SOCIAL STUDIES 8- AMERICAN HISTORY FROM EXPLORATION THROUGH RECONSTRUCTION (1492-1877)


Class Announcements: Washington D.C Trip Preparations


Starting Monday, everyday will be devoted to preparing students for their trip and the DC Hot Spots project. Bus assignments will be posted on Tuesday. Bus meetings will be held during Lunch/Noon Rec on Wednesday. We will be having students peer nominate the boy and girl they would be proud to have present the wreath on behalf of their class to the veterans that we will be recognizing at our ceremony at the WWII Memorial. Students will also have the chance to participate to be readers at the ceremony.

This week, students will be allowed to bring their cell phones to class as we will ask them to download and install the National Parks National Mall App which is an excellent resource for students to have in planning their project and exploring the monuments and memorials that we'll be visiting in DC. We will also provide links to other apps for Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, etc...

Nightly, students should be exploring one of the monuments or memorials or other DC site that they are planning to build their Hot Spot Project around. They will be working with 5 spots in all. Project instructions will come home Tuesday- after the project is modeled in class.

We are pausing in our study of the French and Indian War. A Big Picture overview has been posted below. We will resume study following the trip.

Extra Credit Wiki Discussions:

Continued: Columbus Day or Indigenous People's Day? This is the last chance to earn extra-credit this quarter. First Quarter ends on Friday, October 21.

Washington D.C. Update: See above. All links supporting the trip and the DC project for Social Studies may be found through the Washington D.C. link in the Menu to the right. See assignments for the day by day topics and activities we are completing to prepare students for the trip. All papers received should be kept in section 2 of your Social Studies binder. Some papers will be taken along on the trip in a DC folder to be provided to all students.


The French and Indian Wars Big Picture

From 1689 through 1763, British, French, and Native Americans fought for control of North America over the course of 4 wars. The first 3 wars began in Europe, and when the Empires went to war, their colonies were expected to follow suit. However, the fighting in America was far different than in Europe. Where European wars pitted armies and navies against each and were fought for balance of power or mercantilist purposes- the wars in American mostly pitted armies against civilians and were fought for survival. Raids and counter-raids were launched across the frontier between French and British colonies, and warfare was mainly fought through guerrilla style hit and run attacks and ambushes. At the end of the wars, treaties negotiated in Europe tended to put things back to where they were before the war, so in North America, nothing was gained by either side despite the loss of life. Resentments built, as did the determination to settle things once and for all to define borders and put an end to the terror, the fear, and the random killings that characterized life on the frontier.

In 1753 French activity in the Ohio Valley- specifically their construction of Fort Duquesne at the site of what is now Pittsburgh was challenged by the Colony of Virginia which also claimed that area west of the Appalachians. Control of Fort Duquesne meant control of the whole Ohio River Valley which lead to the Mississippi and connected the French Colonies of Canada and Louisiana. The land that is now Aurora, Ohio was full located on French claimed territory at that time. So, the governor of Virginia sent the young militia Colonel George Washington along with a small militia force and an escort of Native American allies to deliver a letter to the French directing them to leave Virginia claimed territory. En route they came upon an advanced guard of Canadian militia and their Native American allies and fell upon them in a surprise attack- killing a French officer/diplomat named Jumonville. The French pursued, and surrounded Washington and his small force in their hastily erected stockade that they named Fort Necessity. Washington surrendered after a short siege to save his men- and in French, which he didn't understand he signed surrender terms in which he admitted to assassinating a French diplomat. He and his men were allowed the honors of war- to return to Virginia with word that the Ohio Valley was French territory. But, killing a diplomat was considered an act of war, and when word reached France, France declared war on Britain. The 4th and final French and Indian War began in North America and will prove decisive.

The outcome of the war changes so much territory that it should be considered a turning point in World History. It also should be credited for leading the American colonists to start thinking of themselves as Americans rather than as British Subjects- and the same might be said for Canadians in regards to the French. Within this turning point war, we'll focus on the turning point battle of Fort William Henry that is the historical centerpiece of novel, Last of the Mohicans which we will view in its film version in class to better appreciate the many perspectives that were in conflict in this war. This isn't a war of two opposing sides- it's a war of six opposing groups which line up on two opposing sides- but are each looking out for their own interests and using the other groups to secure them. On the one side are the French, the French Colonists (Canadians) and their Native American Allies (Huron, Abenaki, and Ottawa) and on the other are the British, the American Colonists, and their Native American Allies (Iroquois and Delaware).

Washington will return to the conflict in 1755 as a guide to British General Braddock who ignores Washington's advice and whose force marches into an ambush and one of the worst defeats in the history of the British Army en route to Ft. Duquesne. Washington organizes the defense and distinguishes himself for showing courage under fire- but duly notes in reflection for later that the British are not invicible. This story was dramatized in the film "We Fight to be Free" that students saw at Mount Vernon. A Colonial attempt to unite for the purpose of self defense is proposed in a convention at Albany, but a proposed plan of union is never ratified. The war seems to be going in favor of the French up until their victory at Fort William Henry in 1757, but a massacre of surrendering troops by their Native American allies afterwards is seen as such a war crime that Britain changes policy to focus all of its efforts on winning the war in America. While France is fighting for its life in Europe- superior British forces grind down French resistance in North America and work their way to and take Quebec in a decisive battle in 1759 that we will also examine. When the war, which is actually a world war ends with the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the map of North America will be redrawn. French territory will be split between Britain and Spain, while France retains only its sugar island of St. Domingue (Haiti) and its fishing islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon near Newfoundland. French Canadians will remain on their lands, just under British rule. French Louisianans will fall under either Spanish or British rule depending on where they live. Native Americans will rise up against the British in Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763 over what they perceive is a British violation of their treaty of alliance terms.

How the British respond to that will change the rules by which they govern America in regards to their American Colonists. American resistance to these rule changes will set the 13 Colonies on a "Road to Revolution" which will be the topic of our next unit.


SOCIAL STUDIES 8 WIKISPACE COURSE WEBSITE: This course wiki-space has been built to be your gateway to all things Social Studies in support of what we do in class and beyond. During our opening unit you'll join the site and be given a guided tour before being sent off on your own explorations. You should visit this site regularly as part of your academic routine and we hope you will help us build this site further through your participation in discussions and by suggesting websites, videos, documents and more to add to our collection of online resources. This site complements the assignments and activities that will be shared with you through your Social Studies 8 Google Classroom.

Students will be assigned articles to read and videos to view in their online textbook: the ABC-CLIO online American History encyclopedia that is linked to the Menu. These resources offer outlines of key ideas, and all of the articles may be read to the students by clicking on the audio button. Our resources link also connects to pages packed with online resources to enrich and expand all of our units of study. To review- the American Nation text site provides practice chapter tests, and the Class Zone Activities site provides many interactive review activities. Both of these will be again demonstrated to students in class.

Every link in the menu leads to amazing Social Studies resources that will be worked with in this course.

Check Assignments in the menu to get to day by day HW assignments and class activity plans. This Wiki will always have more detailed information than the HW Hotline


More information about using this wiki follows below...

Getting Started
  • Check the Navigation Menu to the Right to access the different features of our Course Site
  • Once you have created a Wikispaces account, or sign in to wikispaces through this site you must request to join this site.
  • Once your request to join this site is approved, you will be able to participate in discussions... and eventually interact with your teachers and peers through a number of activities and projects that will be run through or linked to this site.
  • As a member of this site you will be able to edit any page. But please, edit and add only to those pages that are created for you or that you are given permission to create. This site is meant to be a great, friendly place for all 270 Harmon 8th graders to interact with their teachers and their peers. All changes are recorded and identified by author. Please help us keep this site friendly and working by reporting any postings that you find objectionable or any links or features that appear broken.

We're looking forward to a great year!
Mr. Paul Frankmann and Mrs. Nancy Tyrrell

Need Help?

  • Click on the help link above in the top right hand corner to learn more about how to use this wiki.