Teaching Democracy

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How do we learn to exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship? Do our schools teach us that the system works—or what to do if it doesn’t?

This program is presented in partnership with the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP).

Cal Humanities has partnered with CHSSP—the state’s K-16 collaborative dedicated to providing the highest quality history instruction—to improve how California’s teachers teach and their students learn about living in a democratic society. Our Teaching Democracy program offered a series of free webinars featuring renowned intellectuals and teacher leaders who address questions critical to understanding the extent and limits of democracy. The sessions focused on current scholarship and innovative methods that can be useful in classrooms as well as living rooms.

Teachers, history buffs, and anyone with an inquisitive mind—we invite you to use any and all of the resources below in your classrooms (or living rooms)!

Resources and Webinar Recordings

No Taxation without Representation?

Alan Taylor, Professor of History, UC Davis
Kate Bowen, Patwin Elementary School

Click here for Alan Taylor's PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Click here for Kate Bowen's PowerPoint presentation with audio.

Teaching Democracy: No Taxation without Representation? Lesson Plan Images, from the Library of Congress and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Virginia Resolutions on the Stamp Act, 1765 (2005, WW Norton Press) Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, 1765 (2010, Prentice Hall)

The Power of the Presidency

Daniel Sargent, Assistant Professor of History, UC Berkeley
Jenna Rentz and Bryan Shaw, Mount Diablo High School

Click here for Daniel Sargent's PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Click here for Jenna Rentz and Bryan Shaw's PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Teaching Democracy: The Power of the Presidency Lesson Plan

The Constitution of the United States (1787), from the National Archives Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist, no. 69 (1787), from the Library of Congress United States v. Curtiss-Wright (1936), from FindLaw Roosevelt Message to Congress (1940), from the American Presidency Project Youngstown Co. v. Sawyer (1952), from FindLaw "The Legality of United States Participation in the Defense of Viet-Nam" (1966), from HeinOnline

What Did the Constitution Originally Mean?

Jack Rakove, William Robertson Coe Professor of History and American Studies/Professor of Political Science and of Law, Stanford University
Jennifer Brouhard, Glenview Elementary School

Click here for Jack Rakove's PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Click here for Jennifer Brouhard's PowerPoint presentation with audio.

Teaching Democracy: What was the Purpose of the Preamble? Lesson Plan The Constitution of the United States (1787), from the National Archives Virginia Constitution & Declaration of Rights (1776), from the Library of Virginia Resolutions of Concord, MA, town meeting (1776), from TeachingAmericanHistory.org Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom (1786), from the Library of Virginia James Madison's Letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 24, 1787, from Liberty Fund, Inc. James Madison's Letter to Thomas Jefferson, October 17, 1788, from Liberty Fund, Inc.

Should America Have a King?

Caroline Winterer, Professor of History, Stanford University
Jasmin Brown, César Chavez Middle School

Click here for Caroline Winterer's PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Click here for Jasmin Brown's PowerPoint presentation with audio.

Teaching Democracy: How did Patriots justify their separation from Great Britain? Lesson Plan The Declaration of Independence Thomas Paine's Common Sense

Who is a Citizen?

Clarence Walker, Professor of History, UC Davis
Jah-Yee Woo, Oakland Unified School District

Click here for Clarence Walker's PowerPoint presentation with audio.
Click here for Jah-Yee Woo's PowerPoint presentation with audio.

Teaching Democracy: What were the challenges to African American citizenship after the Civil War? Lesson Plan Andrew Jackson's Annual Message, from ourdocuments.gov Executive Order 9066, from the National Archives Indian Removal Act of 1830, from the Library of Congress The Areas of Racial Discrimination (1988, Dorsey Press) Uncle Tom's Cabin Excerpt (1962, Collier Books)

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