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


Class Announcements: Updated 1/21


This week we will conclude our Slavery and Liberty and War for Independence units with an exit slip and transition into our Articles to Constitution unit. This unit will explore the successes and failures of the U.S. Government post-independence as it operated under our first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and then bring our current constitution to life starting with a Mock Constitutional Convention. For this, you'll each play the role of one of the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention and work to get your positions written into the document. You'll see that our Constitution is a product of compromises agreed to by many competing interests. This will then set up our Mock Congress Simulation which will run during 3 weeks in February. In addition to ABC-CLIO, a key classroom resource during these units will be the citizenship text: We the People.

There will be a summative at the conclusion of the Articles to Constitution unit that will include questions about Slavery, Liberty, The Declaration of Independence, and the War for Independence as these are all directly causes of the form of government and plan of government that we drafted in 1787 and have lived under ever since with only 27 changes added by amendment.

See the War for Independence BIG PICTURE summary below. A new BIG PICTURE about the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution will be added soon.

The required "Protest Nation" discussion closes this evening at 9pm, as will the extra credit "First Amendment and You" discussion. A new discussion about Immigration, Migration, and your Roots will open on Monday, January 22.

Also, please welcome Mr. Jonathan Saucier who will be student teaching with Mr. Frankmann this semester. Mr. Saucier is a senior Education major at the University of Akron who is working towards certification in Social Studies and Language Arts. He is also in Army ROTC and will be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant Infantry Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve upon his graduation in May.

Congratulations to this year's 8th Grade Geo Bee Top 10! Many of the following will advance to the School Geo Bee Championships after Winter Break depending on how the 6th and 7th graders scored in their respective Geo Bee's-

School Results So Far... including (7th Grade)

1.Andrew Pilarczyk- 392. (Pheobe Yao-30)3.Tommy Logalbo-244.Avery Hendl - 205.Antoinette Walter-196. (Shreyaj Menan-19)7.Mia Bryant- 18
8.Nate Ruehr-18
9.Mohammed Alayed-18
10. (Connor Piero-18)Sam Nabring - 17Alex Moore - 14Aurora Fabec- 13

War for Independence Big Picture


1775- 1776

American Independence was never a sure thing. Our Revolution began as protests calling for more self-government within the British Empire based on rights, and only gradually became a war for outright independence. At no point did a majority of Americans favor independence- but the split remained about 1/3 patriot, 1/3 loyalist, and 1/3 neutral. After Lexington and Concord, the 2nd Continental Congress continued to work for peace and prepare for war. It sent an Olive Branch petition to Parliament that was rejected at the same time as it organized the creation of a Continental Army under the command of George Washington. American forces capture Fort Ticonderoga and all of its cannon in a surprise attack, and press on northwards in hopes of winning the French Canadians over to the American cause. Ticonderoga cannon prove key to the successful siege of Boston, but the French Canadians remain loyal to Britain, and Canada remains a British staging ground after the British evacuate Boston in 1776.

In waging war against Britain, the United Colonies were taking on the greatest military power on land and sea in the World. On paper, we didn’t have a chance. Only the intangibles of leadership, home-field advantage, courage, cause, and luck would work in our favor. The push for independence came in response to the amazingly popular pamphlet, “Common Sense” written by Thomas Paine which argued for a break with England in very practical terms. While Britain regrouped and sent its largest invasion force in history back towards New York City, the 2nd Continental Congress drafted, debated, ratified, and signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 to justify a break for all the world to understand.When 34,000 British troops landed on Long Island in August 1776, there was nothing the Continental Army could do to stop them from occupying New York City which would remain in British hands and serve as British Military Headquarters until 1783. If you’ve read the book Chains, you’ve read about the British Occupation. Beyond New York British forces chased the Americans up and across the Hudson, across New Jersey, and across the Delaware River into Pennsylvania. Washington’s surprise attack back across the Delaware against Hessian (German soldiers hired by the British) forces in Trenton on Christmas Night, 1776 kept American hopes alive.

1777-78

1777 was supposed to be the year that the British won the war. A grand strategy to divide the colonies by taking the Champlain / Hudson corridor failed due to British arrogance. A British Army marched south from Montreal led by General Burgoyne as planned. The Army of General Howe that was to have marched up the Hudson sailed instead to Philadelphia. Howe took Philadelphia after defeating Washington at Brandywine and Germantown and forced the Continental Congress to evacuate to the West- and Washington to keep his army at Valley Forge. Burgoyne however was harried by American Rangers until he overextended his supply lines and was defeated at Saratoga north of Albany. When he surrendered his entire army, others- especially, the French took notice. When they signed onto a treaty of military alliance and began sending supplies, troops, and their navy to support us in our cause of independence- Saratoga came to be seen as the turning point of the war.

The winter of 1777-78 however was perhaps even more daunting than the previous winter. The Continental Army barely survived harsh conditions and lack of supplies at Valley Forge- but thanks to Washington’s leadership and training coordinated by our German ally Baron Von Steuben, the army that survived was professionalized enough to fight a European style war. (Anyone who has read Forge- the sequel to Chains, has read about this winter.)

1778 saw war on the frontier where Native Americans allied to the British raided American settlements from New York down into Pennsylvania. A small American Navy won a few engagements on the high seas and challenged the British blockade. African American slaves responded to Virginia Governor Lord Dunmore’s proclamation and ran away to British lines to serve in the British military in exchange for their freedom. Other African Americans- both free, and slave were accepted into the Continental Army at Washington’s request. Women played a significant role in all capacities in support of both the British and American armies- and in managing the home-front during war time.

Having given up on New England, and tiring of the stalemate in the Middle Colonies outside of NYC, the British shifted their focus to the Southern Colonies where they could count on the most loyalist support and where the colonies produced most of the cash-crop exports that the British Economy depended on. British forces dealt America its greatest defeat of the war in capturing Savannah Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina in December 1778.

1779-1783

During these last years, the war continued as it had begun, with more guerilla style fighting throughout the South. The British by this time had learned the technique, and gave as good as they got. Americans struck west at Native Americans and British forts in the West. French forces arrived en masse- and Spain also joined the American cause. The War on the high seas grew more intense. But as the war dragged on- it became less popular in England. The public- and British merchants began calling for peace. For this reason- America’s War for Independence has been described as Britain’s Vietnam. Final military victory for the United States came with the surrender of British General Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781. Symbolically this joint America-French triumph was “The World Turned Upside Down” – the title of the song played by the British at their surrender. All that the remained was the working out of the peace terms, which took until 1783.

By this 2nd Treaty of Paris (The first one ended the French and Indian War in 1783), Britain granted America the Independence it declared in 1776- within boundaries from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Many issues remained unresolved. British loyalists faced great discrimination- and most left their homes in America to start over in Canada, the West Indies, or back in Britain. Slavery continued on in the Southern States as if there had never been any talk of Liberty. America will discover that it is harder to “win the peace” , than it is to “ win the war”.

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

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