WORLD OBSERVER

America & the World:  News, Analysis, Commentary

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The Enlightenment philosophies, pursuits & methods; importance today; how it guides WO.The Enlightenment in the founding of the US, the Founding Fathers, key documents (Constitution, Bill of Rights & more).Religion & Faith--News, issues, analysis, commentary,  research.Society & Social Issues:  News, analysis, commentary, research on contemporary social problems. Education, all levels:  News, analysis, commentary & research on current issues in education.Protecting Children: News, analysis, commentary & research on issues affecting children today.Supreme Court, courts, legislation, judicial activism, judges gone wild, the ACLU agenda & more!World Observer site map/table of contents.

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US Foundations
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  • Free Online Videos
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when on the Annenberg site.

A Biography of America

Biography of America Video Series

Biography of America web site for additional resources on American history

A video instructional series on American history for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 26 half-hour video programs, coordinated books, and web site. View the series online free on the Annenberg/CPB web site http://www.learner.org; also available on DVD.

A Biography of America presents history not simply as a series of irrefutable facts to be memorized, but as a living narrative. Prominent historians — Donald L. Miller, Pauline Maier, Louis P. Masur, Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Douglas Brinkley, and Virginia Scharff — present America's story as something that is best understood from a variety of perspectives. Thought-provoking debates and lectures encourage critical analysis of the forces that have shaped America. First-person narratives, photos, film footage, and documents reveal the human side of American history — how historical figures affected events, and the impact of these events on citizens' lives. Produced by WGBH Boston in cooperation with the Library of Congress and the National Archives and Records Administration, and with the assistance of Instructional Resources Corporation, 2000.
Episodes 1-5 are of special interest to this section of World Observer.
1. New World Encounters
Professor Miller introduces A Biography of America and its team of historians. The program looks at the beginnings of American history from west to east, following the first Ice Age migrations through the corn civilizations of Middle America, and the explorations of Columbus, DeSoto, and the Spanish.
2. English Settlement
As the American character begins to take shape in the early seventeenth century, English settlements develop in New England and Virginia. Their personalities are dramatically different. Professor Miller explores the origins of values, cultures, and economies that have collided in the North and South throughout the American story.
3. Growth and Empire
Benjamin Franklin and Franklin’s Philadelphia take center stage in this program. As the merchant class grows in the North, the economies of southern colonies are built on the shoulders of the slave trade. Professor Miller brings the American story to 1763 with the Peace of Paris and English dominance in America.
4. The Coming of Independence
Professor Maier tells the story of how the English-loving colonist transforms into the freedom-loving American rebel. The luminaries of the early days of the Republic — Washington, Jefferson, Adams — are featured in this program as they craft the Declaration of — and wage the War for — Independence.
5. A New System of Government
After the War for Independence, the struggle for a new system of government begins. Professor Maier looks at the creation of the Constitution of the United States. The Republic survives a series of threats to its union, and the program ends with the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on the Fourth of July, 1826.
 

Primary Sources: Workshops in American History
 

The following two videos coordinate with programs 2 and 4 of the series described above. View the videos free online on the Annenberg/CPB web site.

Workshops in American History Videos

Workshops in American History web site
 

This program features 8 one-hour video programs, workshop guide, and web site.  In this workshop, 12 high school history teachers explore the use of primary-source documents in the research and interpretation of American history. The programs feature informal lectures by prominent historians on pivotal events from the settlement of Jamestown to the Korean conflict and the Cold War. The teachers are led in discussions, debates, interviews, and role-playing as they investigate the original documents that “transmit the voices of America’s past.” The topics relate to programs from Annenberg/CPB’s series A Biography of America, which can be viewed in coordination with this workshop. Produced by WGBH Boston. 2001.

1. The Virginia Company: America’s Corporate Beginnings
How can primary sources illuminate historical events? This workshop tells the story of Jamestown, a less-than-successful example of America’s capitalist beginnings and a colony as a business operation. Drawing on contemporary accounts, workshop participants assume the roles of colonists and shareholders to argue the future of the Virginia Company’s settlement at Jamestown. Coordinated with A Biography of America program 2: English Settlement.

2. Common Sense and the American Revolution: The Power of the Printed Word
This workshop explores the power and importance of America’s first "best-seller." Using the language of ordinary people, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense called for revolution, challenging many assumptions about government and the colonies’ relationship with England. This workshop contrasts the declarations of local communities with Common Sense to see how support for American independence rose up in the colonies.  Coordinated with A Biography of America program 4: The Coming of Independence.

The Western Tradition Video Series:  Programs 35-38 on the Enlightenment in the Foundation of America

35. The Enlightenment and Society
Scientists and social reformers battled for universal human rights during a peaceful and prosperous period.

36. The Modern Philosophers
Freedom of thought and expression opened new vistas explored by French, English, and American thinkers.

37. The American Revolution
The British colonists created a society that tested Enlightenment ideas and resisted restrictions imposed by England.

38. The American Republic
A new republic, the compromise of radicals and conservatives, was founded on universal freedoms.

Annenberg Media also offers a video series (thirteen 60 minute programs) on the US Constitution which you can view free online.  In addition, you may also be interested in the video series Democracy in America (fifteen 30 minute programs).  View the titles and program descriptions in our News/Research section.

 

 

 

 

  

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