As the school season is ramping back up, we’re taking a look at teaching and education, specifically as it pertains to American history and patriotism. There are many significant events in American history that students should learn about, and here is a list highlighting some that should definitely be included:
It is one of the most important documents of our nation’s history, and in fact the document that signed our nation into formal existence and separated us from Great Britain. The significance of The Declaration and the freedom, liberty and rights it gives our nation’s inhabitants still rings true today. It hangs on display in Washington, D.C., where tourists can come through and marvel at the manuscript and signatures of historical greats such as Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Samuel Adams, John Hancock and more.
Abraham Lincoln signed this document in 1863, and it freed slaves in the states that were in rebellion of the Union. This is significant because immediately, 20,000 slaves were freed, and it paved the way for the Thirteenth Amendment two years later, when all slaves were freed in the United States, adding up to more than 4 million slaves. Although not a pretty part of our nation’s heritage, it is one that should be remembered.
In 1920, American women finally were granted their right to vote, when President Woodrow Wilson advocated for the right and the Nineteenth Amendment was passed. By the time the amendment was passed, over 500 women had been arrested for loitering and picketing at the White House for women’s rights, and another 168 arrested for obstructing traffic. The women’s suffrage movement began 80 years earlier in London in 1840, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott traveled as delegates to the World Anti-Slavery Convention, but were denied the right to speak because they were women. From there, women fought for decades for equal rights, and to this day women still seek to find equality in certain ways in American culture and society.
Another part of our history laced with anger, pain, mistreatment and misunderstanding, the Civil Rights Act immediately made segregation in schools, churches, workplaces, restaurants, forms of transportation illegal. Though racial discrimination didn’t die overnight, and is certainly a hot-button issue to this day, especially in light of movements such as Black Lives Matter, this act was a pivotal point in American history where no longer could someone be excluded merely because of the color of their skin. (Also included in this act was the inability to exclude due to gender, giving further fuel for women’s rights advocates.)
When Neil Armstrong walked on the moon as the first person ever to walk on the moon in 1969, he literally made a footprint into both American and world history. Famed for his quote, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” his walk on the moon was significant in the global arms race and race to the moon, especially with countries like Russia, who were trying to beat the United States to become the first country to send someone to the moon. It showed American innovation, boosted American pride and patriotism, and gave something Americans could rally around and agree upon in a time that interesting in our country, to say the least.
When the United States declared war on Germany and entered into World War I in April 1917, they joined the Allies and it was a pivotal moment that helped end the war, start the League of Nations and gave the United States the identity of a nation that didn’t remain isolated, but one that stepped out and was proactive in the global community.
In1803, the United States purchased 830,000 miles of land from the French for $15 million dollars. If you look at a map, the land acquired in the purchase essentially doubled the size of the United States. General Napoleon Bonaparte said of the agreement, “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride.” This purchase truly did allow the US to expand into greater global commerce and become a world power.
The crash that ended on October 29, 1929 brought a loss to the Dow Jones of almost 40% of its total value within a matter of about 6 weeks, and ushered in the era now known as The Great Depression. Older American generation remember growing up in this era where scarcity was the norm and the average household struggled on meager income while the economy recovered. This crash brought about governmental programs intended to ensure such a brutal crash would never again occur in America, including the Social Security Act, Federal Housing Administration and the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation).
These are just a few events from generations past that are important for the younger American generations to know about. What other significant American events do you think should be passed on and remembered?
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