Social History for Every Classroom

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Social History for Every Classroom

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A Feminist Draws Parallels Between African Americans' and Women's Rights

The March on Washington and other demonstrations finally brought Congress close to passing a sweeping civil rights bill in 1964. At the last moment, and to the surprise of many, "sex" was added to the clause that would prevent employment [...]

A Radical Patriot Urges "Common Sense and a Plain Understanding" in the Pennsylvania Constitution (with text supports)

In 1776 Pennsylvania organized a convention to write a new state constitution. James Cannon, a radical patriot leader, advised Pennsylvania militia members to be sure to select delegates to this convention who would respect the rights and authority [...]

A Railroad Titan Explains Why the Chinese are Good for White Workers

The "divide-and-conquer" tactics used by bosses pitted different ethnic groups against one another and native-born workers against all immigrants. It often worked out better for white workers than for Asians. Charles Crocker, one of the "Big Four" [...]

Growers Explain Why They Hire Immigrant Workers

Many bosses deliberately hired workers who did not share common languages or ethnic backgrounds. Here, a manager of a Hawaii sugar plantation explains this anti-labor tactic to a Honolulu commission investigating strike activity. Other growers had [...]

A Senator Calls for a More Democratic Immigration System

In the midst of debating the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which concerned the rights of all Americans, regardless of race, to become citizens and vote, Senator Charles Sumner often urged more liberal and democratic application of the law. In [...]

California Workingmen Feel Threatened by Chinese Laborers

California held a series of anti-Chinese conventions in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s. After Chinese immigration was forbidden by federal law in 1882, white laborers organized boycotts of Chinese-owned businesses and won pledges from state leaders not [...]

Reagan Administration Officials Debate How to Support the Contras

Democrats in Congress strongly disagreed with Reagan's support of the rightwing Contras in Nicaragua. To prevent further U.S. intervention in Nicaragua, they passed the Boland Amendments that outlawed federal spending on the conflict. Reagan and [...]

A Union Army General Describes the Impact of Contraband Slaves (with text supports)

In the testimony that follows, a general tells Congress how contraband slaves served his army and had a dramatic impact on the way Union soldiers thought about slavery and freedom.

An Apprentice's Indenture Contract

Many English settlers arrived in the colonies as indentured servants. Because poor men and women could not afford the cost of travel to North America, they bound themselves for four to seven years’ labor in return for passage across the [...]

A Revolutionary Veteran Describes His Experience

Massachusetts shoemaker Sylvanus Wood served the Patriot cause in the American Revolution in a variety of ways. He fought as a Minuteman at the battle of Lexington and Concord, served three tours of duty in the Continental army, and made shoes for [...]


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