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Presidential Primary Sources Project - 2017

2017- Culture, Society, and Presidential Decision-Making

Using primary source documents and interactive videoconferencing, the 2017 program series takes students on a journey through our nation’s history and allows them to view a President’s key decisions through the life and times of their era.


Information, Access, and The Presidency


The White House Historical Association, Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How has the president’s relationship with the public changed over time? Do current trends in communication give the American people more access to their president or less? Is there a correlation between information sharing and increased physical barriers? This presentation will allow students to analyze primary sources that address these questions and encourage them to make an argument based on their investigation.


The Cherry Tree Rebellion: FDR and the Building of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial


The National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.
Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Franklin Roosevelt was a fan of Thomas Jefferson's and wanted a memorial to him built in the nation's capital. As with most memorials, controversy interfered with the process. See how a president dealt with the cultural trends that impacted the building of an iconic Washington, D.C. landmark.


Presidential Powers with Documents from the National Archives


The National Archives at Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Tuesday, February 15, 2017

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution defines the executive branch and specifically states the powers of the president. Students will explore and examine primary sources including: presidential appointments, pardons, treaties, and others from the National Archives that illustrate these powers.


Daughters of Freedom:  Ulysses S. Grant and the Rise of the Women’s Rights Movement


Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, St. Louis, MO
Thursday, February 16, 2017

What impact did the early Women's Suffrage movement have on Ulysses S. Grant's presidency, and how did federal legislation enacted during this time affect the future of women's rights in the United States? Through the study of primary source documents, learn about the roles of Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Victoria Woodhull in shaping the early women's suffrage movement. Take away a better understanding of Ulysses S. Grant's role in the movement and his efforts to secure equal rights for all.


Bootleggers, Flappers, and Gangsters: Prohibition, the Noble Experiment


Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, West Branch, IA
Thursday, February 23, 2017

In 1920, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution went into effect, which banned the production and sale of most alcoholic beverages. Even though the majority of Americans favored Prohibition, the law inadvertently encouraged increased drinking, spawned organized crime and disrespect for law, and made the decade the "roaring 20s."

When Herbert Hoover ran for President in 1928, he promised to find a better way to enforce Prohibition. In May of 1929, President Hoover appointed George Wickersham to head the National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, also known as the “Wickersham Commission.” Join us as we look at campaign promises regarding prohibition in 1928 and 1932, learn about the Wickersham Commission, the rise of organized crime, and the society that did not follow the law.


Religion and the Slavery Question


Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park, Hodgenville, KY
Thursday, March 2

Throughout the early nineteenth century, churches struggled - and divided - over the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong opposition to slavery was influenced by his parents' membership in a church that split over the “peculiar institution.” This session explores how the slavery question played out in church as it did in the political arena, eventually leading to Civil War.


Depression and Dictators: Life in No Ordinary Times


Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, NY
Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were in the White House during the two greatest crises of the 20th Century: the Great Depression and World War II. Their leadership, optimism, and courage shaped the culture and events that shaped what has been called the greatest generation. This session explores how the Roosevelts influenced the times in which they lived and steered the United States from the depths of the Great Depression to ultimate victory in the Second World War.


Open, Cracked, or Slammed Shut: Immigration Policy During the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore Roosevelt Center, Dickinson, ND
Wednesday, March 15, 2017

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” reads the poem The New Colossus inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty. But has the U.S. always opened its doors freely to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free? Will the U.S. continue to do so?

The tide of immigrants entering the U.S. is not without controversy and isn’t just a modern day problem. Theodore Roosevelt would comment on immigration throughout his lifetime, but during his presidency he had to deal with the most restrictive immigration policy in U.S. history to date – the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Students will examine this issue through primary sources of those involved on both sides of the questions, including Chinese diplomats, investigations into Chinese boycotts of American goods, political cartoons, and letters of Theodore Roosevelt. What conditions would have led to such a restrictive immigration act? What were the effects on the American and Chinese people and other immigrants? What were the effects on the economy and borders of the U.S.? Students will discuss these questions and more using the primary sources found in the Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library.


Propaganda Posters of World War II


Harry S. Truman Presidential Library, Independence, MO
Wednesday, March 29: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT  Grades 6-12

The propaganda posters of the era during Harry S. Truman's presidency not only show the cultural trends of the time, but were also influential in securing victory during World War II.