Current and Upcoming Assignments

Due Date
Personal History ESSAY

Parent Signatures

Early America group research

Powerpoint creation


In-Class ESSAY



9/10-11 to 9/16-17

9/18-21 to 9/22-23

9/24-25 to 9/28-29




Document #1: Linking a Continent and a Nation

Document #2: A Capmaker's Story

Document #3: The Great Strike of 1877

Document #4 - Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire

Document #5: The Automobile and the Suburbanization of Los Angeles in the 1920s

Document #6
: 1937 Flint Sit-Down Strike

Document #7: How to Interview People

Documents #8, 9, and 10: from Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States by Ken Jackson(chapters 11, 12, and 13 - 55 pages total)

Ch. 11 - Federal Subsidy and the Suburban Dream: How Washington Changed the American Housing Market

Ch. 12 - The Cost of Good Intentions: The Ghettoization of Public Housing in the U.S.

Ch. 13 - The Baby Boom and the Age of the Subdivision

Document #11: Causes of 1967 Newark Rebellion



1968 democratic convention

Police clash with protestors at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, in what an official report later called a "police riot". Protesters were there calling on the Democratic Party to end the Vietnam War.


These are some excellent films, all of which deal with at least one aspect of US History. They do not offer perfect portrayals of people and events, but they are as good as it gets when Hollywood tries to make history into entertainment. Many are excellent, and based on actual published histories. Even where they are not perfect, they give a good feel for the time period and events of the times, and some just plain make you think. Enjoy.

The Gangs of New York
Dances With Wolves
Molly McGuire’s
The Color Purple
Eight Men Out
The Killing Floor
The Cradle Will Rock
Come See the Paradise
The Good Shepard
Good Night and Good Luck
Guilty By Suspicion
Born on the 4th of July
Coming Home
Apocalypse Now
Heaven and Earth
All the President’s Men
Malcolm X
Wall Street
And the Band Played On
Bob Roberts
Dead Man Walking
Bread and Roses

As with the films, these documentaries are excellent. Some feature great actual photos and documentary footage, and some have great commentary by working historians.

Slavery in America (PBS)
Race: The History of an Illusion (PBS)
Grand Army of Starvation
Hiroshima: The Decision to Drop the Bomb
The Promised Land
Why We Fight
Sir No Sir
Hearts and Minds
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel
Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers
The Fog of War
The U.S. vs. John Lennon
Harlan County, U.S.A.
The American Dream
Manufacturing Consent
Roger and Me
Bowling for Columbine
Fahrenheit 911
Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train
The Corporation
An Inconvenient Truth
Bastards of the Party
Money Driven Medicine
Who Killed the Electric Car?
Bill Moyers Journal: Buying the War (PBS)
Shock Doctrine
The Money Fix


great depression
Destitute peapickers in California during the Great Depression: a 32 year old mother of 7, February, 1936.

As I say constantly in class, the best way to really understand history is to read good books, written by good historians, about the person, group, event, trend, or theme. To that end, here are some of those excellent histories which fit into the time period covered by my US II course. Some are short, some are big and thick, and some are easy to read while others are very dense and sometimes hard to follow. But all are worth reading if you want to learn about that topic in our history. I hope you'll read at least a few of them in the near future. There are many, many more, of course, but these are a good start. Author's names in parentheses. Enjoy.

Good General US History
America's History (Henretta, et al.)
Out of Many (Faragher, et al.)
A People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn)

Ghetto Schooling: A Political-Economy of Urban Educational Reform (Jean Anyon)
Miracle on High Street: The Rise, Fall, and Resurrection of St. Benedicts (Tom McCabe)
No Cause for Indictment: An Autopsy of Newark (Ron Porambo)
The Newark Teachers Strikes: Hopes on the Line (Steve Golin)
A Nation Within a Nation: Amiri Baraka and Black Power Politics (Komozi Woodard)

Late 19th Century
Farewell My Nation: The American Indian and the United States, 1820-1890
(Philip Weeks)
Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution (Eric Foner)

Exodusters: Black Migration to Kansas After Reconstruction (Nell Irvin Painter)
Work, Culture and Society in Industrializing America (Herbert Gutman)
The Robber Barons (Matthew Josephson)
The Populist Moment (Lawrence Goodwyn)
The Strange Career of Jim Crow (C. Vann Woodward)
Industrialism and the American Worker, 1865-1920 (Melvyn Dubofsky)
Strike (Jeremy Brecher)
Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Nick Salvatore)
The New City: Urban America in the Industrial Age, 1860-1920 (Raymond Mohl)
The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1865-1898 (Walter LaFeber)

Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925 (John Higham)

Early 20th Century
W.E.B Dubois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919 (David Levering Lewis)

Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (Glenda Gilmore)
The American Political Tradition (Richard Hofstadter)
The Age of Reform (Richard Hofstadter)
Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery
in American Business
(Roland Marchand)

Ruling America: A History of Wealth and Power in a Democracy (Fraser + Gerstle)
A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of Progressivism in America
(Michael McGerr)
The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (Gabriel Kolko)
Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s (Lynn Dumenil)
In Their Own Interests: Race, Class, and Power in 20th Century
Norfolk, Virginia
(Earl Lewis)

Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture in the 20th Century
(Kevin Gaines)

Safe For Democracy: The Anglo-American Response to Revolution, 1913-1923
(Lloyd Garner)

Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (Studs Terkel)
Days of Hope: Race and Democracy in the New Deal Era (Patricia Sullivan)
Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939
(Lizabeth Cohen)
The New Deal: The Depression Years, 1933-40
(Anthony Badger)
The Hammer and the Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression
(Robin Kelley)
Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class (Robin Kelley)
The Cold War: The United States and The Soviet Union, 1917-1991 (Powaski)
The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America
(Nicholas Lehman)
Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States
(Kenneth Jackson)

Post-World War II
Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conserative Movement From the New Deal to Reagan
(Kim Phillips-Fein)
The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America Since 1945
(George Nash)
Selling Free Enterprise: The Business Assault on Labor and Liberalism, 1945-1960
(Elizabeth Fones-Wolf)
Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right
(Lisa McGirr)
A Consumer's Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America
(Lizbeth Cohen)
City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles - (Mike Davis)
American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Post-War Oakland, 1945-1970
(Robert Self)
White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Kevin Kruse)
The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Thomas Sugrue)
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Robert Caro)
The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (William Appleman Williams)
Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala
(Schlesinger and Kinzer)
Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective (Richard Fried)
From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Origins of Modern Conservatism
(Joseph Lowndes)
Takin' it to the Streets: A Sixties Reader (Bloom + Brienes)
A Taste of Power: A Black Woman's Story (Elaine Brown)
The Rebellious Life of Ms. Rosa Parks (Jeanne Theoharis)
The Other Side of the Sixties: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of Conservative
(John Andrew)

My Soul is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South
(Howell Raines)
Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
(Thomas Sugrue)
An Injury to All: The Decline of Business Unionism (Kim Moody)
Approaching Vietnam: From WWII Through Dienbienphu (Lloyd Gardner)
Vietnam: A History (Stanley Karnow)
Fire in the Lake (Fitzgerald)
The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Matthew Lassiter)
Freedom is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace (Nancy MacLean)
The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 (Sean Wilentz)

Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
(Stephen Kinzer)

A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (Samantha Power)
To Serve God and Wal-Mart: The Making of Christian Free Enterprise (Bethany Moreton)
The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Ruined Government, Enriched Themselves,
and Beggared the Nation
(Thomas Frank)
The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power (Jeff Sharlet)
The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Naomi Klein)

If histories are too much sometimes, my syllabus lists some excellent novels which, even if the characters are fictional, illustrate the history well and give a great feel for how if felt to be in that time and place.

triangle shirtwaist fire
Dead women after jumping to their deaths during the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, in Greenwich Village, NY, 1911.  146 women died when a fire broke out, but owners had locked doors and blocked fire escapes. This event showed the public the terrifying conditions in which many industrial workers toiled.


Links (labor history)
(general US history and primary documents)
(great primary documents, including speeches, political platforms, laws, etc.)
(more interesting primary documents, descriptions, and photos)
(PBS site for US history, with links to previously shown documentaries and various other related resources)
(more interesting general stuff: good descriptions of groups, events, etc., as well as connections to old newspaper texts, good museums, and more)
(great site for Africans migrations, both through slave trade and voluntary moves, including actual chapters from good articles and books)
(interesting stuff on the automobile and its effects)




franklin roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt, President from
-1945, and initiator of the "New Deal".












US Helicopters lift off from a field in
Vietnam, 1967 or 1968.

















Ronald Reagan, President, 1981-1989,
and political
leader of the "conservative
revolution" of the 1980's. Notice the
prominent display of the flag.





















eugene debs

Eugene Debs, leader of the ARU during
the 1894 Pullman Strike, and thereafter
vocal presidential candidate of the
Socialist Party. This photo taken while
in prison for speaking out against World
War I.

















Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States
Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburban-
ization of the United States
, by Ken
Jackson. A great history that explains
how government policies, the auto-
mobile, and racism came together to
drain American cities of resources
and opportunities.

















black panthers

Stokely Carmichael (left) and H. Rap Brown, leaders of the Black Panther Party, at Columbia University in the 1970's. The Panthers were among the most radical of a number of groups advocating expanded rights and opportunities for African-Americans.