?

Hundreds of Protesters Block Traffic in Chicago (August 26, 1968)

Chicago

Anti-War and Anti-Humphrey Groups Clash With Police After Ouster From Park

Hundreds of antiwar and anti-Humphrey demonstrators, driven out of a park on the shores of Lake Michigan here last night staged a series of hit-and-run protests today that blocked traffic and triggered angry shoving matches with heavily armed police. One group of youths, numbering several hundred, congregated in a circle just outside Lincoln Park, which is on the edge of one of the city’s plushest Near North Side neighborhoods, and confronted the police. Several thousands of the youths had gathered in Lincoln Park earlier in the first show of strength by the young demonstrators who have been drawn here by the Democratic National Convention. The youths had been ordered out of the park at 11 P.M. because of the curfew. Soon after the youngsters left the park, a large group congregated in the area of Clark Street and LaSalle Street, which is just southwest of Lincoln Park. Some 400 policemen pursued the group into the maze of traffic circles, drives and islands that dot the area. Tempers flared as the police sought to disperse the crowd, which was almost entirely white. At one point, a group of policemen charged into a mass of youngsters and about 20 were struck with nightsticks. The incident occurred after a bottle had arched out of the crowd and smashed on the ground near a policeman.

Questions:

  1. What happened when protesters were driven out of Lincoln Park?
  2. In your opinion, why did protests at the Democratic National Convention turn violent?
  3. Do you blame the protestors or the police for what happened? Why?

Student Protests in Mexico Draw Military Response (September-October, 1968)

Mexico Protests

Background: As Mexico prepared to host the 1968 Olympics, student protests against the country’s repressive government swept through Mexico City. On October 2, ten days before the scheduled start of the Olympics, the Mexican Army opened fire on a peaceful student protest in Tlateloclo. Officials announced the death toll as four dead and 20 wounded, but historians put the actual count at between 200 and 300 dead. Thousands of other students were beaten and jailed. The New York Times reported on events as they unfolded between September 1 and October 4.

Questions:

  1. Why were the Mexican students protesting?
  2. What was the government response?
  3. In your opinion, was the government response appropriate? Explain.
  4. In your opinion, given the conflict in Mexico, should the Olympics have gone on as scheduled? Explain.

In the midst of serious student dissidence, President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz warned today that he was ready to used armed force to put down “systematic provocation” and to insure that the Olympic Games, scheduled to open here Oct. 12, will be held.

STUDENT DEFIANCE PERSISTS IN MEXICO (September 3, 1968)

President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, in a report to the nation last Sunday, remarked ruefully, “We had been provincially proud and ingenuously satisfied that, in a world of juvenile disturbances, Mexico was an untouched island” . . . What began in nonpolitical and nonideological circumstances has become the country’s main political problem, with 150,000 students involved. According to one account, the trouble started on July 23 when a student from a vocational school became angry when he found his girl being bothered by a preparatory school student. A fight started and soon several hundred students from each school became involved . . . Six days later rioting was in full swing, with students burning buses or seizing them to use as street barricades and the Government bringing in troops to supplement special groups of riot policemen known as “granaderos,: now easily the most unpopular men in Mexico. The act that most aroused the students was the use of a bazooka to blow in an 18th-century door at a preparatory school . . . Scores of students were hurt and hundreds arrested. The students charged that at least 32 of their number had been killed. The bodies were burned, they asserted, and the families of the victims threatened into silence . . . The Government apparently thought that strong repressive action would crush student unrest. Instead, the students of the National University and the National Polytechnic Institute, numbering 150,000 at the secondary, college and postgraduate levels, organized and succeeded in closing every school and faculty.

MEXICAN STUDENTS CALL NEW PROTEST (September 10, 1968) The army seized control of the National University late last night in a move to end seven weeks of student agitation. President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz thus made good his threat to use force against attacks on public order and any attempt to disrupt the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to open here Oct. 12.

STUDENTS BATTLE MEXICAN POLICE; Several Hurt on 2d Day of Clashes at Institute (September 20, 1968)

A policeman was shot to death, scores of persons were injured and hundreds were arrested late last night and early this morning in the worst fighting since the army seized the National University Wednesday night.

3 Dead, Many Hurt in Mexico City Battle; Students Fight the Police Through the Night 3 Are Killed and Many Injured in Mexico City Battle (September 24, 1968)

Eight of the leaders who for two months have been carrying on a strike and agitation by university and secondary school students sat around a classroom yesterday and explained to a reporter that they would do nothing to hinder the Olympic Games here Oct. 12-27.

Students Affirm Strike In Mexico; Resist Pleas to Halt Their 2-Month-Old Agitation (September 27, 1968)(September 30, 1968)

Federal troops ended their occupation of the National University today as both the Government and striking students continued efforts to reduce tensions in the capital. The 1,300 troops and 25 tanks, which had occupied the university since Sept. 18, rumbled out of the embattled campus on the outskirts of the city in 10 minutes. Soon after, the students moved back in.

Mexican Troops Evacuate Campus of National University

Striking university and secondary school students tonight denounced an effort to get them back to their classrooms and halt their two-month-old agitation.

On an Embattled Campus, 8 Mexican Student Leaders Stress Moderate Aims (September 26, 1968)

An all-night battle between the police and students that ended late this morning brought death to at least three persons and possibly to 15.

HUNDREDS SEIZED IN MEXICO CLASHES; One Killed and Dozens Hurt During a Night of Fighting by Students and Police Students and Police Clash Throughout Mexico City (September 22, 1968)

Fighting between the police and students continued for the second day in the aftermath of the army’s seizure of the National University Wednesday night.

Mexican Army Seizes National University to End Agitation by Students (September 19, 1968)

Despite urgings by the rector of the National University for a return to normal operations, striking students called today for a new mass street demonstration Friday.

Students’ Strike Embarrasses Mexico (September 8, 1968)

An effort by President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz to settle almost six weeks of agitation by university and secondary school students has failed. As defiant as ever, student strike leaders said at a news conference last night that they would use “all means within our reach to obtain solutions to our demands.” The students are demanding the dismissal of the Mexico City police chief, Luis Cueto, and his assistant; respect for university autonomy; compensation for those hurt or killed in fighting last month; a fill investigation of those responsible for “brutality” against them; freedom for all persons they describe as political prisoners, and abolition of sections of the penal code that provide punishment for subversive acts and those inimical to public order.

Diaz Warns Dissident Mexican Students Against Provocation (September 1, 1968)

In the midst of serious student dissidence, President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz warned today that he was ready to used armed force to put down “systematic provocation” and to insure that the Olympic Games, scheduled to open here Oct. 12, will be held.

STUDENT DEFIANCE PERSISTS IN MEXICO (September 3, 1968)

An effort by President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz to settle almost six weeks of agitation by university and secondary school students has failed. As defiant as ever, student strike leaders said at a news conference last night that they would use “all means within our reach to obtain solutions to our demands.” The students are demanding the dismissal of the Mexico City police chief, Luis Cueto, and his assistant; respect for university autonomy; compensation for those hurt or killed in fighting last month; a fill investigation of those responsible for “brutality” against them; freedom for all persons they describe as political prisoners, and abolition of sections of the penal code that provide punishment for subversive acts and those inimical to public order.

Students’ Strike Embarrasses Mexico (September 8, 1968)

President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, in a report to the nation last Sunday, remarked ruefully, “We had been provincially proud and ingenuously satisfied that, in a world of juvenile disturbances, Mexico was an untouched island” . . . What began in nonpolitical and nonideological circumstances has become the country’s main political problem, with 150,000 students involved. According to one account, the trouble started on July 23 when a student from a vocational school became angry when he found his girl being bothered by a preparatory school student. A fight started and soon several hundred students from each school became involved . . . Six days later rioting was in full swing, with students burning buses or seizing them to use as street barricades and the Government bringing in troops to supplement special groups of riot policemen known as “granaderos,: now easily the most unpopular men in Mexico. The act that most aroused the students was the use of a bazooka to blow in an 18th-century door at a preparatory school . . . Scores of students were hurt and hundreds arrested. The students charged that at least 32 of their number had been killed. The bodies were burned, they asserted, and the families of the victims threatened into silence . . . The Government apparently thought that strong repressive action would crush student unrest. Instead, the students of the National University and the National Polytechnic Institute, numbering 150,000 at the secondary, college and postgraduate levels, organized and succeeded in closing every school and faculty.

MEXICAN STUDENTS CALL NEW PROTEST (September 10, 1968)

Despite urgings by the rector of the National University for a return to normal operations, striking students called today for a new mass street demonstration Friday.

Mexican Army Seizes National University to End Agitation by Students (September 19, 1968)

The army seized control of the National University late last night in a move to end seven weeks of student agitation. President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz thus made good his threat to use force against attacks on public order and any attempt to disrupt the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to open here Oct. 12.

STUDENTS BATTLE MEXICAN POLICE; Several Hurt on 2d Day of Clashes at Institute (September 20, 1968)

Fighting between the police and students continued for the second day in the aftermath of the army’s seizure of the National University Wednesday night.

HUNDREDS SEIZED IN MEXICO CLASHES; One Killed and Dozens Hurt During a Night of Fighting by Students and Police Students and Police Clash Throughout Mexico City (September 22, 1968)

A policeman was shot to death, scores of persons were injured and hundreds were arrested late last night and early this morning in the worst fighting since the army seized the National University Wednesday night.

3 Dead, Many Hurt in Mexico City Battle; Students Fight the Police Through the Night 3 Are Killed and Many Injured in Mexico City Battle (September 24, 1968)

An all-night battle between the police and students that ended late this morning brought death to at least three persons and possibly to 15.

On an Embattled Campus, 8 Mexican Student Leaders Stress Moderate Aims (September 26, 1968)

Eight of the leaders who for two months have been carrying on a strike and agitation by university and secondary school students sat around a classroom yesterday and explained to a reporter that they would do nothing to hinder the Olympic Games here Oct. 12-27.

Students Affirm Strike In Mexico; Resist Pleas to Halt Their 2-Month-Old Agitation (September 27, 1968)

Striking university and secondary school students tonight denounced an effort to get them back to their classrooms and halt their two-month-old agitation.

Mexican Troops Evacuate Campus of National University (September 30, 1968)

Federal troops ended their occupation of the National University today as both the Government and striking students continued efforts to reduce tensions in the capital. The 1,300 troops and 25 tanks, which had occupied the university since Sept. 18, rumbled out of the embattled campus on the outskirts of the city in 10 minutes. Soon after, the students moved back in.

At Least 20 Dead As Mexico Strife Reaches A Peak; Troops Fire Machine Guns And Rifles At Students — More Than 100 Hurt Many Are Killed In Mexico Clash (October 2, 1968)

Mexico Protests 2

Federal troops fired on a student rally with rifles and machine guns tonight, killing at least 20 people and wounding more than 100. The troops moved on a rally of 3,000 people in the square of a vast housing project just as night was falling. In an inferno of firing that lasted an hour, the army strafed the area with machine guns mounted on jeeps and tanks. About 1,000 troops took part in the action. Tanks, armored cars and jeeps followed them, spurting .30- and .50-caliber machine-gun fire. Buses, trolley cars and other vehicles were set on fire at several places in the city. Ambulances screamed through the rainy night. Many women and children were among the dead and injured.

Mexican Student Protest Appears to Be Crushed (October 4, 1968)

The long and occasionally violent student protest here appeared today to be smashed as a mass movement following the gun battle in which at least 29 persons lost their lives Wednesday night . . . Those students who could be reached on the university campus, once the major focal point of the agitation, called the clash with army troops “a massacre” and said further demonstrations would be “suicide.”

Emerging Women’s Liberation Movement (September 7, 1968)

The first National Women’s Liberation Conference was held in Sandy Springs, Maryland issued a flyer that announced “Out of our bitch sessions came the idea for the Miss America Protest. All the New York groups joined together for this action and women from Washington, D.C., New Jersey and Florida participated. We crowned a live sheep Miss America, held an action of an All-American Girl replica, threw objects of our torture into the freedom trash can, picketed, and talked to women spectators. At night, we hung a Women’s Liberation banner from the balcony and shouted ‘Freedom for women – No more Miss America’ until the cops forced us out.” The feminists traveled to Atlantic City and on September 7, 1968 and hundreds gathered on the Atlantic City Boardwalk outside the Miss America Pageant where they symbolically threw a number of feminine products, including bras, curlers, girdles, and corsets and copies of Cosmopolitan and Playboy magazines into a “Freedom Trash Can.”

Yale University Fredom Can

Miss America Pageant Is Picketed by 100 Women (September 7, 1968)

Women armed with a giant bathing beauty puppet and a “freedom trash can” in which they threw girdles, bras, hair curlers, false eyelashes, and anything else that smacked of “enslavement,” picketed the Miss America Pageant here today. The women pickets marched around the Boardwalk outside Convention Hall, singing anti-Miss America songs in three-part harmony, carrying posters deploring “the degrading mindless-boob-girlie symbol,” and insisting that the only “free” woman is “the woman who is no longer enslaved by ludicrous beauty standards.” They also denounce the beauty contest’s “racism,” since its inception in 1921, the pageant has never had a black finalist), announced a boycott of the sponsors (Pepsi-Cola, Toni and Oldsmobile) and refused to talk with males (including male reporters). “Why should we talk with them?” said Marion Davison, a New Yorker. “It’s impossible for men to understand.”

Questions:

  1. Why did the women target the Miss America Pageant?
  2. In your opinion, why did some of the women protesters believe “It is impossible for men to understand”?
  3. In your opinion, how have attitudes toward women changed, or remained the same, since 1968?

New “Troubles” Begin in Northern Ireland (October 7, 1968)

Background: In 1921, following the Irish war for independence from Great Britain, Britain separated off six predominately Protestant northern provinces from the newly established Irish Free State. Catholic in the area long charged they were subject to discrimination and many wanted to be reunited with the rest of Ireland. The October 1968 demonstrations opened a decades long era known as the “Troubles” that resulting in over 3,600 deaths and thousands of injuries. While there have been periods of peace, many of the issues raised in 1968 have still not been resolved.

Northern Ireland

Rioting Reopens Old Wounds in Northern Ireland (October 7, 1968)

Old antagonisms between Northern Ireland’s Protestants and Roman Catholics have erupted in the worst violence seen since the nineteen-twenties in Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second largest city. The riots, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday night, are acknowledged by all sides as a setback for the moderate program of Prime Minister Terence M. O’Neill. Mr. O’Neill has sought Protestant-catholic cooperation to erase the ancient religious scares that still blemish the life of the country . . . About 100 people, including Gerard Fitt, a Catholic Republican member of the British Parliament were treated at hospitals for injuries after the Londonderry skirmishes between police and a Catholic civil rights group. Twenty-nine persons were arrested. In the weekend battles, the Royal Ulster constabulary used batons and water cannon against demonstrators. The marchers accused the police of brutality. The demonstrators threw gasoline bombs, stoned police and burned two constabulary huts. They smashed shop windows in the center of Londonderry and looted a few stores . . . The demonstration arose after Mr. Craig [Northern Ireland’s minister of Home Affairs] had refused permission for the Irish Civil Rights Association to parade through Protestant areas to protest against discrimination in housing and voting.

BELFAST ENDORSES POLICE RIOT ACTIONS (October 8, 1968)

The Northern Ireland Cabinet today endorsed the action of the police in the weekend riots in Londonderry. The Cabinet said that the action had been “timely and prevented an extremely dangerous situation from developing.”

BELFAST CATHOLICS STAGE A HUGE SIT-IN (Oct 9, 1968)

About 1,500 Roman Catholic students staged a mammoth sit-in today within sight of angry Protestants, but police averted further violence in Northern Ireland’s religious unrest. The students from Queens University were protesting alleged police brutality in last weekend’s Londonderry riots and what they describe as discrimination against Northern Ireland’s Roman Catholic minority. Police persuaded the Catholics to avoid a clash with Protestants by changing the route of their protest march before the sit-in. The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Protestants who threatened to disrupt the Catholic march, then accused Prime Minister Terence O’Neill of being soft on Catholic factions who want Northern Ireland removed from the United Kingdom and joined with the Irish Republic to the south.

Questions:

  1. What events in Londonderry “reopened” old wounds?
  2. Who did the government of Northern Ireland blame for the events?
  3. In your opinion, how do the accusations made by Reverend Paisley point to an underlying issue in Northern Ireland?

2 Accept Medals Wearing Black Gloves (October 16, 1968)

Olympic Protest

Tommie Smith wore a black glove on his right hand tonight to receive his gold medal for winning the final of the Olympic 200-meter dash on the world-record time of 19.8 seconds. John Carlos, his American teammate, received the third-place bronze medal wearing a black glove on his left hand. Both appeared for the presentation ceremony wearing black stockings and carrying white-soled track shoes. The two had said they would make a token gesture here to protest racial discrimination in the United States. While the “Star Spangled banner” was played, these most militant black members of the United States track and field squad bowed their heads and raised their black-gloved hands high.

U.S. Leaders Warn of Penalties For Further Black Power Acts (October 17, 1968)

The United States Olympic Committee formally apologized today to the International Olympic Committee and the Mexican Organizing Committee for what it called the discourtesy displayed by two of its athletes in an Olympic victory ceremony yesterday. The United States committee also warned it would not stand for a repetition of a display made by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, sprinters.

2 Black Power Advocates Ousted From Olympics; U.S. Team Drops Smith and Carlos for Clenched-Fist Display on Victory Stand (October 18, 1968)

The United States Olympic Committee suspended Tommie Smith and John Carlos today for having used last Wednesday’s victory ceremony for the 200-meter dash at the Olympic Games as the vehicle for a black power demonstration. The two Negro sprinters were told by Douglas F. Roby, the president of the committee, that they must leave the Olympic Village. Their credentials were taken away, which made it mandatory for them to leave Mexico within 48 hours.

U.S. Women Dedicate Victory to Smith, Carlos (October 20, 1968)

Black Power emerged among women athletes today as four United States girls dedicated their victory in the 400-meter relay to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the two Americans who were suspended and ordered to leave Olympic Village.

Questions:

  1. Why did Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their hands in protest?
  2. What was the response of the American Olympic Committee?
  3. In your opinion, are these types of protests by athletes at sporting events legitimate? Explain.

Nine Found Guilty In Draft File Case (October 11, 1968)

Background: On May 17, 1968 nine Catholic activists entered Selective Service Office in Catonsville, Maryland. They seized hundreds of draft records and brought them outside, where they were doused with homemade napalm. The Catonsville Nine stated they used napalm on these draft records because napalm has burned people to death in Vietnam. They were arrested and in total, their actions took less than fifteen minutes. Their motive was because everything has has failed.

Seven men and two women were found guilty in Federal Court today of burning draft files with homemade napalm. The jury rendered its verdict against the group, which included two priests at 6:37pm after deliberating [for] an hour and half. The other defendants, also Roman Catholics, included a Christian brother, a former priest and a former nun.

As others rose to their feet in disorder, Chief Judge Roszel C. Thomsen called for order in the courtroom. When he did not get it, he asked Frank Udoff, a United States marshal, to clear the room. The spectators, many of whom were in tears, reached the hall and they began to sing We Shall Overcome.

The defendants face a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison and fines up to $22,000 each. On the fourth day of the trial, the jury was excused and the nine defendants rose to their feet. One after the other they repeated the points that had been made throughout the trial. They said, in effect, that they should not be judged on the acts they had committed but on their motives in committing them. These were to bring to the attention of the people of the United States what they called Government’s immoral activities in Vietnam and Latin America.

The judge answered formally at first that these were not the issues in the case. He replied: To me as a man, I would be a funny sort of person if I were not moved by your views. I have not attempted to cut your discussion short. I frankly say that I am as anxious to terminate the war as the average man, even more, maybe. But people can’t take the law into their own hands.

Questions:

  1. Who were the Catonsville Nine?
  2. Why did they protest in this way?
  3. What was the verdict in the trial of the Catonsville Nine?

Nixon Wins By A Thin Margin, Pleads for Reunited Nation (November 5, 1968)

Richard Milhous Nixon emerged the victor yesterday in one of the closest and most tumultuous Presidential campaigns in history and set himself the task of reuniting the nation. Elected over Hubert H. Humphrey by the barest of margins – only four one-hundredths of a percentage point in the popular vote –and confronted by a Congress in control of the Democrats, the President-elect said it “will be the great objective of this Administration at the outset to bring the American people together.” He pledged, as the 37th President, to form “an open Administration, open to new ideas, open to men and women of both parties, open to critics as well as those who support us” so as to bridge the gap between the generations and the races. Mr. Nixon and his closest aides were not yet prepared to suggest how they intended to approach these objectives. The Republican victor expressed admiration for his opponent’s challenge and reiterated his desire to help President Johnson achieve peace in Vietnam between now and Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

Questions:

  1. How does the New York Times describe the 1968 Presidential election?
  2. What evidence is there that the nation is very divided?
  3. In your opinion, why was there a giant “gap” between the generations and races at the time Nixon was elected as the 37th President of the U.S.?

Airplane Hijackers from the United States to Cuba

Background: The term “hijacking” goes back to prohibition days, when gangsters would rob moonshine trucks saying, “Hold your hands high, Jack!” However, in the early days of commercial air travel, the idea that someone would hijack a plane was scarcely even considered. It all changed in the 1960s, when stories about hijacked planes hit the newsstands every week. When the government started to oversee aviation in 1958, hijacking wasn’t technically a crime and the early design of airport terminals reflected this. Airports were once more like train stations, where you walk through the terminal and onto the tarmac, and sometimes straight onto the plane itself, without flashing a ticket or showing anyone your identification. Eleven airplane hijackings occurred before and after the Cuban Revolution starting in1958 and ending in 1959. A second wave started in May 1961 when Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Cuban-American electrician from Miami hijacked a plane by holding a steak knife to the pilot’s throat. He claimed that Rafael Trujillo, the long-ruling dictator of the Dominican Republic, had offered him $100,000 to assassinate Fidel Castro and he wanted to go to Havana to warn Castro. Airplane hijackings from the United States to Cuba were act their highest point from 1968 to 1972. There were at least 24 documented airplane hijacking from the United States to Cuba in 1968 alone. The trend declined after Cuba made hijacking a crime in 1970, the introduction of metal detectors in U.S. airports in 1973, and a joint agreement was reached between the U.S. and Cuba to return or prosecute hijackers.

26 Hijack Victims Return To Miami After Day in Cuba (December 4, 1968)

The 26 victims of the latest airline hijacking returned from Cuba tonight to report that the communist authorities treated them well and put them up in a honeymoon hotel. The passengers, forced to remain in Cuba when their National Airlines jet returned with its crew last night, arrived in Miami almost 24 hours behind schedule. They had to wait all day today while the “freedom airlift” ferried its daily quota of two planeloads of Cubans to the United States.

Decades Later, Guilty Plea in a 1968 Airline Hijacking (March 18, 2010)

On Nov. 24, 1968, Luis Armando Peña Soltren boarded a plane to Puerto Rico at Kennedy Airport. Two hours into the flight, he grabbed a flight attendant and held the blade of a pocketknife to her neck. “I told her it was a hijacking,” Mr. Soltren said through an interpreter in federal court on Thursday. “And to open the door to the cabin.” With two armed accomplices, Mr. Soltren, then 25, ordered the pilot to land in Havana, where he would spend the next 40 years avoiding prosecution. He built a new life: he married twice and had four daughters. But as his children grew, he longed for them to leave the island. He spent years trying to secure American passports for them. Eventually, his children left Cuba, and his second wife followed suit. All that was left to keep him company was the legacy of his crime. So it was that a gray-haired Mr. Soltren, 67, found himself in Federal District Court in Manhattan on Thursday, wearing navy blue prison slacks, taking out his glasses to read through court documents. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit air piracy, interfering with flight crew members and kidnapping. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced on June 29.

3 ASTRONAUTS SPEED TOWARD MOON ORBIT AS APOLLO LEAVES THE EARTH AT 24,200 M.P.H.; FLAWLESS LIFTOFF

Craft Is Headed for a Lunar Rendezvous on Christmas Eve 3 Apollo 8 Astronauts Speed Toward Moon on True Course for Orbital Rendezvous

FLAWLESS LIFTOFF STARTS LUNAR TRIP

Borman, Lovell and Anders Soar Aloft on Most Distant Voyage Taken by Man (December 21, 1968)

About our Authors – Vol. 19 No. 1 Winter/Spring 2019

Rafael Angeles is a preservice educator at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Marissa Bellino is an Assistant Professor in Secondary Education at The College of New Jersey. She is involved in the Environmental Sustainability Education and Urban Education programs.

Rebecca Macon Bidwell is a doctoral student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She teaches seventh grade at Clay-Chalkville Middle School in Birmingham, Alabama.

Hank Bitten is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies.

Greer Burroughs is an Assistant Professor at The College of New Jersey in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. She teaches multicultural approaches to elementary social studies and sustainability education.

Ellen Cahill teaches kindergarten at the Bradford School in Montclair, NJ. She has been teaching for 15 years. She has a Masters degree in Education with Concentration in Philosophy for Children.

Briana Cash is in her third year teaching third grade in the Edison Township School District in NJ. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

Marci Chanin is a second-grade teacher at the Bradford School in Montclair, NJ. She has been teaching for more than 32 years with an emphasis on social and environmental justice.

Ryan Ciaccio is a preservice educator at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Danielle DeFauw is an associate professor in the Department of Education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. 

Gino Fluri is a preservice educator at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Christine Grabowski is an elementary teacher in the Hazlet Township Schools in New Jersey.  She is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Education at Monmouth University, where she also serves as Clinical Faculty Supervisor.

Mark Helmsing is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University.

Matthew Hundley is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where he is pursuing a degree in instructional technology.

Sheena Jacobs is the Coordinator for Social Studies in the Glen Cove (NY) School District

Morgan Johnston is an Urban Elementary Education and STEM major at The College of New Jersey. Morgan will graduate in May 2019 with a Master’s degree in Urban Education.

Jiwon Kim is Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at Monmouth University in New Jersey. Her research areas include social studies education, cultural foundations, and global education.

Alyssa Knipfing is a social studies teacher is at Oceanside High School, Oceanside, NY

Matthew Maul is a preservice educator at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.

Michael Pezone is a retired social studies teacher who taught at the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Jamaica, Queens. a

The Soul of America by Jon Meacham

Reviewed by Hank Bitten
NJCSS Executive Director

Jon Meacham captures the ‘big picture’ of America’s story in his book, The Soul of America (2018). It’s importance for teachers and students is significant because many of our institutions and principles are currently being questioned and attacked. The Soul of America captures the challenges Americans have experienced throughout our history, identifies the voices who have kept the American people faithful to democratic values and provides references to presidents whose leadership shaped America’s soul.   This book is timely as we are living in dangerous times with divisive statements every day and mass shootings every week.

The opening paragraphs prioritize the importance of presidential leadership in times of uncertainty or crisis: “To do so requires innumerable acts of citizenship and of private grace.  It will require, as it has in the past, the witness and the bravery of reformers who hold no office and who have no traditional power but who yearn for a better, fairer way of life. And it will also require, I believe, a president of the United States with a temperamental disposition to speak to the country’s hopes rather than to its fears.” (11)

Our representative democracy has faced challenges from events, extremists, political parties, and presidents during the past 220 years. The American soul and spirit have been tested with the Alien and Sedition Acts, Nullification crisis, Know Nothing Party, racism, the Great Depression, world wars, and the Attack on America.  The American soul has been positively influenced during challenging times by speeches, books, newspapers, radio, television, films, and social media.  Although we are a diverse, and at times a divided population, we share a common DNA that is at risk to genetic mutations by outside influences.

One of the significant contributions in this book is its perspective on the American Dream during times when it was challenged by racism, sexism, and economic depressions.  In each of the seven chapters there are applications for classroom lessons and debates.  Our students learn about the role of government through conflicts, reforms, legislation and presidential visions through the Square Deal, New Freedom, New Deal, Fair Deal, and New Frontier. The first years of the 20th century were times of prosperity and depression, war and peace, an incapacitated president and the death of four presidents in office, and the expansion and restriction on who can vote. These are applications for the first quartile of the 21st century.

In the 1920s the Ku Klux Klan spoke to millions of Americans in both rural and urban areas who wanted conservative values, restrictions on immigration, and an exclusive society for some Americans. The Ku Klux Klan addressed these issues, blamed socialism on immigrants, and found a comfortable place in the Democratic Party of William Jennings Bryan. Hiram Wesley Evans, the imperial wizard of the Klan, spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden in 1924: “The Klan, alone, supplies this leadership…. The blood which produces human leadership must be protected from inferior blood…. You are the superior blood.  You are more-you are leaders in the only movement in the world, at present, which exists solely to establish a civilization that will insure these things.  Klansmen and Klanswomen are verily ‘the salt of the earth,’ upon whom depends the future of civilization.”  (Hiram Wesley Evans, imperial wizard spoke these words in 1924 in Madison Square Garden at the Democratic National Convention)

To understand the divisive words above in the context of the poetic words “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” in the sonnet, The New Colossus, by Emma Lazarus, teachers should consider having their students participate in the following:

  • Have your students explain how and why the Klan evolved into a national organization after World War I from a regional organization in the South after the Civil War? 
  • Have your students cite examples of how the Klan used propaganda and the media to influence Americans and increase their membership. 
  • Have your students research the voices who spoke out against the Klan and for an inclusive society for all people.

The Klan became masters of propaganda or fake news in the 20th century with the popular commercial film, Birth of a Nation in 1915.  The influence of films, radio, and speeches at rallies have a powerful impact on the soul of Americans and their views on groups of people who become scapegoats as they were blamed for things they had no control over. The Klan meddled in the presidential elections of 1920 and 1924. Jon Meacham provides resources for teachers and students with the example of the campaign to defame President Warren G. Harding with fake news that “documented” his ancestors were black. (129)  At a time when Harding could have unleashed a tirade over the radio or in the newspapers, he met the allegations with dignified public silence.  There were also reports of his initiation as a member of the Klan in the dining room of the White House and that half of the elected representatives in Congress were Klan members! (130)  These were dangerous times.

William R. Pattangall, a politician from Maine running for governor, was one voice who explicitly denounced the Klan at the Democratic National Convention in New York City in 1924. “I say to you, that there is need to be sent over the whole wide United States a message…that our party hates bigotry, hates intolerance; opposes bigotry and opposes intolerance; and because it hates them and hates hypocrisy and opposes them, it therefore calls bigoty and intolerance and hypocrisy by their right names when it speaks of them.” In times when fear overcomes our American spirit, other voices need to speak for the rights and freedom of all citizens. There are many examples for teachers in The Soul of America of voices that speak of inclusion, freedom of equality and the rule of law in our Constitution.  Our students need to hear these voices!

In 1952 Margaret Chase Smith, also from Maine, spoke on the Senate floor against the wave of fear that Senator Joseph McCarthy promoted.  “I think that it is high time that we remembered that we have sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.  I think that it is high time that we remembered that the Constitution, as amended, speaks not only of the freedom of speech but also of trial by jury instead of trial by accusation…

Those of us who shout the loudest about Americanism in making character assassinations are all too frequently those who, by our own words and acts, ignore some of the basic principles of Americanism:

The right to criticize;

The right to uphold unpopular beliefs;

The right to protest;

The right to independent thought.

The Soul of America is filled with powerful quotations that teachers can select and organize into evidence packages for students to read, discuss, and form a conclusion.  The Soul of America includes selected quotes from speeches and literature as far back as 1789. These short quotes can be researched in the complete context of documents readily available online in presidential libraries, the Miller Center, The Library of Congress, and other resources. Here are several examples of Evidence Packages that will guide students in understanding the big picture of the challenges Americans experienced in the past 100 years. The examples below provide a context for the power of words and rhetoric for deeper inquiry and student engagement into history.

Evidence Package on The Great Depression:

  1. “In the summer of 1932, Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York had told an adviser that the two most dangerous men in America were Huey Long of Louisiana and Douglas MacArthur, the army chief of staff.  Long, the powerful Louisiana “kingfish,” could conceivably orchestrate a coup from the populist left, and MacArthur might manage the same feat from the right.”  (138, A few weeks before his inauguration, there was an assassination attempt on FDR and the mayor of Chicago in Miami, Florida by Zangara, an anarchist.
  2. “Where is the middle class today?” “Where is the corner groceryman, about whom President Roosevelt speaks?  He is gone or going.  Where is the corner druggist?  He is gone or going.  Where is the banker of moderate means?  He is vanishing…. The middle class today cannot pay the debts they owe and come out alive.” (143, Huey Long)
  3. “We have perfected techniques in propaganda and press and radio control which should make the United States the easiest country in the world to indoctrinate with any set of ideas, and to control for any physically possible ends.”  “Diversity – political, racial, religious, ethnic – was the enemy.’  Undoubtedly the easiest way to unite and animate large numbers in political association for action is to exploit the dynamic forces of hatred and fear.” (144, Lawrence Dennis, author from Georgia)
  4. “The GOP, Truman said, was more interested in partisan advantage than in national security. For political background, the Republicans have been trying vainly to find an issue on which to make a bid for the control of Congress for next year… They tried statism.  They tried ‘welfare state.’  They tried ‘socialism.’  And there are a certain number of members of the Republican party who are trying to dig up that old malodorous dead horse called ‘isolationism.’  And in order to do that, they are perfectly willing to sabotage the bipartisan foreign policy of the United States.” (188-89, Truman speech on March 30, 1950 in Key West, FL)

Evidence Package on Civil Rights Movement:

  1. “If on Judgment Day I were summoned by St. Peter to give testimony to the used-to-be sheriff’s act of kindness, I would be unable to say anything in his behalf.  His confidence that my uncle and every other Black man who heard of the Klan’s coming ride would scurry under their houses to hide in chicken droppings was to humiliating to hear.” (215, Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.  A reference to a warning to her uncle about a visit from the Klan)
  2. “You know, we just can’t keep colored folk down like we been doin’ around here for years and years,” Wallace told a Sunday School teacher at his church. “We got to quit.  We got to start treatin’ ‘em right. They just like everybody else.”  (218, Words of Gov. George Wallace, AL spoken shortly after World War 2, about 15 years before he was elected governor.)
  3. “In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny and I say…segregation now…segregation tomorrow…segregation forever.” (219, Gov. George Wallace, AL)
  • Yet Wallace failed.  The Kennedy Justice Department enforced the court order and the university was integrated.  On the evening of the day federal officials compelled Wallace to stand aside, President Kennedy spoke to the nation.

“Today, we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free. This is not a sectional issue.  Difficulties over segregation and discrimination exist in every city, in every State of the Union, producing in many cities a rising tide of discontent that threatens the public safety.  Nor is this a partisan issue…. We are confronted primarily with a moral issue.  It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.” (220, President Kennedy)

  • “Well, you know, John, the other day a sad thing happened.  Helen Williams and her husband, Gene, who are African Americans and have been working for me for many years, drove my official car from Washington down to Texas, the Cadillac limousine of the vice-president of the United States.  They drove through your state, and when they got hungry they stopped at grocery stores on the edge of town in colored areas and bought Vienna sausage and beans and ate them with a plastic spoon.  And when they had to go to the bathroom, they would stop, pull off on a side road, and Helen Williams, an employee of the vice-president of the United States, would squat on the road to pee.  And you know, John, that’s just bad.  That’s wrong.  And there ought to be something to change that. And it seems to me that if the people in Mississippi don’t change it voluntarily, that it’s just going to be necessary to change it by law.” (221, President Johnson statement to Senator John Stennis, Mississippi)
  • “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” (225, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)

  • “Yes, yes, Hubert, I want all those other things – buses, restaurants, all of that – but the right to vote with no ifs, ands, or buts, that’s the key.” (231, Civil Rights Act of 1964)
  • “The march of 1965 injected something very special into the soul and the heart and the veins of America.  It said, in effect, that we must humanize our social and political and economic structure.  When people saw what happened on that bridge, there was a sense of revulsion all over America. 

Revulsion, then redemption: In the final analysis, we are one people, one family, one house-not just the house of black and white, but the house of the South, the house of America.” (238, Rep. John Lewis, GA, Bloody Sunday. March 7, 1965)

“The issue of equal rights for American negroes is such an issue.  And should we defeat every enemy, should we double our wealth and conquer the stars, and still be unequal to this issue, then we will have failed as a people and as a nation. 

For with a country as with a person, ‘What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’” (241, Speech by President Lyndon Johnson to the nation, March 15, 1965)

The Soul of America is an important resource for history teachers, a powerful story for your students, and opened my mind to a deeper understanding of why the politics of today need the voices of teachers and professors to advocate for the liberties and rights we, both citizens and immigrants within the United States, have by law.