Historians on America

The State Department’s Historians on America site looks at a series of “tipping points” in US history:

Chapter 1
The Trial of John Peter Zenger and the Birth of Freedom of the Press
Chapter 2
The Constitutional Convention of 1787
Chapter 3
Rising by Falling: George Washington and the Concept of a Limited Presidency
Chapter 4
Victory of the Common School Movement: A Turning Point in American Educational History
Chapter 5
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890
Chapter 6
The Interstate Highway System, 1939-1991
Chapter 7
The GI Bill of Rights
<!–Part 1 | Part 2 –>
Chapter 8
The Marshall Plan: A Strategy That Worked
Chapter 9
Brown v. Board of Education: The Law, The Legacy
Chapter 10
The Right to Legal Counsel: The Gideon v. Wainwright Decision
Chapter 11
The Immigration Act of 1965: Intended and Unintended Consequences

From the site:

We asked 11 historians, each an expert in his field, to consider a development that led to the creation of an idea or an institution that is central to America today. Most of the time, our authors find that a heroic individual plays a distinct role: George Washington’s decision to retire from the first presidency after two terms guaranteed that the new nation would not have a king. The 1954 Supreme Court decision that led to racial integration of American schools is hard to imagine without Earl Warren as chief justice. The Marshall Plan, which helped bring relief to a devastated Europe after World War II, is certainly well named.

Yet it is also possible to see less personalized and less dramatic transformative events – laws passed by Congress, court decisions, the development of public schools – as examples of the tipping-point theory in action. They occur at times when an accretion of ideas, social movements, economic interests, and other forces have attained a critical mass. When looked at closely, many sudden transformations do not turn out to be sudden.

We do not mean to suggest that historical tipping points occur only in America, of course. By telling these American stories, we hope to provide ways for readers to view history, societies, and institutions in a new light of understanding.

Each “chapter” includes a (relatively) short essay by a historian about the event – seems like a great resource for high school teachers looking at the “Dig Deep” or “Causes of Conflict” CBAs.

A pdf print version is found here:  Historians on America


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