Government


  • The Mine Wars: Who Worked in the West Virginia Coal Mines?

    Learn why African Americans from the South and immigrants from southern and eastern Europe came to West Virginia to work alongside native Appalachian miners in the early 20th century, in this video excerpted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Mine Wars. With the coal mining industry growing rapidly, mineworkers were in demand. To meet this demand, coal operators offered European immigrants a job and a home, and offered African American workers access to a system that proclaimed equal pay for equal work. Camps built by the coal companies to house their workers were racially and ethnically divided. This was done by design as a way to discourage unionization. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

    Click on the links below to download customizable Teaching Tips and the video transcript.

    Teaching Tips | Transcript

    Grades: 8-12
  • A Case for the Separation of Powers

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience, historians examine how John Adams advocated for a separation of powers when he wrote the Massachusetts Constitution in 1779. Adams called for a strong executive branch, two legislative branches, and an independent judiciary branch. This state constitution became the model upon which the federal constitution was based.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Alexander Hamilton: Early Influences

    This video segment adapted from American Experience describes the early life of one of America's Founding Fathers—Alexander Hamilton. Born outside of the thirteen American colonies on a small tropical island, Hamilton's struggles begin early when his father leaves and his mother dies of yellow fever. As a teenager, he learns about international finance by working for an export company, hones his writing skills, and witnesses the degradation of slavery.

    Grades: 5-12
  • The Pilgrims: Mayflower Compact

    Discover why most of the Mayflower's male passengers signed an historic agreement, in this video adapted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Pilgrims. In September 1620, religious dissenters, called "Separatists" by their detractors, were joined aboard the Mayflower by other English colonists recruited by the project's financial backers. Many of these newcomers did not share the Separatists' religious zeal. The ship set sail for America at a time of year when Atlantic storms were perilous. The Mayflower made landfall 66 days later. With tensions threatening to divide the passengers, a social compact was drafted and signed before going ashore. All signers would submit to the government created, officers elected, and laws drafted. 

    Click on the links below to download customizable student handouts and a background essay for this resource.

    Before You Watch | While You Watch | After You Watch | Vocabulary | All-In-One Handout | Background Essay |

    See Support Materials for Teaching Tips and links to related materials. This resource is part of the American Experience: The Pilgrims collection.

     

    Grades: 5-12
  • Truman and the Atomic Bomb — World War II

    Through newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews, this video segment adapted from American Experience traces the decision-making process that led President Harry Truman to order the dropping of atomic bombs on two Japanese cities in August 1945. Contributing to his decision were the belief that the Japanese were unwilling to surrender, a concern for American lives, a limited knowledge of the atomic bomb's devastating effects, and a failure to consider other options that might bring the war to a close. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection

    Grades: 9-12
  • FDR: The Lend-Lease Act

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience, view newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews to explore Franklin Roosevelt's efforts to help defend Great Britain from German attacks in the period before the United States entered World War II. Despite the domestic restraints of the Neutrality Acts enacted by Congress in the 1930s and strong public isolationist sentiment, Roosevelt proposed the Lend-Lease plan to provide Great Britain with necessary weapons, and used his powers of persuasion to see it through a resistant Congress. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection

    Grades: 9-12
  • FDR: New Deal Programs

    In this video adapted from American Experience, archival photos, newsreel footage, and interviews describe the conditions facing the country during the Great Depression and the policy responses of Franklin D. Roosevelt during his first term in office (1933–1936). Among the initiatives he championed were those that addressed farming, banking, labor/management issues, housing, and public welfare. This array of initiatives, which was named the New Deal, transformed government’s relationship to the economy. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection

    Grades: 9-12
  • Truman: The Beginning of the Cold War

    In this video segment on the Cold War adapted from American Experience, examine archival photos, interviews, and newsreels to learn about Harry Truman's efforts to oppose the spread of Communism in the years immediately following World War II. The creation of a Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe and the escalating threat of Soviet dominance to other countries in the region led the president to propose a strategy premised on the division of the world into free and totalitarian factions. This strategy, later called the Truman Doctrine, became part of a Cold War that would pit the United States and the Soviet Union against each other for the next four decades. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection

    Grades: 9-12
  • Escalation of the Vietnam War by LBJ

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience, view archival photos, newsreel footage, and interviews to examine the decision-making process that led Lyndon Johnson to order increased United States military involvement in the Vietnam War. With military and political advisers recommending massive American troop involvement over a number of years, and only one adviser urging complete withdrawal, Johnson chose to continue the commitments made by past presidents. This decision reflected Johnson's conviction that history taught the United States never to give in to aggressors. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • LBJ and the Great Society

    Through newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews, this video segment adapted from American Experience surveys the array of civil rights and social welfare legislation that President Lyndon Johnson championed in pursuit of what he characterized as the "Great Society." Johnson's success in enacting reforms in the areas of civil rights, voting rights, education, health care, and housing were quickly met by budgetary constraints, including those imposed by increased spending on the Vietnam War, and significant public skepticism that compromised the effectiveness of many of the new programs. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Iranian Hostage Crisis of 1979

    In this video segment adapted from American Experience, watch newsreel footage, archival photos, and interviews to explore the events related to the seizure of 53 American hostages by Iranian radicals in 1979, at the dawn of Iran's Islamic Revolution. Fueled by widespread anger at the autocratic policies of the Shah of Iran, religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini led a successful revolt that established an Islamic republic. President Carter's decision to admit the deposed shah, a former American ally, into the United States for medical treatment preceded the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and 53 Americans who worked there in October 1979. Negotiations failed to secure the hostages' release, which did not occur until the swearing in of Carter's successor, President Ronald Reagan. This resource is part of the American Experience Collection

    Grades: 9-12
  • Clinton: Crises in Somalia and Rwanda

    In this video adapted from American Experience: "Clinton," learn about how the United States responded to two humanitarian crises in Africa during the early years of the Clinton administration. In Somalia, where violence among clans led to mass starvation, an initially successful effort to provide relief ended in tragedy when two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in 1993. The memory of this tragedy was influential in persuading U.S. policymakers not to intervene in the genocide that occurred in Rwanda the following spring. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

    Warning: This video contains graphic images of war casualties.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Clinton: Genocide in Yugoslavia

    This video adapted from American Experience: "Clinton" describes the genocide that occurred in the Bosnian region of the former Yugoslavia and the response of the Clinton administration. When Serbs attempted to massacre Bosnia's Muslim population, the United States was initially reluctant to intervene militarily. After the genocide escalated, however, President Clinton ordered airstrikes against the Serbian forces, a decision that ultimately led to the signing of a peace agreement. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

    Warning: This video contains graphic images of war casualties.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • The 1930s - Teacher's Resources: Teacher's Guide

    During the Great Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt initiated the far-reaching legislation of the New Deal that extended the federal government's arm deep into the economy, the policies of individual states, and the lives of many Americans. The programs faced fierce opposition at the time, and many of those same arguments -- including limiting the role of government as a whole --have resonated throughout United States history in the political battles over the economy, health care, unemployment, and other volatile issues. Learn more with this guide from American Experience: "The 1930s."

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps - Image: CCC Camps Across America

    The CCC, a New Deal program, put three million young men to work in camps across America during the height of the Great Depression. Learn more about the program with this map from American Experience: "The Civilian Conservation Corps."

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps - Photo Gallery: The Civilian Conservation Corps

    Explore the effect of the New Deal's Civilian Conservation Corps on American workers, with this gallery from American Experience: "The Civilian Conservation Corps."

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Civilian Conservation Corps - Teacher's Resources: Teacher's Guide

    The Civilian Conservation Corps was an integral part of the American economic recovery of the 1930s. Explore the goals and successes of the CCC, and debate whether such a program might be appropriate today. Discuss what the CCC did for America's youth and culture. Research CCC camp locations and find projects that are still in use in your area. Explore this highly successful New Deal program with this guide from American Experience: "The Civilian Conservation Corps."

    Grades: 9-12
  • Custer's Last Stand - Photo Gallery: Lt. Col. George Custer

    Learn about the aggressive policies of the government and army of the U.S. towards the Native Americans of the American West with this gallery of General George Custer's life and times, from American Experience: "Custer's Last Stand."

    Grades: 9-12
  • Custer's Last Stand - Custer Behind the Scenes

    Watch this behind-the-scenes look at a program about westward expansion and General George Custer, from American Experience: "Custer's Last Stand."

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Mine Wars: The Coal Town System

    Discover the exploitative conditions under which coal mine workers in the early 1900s in West Virginia lived, in this video excerpted from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: The Mine Wars. Coal towns were company-owned towns that had no elected officials and no independent police forces. They paid workers in company-issued currency, called scrip, and pressured mining families to shop exclusively for food, fuel, and other necessities at the coal operator’s own stores. With the system designed to assure a profit for the company—even if the company lost money through mining operations—workers felt trapped. This resource is part of the American Experience collection.

    Click on the links below to download customizable Teaching Tips and the video transcript.

    Teaching Tips | Transcript

    Grades: 8-12

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