Reform Movements

The essays in this section have been written by leading scholars of American history. They provide additional depth on events and ideas referred to in the introductory essay and, in some cases, different interpretations by historians looking at the same events. These essays are particularly useful in introducing your students to one of the most exciting aspects of studying history—understanding the past from a variety of perspectives.

Athletic Sports, 1887. (Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Div.)

Why Sports History Is American History

Author: Mark Naison Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Immigration and Migration

Author: Hasia Diner Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

National Expansion and Reform, 1815–1860

Author: Joyce Appleby Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8

Populism and Agrarian Discontent

Author: Michael Kazin Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Religion and Eighteenth-Century Revivalism

Author: Jon Butler Curriculum Subjects: Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels:

The Civil Rights Movement

Author: Taylor Branch Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:

The First Age of Reform

Author: Ronald G. Walters Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The Politics of Reform

Author: Julie Des Jardins Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:

World War I

Author: Jennifer D. Keene Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Integrated class at Anacostia High School in Washington, DC, 1957. (Library of C

A Local and National Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Postwar Washington, DC

Author: Wendell E. Pritchett Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Million Native American March, 2003, Washington, DC. (Carol Highsmith, LOC)

A New Era of American Indian Autonomy

Author: Ned Blackhawk Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Martin Luther King Memorial March, April 4, 1998. (GLC08359)

A Place in History: Historical Perspective on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Author: James Oliver Horton Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Abolitionist flag, ca. 1859. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Abolition and Antebellum Reform

Author: Ronald G. Walters Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, 1773

Abolition and Religion

Author: Robert Abzug Curriculum Subjects: Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Frederick Douglass to Maria Webb, Nov. 30, 1859. (GLC08360)

Admiration and Ambivalence: Frederick Douglass and John Brown

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Book inscribed by Martin Luther King, Jr., to Fr. Tom Thrasher of Montgomery. Th

African American Religious Leadership and the Civil Rights Movement

Author: Clarence Taylor Curriculum Subjects: Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Frederick Douglass, ca. 1880s. (GLC07926.02)

Allies for Emancipation? Black Abolitionists and Abraham Lincoln

Author: Manisha Sinha Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Angelina Grimke’s Appeal to the Christian Women of the South, 1836. (Gilder Lehr

Angelina and Sarah Grimke: Abolitionist Sisters

Author: Carol Berkin Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The Works of John Woolman (Philadelphia: Crukshank, 1774) (GLC06191p253)

Anti-Slavery before the Revolutionary War

Author: Sylvia R. Frey Curriculum Subjects: Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
St. Louis Brown’s pitcher Satchel Paige, 1952. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-18778)

Before Jackie: How Strikeout King Satchel Paige Struck Down Jim Crow

Author: Larry Tye Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Different Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement

Author: Anthony J. Badger Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Frederick Douglass on Abraham Lincoln, 1880 (GLC09091)

Douglass and Lincoln: A Convergence

Author: James Oakes Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Detail from a Harper’s Weekly cartoon by Thomas Nast, February 26, 1870. (LOC)

Education Reform in Antebellum America

Author: Barbara Winslow Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels:
Supreme Court Justices, ca. 1940. Photograph by Harris & Ewing. (GLC)

FDR’s Court-Packing Plan: A Study in Irony

Author: Richard G. Menaker Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Franklin D. Roosevelt, c. December 27, 1933. (Library of Congress Prints and Pho

FDR’s First Inaugural Address

Author: Davis W. Houck Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels:

George Washington’s French and Indian War

Author: Theodore J. Crackel Curriculum Subjects: World History Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Live Aid logo

Globalizing Protest in the 1980s: Musicians Collaborate to Change the World

Author: Douglas R. Egerton and Leigh Fought Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 13+
Pullman porter car from Scribner’s Magazine, September 1888

Home Adrift: Women and Domesticated Rail Travel

Author: Amy G. Richter Curriculum Subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels:
James Madison, by A. Newsam, Philadelphia, 1846. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-30581)

James Madison and the Constitution

Author: Jack Rakove Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
John Brown, ca. June 1859, painted photograph. (GLC04447)

John Brown: Villain or Hero?

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Literature, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Ford Local 600 of the CIO in the Labor Day parade in Detroit MI, 1942. (LOC P&P)

Labor Day: From Protest to Picnics

Author: Joshua B. Freeman Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Lincoln

Author: Allen C. Guelzo Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Fragment of Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, ca. 1857. (GLC02533)

Lincoln and Abolitionism

Author: Douglas L. Wilson Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:

Lockean Liberalism and the American Revolution

Author: Isaac Kramnick Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Religion and Philosophy Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Mary E. Lease in an illustration from Puck, 1896. (LC-DIG-ppmsca-28845)

Mary Elizabeth Lease: Populist Reformer

Author: Kelly A. Woestman Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Wounded soldier with diagram of path of the bullet, ca. 1861. (GLC05111.02.1293)

Medical Advances in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Bert Hansen Curriculum Subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Assembly room for chassis and motors, Detroit, MI, 1929 (LOC, P&P)

Motor City: The Story of Detroit

Author: Thomas J. Sugrue Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, ca. 1890. (Library of Congress P&P)

Nineteenth-Century Feminist Writings

Author: Anne Firor Scott Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Detail from the Preamble to the US Constitution, 1787. (GLC03585)

Ordinary Americans and the Constitution

Author: Gary B. Nash Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Battery B, 338th Antiaircraft Artillery, ca. 1943. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Patriotism Crosses the Color Line: African Americans in World War II

Author: Clarence Taylor Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Photography in Nineteenth-Century America

Author: Martha A. Sandweiss Curriculum Subjects: Art, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Official US Bulletin, January 29, 1919. (GLC01668)

Prohibition and Its Effects

Author: Lisa Andersen Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“An Appeal to the Women of the United States” (Washington DC, 1871) (GLC08999)

Reconstruction and the Battle for Woman Suffrage

Author: Ellen DuBois Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Rethinking Huck

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Patent signed by James Buchanan, May 28, 1846. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Technology of the 1800s

Author: Brent D. Glass Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“Woman and Man Playing Tennis,” by Edward Penfield, 1902. (LC-USZC4-2922)

The Battle of the Sexes

Author: Gail Collins Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The Civil Rights Movement: Major Events and Legacies

Author: James T. Patterson Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics, Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Recueil des loix constitutives des colonies, 1778 (GLC01720)

The Declaration of Independence in Global Perspective

Author: David Armitage Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Emancipation Proclamation (Chicago: Rufus Blanchard, ca. 1863–64) (GLC05508.272)

The Emancipation Proclamation: Bill of Lading or Ticket to Freedom?

Author: Allen C. Guelzo Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The History of Women’s Baseball

Author: Kerry Candaele Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Western High School Girls’ Basketball, Washington, DC, 1899. (Courtesy Library o

The Impact of Title IX

Author: Barbara Winslow Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Muhammad Ali in Chicago, Illinois, March 1974. (NARA)

The Importance of Muhammad Ali

Author: Thomas Hauser Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Destruction of the statue of George III in New York, 1776. (GLC)

The Invention of the Fourth of July

Author: David Waldstreicher Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Union Stock Yards, Chicago, 1903. (LC-USZ62-51793)

The Jungle and the Progressive Era

Author: Robert W. Cherny Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“The Life and Age of Woman,” by A. Alden, Barre, MA, ca. 1835. (LC-DIG-pga-0350)

The Legal Status of Women, 1776–1830

Author: Marylynn Salmon Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Restaurant display supporting National Recovery Administration, ca. 1934. (NARA)

The New Deal, Then and Now

Author: Alan Brinkley Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Lawmakers Who Voted Aye for the 13th Amendment, ca. 1865 (GLC01230)

The Reconstruction Amendments: Official Documents as Social History

Author: Eric Foner Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Girls working in a box factory, Tampa FL, by Lewis Hine, ca. 1912 (NARA 523166)

The Rise of Industrial America, 1877-1900

Author: Richard White Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9
Nathaniel Hawthorne, ca. 1860–1865. (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs)

The Scarlet Letter and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s America

Author: Brenda Wineapple Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Corwin, Robert, photographer. Phil Ochs, Newport Folk Festival, 1966. Photograph

The Sixties and Protest Music

Author: Kerry Candaele Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, 1846. (GLC05117)

The Slave Narratives: A Genre and a Source

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Economics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
“Entrance of the American Army into New York, Novr. 25th, 1783,” published by Vi

The Social and Intellectual Legacy of the American Revolution

Author: Gary B. Nash Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Sample ballot card for the 1912 Republican National Convention. (GLC01487)

The Spectacles of 1912

Author: Patricia O’Toole Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The Supreme Court Then and Now

Author: A. E. Dick Howard Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Panorama of Chicago, ca. 1906, Universale View Co., Philadelphia, PA (LOC)

The Transnational Nature of the Progressive Era

Author: Daniel T. Rodgers Curriculum Subjects: World History Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Friends of Freedom broadside (Boston, 1850). (GLC05345)

The Underground Railroad and the Coming of War

Author: Matthew Pinsker Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

The US and Spanish American Revolutions

Author: Jay Sexton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Geography, Government and Civics, World History Grade Levels:
Note of 1 shilling, 6 pence, printed in the colony of New Jersey, 1776. (GLC)

The US Banking System: Origin, Development, and Regulation

Author: Richard Sylla Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Teddy Roosevelt in the Rough Riders, ca. 1898. (GLC07002.39)

Theodore Roosevelt: The Making of a Progressive Reformer

Author: Kathleen Dalton Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
George Ripley, Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Peabody (LOC)

Transcendentalism and Social Reform

Author: Philip F. Gura Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
Eliza Crossing the Ice from a scarf of scenes from Uncle Tom's Cabin. (GLC06894)

Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the Matter of Influence

Author: Hollis Robbins Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
The County Election, based on a painting by George C. Bingham, 1854. (Gilder Leh

Winning the Vote: A History of Voting Rights

Author: Steven Mintz Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Jane Addams,Twenty Years at Hull-House (New York, 1910). (Gilder Lehrman Coll.)

Women and the Progressive Movement

Author: Miriam Cohen Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Conference of Republican National Committee Women, 1927. (LOC, P&P)

Women in American Politics in the Twentieth Century

Author: Sara Evans Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Justice of the Plains: The Movement Westward, John S. Curry (LC-DIG-highsm-02850

Women of the West

Author: Virginia Scharff Curriculum Subjects: Geography, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

“Half slave, half free”: Lincoln and the “House Divided”

Author: Gabor S. Boritt Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln’s notes for a speech on the abolition of slavery, ca. 1858.

“That glorious consummation”: Lincoln on the Abolition of Slavery

Author: Allen C. Guelzo Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels:
Quote written out by Frederick Douglass (ca. 1880) recalling speech given May 30

“The Merits of This Fearful Conflict”: Douglass on the Causes of the Civil War

Author: David W. Blight Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
World War I poster, published by the US Food Administration, ca. 1917 (GLC09522)

“The New Colossus”: Emma Lazarus and the Immigrant Experience

Author: Julie Des Jardins Curriculum Subjects: Literature Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln’s notes for a speech on slavery and American government, ca. 185

“To give all a chance”: Lincoln, Abolition, and Economic Freedom

Author: Lewis E. Lehrman Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: