Grade 8 – Who Gets to Vote? History of Voting Rights in Connecticut and the United States


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Politics and Government, Law, Social Movements, Women
Theme
The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, African American Rights, Suffrage, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Voting, Reform Movements, Politics, Anti-Suffrage Movement, 15th Amendment, 19th Amendment, Constitution of 1818, Civics
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History

Historical Background
Throughout American history, the right to vote has been available to some people and denied to others. Voting rights have been restricted on the basis of age, race, sex, property value, church membership, ability to pay taxes, and literacy, among other factors. In the 19th century, Connecticut women (notably the Smith sisters in Glastonbury), Native Americans (such as Isaac Glasko of Griswold), and African Americans (such as Bias Stanley and William Lanson of New Haven) all petitioned against injustice on the basis of “no taxation without representation,” but none was ever successful. Twice prior to the passage of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Connecticut General Assembly approved striking the word “white” from the qualifications of electors in the state Constitution, only to have it voted down by the public (in 1847 and 1865). While two neighboring states—New York and Rhode Island—granted women full or partial voting rights prior to the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Connecticut women were only granted the right to vote in 1920. The story of disenfranchisement—and the eventual expansion of voting rights—is the story of the changing conceptions of freedom and equality in America.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How have the American conceptions of freedom and equality changed over time?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • Who had the right to vote at different times in American history?
  • What were the arguments in favor of and against expanding the right to vote at different times in American history?
  • Why is it important to vote?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

For the Introduction

“Why We Have Elections” lesson from the Connecticut’s Kid Governor Toolkit.

Connecticut’s Kid Governor℠ is a national award-winning statewide civics program created by the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN). Download the entire Connecticut’s Kid Governor Toolkit.

Constitution of Connecticut, 1818. Article VI: Of the Qualifications of Electors. View the text-only version or download the digitized version from the Connecticut State Library Digital Collections.

Note: The original 1818 qualifications were amended several times to add a literacy requirement (1855), addition of “in the English language” to the literacy requirement (1897), and strike out the word “white” (1876). In September 1920, the Connecticut General Assembly passed an act extending voting rights to women, in compliance with the 19th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

For Part 1: African American Suffrage

page Download the article “Amendment to the Constitution.” Hartford Daily Courant, October 4, 1847. pg 2.
Negro Suffrage.” Wilmington Journal. (Wilmington, N.C.) November 12, 1847. 3:3. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. View the entire newspaper page online.
page Download the article “Justice to the Negro.” Hartford Daily Courant, May 26, 1865. pg. 2.
Great News from Connecticut—Negro Suffrage Repudiated.” Daily Ohio Statesman. (Columbus, Ohio) October 5, 1865. 2:1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. View the entire newspaper page online.
page Download the article “The Connecticut Election.” Hartford Daily Courant, October 5, 1865. pg. 3.
‘All Men Free and Equal.’ The XVth Amendment Proclaimed. Message to Congress.—Proclamation of the President.” J. H. Benham & Son, Printers, New Haven, Conn., 1870. Library of Congress.

For Part 2: Women’s Suffrage

Declaration and pledge of the women of the United States Declaration and Pledge of the Women of the United States concerning their Right to, and their Use of the Elective Franchise.” Isabella Beecher Hooker, 1871. Connecticut Historical Society. Download a transcription of the document.
The Dirty Pool of Politics—Can We Clean It?” postcard. National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Votes for Women. ‘No Taxation without Representation’” postcard. National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Some Reasons Why We Oppose Votes for Women.” New York State Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage, 1910. Connecticut Historical Society.
I want to vote, but my wife won’t let me” postcard. National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

This is a three-part activity, with an introductory activity, section on African-American voting rights, and a section on women’s voting rights. You may choose to do some or all of the parts.

Introduction
1) Complete the “Why We Have Elections” lesson, from the Connecticut’s Kid Governor℠ program.
2) Introduce the compelling and initial supporting questions that will guide the inquiry.
3) As a class, examine “Article VI: Of the Qualifications of Electors” from the Connecticut Constitution, 1818.
4) Make a list of the criteria for voting and a list of who/what groups were excluded from voting under Connecticut’s first “official” constitution.
5) Ask students to contribute additional questions that will help guide the inquiry.

Part 1: African American Suffrage
1) Students examine the five newspaper articles, using the analysis technique of your choice. You may wish to use the Library of Congress’s Primary Source Analysis Tool, which prompts students to OBSERVE, REFLECT, and QUESTION.
2) Students share their findings and questions in small groups or with the class.
3) Students examine the “All Men Free and Equal” proclamation and discuss the author, subject, intended audience, and purpose of the document.
4) As a class, revisit the supporting and compelling questions and make a list of any remaining questions that could guide further inquiry.

Part 2: Woman Suffrage
1) Working in small groups or individually, half of the students examine sources #1-3 (pro-suffrage); half of the students examine sources #4-5 (anti-suffrage), using the analysis technique of your choice.
2) Students discuss the author (if identifiable), subject, intended audience, historical context, and purpose of each source.
3) Compile a list of arguments made at the time in favor of and against women’s suffrage. Were these arguments the same or different from those that had been made about restricting or expanding the right to vote to different people/groups in the past?
4) As a class, revisit the supporting and compelling questions and make a list of any remaining questions that could guide further inquiry.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Imagining they are living in Connecticut immediately after the passage of the 15th (1870) or 19th (1920) Amendment to the United States Constitution, students will create a broadside (poster) or newspaper advertisement designed to convince either African Americans or women to vote in the next election. Students should consider and reference the historical context and events that led to the expansion of voting rights to this group.
  • Students will create a contemporary “Get out the Vote” campaign (advertisement, PSA, etc.) to inform potential voters about the importance of civic participation.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Save

Grade 8 – The Amistad Incident and the Face of Slavery


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Crime & Punishment, Law, Slavery & Abolition, Social Movements
Theme
The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Town
Farmington, New Haven, New London, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Slavery, Abolition, Amistad, Revolt
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History

Historical Background
Most people in Connecticut in 1839 probably understood very little about Africa or Africans when the schooner La Amistad was brought into New London Harbor with dozens of Africans—Mende men, boys, and girls—on board. Even among those residents who supported the abolitionist cause, few had ever met a person born in Africa. Locals came to the prison in Westville (New Haven) and paid to gawk at the captives, who were awaiting trial. While in Westville, eleven-year-old Kale—one of the youngest of the Mende captives—studied English. Kale wrote to John Quincy Adams, who was to defend the Amistad Africans before the Supreme Court. Following the trial, the Mende lived with families in Farmington for eight months as they sought funds to return home to Africa.  The Cowles family supported the abolitionist movement and hosted one of the little girls from the Amistad. The letters written by Charlotte Cowles (who was about twenty-one at the time) to her brother Samuel reveal both her preconceived ideas and growing understanding of the Mende living in her community.

D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

What role did the Amistad incident play in the abolitionist movement in the United States?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What kinds of personal interactions did the Amistad Africans and Connecticut residents have?
  • In what ways did the Amistad incident help people in Connecticut—and in the United States—view enslaved Africans as “real people”?
  • How did these two young writers use language to elicit particular emotions about the Mende and their situation?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

amistad_kale_letter_pg1
Page 1 of a 4 page letter from Kale to John Quincy Adams, January 4, 1841. Written from Westville (New Haven), CT. – Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Click on the letter above to access all 4 pages.
page Link to a more complete transcription here or download the transcription as a PDF.
Letter from Charlotte to Samuel Cowles, April 8, 1841
Page 1 of a 4 page letter from Charlotte to Samuel Cowles, April 8, 1841. Written from Farmington, CT – Connecticut Historical Society. Click on the letter above to access all 4 pages.
page Download the transcription of this letter as a PDF.
Letter from Charlotte to Samuel Cowles, April 12, 1841
Page 1 of 4 page letter from Charlotte to Samuel Cowles, April 12, 1841. Written from Farmington, CT – Connecticut Historical Society. Click on letter above to access all 4 pages.
page Download the transcription of this letter as a PDF.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Divide the class into pairs or groups and assign each group one of the three letters from the toolkit. The original letters are best viewed online. The transcriptions can be downloaded and printed.

Note that because of the length of the Charlotte Cowles letters, certain less-pertinent sections have been “greyed-out.” Students need not focus on those portions in their analysis.

Using SOAPSTone analysis, the Library of Congress Analyzing Primary Sources process, or another method of your choice, have students investigate their assigned source.

  • What can students KNOW from the source? What is the evidence?
  • What can they GUESS or infer? Based on what?
  • What does the source make them WONDER?

Students can then piece together their findings or rotate sources until each group has investigated each source.

Revisit the supporting and compelling question, as well as the questions students have developed and shared. Improve/fine-tune the new questions and discuss what other sources might exist to help answer these questions.

Once students have examined the letters, you may want to share portraits of some of the Mende people mentioned. Links to William H. Townsend’s drawings, John Warner Barber’s silhouettes and biographical sketches, and Nathaniel Jocelyn’s portrait of Cinque/Sengbe Pieh referenced by Charlotte Cowles can be found below in the “Additional Resources” section.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
The Mende stayed in Farmington for months while they and their supporters worked to raise money to help them return to Africa. Writing from the perspective of Charlotte Cowles or one of the Mende children, students will write a letter to the editor of the Charter Oak, an abolitionist newspaper in Connecticut at the time, to convince the newspaper’s readers to contribute money to the cause.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Websites to VISIT

Save

Grade 8 – Myron D. Webster Civil War Haversack

by Joe Milositz, Robyn Proto, Carrie Evans
Six to Six Interdistrict Magnet School, Bridgeport


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Civil War
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Woodstock, Statewide

Related Search Terms

Haversack, Broadside, Artifacts, War, Soldier, Solider’s Life, Homefront, Union, Civilians, Daily Life, American Civil War, Civil War Knapsack

Social Studies Frameworks

Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How does an entire society participate in war? 

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What are the needs of soldiers during war?
  • Who provides supplies to meet soldiers’ needs?
  • How did civilians participate in the war effort?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Myron D. Webster's gear fro his service in the Civil War - Connecticut Historical Society
Myron D. Webster’s gear from his service in the Civil War – Connecticut Historical Society

The Myron D. Webster collection is an example of a typical Civil War soldier’s gear. It includes personal belongings which include military-issued items and things he brought from home.

 

Broadside: Blankets Are Wanted  for the Army!, ca. 1860 - 1869 - Connecticut Historical Society
Broadside: Blankets Are Wanted for the Army!, ca. 1860 – 1869 – Connecticut Historical Society

The Starr broadside solicits blankets from the home front to be used by Union soldiers and shows the need for civilian support during the war.

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Students should examine artifacts belonging to Myron D. Webster from the Connecticut Historical Society.

  • What are the different items in the picture?
  • Who might use these items?
  • When might the items have been used?
  • What were the items used for?
  • Based on these artifacts, what were the needs of a solider during the Civil War?
  • Where did the items come from and how do you know?

Students will read the broadside and answer the following questions.

  • Who wrote this?
  • Who are they writing to?
  • After examining the broadside, what does this artifact tell you about what was expected of the civilian population during the Civil War?
  • What is the relationship between civilians and the military today, and how have their roles changed or stayed the same?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Students will share their specific evidence in response to the compelling question.

Have students research and identify the needs of soldiers today.

  • Students will organize a supply drive.
  • Students will create an advertisement for supplies for soldiers (i.e.: PSA, broadside, social media, etc)
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – Accused: 17th-Century Witch Trials

by Christine Jewell
Fairfield Museum and History Center, Fairfield


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Belief, Crime & Punishment
Theme
The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Gender Roles in Economic, Political, and Social Life
Town
Fairfield, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Witch Trials, 17th Century, Witchcraft, Salem, Witch Hunts, Puritans
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

What factors led to the 17th-century witchcraft trials in Connecticut?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • Were religious or social differences tolerated in the 1600s?
  • Did everyone have equal protection under the law at the time?
  • Why were women particularly targeted as witches?
  • Could something like this happen today?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Detail from Saducismus Triumphatus or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions by Joseph Glanvil. Library of Congress.
This image comes from a very popular book published in London in 1689. It claimed to record “true” supernatural events and probably influenced many colonial thinkers, including Cotton Mather, the author of the 1693 book, The Wonders of the Invisible World: Being an Account of the Tryals of Several Witches Lately Executed in New-England: and of Several Remarkable Curiosities Therein Occurring. In this detail, women gather with the devil in a wooded area.
Illustration from The Kingdom of Darkness by Nathaniel Crouch. London, 1728. World Imprints Collection, Connecticut Historical Society.

 

Although it was published more than 30 years after the last of the Connecticut witch trials, this image illustrates the enduring belief, shared by most New Englanders in the 1600s, that the devil could influence witches to use magic against others.
Elizabeth_Clawson_Mercy_Disbrough
Charges of Catherine Branch against Elizabeth Clawson (Elizabeth Clauson), Mercy Disbrough (Mercy Disbrow) and Goody Miller, 1692. Samuel Wyllys papers, Connecticut State Library.
Transcription from the Connecticut State Library: cathoran branch aged seventeene years or theare abouts/ testifieth and saith that som time this last somer shee saw {good}/ {wif} and felt good wife closon and marcy disbrow afflict/ hur not together but apart by scraching pinching and wringing/ hur body and further saith that good wife {cason} \clason/ was the first/ that did afflict hur and affter wards marcy disbrow and/ after that somtimes one of them and som times \the other/ {crossed out} of them/ and {crossed out} in her affliction: though it was night yet it appearing/ as light as noone day sworn in court septr 19: 1692 attest J Allyn secyr/
Elizabeth_Seagar
Case of Goodwife Seager (Elizabeth Seagar), Testimony Of Robert Sterne, around 1662-1665. Samuel Wyllys papers, Connecticut State Library.
Transcription from the Connecticut State Library: Robt Sterne Testifies as/ followet[h]./ I saw This woman Goodwife Seage/ in the woods w[i]th three more wome[n]/ and wit[h] them {these} I saw two/ black creatures like two Indians/ but taller I saw likewise a Kettle/ there over a fire, I saw the wome[n]/ dance round these black Creatures/ and whiles I looked upon them one/ of the women G Greensmith sai[th]/ lookr who is yonder and then they/ ran away up the hill. I stood still/ and the black things came towards/ mee and then turned to come/ away: He further sait[h] I know the/ F[a]lons by their Habits or clothes/ haveing observed such clothes on/ them not long before:/
Katherine_Harrison_Smith_testimony
Case of Katherin Harrison (Katherine Harrison), Testimony of Rebecka Smith (Rebecca Smith), 1668. Samuel Wyllys papers, Connecticut State Library.
Transcription from the Connecticut State Library (excerpted): Rebeckka Smith aged about 75 theares testefieth as followes/ that … Goodwife Gilbert the wife of \Jonathan Gilbert/ … had/ a black Capp which shee had lent to Katherin Harrison, and Katherin/ Harrison desired {desired} to have the saide capp, but Gooddy Gilbert/ refused to sell it to Katherin, after Goodwife Gilbert wore the saide/ capp and when shee had the capp on her head her shoulders and head was/ much afflicted, after the capp beinge pulled of, Gooddy Gilbert saide/ she was well, again \a certain time/ after Gooddy Gilbert wore, or put on the saide/ Capp: then shee was afflicted as before; the saide capp beinge/ againe pulled of Gooddy Gilbert againe saide shee was well, thus/ beinge afflicted severall times, it was suspected to be by witchcraft/ after the saide Rebecca Smith, herd say the capp was burned./
Katherine_Harrison_testimony
Case of Katherin Harrison (Katherine Harrison), testimony of John Welles. Samuel Wyllys papers, Connecticut State Library.
Transcription from the Connecticut State Library: when my father lived in the house where Joseph/ wright liveth some evenings our cows were late/ before they came hom and my mother sent me/ to see if I could mete them I went once or twice/ but the second time I was sent I went about half/ way crosse the street and could goe no further/ my legs were bound to my thinking with a nap/ kin but could se nothing I looked foward {for}/ {ward} the cattle that were in the street by good/ man nots shop and I saw good wif harrison rise/ up from a cow that was non of her owne with/ a pail in her hand and made hast home and/ when she was over her own stile I was loosed/ June 29:1668/ This was about 7 or 8 years ago John welles/ / This was owned and acknowledged/ by John wells before me Samll welles/
page Because the language in the court documents can be difficult for students to read (little punctuation, inconsistent or archaic spelling, etc.), a PDF with slightly adapted transcriptions is provided HERE.
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

For background information about the witchcraft trials in Connecticut, download the Fairfield Museum’s “Accused: Fairfield’s Witchcraft Trials” Educator Guide (www.fairfieldhistory.org/education/teacher-resources/) prior to teaching the lesson.

Begin the activity by having students examine one or both of the historic images as a class, in small groups, or individually.

  • Describe what is going on in the image(s). What is the setting? Who are the figures? What are the activities?

Break students into smaller groups, each with one of the court documents (including the transcription).

  • What details can be gleaned from each document?
  • Who is being accused? What can you learn about this person from the text?
  • Who is doing the accusing? What can you learn about this person from the text?
  • What are these people being accused of?
  • What can you infer from the testimony about why this person has been accused?
  • What beliefs or values held by the accused or the accuser are suggested by the testimonies?

Have each group share their discoveries and note similarities and differences.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Have students supplement their conclusions from the inquiry activity with information from additional resources (see below for some suggestions) to help them develop answers to the compelling and supporting questions posed at the beginning. Conclude with a discussion or writing activity based on the questions: Could something like this happen today? Does it?

For a further connection, investigate with students accusations of witchcraft in contemporary Africa and Asia.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – The Black Law in Connecticut

ConnecticutHistory.org


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Education, Slavery & Abolition, Politics & Government
Theme
The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Town
Canterbury, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Prudence Crandall, Education, Law, Women
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

What is social justice?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What was the Black Law? How did it affect Prudence Crandall’s school?
  • What did Prudence Crandall do to break this law?
  • Was it possible for Prudence Crandall to fight this law? Why or why not?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

“The Black Law of Connecticut (1833).” Citizens ALL: Africans Americans in Connecticut - The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition, Yale University
“The Black Law of Connecticut (1833).” Citizens ALL: Africans Americans in Connecticut – The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, & Abolition, Yale University

What later became known as the “Black Law” was enacted to prevent “the instruction of colored persons belonging to other states and countries, which would tend to the great increase of the colored population of the State, and thereby to the injury of the people.”  This law was in response to Prudence Crandall’s establishment of a school to educate African American girls in Canterbury, Connecticut.

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY
  • What does “inequality” mean to you? How may people be treated unequally?
  • What would you have done if you were Prudence Crandall in 1833? How would you have handled the injustices?
  • How would you go about letting others know about unfair laws?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Brainstorm things happening in your community that you consider wrong, unjust, unfair, or unkind. Decide as a class to take on one of those injustices and find appropriate solutions.
  • Research the education of girls in other parts of the world. Are girls receiving an equal education to boys? Is this a result of local laws?
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – The Inventions of A. A. Hotchkiss And Sons

by Rosemary Davis
Sharon Historical Society, Sharon


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Business & Industry, Invention & Technology, Civil War
Theme
The Role of Connecticut in U.S. History
Town
Sharon, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Manufacturing, Industrialization, Hardware, Firearms, Munitions, Projectiles
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How did Sharon, Connecticut, manufacturers A. A. Hotchkiss and Sons contribute to major innovations in U.S. history?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What inventions patented by the Hotchkiss family were used throughout the United States?
  • What industries existed in Sharon, Connecticut, that made it a good place to manufacturer hardware such as home and farm items?
  • What major war in U.S. history used a Hotchkiss invention and led to the Hotchkiss factory moving out of Sharon, Connecticut? Why was it necessary to leave Sharon?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Items made in Asahel Hotchkiss' factory east of Mudge Pond brook. Among the included are currycombs, a horse bit, hasp, mowing machine teeth, nails, bolts, nuts and an ox bow pin. How many can you identify? - Sharon Historical Society
Items made in Asahel Hotchkiss’ factory east of Mudge Pond brook. Among the included are currycombs, a horse bit, hasp, mowing machine teeth, nails, bolts, nuts and an ox bow pin. How many can you identify? – Sharon Historical Society
Classic wrench invented by Andrew Hotchkiss.  Patented under # 8922 Andrew's design has served as the prototype for numerous adjustable wrenches - Sharon Historical Society
Classic wrench invented by Andrew Hotchkiss. Patented under # 8922 Andrew’s design has served as the prototype for numerous adjustable wrenches. – Sharon Historical Society
Hotchkiss exploding shells patented by Andrew Hotchkiss.   - Sharon Historical Society
Hotchkiss exploding shells patented by Andrew Hotchkiss. – Sharon Historical Society
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Students can examine the Hotchkiss inventions in the context of more in-depth questions, such as:

  • Is America a land of political, economic, and social opportunity?
  • What was the significance of Connecticut’s contribution to America’s story?

Students can also use the inventions and the larger story of the Hotchkiss company moving from Sharon to analyze reasons for economic growth in Connecticut in the 19th century and ways that Connecticut contributed to the growth and expansion of the nation. Evaluate the history of individual cities and towns in the 19th century and analyze reasons for economic and/or social change in individual towns during this period.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Students could engage in a debate about the role of innovation in war time. Students could also create a presentation examining the Hotchkiss inventions from geographical (Why was Sharon a good place for innovation?), social (How did farm and home hardware improve everyday life?), and political (What was the contribution of the Hotchkiss shell to the Civil War?) perspectives.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – The Iron Industry of Northwest Connecticut

by Rosemary Davis
Sharon Historical Society, Sharon


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Business & Industry, Invention & Technology
Theme
The Impact of Geography on History
Town
Salisbury, Sharon, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Geography, Industrialization, Iron, Furnace, Ore, Pig Iron
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

Would there have been a thriving iron industry in Connecticut without the geological and geographical advantages of the northwest corner?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • Why was the geography of the northwest corner critical to the success of Connecticut’s iron industry?
  • Why did Connecticut’s iron industry fail?
  • What might have happened to the development of the northwest corner of Connecticut had the men that owned the iron furnaces decided to become steel producers?
  • How did the geographical location of Connecticut’s iron industry affect the development of transportation routes into and out of the state?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Men working as molders in Sharon Valley. Note the unusual variety of tools used for the compacting of special sand for casting the iron. Note: the children are not just visiting they are part of the work force. - Sharon Historical Society
Men working as molders in Sharon Valley. Note the unusual variety of tools used for the compacting of special sand for casting the iron. Note: the children are not just visiting they are part of the work force. – Sharon Historical Society
The Sharon Valley Iron Company furnace in 1875. Note the stacks of pig iron in the foreground and beyond the tree to the left. To the upper right stand the charcoal sheds. At the same level is the elongated casting shed running into the main building to the top of the thirty-four-foot-high blast furnace.  Above the unseen furnace is the top house extending sixty-eight feet above ground.  To the far left is the blast house with an overshot waterwheel powering pumping tubs through the visible pipe to the top house to heat the blast. The casting shed, center front, contains the sand beds where the white-hot iron formed into pigs and cooled. - Salisbury Association
The Sharon Valley Iron Company furnace in 1875. Note the stacks of pig iron in the foreground and beyond the tree to the left. To the upper right stand the charcoal sheds. At the same level is the elongated casting shed running into the main building to the top of the thirty-four foot high blast furnace. Above the unseen furnace is the top house extending sixty-eight feet above ground. To the far left is the blast house with an overshot waterwheel powering pumping tubs through the visible pipe to the top house to heat the blast. The casting shed, center front, contains the sand beds where the white-hot iron formed into pigs and cooled. – Salisbury Association
Account Book, Coal, Sharon Valley Iron Co., 1887-1892. - Sharon Historical Society
Account Book, Coal, Sharon Valley Iron Co., 1887-1892. – Sharon Historical Society
D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Using the above primary and secondary source materials, the book, Echoes of Iron in Connecticut’s Northwest Corner, and accompanying video, “Visions of Iron,” students will plot out the geographical locations of materials critical to the success of Connecticut’s iron industry: rivers, forests for the production of charcoal, lime deposits, and iron ore deposits. Once the data has been plotted, students will develop hypotheses as to why the iron industry failed, and what actions could have been taken to foster its long-term success. Using these arguments, students will determine how the character of the northwest corner may have been changed as a result.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Plan a mock town meeting on one of the following topics: the possibility of building more iron furnaces across the region; the conversion of cold blast furnaces to hot blast furnaces; bringing major railroad lines closer to the furnace locations; etc.
  • Using online resources develop an interactive map.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – Venture Smith: From Slavery to Connecticut Businessman

by Khalil Quotap
Institute for American Indian Studies, Washington


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Slavery & Abolition
Theme
The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Town
East Haddam, Stonington, Statewide
Related Search Terms
Enslaved, Primary Sources, Archaeology, Local History
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

How can a former slave prosper in a colony where slavery is legal?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • How can objects be used to support written accounts of historical events?
  • What kind of life could a former slave expect to have in the Connecticut colony in the late 1700s?
  • What is a primary source? Secondary? And how can they be used in research?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Boat caulking iron
Boat caulking iron
Boat caulking iron
Boat caulking iron

Boat Caulking Iron

Identified by Dr. William Peterson, senior curator, and Quentin Snediker, director of the shipyard, at Mystic Seaport. Both were pleased to confirm that site structures and artifacts demonstrate Venture Smith’s mariner activities.

Piece of an early glass bottle
Piece of an early glass bottle
Shards of 19th century ceramics
Shards of 19th century ceramics
Incised bone handle
Incised bone handle
Domestic Artifacts: These objects have been excavated in and around structures at the Smith Homestead dig site. These materials include an incised bone knife handle, early bottle glass and a variety of 18th and early 19th century ceramics.

 

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Timeline of Venture Smith’s life created for a presentation by Lucianne Lavin, Ph.D.

 

 

D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Students will read a brief summary of Venture Smith’s history and examine the artifact images found on the Smith Homestead dig site. They will use the information from the artifact to support their findings.

  • What do the artifacts tell about the person who lived there?
  • How can you be sure the artifacts are real?
  • Based on what the artifacts found, how do you think the family lived during the late 1700s?
  • How does this change the way you think of how minorities were treated in the past?
  • What does this tell you about the general population in Connecticut and their view of minorities during the late 1700s?
D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS
  • Have students share their specific evidence in response to the compelling and supporting questions.
  • Inquiry projects
    • What types of discrimination or challenges would former slaves face?
    • What employment or occupations might a former slave expect to find?
    • How was life at sea an option for former slaves?
  • Compare the experiences of immigrants today with former slaves in the colonies.
  • Have students bring an artifact from home and ask: “What would historians think about life now based on the artifacts we would leave behind?”
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Things to DO
Websites to VISIT
Articles to READ

Grade 8 – Abolition and African Americans in Connecticut

Nancy Toney

by ConnecticutHistory.org


TEACHER'S SNAPSHOT
Topic
Slavery & Abolition
Civil War
Theme
The Struggle for Freedom, Equality, and Social Justice
Town
Statewide
Related Search Terms
Reconstruction
Social Studies Frameworks
Grade 8 – United States History
D1: POTENTIAL COMPELLING QUESTION

In what way did the abolition of slavery indicate progress, or decline, for the lives of African Americans?

D1: POTENTIAL SUPPORTING QUESTIONS
  • What were the causes and effects of the abolition of slavery?
  • What role did Connecticut play in the abolitionist movement?
D2: TOOL KIT

Things you will need to teach this lesson.

Attributed to Osbert Burr Loomis, Nancy Toney, oil on canvas, ca. 1862 - Photograph from the collection of the Loomis Chaffee School Archives, Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Connecticut This painting of Nancy Toney is attributed to Osbert Burr Loomis, oil on canvas, ca. 1862 – Photograph from the collection of the Loomis Chaffee School Archives, Loomis Chaffee School, Windsor, Connecticut
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Map from the Underground Railroad in Connecticut by Horatio Strother, 1962 Map of the Underground Railroad routes in Connecticut from the book Underground Railroad in Connecticut by Horatio Strother, 1962
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way2 Article describing Frederick Douglass’s speech to 29th and 30th Colored Volunteers, page 9, The Connecticut War Record, New Haven, February 1864 – Connecticut State Library, Newspapers of Connecticut
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D3: INQUIRY ACTIVITY

Divide students into small groups of three or four people. Choose one student to be the notetaker and write down their group’s thoughts and observations.

Using the three primary sources, students will answer the following questions:

  1. What role did Connecticut play in the abolitionist movement?
  2. What can you determine about slavery in Connecticut by examining the following sources?
  3. What is the author communicating about slavery in Connecticut?

Discuss observations with groups and with the class.

Have the students find commonalities and differences.

Share ideas about what the sources reveal.

Share answers/perspectives with the class.

D4: COMMUNICATING CONCLUSIONS

Students can address their responses to the compelling question(s) using a variety of different formats, including (but not limited to): An essay, a poster, or presentation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Places to GO
Websites to VISIT