With this digital collection, students will explore the wider, literary context for the canonical works of the American Renaissance. Students will consider the following essential questions: 1. What was the literary context in which canonical American Renaissance writers wrote and published? 2. What kinds of literature were popular in the mid-nineteenth-century United States? 3. How did now-canonical writers engage or respond to popular literary forms?
With this digital collection, students will explore the actions taken by abolitionists in Illinois and their reactions to national policies. Students will consider the following questions as they review the documents: 1. What motivated the actions of abolitionists in Illinois? 2. How did abolitionists attempt to transform public opinion on the issue of slavery? 3. How did the abolitionist movement evolve and respond to national events that shook the nation in the 1850s?
With this digital collection, the student will explore conflicts over the exercise of State power at three important junctures in U.S. history: the Revolution and national founding, the Civil War, and World War II. At each of these formative moments in national history, some Americans challenged—while others defended—the authority of the federal government over individual citizens and states. It is important to note that, in these documents, anti-statism does not emerge as a coherent ideology. Rather it includes many different forms of opposition to centralized authority, from reasoned debate to organized rebellion to mob violence. What does emerge is a long and varied history of American anti-statist thought and sentiment.
With this digital collection, students will review maps, drawings, and paintings that exemplify nineteenth-century America and Mexico, from the first expeditions up the Missouri River, to the development of everyday life along the Mississippi, to the discovery of Yellowstone and the establishment of the national park, to representations of the people and natural resources of Mexico.
With this digital collection, students will review documents including five works of art, each offering a different approach to the representation of Polar exploration, from a first encounter between Europeans and Inuit to a vast arctic landscape to the scientific examination of the natural world to the celebration of the explorer as national hero.
With this digital collection, students will explore the relationships that existed between representations of American Indians in art and the histories of U.S. settlement.
With this digital collection, students will explore documents that include accounts of Mexico as it was under Spanish rule, representations of the struggle for independence, and descriptions of the country after independence.
With this digital collection, students will explore the subject of Chicago and the Great Migration through four specific topics: the race riots of 1919, travel, literary culture, and community organizing. Historian Arnold R. Hirsch explains in The Encyclopedia of Chicago that the covenants were “rare in Chicago before the 1920s, their widespread use followed the Great Migration of southern blacks.”
With this digital collection, students will examine documents that offer insight into the religious and social motivations and benefits for undertaking a crusade, as well as a glimpse into the more mundane administrative details required to make this transcontinental excursion to the Holy Land. They also suggest how the Crusades were both commemorated and criticized in literature and history for centuries after they had ended. Students will consider the following questions as they review the documents: 1. What were Western Christian religious beliefs, political relationships, and personal values during the Middle Ages? 2. How did the motives, organization, and effects of the Crusades change over time? 3. How have writers from the eleventh century on criticized the Crusaders’ goals and actions?
With this digital collection, students will explore the questions What is dissent? and What role has dissent played in the development of American democracy? The collection of documents are case studies representing four different aspects of dissent. These case studies, in their variety, allow us to consider the different forms that dissent might take, and the different paths that these movements could follow within national history.
With this digital collection, students will review documents that survey the many parts of the world swept up in French imperialism during the early modern period (1500–1800), and the many ways the French empire influenced their histories. Students will consider the following essential questions as they review the documents: 1. What were the motivations behind France’s presence in different parts of the world? How did French motives change from place to place, and over time? 2. How did French colonists see native peoples in North America, the Caribbean, and Africa? How did these peoples interact with the French? 3. How did the pieces of France’s empire fit together? Were they a single, coherent system?
With this digital collection, students will explore how visual culture shaped the meaning and experience of the Civil War home front. This digital collection is based on the 2013 Newberry Library and Terra Foundation for American Art exhibition Home Front: Daily Life in the Civil War North, curated by Peter John Brownlee and Daniel Greene.
With this digital collection, students will explore the idea of the Wild West and its influence on American identity in order to answer the following questions: How has the West been imagined as both America’s manifest destiny and a wild frontier? In what ways do American Indian art and literature challenge these popular narratives of the West?
With this digital collection, students will explore the subject of immigration in U.S. history with particular attention to the two and a half decades from 1890 to the start of World War I.
With this digital collection, students will review documents that focus on neighborhood and community life for workers such as the ones Sinclair portrays in The Jungle. Students will consider the following essential questions as they review the documents: 1. What did it mean to live in the neighborhood of the Union Stock Yard around 1900? What conditions did workers experience outside of the packing plants, in their homes and streets? 2. How did the Back of the Yards neighborhood compare to other Chicago neighborhoods at this time? In what ways was the neighborhood connected to or cut off from the rest of the city? 3. Who lived in Back of the Yards around 1900? What was the neighborhood’s demographic makeup? 4. How did researchers and reformers approach the stockyard neighborhood? What problems did they identify? What solutions did they propose? Does it matter that, like Sinclair, they came from outside the communities they wanted to change? 5. In what ways do the documents created by sociologists and urban reformers reframe or complicate Sinclair’s representation of the lives of meatpacking workers?
With this digital collection, students will examine the foundations that were established during the Middle Ages. Medieval Europe bequeathed a legacy to the Renaissance and beyond that continues to influence our thought, art, institutions, and culture. Students will consider the following essential questions as they review the documents: 1. Why might Renaissance and later historians want to envision an abrupt difference between their own times and the medieval past? 2. How do medieval manuscripts help us to understand the “long view” of the development of many modern institutions?
With this digital collection, students will use documents to explore the meaning of slavery and emancipation in the North around the time of the Civil War, and understand the context for Lincoln’s own evolving position.
With this digital collection, students will explore the ways that literary culture shaped the meaning of the war for people who lived through it. Students will be asked to answer the following essential questions: 1. What literature was published and read during the Civil War? 2. How did literature shape the meaning of the war? How did writers and readers turn to literature to make sense of the war itself and of the profound changes it brought to the nation? 3. How might reading the literature of the Civil War lead us to think in new ways about American literary history?
With this digital collection, students will examine advice manuals, letters, cartoons and other materials to explore the common features of colonial life and what Britons setting out for the Indian empire expected to find there, hoped to achieve, and the challenges they faced. Students will answer the following questions: 1. What do the different documents in this collection tell you about why Britons in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ventured out into the Empire? 2. How did the perspective on the British Empire differ between people who lived and worked in India versus people who remained in the British Isles? 3. How did Britons perceive native peoples? 4. Do any of these documents give you an idea of why England wanted to create an empire in the first place?
With this digital collection, students will explore the early history of Chicago and the American Midwest through maps. Students will consider the following questions as they review the documents: 1. How can we use maps to tell the early history of Chicago and the Midwest? How has the region been represented in maps over time? 2. What are the natural geographic features that define the region? 3. Who inhabited the region around Chicago between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries? What kinds of human settlements developed there at different times? How have maps been used by different empires and nations to secure control of the region?