Starting in the next two weeks, student-historians in US History will be diving into the third major historical inquiry of the trimester. The driving question they will investigate is How much power should a government hold in the lives of its citizens?
As they dig into this question, they will investigate how the US government expanded its role in the lives of its citizens during the New Deal. They will come to understand the legacy of the New Deal by interviewing friends and family about the role of Social Security in their lives, visiting a New Deal project site near our school, and reading primary source documents about the role of New Deal programs in addressing the economic crisis of the Great Depression.
Following these investigations, student-historians will jump into analyzing government policies during World War II. To understand the effects of the war on American citizens, they will evaluate WWII-era propaganda, dig into first-hand accounts of Japanese internment camps, and speak with other Baltimore City students who have themselves lived in refugee camps.
As students grapple with the dual role of American government in this period-on the one hand a safety net in times of economic crisis, on the other hand an institution willing to prioritize public safety over civil liberties-they will seek to tell a human history, one that places individuals’ experiences within the sweep of their historical context.
As their culminating project for this unit, student-historians will synthesize their interviews, textual primary sources, and hands-on experiences to produce a blog post addressing our driving question. Based on their new understandings, they will answer for themselves, How much power should a government have in the lives of its citizens? Keep a lookout for their developing ideas and their final synthesis posts, upcoming in the first few weeks of February!