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Social History for Every Classroom

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An Indentured Servant Testifies About the Existence of a Slave Conspiracy in New York

In 1741, a series of fires broke out in Manhattan, the most serious of which was within the walls of the governor's home in Fort George. After a slave was seen fleeing the site of one of the fires, rumors of a "Negro conspiracy" soon swept the city [...]

An Army Journalist Testifies Before the Peers Commission

Peers Commission investigators asked Jay Roberts, an Army journalist who accompanied photographer Ronald Haeberle on the My Lai operation, to explain why the massacre had occurred. Roberts was a veteran journalist, and My Lai was not his first [...]

Examples of U.S. Laws Requiring Racial Segregation

The United States passed more than four-hundred laws, amendments, and ordinances legalizing discrimination and segregation between the years of 1865 and 1967. Nearly all aspects of people's everyday lives were governed by these laws including, but [...]

Item Type: Laws/Court Cases
Congress Issues the Conscription Act

Between July 13 and 16, 1863, the largest riots the United States had yet seen shook New York City. In the so-called Civil War draft riots, the city's poor white working people, many of them Irish immigrants, bloodily protested the federally-imposed [...]

Selections from Alabama's Laws Governing Slaves

While slaveholders defended slavery as a benign system, this selection of laws, on the books in Alabama in 1833, suggest that slaves themselves were finding many ways to resist and escape it. Whites became particularly concerned about slave [...]

The United States Bars Chinese Immigrants

The Chinese Exclusion Act, passed on May 6, 1882, was the first major restriction placed on immigration in the U.S., and the only immigration law that explicitly barred a specific group from entering the country. The Exclusion Act forbade Chinese [...]

The U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Japanese Incarceration

America fought World War II to preserve freedom and democracy, yet that same war featured the greatest suppression of civil liberties in the nation’s history. In an atmosphere of hysteria, President Roosevelt, encouraged by officials at all [...]

The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments

Congress passed the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, outlawing slavery, before the Civil War had ended. Once the war was over, white southerners passed laws (known as Black Codes) to keep freedmen from exercising their rights, and Congress [...]

Black Codes Restrict Newly Won Freedom

In the fall of 1865, white southerners, most of them ex-Confederates and planters, won large majorities in local and state elections throughout the South. They quickly passed a series of restrictive laws, or Black Codes, which varied only slightly [...]

The Supreme Court Declares that the Constitution Does Not Protect Women’s Right to Vote

Female suffragists were disappointed when the final language of the 15th Amendment did not specifically protect the right of women to vote. Some women activists opposed the amendment for this reason. Virginia Minor was one of those activists. [...]


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