Marbury v. Madison

This film, made in 1977, is honestly a bit of a snoozer, even for those of us who love government! However it does cover the major ideas involved with this important Supreme Court case. And it is worth watching…

For more government resources check out our PowerPoints:

Cumberland Gap

This 1986 film explores the significance of the Cumberland Gap to the movement of people for thousands of years, especially in Westward growth in what is now the United States.

For more about Western US History, check out our PowerPoints and Simulation Games:

Guest Post: Celebrating Women History’s Month with Mary Harris “Mother” Jones

March marks Women’s History month and what better way to celebrate than by commencing labor activist and community organizer Mary Harris “Mother “Jones.  Jones, who was dubbed as “the most dangerous woman in America” at the ripe age of 60, is better known  for her role in organizing the United Mine Workers of America —a group of  oppressed mine workers and their families who eventually revolted  against mine owners in 1890. While the miners went on strike, it was Mother Jones who encouraged the men to allow let their wives to fight alongside their husbands in a series of “mop and broom” brigades.

Described by historians as a feisty and persistent woman, her impact and significance is immortalized in a song written by singers Ani Difranco and Utah Phillips.

There are several other songs that sum up Mother Jones’ life and accomplishments as well like this 1931 track by folktale singer Gene Autry.

Experts also speculate that the American classic “She’ll be Coming Around the Mountain” is in fact about Mother Jones and her travels promoting unionization of the Appalachian coal miners.

These songs are a fantastic way to get students interactive with the lesson; And unlike when showing a video, the song serves true to one of the oldest forms of storytelling—thus students really need to focus and pay attention to hear what the singers are saying.

There are several different activities that can follow after playing these short songs—the obvious would be to simply have a quiz for comprehension.

Another activity that students might find more enjoyable however is writing their own song. The song might not have to be necessarily about Mother Jones, but maybe about another historical figure they’d like to highlight for Women’s History Month.

Another option that students might also enjoy is writing a news article about a prominent woman in history they’d like to focus on.  Mother Jones was the inspiration for a magazine under the same name.  The students can pretend they are writing articles for this particular publication.


Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to

President Jackson Mini-PowerPoint

Our Expansion and Reform:1829-1860 PowerPoint covers the explosions of growth during this era.

We have included this 27-slide excerpt on President Jackson.

For more on this era check out our:
Simulation Games


Guest Post: Civil War and Poetry

When you’re a history teacher, it can be difficult to make your subject matter interesting and relatable. After all, you’re teaching about the past, not the present or future – why should history have any bearing on the way we think and feel today? If your students are asking that question, you might consider a lesson involving Civil War poetry to show them how major historical events affected real people. Words from the individuals who lived through this period can have a strong impact on students who aren’t quite convinced that what we refer to as “history” happened to people just like them. To help your students understand how it might have felt to live during the Civil War period, try using some of the following exercises with poetry that speaks to the essence of humanity.

The Jacket of Gray

This poem is interesting in several respects and might help change your students’ mindsets and attitudes toward the Civil War. It wasn’t just about men – The Jacket of Gray was written by Caroline Augusta Bell, who was born in 1825 and lost a son to the war.

Use the link above to access the poem and print enough copies for everyone in your class. You might consider reading it aloud to emphasize the human emotion of it, helping your students realize that the war was very real to the men and women who lived it. Once everyone has heard or read the poem, you can either hold a class discussion or break students up into smaller groups. You can write the following questions on the board and add to or subtract from them as you see fit:

  • Was Caroline’s son a Union or a Confederate soldier?
  • Why was she proud of his service if he was a Confederate soldier? What was he defending? (Here, you could discuss defense of his home as his guiding principle rather than defense of slavery – but was there really any excuse to be on that side of the war?)
  • Caroline writes that it was all in vain, despite the winning of the battle. How might she define “victory” (Stanza 6, line 2)?
  • How might Caroline have felt as a woman during the Civil War? Consider what you know about gender inequality during that time period. Was there anything she could have done about the way she felt?

The General’s Death

Written by Union soldier Joseph O’Connor, The General’s Death is short at just five stanzas, but you’ll find plenty to talk about when you read it in class. The following are some questions to use in discussion of this poem, and you can find more pieces to read and discuss at

  • List some responsibilities of a general in addition to keeping his men safe. How much significance might have been attached to keeping soldiers’ moods elevated?
  • How do you think soldiers dealt with the suddenness of environmental, physical, and emotional changes?
  • What must it have felt like to see the strongest man in the group fall? How could Joseph and the other men have hoped to survive?
  • Do you think it was harder to feel positive or negative emotions? Why?

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online programs and blogging about student life issues. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


For more on this era check out MML’s US History PowerPoints:

Simulation games:

King Andrew the First

This 1833 cartoon is a great way of exploring the sometimes controversial presidency of Andrew Jackson. Although this refers to the action regarding the Bank, it would be interesting to analyze other actions taken during his presidency.

We have included a copy of the cartoon along with questions and answers.

For more on this era check out our US History PowerPoint, Expansion and Reform: The United States from 1829-1860

Simulation games:

Image Library: US History Image Library – Pre-20th Century

Imperialism in Africa Map, 1885-1914

We like this imperialism in Africa map, it allows students to answer both higher and lower level questions .

We have included a copy along with questions and answers.

For more on this era check out our PowerPoint resources:

1899 Ladies riding bicycles

This footage is just fun!

How special to have a glimpse of a cultural moment from the 19th century.

For more on this era check out our US History PowerPoints:

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 11:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Frederick Douglass speech “What the Black Man Wants” 1865

Given at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society days before the end of the Civil War, Douglass argues in favor of suffrage for Blacks, as well as equality, rather than generosity.

Douglass wants Blacks to be allowed to fail or succeed on their own.

He also points out the irony that Blacks have been considered citizens in time of war but aliens in time of peace.

We have included an excerpt from the speech, along with questions and answers.

For more on this time period check out our PowerPoints:

  • Slavery in America
  • Expansion and Reform: The United States from 1829-1860
  • Causes of the Civil War
  • The Civil War
  • Reconstruction: 1863-1877
  • Also check out our simulation games:

    President Grant, Congress, and the Fifteenth Amendment

    President Grant sent a telegram to Congress in March of 1870 announcing the ratification of the 15th amendment, an action he acknowledged was breaking protocol.

    He wanted to emphasize the importance of the amendment, as he believed it to be the single greatest action taken since the founding of the nation.

    We have included a copy of the telegram, as well questions and answers for students.

    For more on this era check out our Reconstruction PowerPoint.