In an attempt to contend with the British Navy, Germany began to produce a new weapon of war—the U-boat. U-boats, a common English abbreviation for the German word `Unterseeboot', were submarines. Unlike surface ships, U-boats, did not adhere to the traditional rules of engagement, which required raiders to stop a vessel, examine its cargo, and allow passengers to escape before sinking the ship. Instead, the strength of the submarine was its ability to strike without warning, while its major
Mobilizing the US Nation for War
n April of 1917, President Woodrow Wilson received a declaration of war from Congress. Even as America prepared for war, the country remained split over the prospects of sending American troops to fight the nations that comprised the Central Powers. In an attempt to unify the nation, the Wilson administration undertook a remarkable propaganda campaign to sway American opinion toward intervention in the European conflict. The centerpiece of this campaign was the Committee on Public Information, a
The Treaty of Versailles
Nearly one year after President Woodrow Wilson addressed Congress and laid out his Fourteen Points, fighting in Europe had reached its end. In the last weeks of the war, Wilson used the promise of his Fourteen Points to persuade the German people to overthrow Kaiser Wilhelm II and establish an armistice. Under the armistice, Germany had to withdraw behind the Rhine River and surrender its submarines and munitions.
To establish the conditions of surrender for the defeated Central Powers, me
New Deal: We Work Again - 1930's
We Work Again is a US government civic-minded film aimed specifically at the unemployed African American population in the wake of the Great Depression. Produced by the Work Projects Administration, the largest New Deal agency, We Work Again works to illustrate how black citizens would not be left out of the FDR's relief plan. We Work Again includes rare documentary footage of the Depression era, depictions of the New Deal in effect, and a rousing choir of singers, ending the film on a hopeful n
The United States Enters the War
This is a video about WWII and the moment when the United States was engaged in an undeclared naval war with Germany. President Roosevelt ordered the navy to "shoot on sight" any German submarines after an American destroyer, the Greer, was attacked near Iceland. In October, the Kearny was torpedoed killing 11, and the destroyer Reuben James was sunk—more than 100 sailors perished. Congress amended the Neutrality Act in November, to permit trade with belligerents and the arming of merchant ves
The Yalta Conference
The second and final summit meeting attended by the Big Three was held in early February 1945, at Yalta on the Black Sea. Roosevelt's advisers included chief political troubleshooter Harry Hopkins, and the new secretary of state, Edward. R. Stettinius, Jr.Fast-paced with slides and narration.
While the American system of politics has generally been defined as a two-party system, occasionally a third party emerges, influencing elections and siphoning important votes from the major parties. Third parties often begin as single-issue parties that oppose or promote a certain social, economic, or political topic. For example, the Republican Party formed in the 1850’s as a third party in opposition to slavery. Similarly, in 2000, Ralph Nader formed the Green Party that focused on environm
A History of Political Parties in the U.S.
Great teachers from outstanding universities give instruction on federalism in this video from Thinkwell's online American Government series. In this video we discuss: A History of Political Parties in the U.S. The video uses lecture format, pictures, and a whiteboard to aid in the explanations. Run time 11:12.
Counterculture of the 1960's
While President Johnson was simultaneously rolling out his Great Society blueprints and entering ever deeper in the conflict in Vietnam, a cultural rebellion was gathering strength in American universities. The affluence of the 1950s allowed an unprecedented number of young people to attend college in the 1960s. This growing demographic had little real-world experience, and they looked critically at a society that had provided prosperity for them and their families. Many university students and
Thomas Paine's "Common Sense"
As late as January 1776, months before American independence was declared, many colonists still pledged their loyalty to the Crown. These loyalists comprised a large segment of the population, including important leaders. They considered the colonies an extension of Great Britain and generally discarded the idea of becoming a self-governing country
The Declaration of Independence: Ideas for a New Age
This 17 minute examines the basic principles and concepts set forth in the Declaration of Independence, as well as the American leaders, their ideas and the historical events that resulted in the document. Good details. Best used with a timeline and a word list. Many items need a great deal more explanation, but the video is a good start.
Has video quiz, too.
Campaign Finance Reform
Congress enacted campaign finance reform due to criticism directed toward interest groups and Political Action Committees (PACs). Federal Election Campaign Acts were passed in 1971, 1974, and 1976. Early legislation limited individual donations to candidates to $1,000 and $5,000 to PACs. PACs in turn may only donate $5,000 to individual candidates (Video is narrated with slides and speeches.)
Primaries, Caucuses, and Conventions
Political parties determine their presidential candidates through primaries, caucuses, and conventions. Until the early part of the twentieth century, every state used caucuses to choose a candidate. Caucuses began to lose favor because many of the “political machines” that controlled the caucuses were corrupt and did not necessarily carry out the will of the people. Still, caucuses continue to be used in 12 states. (Video is narrated with slides and speeches.)
While the president is limited to serving two terms in office, members of Congress can serve an unlimited number of terms. In the mid-nineteenth century, most congressional representatives served only a single term because at that time politics was not considered a career. However, by the mid-twentieth century, congressional representatives began to view holding congressional office as a prestigious career. (Video is narrated with slides and speeches.)
Andrew Jackson: Reinventing the Presidency
Video discusses how Jackson fought in the Revolutionary War when he was just thirteen, how Jackson led the American army to the most surprising victory in its history in the Battle of New Orleans, how Jackson was the first great champion of the common white man -- but also "owned" over a hundred black Americans; how Jackson dramatically expanded the United States -- by brutally wresting vast regions of the south from Native Americans; how Jackson, in one of the boldest political strokes in histo
The Stamp Act
Video accompanied with text dealing with the Stamp Act. "The peace treaty that ended the French and Indian War in 1763 eliminated New France as a military threat to the British colonists, and marked the start of the march toward American independence. The war effort, and British Prime Minister William Pitt’s decision to retain large numbers of troops in the American colonies after the conflict, doubled Great Britain’s national debt.
In an effort to raise revenues, Parliament enforced
The Townshend Duties
History video for high school. "The repeal of the Stamp Act did not end Britain’s plan to tax the colonies. In 1767, Chancellor of the Exchequer Charles Townshend proposed enacting new customs duties on the most popular items imported by the colonies. Parliament approved The Townshend duties (also referred to as the Townshend Revenue Act), which taxed a wide variety of imports, including glass, lead, paints, paper, silk, and tea. Unlike the Stamp Act, the new levy was an indirect tax payable a
This video is accompanied by text and it is about the political situation and political causes of the American Revolution. "The Revolution generated radical changes in the principles, opinions, and sentiments of the American people. New ideas and issues affected social customs, political ideals, and gender and racial roles as the thirteen colonies evolved into the United States. Debate and conflict over government authority, diverse state economies, federal control of western territories, and th
This is a video accompanied by text. It is about the social situation and the social causes of the American Revolution. Although the concept of forming an autonomous American nation was not new, Thomas Paine’s call to create a democratic republic resonated with a growing number of colonists. By the late eighteenth century, many towns, particularly in Massachusetts, experienced republicanism firsthand in the form of town meetings and elections. Terminating the British monarch’s arbitrary auth
From Colonies to Constitution: The War for Independence
'This program traces the key events of the American
Revolutionary War from its outbreak at Lexington, Massachusetts in 1775 to the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783." This 15 minute video goes over the major points, but does not add a lot of depth to what isn't in a basic textbook. Does have good visuals where students can get a better feel for the time.