Tours are interactive;
students who are currently studying American history are asked
to contribute what they know about the periods or events depicted.
Students are asked to comment on what they see, think and
feel about the reproductions of visuals and documents.
The tour begins
with the colonial period and ends with the twentieth century,
but most of the panels are on the 19th century and the Civil
will start with a basic review of the founding principles
of freedom. They will choose from 8-12 of the following highlights,
according to the suggestions of the teachers and the interest
of the students.
by Paul Revere The Bloody Massacre, 1770
A snowball fight
began this killing of colonists.
Student Question: What do you know about Paul Revere?
Declaration of Independence a revolutionary
these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created
equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights; that among these are life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure
these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving
their just powers from the consent of the governed.
What do you think of the above underlined phrases?
men are created equal (who does this exclude?)
The rights to liberty
and consent of the governed.
Derived from the Consent of the Governed
of Independence determines that the government is set up
by the people, to represent the people, and to serve the
people. People have the power to dissolve the government:
any Form of government becomes destructive of these Ends,
it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it and
to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such
After a train
of abuses or a Design to reduce them under absolute
Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw
off such Government.
threw off the rule of Britain under the King George III.
The tension between the people and government has existed
throughout history and all over the world.
OF THE UNITED STATES
President, Vice President and all civil officers of the
U.S. shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and
conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and
In the Constitution
impeachment appears six times. The Founders
had lived under King George III and had accused him of usurping
the power of the people, being above the law and criminal
abuse of authority.
After the Civil
War, during Reconstruction, The House of Representatives
impeached President Johnson for things like encouraging
racial bigotry and slowing the process of achieving justice
for all. But because he did not commit high
crimes, therefor he was acquitted in the Senate trial.
A similar thing
happened to President Bill Clinton. He was impeached by the
House in 1998 for lying under oath about sexual misconduct,
but acquitted by the Senate for the same reason: it was not
proven he had committed high crimes.
President Richard Nixon resigned in the 1970s because
he faced almost certain impeachment by the House and a probable
conviction in the Senate. 56 men in his administration were
convicted of crimes and some went to jail. Twenty large corporations
were found guilty of making illegal contributions. The House
began to prepare the articles of impeachment following the
guidelines of our Constitution: obstruction of justice regarding
the Watergate break-in, violating the constitutional rights
of citizens by authorizing illegal wiretaps.
Today former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has drafted
articles of impeachment against President Bush, V.P. Richard
Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Attorney General
John D. Ashcroft. Some of the charges are: deprivations
of the civil rights of the people of the United States and
other nations, assuming powers of an imperial executive unaccountable
to law and usurping power of Congress, the Judiciary and those
reserved to the people of the U.S.
When do you think its justified to exercise our constitutional
right to remove our leaders from office?
draft of U.S. Constitution
on freedom: In order to get Southern states to ratify the
constitution, a clause was added by Pierce Butler, one of
the wealthiest slaveholders from S. C. It required the return
of slave fugitives to their owners.
Is compromise necessary sometimes?
Bill of Rights
the Constitution adopted in 1791.
What freedoms to we have from our Bill of Rights? (freedom
of religion, speech, press, to assemble, petition the government)
Listen to this
description and try to figure out what period it is describing:
is imminent. Foreigners are feared. Laws are passed to restrict
the civil liberties of non-citizens and citizens as well.
this may sound like present-day U.S. since September 11, 2001,
it is actually a description of the U.S. just seven years
after the Constitutional amendments called the Bill of Rights
were adopted (paraphrased from Joy Hakims book). The
Sedition Act of 1798 signed into law by President Adams made
it a crime to criticize the government. Today most historians
believe these were bad laws.
Our U.S. Constitution
addresses the abuse of being held in prison without being
charged. That is called habeas corpus.
Section 9 of
Article I states:
privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended,
unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public
safety may require it.
General Ashcroft tells us our security requires that we
suspend habeas corpus, and our government is holding suspected
terrorists and hundreds of prisoners at our base in Guantanamo
Bay without formally charging them with a crime. In Congress,
some conservatives and liberals are joining to question
Is the Patriot Act passed in October 2001, and the newly
Patriot II Act currently being drafted by Attorney General
Ashcroft a necessity to secure our liberties, or a threat
to our liberties?
Slave Market of America.
broadside of the 1830s that exposed the brutality
of slavery, calling it a violation of the Bible, the Declaration,
and the Constitution.
Describe what do you see
Map of U.S. after the Missouri Compromise with territories
added as of 1820. By John Melish
Question: What do you know about the expansion of the
U.S. territories? What were the issues?
for John Warner Barbers A History of the Amistad Captives,
New Haven, CT 1840.
Question: Who knows the story of the Amistad?
Adolph Gautier engraving of Stump speaking, a painting
by George C. Bingham. NY 1856.
Question: How important is it to be politically aware
and to vote?
Lincoln, manuscript fragment of House Divided
speech, ca. 1857. Draft for his acceptance speech as U.S.
divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government
cannot endure permanently half slave, and half free.
Why are these words so famous?
Flag of U.S. 1858. 10 X 5 feet. Discovered in 1996 and displayed
here for the first time.
Question: Count the number of stripes and stars? Why so
Camp Life: Sketchbook of watercolors by Henry Berckhoff, 1861-63.
Question: What do you see? What does this tell us about
the life of an ordinary soldier (who was also a skilled artist)?
C. Parrott, letter to his sister, Oct. 1862
were pretty well cut to pieces...
Dead at Gettysburg: Photographs
Question: Do you think the realities of fighting in a
war are different from the promises of recruiters, and the
glamour of uniforms and medals?
of Color, to Arms! 1863
Douglass lobbied Lincoln to organize black regiments.
of anonymous private, 1863
Question:Do you think white Americans respected the African
American more, as Frederick Douglas predicted they would,
once he had an eagle on his button, a musket on his
shoulder, and the star spangled banner over his head?
Proclamation, engraving 1864
Question: What did this mean for our nation?
Amendment Celebrated 1870
Question: What hopes did African Americans have?
She voted illegally,
was convicted and jailed.
Did Susan B. Anthony have a lot of courage? Are there any
things that you would have the courage to speak up about?
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Question: What do you know about him and how he advanced
the cause of freedom?
Use it or Lose
We all know what
happens to our muscles when we dont exercise. We lose
our strength. Use it or lose it. The same thing happens to
our mind. Use it or lose it. We, as citizens of a democracy,
need to exercise the freedoms of speech, press and assembly
granted us in our remarkable document, The Constitution of
the United States. The same principle applies: Use it or lose
We encourage you
to use the exhibit information and questions for follow-up
research projects, discussions and debates on the important
issues brought up by the book, videos and exhibit, Freedom:
A History of US.
Prepared by Janet Luongo, Educational Consultant