Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


Ordinary Citizens Create History
Author:
Diane Haywood
Course:
Government/Missouri History
Time Frame:
1 to 2 classroom hours and document creation time
Subjects:
Marshall Plan
,
Missouri History
,
Political Cartoons
,
Cold War

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

The students will receive a copy of Margaret Hays’ letter Number 35, and will read, interpret and answer questions.  The class will discuss individual interpretations.  This may be done in small groups or as a class unit.  Following discussion, each student will create an e mail, blog entry or personal letter to the audience of choice and write a modern equivalent of the primary source used.  The student creation must include both typical lifestyle events and current events of local, state, national and international interest.  The current events must have personal opinion of the author expressed in the document.

Rationale:

This lesson will allow students to participate in history within the context of an ordinary person (Margaret Hays) and then create history with the student becoming the primary source for events they are witnessing.  Hopefully, the lesson will help build a connection to the past and encourage more participation in civic policy and interest in current events.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


  • Missouri Show Me Standards Goal 1 SS 7, Goal 2 SS2 and SS7
  • Missouri Grade Level Expectations, Government 9-12:1a, 2ab, 7

Kansas Standards

Benchmark 5: The student engages in historical thinking skills.
3.(A) uses primary and secondary sources about an event in U.S.
history to develop a credible interpretation of the event, evaluating
on its meaning (e.g., uses provided primary and secondary sources
to interpret a historical-based conclusion).

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • Teacher lecture of Civil War events on Missouri/Kansas border in 1850s or
  • American History text book of choice with readings on Missouri/Kansas border
  • Kansas Nebraska Act and how it changed the Missouri Compromise

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Full description of activity or assignment.
  • The teacher needs to introduce or revisit the material leading to the Civil War (Mo Compromise, Kansas Nebraska Act, Kansas Missouri border disputes). 
  • Vocabulary students need to be familiar with include: popular sovereignty, free soilers, bushwhackers, jayhawkers
  • Students will then read and analyze the letter, complete the worksheet and share ideas and interpretations with the class in a discussion format.
  • Following class discussion, each student will pretend to be living at a distance from family and will compose an e mail, letter or blog to the absent family member.  The student creation must include personal daily life details, personal opinion and descriptions of current political and social events.

Power Points

Marshall Plan lesson:

http://trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/teacher_lessons/powerpoints/MarshallPlanEconomicDisorder.pptx

Ordinary Citizens lesson:

http://trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/teacher_lessons/powerpoints/OrdinaryCitizens.pptx

 

Worksheet for Marshall Plan Lesson

DOCUMENT ANALYSIS-Truman letter to Hoover—signature redacted

What type of document is this?     Chart _____ Speech _____ Letter _____ Report _____ Telegram_____

                                                                Statement _____ Diary Excerpt _____ Advertisement _____Photo _____

Document date (s) _____  Where was it written or created? ____________________

Author __________________ Author’s status or title _______________

For what person is the document intended? _____________________________________________

Why was the document created? ______________________________________________________

Does the author state any opinions? __________  If yes, what opinions of the author’s do you learn?

Why would President Truman ask for help from former Republican President Hoover?

 

 

DOCUMENT ANALYSIS-Hoover letter to Truman

What type of document is this?     Chart _____ Speech _____ Letter _____ Report _____ Telegram_____

                                                                Statement _____ Diary Excerpt _____ Advertisement _____Photo _____

Document date (s) _____  Where was it written or created? ____________________

Author __________________ Author’s status or title _______________

For what person is the document intended? _____________________________________________

Why was the document created? ______________________________________________________

Does the author state any opinions? __________  If yes, what opinions of the author’s do you learn?

What does President Hoover suggest might make American taxpayers more inclined to support funds to Germany?

 

Photo and political cartoon questions.

Political cartoon-Two questions:

1.        There is a man depicted in the political cartoon.  Who do you believe it is and why did you draw that conclusion?

 

 

2.       Can you think of a reason that one question mark is larger than another?

 

 

3.       To whom is the author aiming the question marks?

 

4.       Do you believe the author supports the idea of aid to Europe or is against the plan?  Why did you draw that conclusion?

Political cartoon-The Shadow Lenghtens

1.        What symbols do you see in the cartoon?

 

 

2.       Explain what you believe each symbol represents.

 

3.       What is the artist’s point of view?

 

 

4.       What theory that we have studied with this unit is the author supporting?

Photo of German Children

1.        Why might an advocate of the Marshall Plan choose to show this picture?

 

2.       What type of prejudices from the war might this photo counteract?

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

The lesson will be assessed by completion of the attached document interpretation and question worksheet, participation in class discussion and the student created e mail, blog entry or personal letter.  Worksheet and scoring guide attached.