Nearly Two Hours I’ll Never Regret

As a teacher of American History, I am also, and always will be, a student of the same. I never tire of acquiring a greater understanding of our collective history. Whether it is reading an historical non-fiction text or articles from journals and periodicals such as Smithsonian, I am at leisure when expanding my conception of various topics in American History. 

Over the past twelve months I have been working with a group of other teachers as benefactors of a Teaching American History grant through the Battle Creek Public Schools Consortium. We have been studying Emancipation as a turning point and the Civil War as the vehicle of emancipation and have become “plugged-in” to various readings and resources, both online and offline, to help develop a greater and deeper comprehension of the period. 

Once such resource led me to the Teaching American History Podcast. Rather than a podcast in the traditional (is it too early to use that term?) sense, it is more a series of lectures by some of the great minds in historical research. The lectures range in lengths and topics, all intended to strengthen teacher understanding and therefore better history education.

The lecture/podcast that serves as the subject of this post is titled, “The Causes of the Civil War” and is given by James McPherson of Princeton University. He is the author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, a pulitzer-prize winning recollection of that crisis. The title of the lecture seems to be rather aggressive considering the scope of what caused the Civil War. 

At well over 1.5 hours, this lecture clearly reinforced content I had previously known, but still was able to lift subtle nuances of my understanding working behind the scenes to generate new comprehension of the turmoil in Antebellum America. From the role of women, to the Constitutional argument of secession, McPherson paints a nearly perfect portrait allowing the listener to relate a greater understanding to his or her students.

This lecture, as mentioned above, is part of a series of podcasted lectures available on the Teaching American History website or through iTunes. Students and teachers alike will find anything they need for some summer refreshers in their content area.
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