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American Industrial Revolution

During the American Industrial Revolution the lives of individual citizens, as well as the overall structure of society, underwent a fundamental transformation. Some of these changes included: the pace of work, the availability and quality of goods and products, the development of complex urban centers, the introduction of technological advancements, and the implementation of a fast and reliable transportation network.

Industrial Revolution and Its Impact at Home and Abroad

The Industrial Revolution sparked remarkable and permanent changes in the United States. The tremendous increase in the availability and variety of manufactured goods combined with the massive need for factories and workers to revolutionize American society generated a profound impact on American society. The following set offers a rich range of primary sources, exploring these changes and the extent of their impacts on workers, homes, communities, and the environment.

Japanese Internment: U.S. Reacts to Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 sparked U.S. involvement in World War II and generated a reactionary movement against Japanese Americans. This primary source set focuses on reactions in the United States following the attack. Images include Japanese-Americans being moved, the signing of Executive Order No. 9066, and “evacuation sales” held by evacuees. The set also includes two activities to drive student understanding and promote interest in the subject.

Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Japanese attack on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii forever altered the course of WWII. Although the attack left the American fleet crippled, it failed to strike a fatal blow. From the death and destruction of December 7th rose a nation dedicated to rebuilding and avenging the loss of Pearl Harbor. Using this primary source set students will be able to evaluate how the attack impacted those who were there and how they responded on that fateful day.

Immigration versus Nativism

The topic of immigration is just as controversial today as it was at the turn of the twentieth century. In this one-day lesson, students will immerse themselves in the attitudes and opinions of many native-born Americans (Nativists) who did not welcome the arrival of immigrants from certain countries. Students will use music and political cartoons from the period to wonder, investigate, and construct new understandings of the popular opinions towards immigrants at the time.

Injuries and Disability in 19th Century Industry

In this lesson students will learn that incurring a disability at work was a common occurrence of the Industrial Revolution.  This lesson integrates disability history content within a larger 14-day unit on the Industrial Revolution. The lesson plan provides a series of activities that highlight the importance of children and adults with disabilities in 19th century workplaces, and the ways primary source photographs provide information and inspire critical questions.

World War I and Disability

The lesson invites students to think about what life was like as a disabled veteran of WWI and to connect to background knowledge as well as personal experiences. The teacher will provide historical information and guide the class in a read-aloud from the perspective of a soldier wounded and recuperating in Italy from Ernest Hemingway’s “In Another Country.”

Reforming American Society with Dix and Mann

The instrumental role Dorothea Dix played in reforming prisons and mental institutions, and the actions of Horace Mann in his campaign for free public education are at the center of this lesson. How did improvements in conditions for people in the public charge, whether prisoners or people institutionalized because of disability, come about? How did the the idea of who gets to be educated change? By focusing attention on the strategies used by these social reformers, the lesson engages students in critical thinking about the methods of reformers as well as their goals.

Who Should Care for America’s Veterans?

Care for veterans is relevant to understanding war and the role of government, and is critical to disability history. In this lesson, students gather information through a variety of primary sources on the experiences of veterans from the War of Independence through today. They ask, ‘How has U.S. government care for veterans changed over time?’ Using their evidence, students develop a proposal to today’s Veterans Administration that outlines how veterans should be cared for. 

Eugenics: Preoccupation with Genetic Fitness and Threats of Difference & Disability

The Eugenics movement in the early 20th century United States, a pseudo-scientific amalgamation of social Darwinist philosophy and animal breeding management, gained widespread approval across the country and influenced many internationally, most notably in the the Nazi racial policies of the era leading up to World War II.

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