“Freedom of” or “Freedom From” Religion?

This post is part of our series on the Bill of Rights. We’re highlighting primary sources selected to help students explore core concepts found within the Bill of Rights, and how they’ve impacted American history. This year marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The National Archives is commemorating the occasion with exhibits, educational resources, and national conversations that examine the amendment process and struggles for rights in the United States.


For hundreds of years before even the passage of the Bill of Rights, individuals came to our shores seeking the opportunity to worship freely and without persecution. These ideals were solidified in the passage of the First Amendment. It defends an individual’s right to worship, but also protects individuals from the government supporting a particular religion:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

But what if these two issues come into conflict? How does the First Amendment find balance between the establishment clause and free exercise clause?

The memorandum opinion of U.S. District Judge Jack Roberts in the Madalyn Murray O’Hair et al. v. Thomas O. Paine, et al. case allows students to examine these issues more closely.

In a nationally televised event on Christmas Eve 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman read the first 10 verses from the book of Genesis in the Bible.

25.3

The Apollo 8 crew saw the horizon vertically, with the lunar surface to the right. (Rising Earth Greets Apollo VIII Astronauts, 12/29/1968. From the Records of the U.S. Information Agency. National Archives Identifier: 2641570)

Feeling her First Amendment rights had been violated, American Atheists founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair filed suit against Thomas O. Paine, the administrator of NASA, and the space agency. O’Hair is best known for her role in Murray v. Curlett, that was consolidated with Abington School District v. Schempp, and led to the Supreme Court’s 1963 ruling that school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools was unconstitutional.

She believed that because the Apollo 8 crew read from the scripture, her rights were infringed upon as an atheist. O’Hair claimed that NASA, a federal agency, instructed the astronauts to read from the Bible and this was a direct violation of separation of church and state. She further alleged that NASA was trying to establish Christianity as the official religion of the United States. As a tax payer, O’Hair argued that federal funds which supported the space program should not be used to accommodate a Bible on board the space capsule. She also claimed that the date of the Apollo 8 flight was chosen because of religious reasons.

Judge Roberts dismissed the suit, writing that the complaint failed to state a cause of action for which relief could be granted. He argued that the plaintiffs were not coerced to watch the televised event, and if the astronauts had been forced to read from the Bible then the personal rights of the astronauts would have been violated, not those of the plaintiffs. Roberts stated carrying the Bible aboard the space capsule neither advanced nor inhibited religion, and therefore did not violate the establishment clause. Roberts concluded that the scheduling of the Apollo 8 flight to coincide with the Christmas season was “approaching the absurd,” and “The First Amendment does not require the State to be hostile to religion, but only neutral.”

Begin a discussion with your students by asking the following questions to explore this topic:

  • What does freedom of religion mean?
  • What is the establishment clause? What does it do?
  • Does the First Amendment protect someone who is an atheist from being exposed to religion?

Ask students to explore the memorandum opinion of Judge Roberts, carefully noting:

  • What claims does O’Hair base her suit on?
  • What reasons does Judge Roberts give to dismiss the suit?

Conclude with a class discussion and ask students to share:

  • Do you believe O’Hair’s rights were violated? Why or why not?
  • Do you agree with the judge’s opinion? Why or why not?

For a possible follow-up activity, you can engage students in a conversation about other newsworthy cases — for instance, whether or not the placement of a statue of the Ten Commandments inside a federal courthouse, “In God We Trust” printed on money, or “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance violates the First Amendment.

You can find additional primary sources related to religious freedom, as well as teaching activities about struggles for rights and amending the Constitution, on our special Amending America DocsTeach page.


The full citation of Judge Roberts’s opinion is: Memorandum Opinion in Madalyn Murray O’Hair, et. al. vs. Thomas O. Paine, et. al. (A-69-CA-109), 12/1/1969. Civil Case Files, 1938-1997 (48W030A); Records of the U.S. District Court Western District of Texas (Austin), Record Group 21, National Archives at Fort Worth.

Download the PDF file.

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WWI Posters and Home Cards

Today’s post comes from former education intern Amanda Hatch. She added newly digitized primary sources, found during our 2015 Primarily Teaching institutes, to DocsTeach. Information and applications for our 2016 workshops are available now.

United States Food Administration Additional Directions to First Home Card

This card details the reasons that food sacrifices were necessary as the war moved into 1918. U.S. Food Administration Additional Directions to First Home Card, 12/1/1917. From the Records of the U.S. Food Administration. National Archives Identifier: 20762194

“In this winter of 1918 lies the period when there will be tested in this great free country of ours the question as to whether or not our people are capable of voluntary individual self-sacrifice to save the world,” wrote Herbert Hoover, then head administrator of the newly created U.S. Food Administration.

Because of decreased crop production in Europe and restricted shipping curtailed by German submarines, many of the Allied nations and troops during World War I desperately needed food.

Hoover set in motion a campaign of voluntary food conservation: “Food will win the war.” Posters and home cards encouraging Americans to conserve food became essential to the success of the campaign.

These posters and cards — some of which were digitized by teachers in our Primarily Teaching summer institute at the National Archives at Chicago — provide an engaging way to introduce students to World War I.

Food conservation directions

The other side of the card has additional directions. National Archives Identifier: 20762194

Although war, especially on foreign soil, can be a hard concept to fully visualize and comprehend, these documents help students understand how the war affected individuals and families just like themselves. By examining World War I through the sacrifices made on the homefront as illustrated by these documents, students can better grasp what it was like for Americans being asked to bear the cost of freedom, and the sacrifices made to preserve “this great free country of ours.”

Students can relate to children who had to sacrifice things like macaroni and cheese and sugary sweets in order to feed the starving soldiers and civilians fighting overseas. In a 1917 handout sent to American homes, Hoover outlined the necessity of having at least one wheatless and meatless meal a day. He instituted “Wheatless Wednesdays” and “Meatless Mondays” while encouraging Americans to cut out as much wheat, meat, and sugar from their diet as possible. For many, this meant incorporating a new style of cooking and foregoing favorite items like pasta, cereals, and pastries.

The Wisconsin Food Administration’s list of food substitutions for meatless and wheatless meals

The Wisconsin Food Administration’s list of food substitutions for meatless and wheatless meals, including menu suggestions for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 12/18/1917. From the Records of the U.S. Food Administration. National Archives Identifier: 20737679

To help with this new diet, the Wisconsin Food Administration offered a list of “substitutions” in place of wheat. Students can have fun analyzing this document because it contains discouraged items they’ll recognize: Graham Crackers, Aunt Jemima pancakes, Triscuits, Vanilla Wafers, and Shredded Wheat. You can ask: What do you think of the substitutions for these items? Would you be willing to give them, or something similar, up for the war effort?

Pamphlets and home cards like those shown below also circulated among American families reminding them that such a sacrifice was done “in freedom’s name.” Though not everyone experienced the horrors of war and faced bullets like those in Europe, men, women, and children on the homefront played a crucial wartime role by conserving food. A 1918 pamphlet reminded people: “Now is the hour of our testing. Let us make it the hour of our victory—victory over the enemy of freedom.”

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Such documents provide a great segue into a classroom discussion about sacrifice. You can ask: Though not asked to conserve food now, does the government ask you to do anything to protect and promote liberty in America? What is the cost of freedom today?

 

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Oppressed Women Ask the Government to “Make Amends”

This post is part of our series on the Bill of Rights. We’re highlighting primary sources selected to help students explore core concepts found within the Bill of Rights, and how they’ve impacted American history. This year marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The National Archives is commemorating the occasion with exhibits, educational resources, and national conversations that examine the amendment process and struggles for rights in the United States.


The right of the people to “petition for redress of grievances” is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and is part of the rather complex first amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

Native women and cannery building

Native women near Copper Center, Alaska, and Old Cannery, Metlakahtla, Alaska, 2/1926. From the Sir Henry Wellcome Collection, 1856 – 1936, National Archives Identifiers 297808 and 297418.

Several essential questions might accompany an investigation into the process of petitioning the Government.

  • What does an historic petition look like?
  • What happens after a petition is submitted?
  • How does one petition a governmental body today?

A petition created by a group of Alaska Native women for themselves and their children on October 10, 1942 during World War II can, in part, answer these and other questions.

Prior to June 13–16, 1942, these families had lived for many generations on St. George and St. Paul Islands of Alaska, in the Bering Sea north of the Aleutian Chain as well as in the Pribilof Islands themselves.  However, as World War II heated up in the Pacific, Japanese forces attacked both Midway Island in the Pacific and Dutch Harbor, Alaska, between June 3 and 6, 1942.  As a result the Japanese occupied the islands of Attu, and Kiska in the Aleutian Chain (Alaska) for nearly a year.

In reaction to fear of capture, the U.S. Government forcibly evacuated all Alaska Native families from both St. Paul and St. George Islands a few days later.  Families were given two hours to pack one suitcase each.  Some watched as their homes, livestock, and remaining possessions were destroyed by the U.S. military while they sailed away.  The ships took them to Funter Bay, Alaska — several thousand miles east of their homes — to spend most of the balance of the war in old fish cannery buildings.  Some of the men of the community joined the Army or were taken back to the islands to conduct the seal harvest, leaving a large number of women and children alone in the cannery buildings at Funter Bay for months on end.

The following petition shows their dismay and concern.

Sect3wAleutsPetitionNRIA-prib-doc-5_a

Aleut Women’s Petition, 10/10/1942. From the Records of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. National Archives Identifier: 2641505

Ask your students the following questions as they read the petition:

  • What conditions prompted them to draft a petition to try to gain assistance?
  • What were they asking for?
  • How many women signed the petition?

The administrator of the regional U.S. Fish and Wildlife Administration received the petition and took it to his superiors in Washington D.C., threatening to quit his job if the housing situation was not improved.  Unfortunately, nothing was done and he left his job as promised.

Much later, in 1988, President Reagan signed a bill into law making restitution to both Japanese-Americans who had been held in Japanese Relocation camps and the Aleut Natives who had been sent to the canneries during World War II.

You can continue your classroom discussion by reviewing additional primary sources relating to the Aleut relocation, such as:

In 1988, in his remarks when signing the Japanese Relocation Reparations Bill, President Reagan said, “I’d like to note that the bill I’m about to sign also provides funds for members of the Aleut community who were evacuated from the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands after a Japanese attack in 1942. This action was taken for the Aleuts’ own protection, but property was lost or damaged that has never been replaced.”

Today, there is a new process for submitting petitions for both the Executive and Legislative branches of the Federal government online. See:

You could also use this Aleut Women’s Petition when teaching about:

  • The Bill of Rights, the Third Amendment: Quartering Soldiers
  • Women in History
  • Native Alaskans

You can find hundreds of examples of petitions to the government about other subjects on DocsTeach.

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Summer Professional Development Opportunities

Join us for summer PD!


Primarily Teaching

A teacher presents the online DocsTeach activity she created using National Archives documents.

Primarily Teaching is our summer institute for educators on using historical documents in the classroom. At each location, we’ll explore a specific topic using original documents in our archival holdings:

  • The National Archives at Atlanta (Morrow, GA): Equal Opportunity on the WWII Homefront: The Commission on Fair Employment Practices and the South, June 27–July 1
  • The National Archives in Washington, DC: Native American History, July 25–29
  • The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum: Truman and Civil Rights: The Desegregation of the Military, August 1–5

A teacher scans a document during Primarily Teaching.

Digitization is our priority. Each participant will identify between 3 and 5 items (documents, photos, maps, etc.) to scan and describe. We will add these to DocsTeach.org —our online tool for teaching with documents — during the workshop. Participants will produce a DocsTeach learning activity using these digitized primary sources.

After guided research in the case study, participants will have the opportunity to continue researching that topic, or to go on to independently research a more specific topic.

Participation in each session is limited to 10. The fee is $100, which includes all materials. Participants will receive a stipend upon successful completion of the course. Graduate credit is available for an additional fee.

Learn more and apply online.

Primarily Teaching workshops are made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the support of Texas Instruments.


Primarily Teaching Online

Primarily Teaching participants in Seattle in 2015.In the online version of our summer institute for educators, participants will learn tools and techniques to identify primary sources related to the theme Taking a Stand in History in the main online catalog of the National Archives. We’ll add discoveries to DocsTeach.org and participants will create a DocsTeach learning activity for their final exam.

Eight live webinars using GoToMeeting (accessible on most computer and hand-held devices and phones) will be held on Thursdays (8–10 p.m. ET) and Saturdays (12 noon–2 p.m. ET) from July 21 through August 13. Participants may choose to attend the whole series or just a few classes (please note that the July 21st webinar is required for admittance to all others).

This is a free course. One graduate credit hour is available for a fee. Professional development clock-hour certificates are available upon request.

Learn more and apply online.


The White House History Teacher Institute

The White House History Teacher Institute, July 25–28, 2016

For more than 215 years, the White House has been intrinsically tied to American history, serving the roles of home, office, museum, and stage for each president and first lady who lived there. It also serves as a symbol, representing the nation and our democracy. Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants the president many powers and responsibilities that carry large and sometimes difficult implications for the country, and many momentous decisions and events have taken place within the walls of the President’s House.

Join the White House Historical Association, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum, the National Archives, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and National History Day for a four-day teacher institute from July 25–28 that will evaluate the history of the White House and its occupants. Teachers will participate in interactive workshops, visit historic sites throughout Washington, D.C., and learn from experts about White House history, presidential history, and the presidency of Herbert Hoover. Using primary sources, historic sites, and artifacts, teachers will explore many ways that the White House can be utilized in the classroom within the core and C3 curriculum. Each teacher will receive a professional development certificate for 25 hours of professional development.

Participation is limited to 30 junior high and high school teachers. Applications will be accepted through April 30, 2016.

Apply online.

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St. Patrick’s Day Primary Sources

Just for fun — we’ve got a lineup of St. Patrick’s Day-themed primary sources to bring a little shamrock spirit into your classroom this March 17th.

The Original Federal Order

Page 1 of George Washington's General Order of March 16, 1780, granting Saint Patrick's Day as a holiday to the troopsOn 3/16/1780 George Washington’s General Order granted Saint Patrick’s Day as a holiday to the troops.


Cartoons

A determined Uncle Sam rolls up his sleeves and preparing to use a large club to deal with the many German propagandist snakes slithering in the grass around him3/17/1918 – On Saint Patrick’s Day, cartoonist Clifford Berryman showed a determined Uncle Sam rolling up his sleeves and preparing to use a large club to deal with the many German propagandist snakes slithering in the grass around him. Teddy bear is by his side wielding a smaller stick. Throughout World War I the U.S. Government was forced to divert substantial resources to counter skilled German propaganda aimed at weakening the resolve of the American people to continue the war effort. Berryman used the Saint Patrick’s Day theme of driving the snakes out of Ireland as a model for driving out the German propagandists.

Mr. DC is in great need of St. Patrick

3/17/1922 – Cartoonist Clifford Berryman’s familiar character Mr. DC is in great need of St. Patrick. Evil snakes representing major problems with Prohibition frighten him. Poison liquor and bootlegging were a direct result of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which prohibited the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors. In celebration of the famed St. Patrick who allegedly drove the snakes from Ireland, Mr. DC could use some of St. Patrick’s secrets to rid the District of Columbia of its problems.

A man representing Congress being squeezed by "investigation" serpents3/17/1924 – On St. Patrick’s Day, Cartoonist Clifford Berryman highlighted the main issue of the day – congressional investigations of scandal and bribery in both the executive and legislative branches over oil leases and other issues. He showed a man representing Congress being squeezed by “investigation” serpents, preventing other legislative activities from moving forward.


Parades


Food in the Military


Presidents and their families

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Freedom to Cover the World Series

This post is part of our series on the Bill of Rights. We’re highlighting primary sources selected to help students explore core concepts found within the Bill of Rights, and how they’ve impacted American history. This year marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The National Archives is commemorating the occasion with exhibits, educational resources, and national conversations that examine the amendment process and struggles for rights in the United States.


Baseball and social change have been linked since Jackie Robinson broke the color line in 1947. Thirty years later, Sports Illustrated reporter Melissa Ludtke broken another line when she sued Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn to gain access to the locker room.  This “gender line” in the reporting of sports calls out 1st amendment-guaranteed freedom of the press and the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause.

While Ludtke enjoyed access to the locker room for basketball and hockey games for over two years, the NY Yankees barred her from the locker room.  Through the complaint filed by Melissa Ludtke against Bowie Kuhn, students can see the limitations placed on female journalists into the late 1970s.

Selection from Complaint, Melissa Ludtke and Time, Incorporated v. Bowie Kuhn

Selection from Complaint, Melissa Ludtke and Time, Incorporated v. Bowie Kuhn, Commissioner of Baseball, et al. From the Records of District Courts of the United States. National Archives Identifier: 7329663.

The complaint itself outlines the chain of events that led to the suit. After rising through the ranks as a junior reporter, Melissa Ludtke was assigned to cover the baseball playoffs and World Series.  

During Game 1 of the World Series, though the LA Dodgers had granted her access to their visitor’s locker room, Ludtke was told by Director of Information Robert Wirze that she would not be allowed to visit the locker room to respect the privacy of the players.

Ludtke was denied entry again after Game 6, which included perhaps one of the best individual performances in baseball history.  During that game, NY Yankees star Reggie Jackson earned the nickname “Mr. October” by hitting three straight home runs on three straight pitches (from three different pitchers, no less).  The Yankees would win their first World Series in over a decade; but Ludtke would not be allowed to interview Reggie or others about it in the locker room.  

With the 1978 baseball season approaching, Ludtke and Time, Inc. (the parent company of Sports Illustrated) filed a suit against Bowie Kuhn, the New York Yankees, Mayor of New York City Abraham Beame, and other officials.  In the complaint, they alleged discrimination on 14th amendment grounds since she was being deprived of the “opportunity to cover baseball in the same manner and to the same extent as her male colleagues and competitors.”  Her 1st amendment rights were infringed, they alleged, when she was denied “fair access to a source of news.”

In the judgment, the court ordered the New York Yankees to allow Melissa Ludtke and all female accredited sports reporters access to the clubhouse locker rooms.  And while Ludtke’s case opened baseball locker-room doors to female reporters (growing at that time to about 50% of journalists) with an equal access policy for accredited reporters, Ludtke herself left sports journalism and began reporting on social issues.

Photo and diagram of the locker roomTo introduce this topic with your students, begin a conversation by sharing a photo and diagram of the New York Yankees Locker Room.  Ask students to analyze the primary sources for understanding.  Discuss the layout and activities that would occur in this space after a baseball game.

Then, ask your students to carefully analyze the complaint.  Model careful document analysis.  Focus attention on the basic questions: who, what, where, when, how, and why. Ask students to track the chronology of events to summarize the events that lead to the complaint. Ask students to note the specific arguments and reasoning that Ludtke and her lawyers made for access to the locker room. 

After reading the complaint, ask students to imagine the response provided by Major League Baseball.  What arguments would they make to deny entry to the locker room?  Are any of those arguments valid?

Finally, introduce the Order and Judgment.  What did the judge decide?

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Ready. Set. Transcribe!

Images across erasOur goal is to transcribe 2,000 pages next week! We invite teachers, students, and all “citizen archivists” to help us make the primary source documents in our holdings more accessible by transcribing them.

Not only will these new transcriptions enhance searches in our catalog, but they will be included on DocsTeach — our online tool for teaching with documents!

Are you ready to accept the challenge? Go to our transcription missions page and find the mission of the day. Then Ready. Set. Transcribe!

Sunday, March 13: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s) and Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
Monday March 14: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Tuesday, March 15: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900 )
Wednesday, March 16: The Emergence of Modern American (1890-1930)
Thursday, March 17: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
Friday, March 18: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
Saturday, March 19: Contemporary United States (1968-Present)

If you’re new to transcription, learn how it works on our getting started page.

All of these primary sources are available on DocsTeach. And we’ll incorporate all transcriptions into the new and improved version of DocsTeach that launches in a few months, complete with a new transcription feature!

This transcription challenge is part of Sunshine Week — promoting public access to government information.

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Permission to “Take it to the Streets”

This is the first post in our new series on the Bill of Rights. We will highlight primary sources selected to help students explore core concepts found within the Bill of Rights, and how they’ve impacted American history. This year marks the 225th anniversary of the ratification of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The National Archives is commemorating the occasion with exhibits, educational resources, and national conversations that examine the amendment process and struggles for rights in the United States. Today’s post comes from Kris Jarosik, former education specialist at the National Archives at Chicago.


The right of the people to peaceably assemble is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, in the first amendment to the Constitution. But what happens when a city requires a group to obtain a permit to do so?

A permit application from the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) to march and assemble in the public way during the 1968 Democratic National Convention can be used to explore the American right to peaceably assemble with your students.

rennieparkapplication_a

The National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) submitted this permit application, one of several, to the City of Chicago for approval to march on public streets during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. (Exhibit from criminal case 69CR180, United States v. Dellinger, et al., 7/25/1968. From the Records of District Courts of the United States. National Archives Identifier 6210764.)

Scenes of the violent clashes between anti-war protestors and the Chicago police officers are synonymous with the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Yet MOBE’s application for a permit highlights the protestors’ desire to abide by municipal regulations while exercising their first amendment rights. This document can not only help students gain additional understanding of Chicago in 1968, but also provide a means to explore the regulation of the right to peaceably assemble by local government.

Ask students to examine the application, carefully noting:

  • Who submitted the application?
  • When was it submitted?
  • How many participants were expected?
  • How many different departments needed to approve a permit application?

Then have your students head to a mapping site like Google Maps to see the proposed locations for staging, marching, and assembling in the application. Encourage students to view the route via StreetView as well. As a group, talk about what protestors in 1968 would see along the route. (Preview the route ahead of time to figure out which landmarks and buildings would have been built before 1968.)

Thousands of protestors gathered in Grant Park for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) rally on August 28, 1968

Thousands of protestors gathered in Grant Park for the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (MOBE) rally on August 28, 1968. National Archives Identifier: 6210766

You can also explore our 1968 Democratic National Convention tour on Historypin, that leads you from President Johnson’s announcement that he would not seek the Democratic nomination for President, to confrontation in the streets of Chicago, to Hubert H. Humphrey’s nomination. You’ll see not only changes in the landscape, but a progression of historic events culminating in violence involving the police and protestors.

Conclude with a discussion about municipalities and the granting of permits to assemble:

  • Why would the City of Chicago be opposed to granting a permit to MOBE for Wednesday, August 28, 1968?
  • If the City of Chicago denied MOBE a permit to assemble, what should MOBE Project Director Rennie Davis do?
  • Do you think obtaining a permit hinders one’s right to peaceably assemble?

Additional primary sources about this topic, including correspondence between MOBE and local officials in Chicago, can be found on DocsTeach.org.

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Gardening to Victory

As part of our document spotlight series, today we bring you victory garden propaganda posters.

To keep a war going you need to keep the soldiers fighting fit, and for that, you need food.  Agriculture Secretary Claude Wickard understood this when he told the press in 1943 that “Food will win the war and write the peace.”

Uncle Sam Says, Garden to Cut Food Costs, 1917. From the Publications of the U.S. Government. National Archives Identifier: 5711623

Uncle Sam Says, Garden to Cut Food Costs, 1917. From the Publications of the U.S. Government.
National Archives Identifier: 5711623

During both World War I and II, food supplies on the home front and abroad were tight. To alleviate the rationing problem, the Office of Civil Defense and other government agencies released multiple propaganda pieces hoping to inspire non-farming Americans to do their part and produce their own vegetables, herbs, and fruit.  These posters were displayed across the nation, and like these examples, showed hard work and patriotism; Uncle Sam, America, and whole families were depicted toiling in the dirt of victory gardens.

Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting, 1941-1945. From the Records of the Office of Government Reports. National Archives Identifier: 513818

Plant A Victory Garden. Our Food Is Fighting, 1941-1945. From the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 513818

These war gardens, though, were advertised for more than just fighting the enemy from the home front.  They were a way to grow food, and therefore, lessen the pressure on public food supply and make rations last longer for everyone—soldiers and citizens.

The importance and patriotic fervor of this homegrown initiative caused victory gardens to spring up around the country in both farmland and cities alike.  In the end, the backyard food production of everyday Americans made up an estimated 40% of World War II’s fresh fruits and vegetables.  Victory gardens made a real impact during wartime, and helped America and her allies achieve peace.

You can find WWI and WWII posters, as well as WWI and WWII teaching activities, on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents.

 

Today’s post came from Holly Chisholm, former social media intern in the Education and Public Programs division.

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Reorganizing the Executive Branch: Distance Learning with the Hoover Library

Registration is open for two free interactive distance learning programs from The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library on Digital Learning Day, February 17th — “Reorganizing the Executive Branch: Hoover and the Federal Government.” Times are 11-11:50 a.m. ET/10-10:50a.m. CT and 2-2:50 p.m. ET/1-1:50 p.m. CT. You may also watch the live stream, for which no registration is necessary.

Herbert HooverThe President of the United States is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws written by Congress and, to that end, appoints the heads of the federal agencies, including the Cabinet. The Cabinet and independent federal agencies are responsible for the day-to-day enforcement and administration of federal laws.

Herbert Hoover was a champion of government efficiency for over 40 years, before, during, and after his Presidency. He was an engineer and geologist by training, and sought to apply the scientific principles of the Efficiency Movement to make the Federal government more responsive and cost effective, and to avoid duplication and waste. As Secretary of Commerce, he reorganized the Commerce Department to better serve American business and industry in a rapidly changing world. As President, Hoover created the Veterans Administration (VA) to unify all veterans services, which accounted for 25% of all Federal expenditures at the time, into one agency.

As former-President, Hoover was appointed by Presidents Truman and Eisenhower to chair two Commissions on the Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government — known as the Hoover Commissions — to find ways to streamline the Federal Government. Many of the ideas proposed by the Commissions were implemented by Congress, such as combining the Departments of War and the Navy into a single Department of Defense (DoD), and creating the General Services Administration (GSA) to centralize responsibility for Federal office space, transportation and other basic services vital to government operations.


The Presidential Primary Sources Project

We present “Reorganizing the Executive Branch: Hoover and the Federal Government” as part of the Presidential Primary Sources Project (PPSP), a collaboration between the National Archives and Presidential Libraries, the National Park Service, the Internet2 community, and cultural and historic organizations nationwide.

Through March 2016, PPSP is offering free, standards-aligned, 45-minute interactive videoconferencing programs aimed at students in grades 5-12. This year’s theme is “Presidential Powers and the Constitution,” exploring how different presidents in different eras have interpreted and exercised presidential powers. Each program will also be live streamed (no registration necessary) and recorded for free on-demand viewing.

Register now for any of the programs.

2016 Program Schedule

“Woodrow Wilson and the Consolidation of Presidential Executive Power”

President Woodrow Wilson House
Thursday, February 11: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 9-12
Register

“Reorganizing the Executive Branch: Hoover and the Federal Government”

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
(Digital Learning Day) Wednesday, February 17: 10-10:50am CT and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 7-12
Register

“TR: Setting a Precedent for the President”

Theodore Roosevelt Center
Tuesday, February 22: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 6-12
Register

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum
Wednesday, February 24: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Register

“Abraham Lincoln: Presidential Power in “A House Divided”

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
Thursday, March 3: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 6-8
Register

“Washington’s Monument: The Tradition of Presidential Powers”

The National Park Service
Tuesday, March 8: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 6-12
Register

“President Ulysses S. Grant and Civil Rights”

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Thursday, March 10: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 5-12
Register

“President Truman and the Steel Crisis”

Harry S. Truman Presidential Library
Tuesday, March 29: 10-10:50am and 1-1:50pm CT
Grades 8-12
Register

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