Topic: US History I


Current Event March 20, 2015

The Donner Party

Psychology US History I Westward Expansion

As the United States grew as a nation, people moved West seeking opportunity. In 1846 a group of 87 pioneers, called the Donner Party, left Illinois for California in a wagon train. The westward pioneers were trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains from November to February because of heavy snow. More than half the party died from starvation and disease. Some who survived did so by eating the remains of the less fortunate pioneers. This made the Donner Party the most infamous group of Westward migrants. Listen to learn more about the history of this trip from a descendant of a Donner Party survivor.

Note: This story contains a discussion of cannibalism.

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Current Event January 22, 2015

Time Capsule Opened

Civics/Government US History I Colonialism

Time capsules are used by communities across the United States to capture a moment in time and preserve artifacts for future generations. Colonial leaders in Boston, Massachusetts buried a time capsule under the Massachusetts State House in 1795. The contents from this time capsule have been removed and displayed. Listen to learn more about who buried the time capsule and what they found inside.

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Current Event January 1, 2015

Apology to Native Americans, 150 Years Later

US History I Westward Expansion

In December 1864, nearly 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho were killed by a United States cavalry who hoped to drive Native Americans out of the Western territory. This year descendants of these tribes returned to the massacre site for the 150th anniversary and received an official apology from Colorado’s governor. Listen to learn more about the massacre and its legacy.

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Current Event December 20, 2014

Honoring Harriet Tubman

Race US History I Biography

Harriet Tubman escaped slavery in Maryland and then used her freedom and the Underground Railroad to free more than 70 slaves. Known as the “Moses of Her People,” Tubman lived a purposeful life fighting slavery. She also joined the fight for women’s suffrage after the Civil War. Congress has approved the creation of two national historic parks, one in Maryland and the other in New York, to commemorate and honor the life of this pioneering woman.

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Current Event November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving and Native Americans

US History I Ancient Civilization

The traditional Thanksgiving story tells us that the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620 and were greeted by an English speaking Native American named Squanto. Squanto taught the Pilgrims to survive in the New World and prevented them from starving. But this legend fails to tell the whole story; for example, why did Squanto speak English? Listen to learn the real story of Squanto, which began 400 years ago in 1614.

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Current Event October 31, 2014

History of Witches

Civics/Government Gender US History I Colonialism

When we imagine a witch today, we think about a halloween costume with a pointy black hat, warts and a broom. This public radio story takes us back to a darker period in colonial America, when people believed that witches lived among them unnoticed. At this time, accusations of being a witch led to the Salem witch trials and the execution of more than a dozen women. We hear from an author who recently compiled a book about the reality behind these accusations of witchery, and what they say about society and stereotypes.

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Current Event October 10, 2014

America Before Columbus

US History I Ancient Civilization World History I

Columbus Day is celebrated every October, but our understanding of Christopher Columbus and his “discovery” of America has changed dramatically since Columbus Day became a federal holiday in 1937. This change of perception has come with more knowledge of what the Americas and Native American cultures were truly like before Europeans arrived. Highly complex and organized communities could be found in places like the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. This public radio story paints a vivid picture of the Americas before Columbus and compares our original understandings of the area with reality.

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Current Event July 29, 2014

Supreme Court Sees Corporations as People, Given Individual Rights

US History II US History I

When corporations were first created, they were given one right and that was to the right to make a contract. But as the country industrialized, they received more rights under the Bill of Rights, like individual people. Listen to this radio story to learn how rights for corporations have changed over time and how the most recent Supreme Court ruling about Hobby Lobby gives corporations more rights than ever before.

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An historic look at the first attempt at president lincoln's life

Current Event July 22, 2014

An Historic Look at the First Attempt on President Lincoln’s Life

US History I

Fort Stevens in Washington DC is the site of an attempted assassination on President Abraham Lincoln. It was Lincoln's height that saved his life. This site was also a place that could have changed the outcome of the Civil War if not for timely reinforcements. Listen to this public radio story and learn more about the "What Ifs" of the first attempt on Lincoln's life.

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Current Event July 7, 2014

Francis Scott Key: Lawyer, Poet, and Creator of “The Star Spangled Banner”

US History I American Revolution

The creator of America’s much-loved anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" was not only a poet, but a celebrated lawyer, known for settling controversial disputes with oratorical skill. However, Francis Scott Key never mentioned the anthem after writing it again. He was also known for his adamant representation of African Americans and their rights. Listen to this public radio story to learn more about the man who is best known for writing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

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Magna carta symbolizes the origin of american ideals of equality and freedom

Current Event July 3, 2014

Magna Carta Symbolizes the Origin of American Ideals of Equality and Freedom

Civics/Government US History I

The Magna Carta is a single document that outlines the origins of American freedom and equality. It was created in 1215 by British subjects who wanted to limit King John’s power and protect their rights. The Magna Carta inspired American democracy. Listen to this story to learn more about why it survived so many years and its special significance to Boston.

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