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Domestic Terrorists

James P. Brochin

Contents of Curriculum Unit 11.02.06:

To Guide Entry

Violence is as American as cherry pie.
H. Rap Brown
I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty, land will never be purged away, but with blood.
John Brown, Charlestown, Virginia, December 2, 1859
It was my object to carry terror and destruction wherever we went."
from The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1831
If you're going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy.
Charles Manson
If there is a hell, then I'll be in good company with a lot of fighter pilots who also had to bomb innocents to win the war.
Timothy McVeigh
To pick up a gun and aim it at another human being, and to fire, it's not a human thing to do. It's not nice. It's not pleasant. It's gory, it's bloody. It overcomes every human instinct. The only thing that would be worse, to me, would be to do nothing, and to allow abortions to continue.
James Charles Kopp

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Introduction and Rationale, Content Objectives

The purpose of this unit is to compare and contrast five Americans who intentionally killed for a cause, even if their actions were morally repugnant to most observers then and since: Nat Turner, John Brown, Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, and James Charles Kopp. At first glance these men don't seem to belong on the same list. Some might even be outraged that Nat Turner is considered together with Timothy McVeigh. Charles Manson is widely regarded as insane. Whatever place they had on a religious-political spectrum, a fire, a passion of some kind, moved them to act; to further a cause, they were willing to have others die. Students will research these five men, and will come to their own conclusions about what characteristics or life history these men shared that might explain their ability to pull the trigger or order others to do so. Students will research the following: family history, marital status and/or issues with intimacy, employment and financial problems, history of violence, views of authority, religious beliefs, and affiliation with causes or groups. In no way do I intend to have students excuse murder by explaining causes that drove killers; nor do I intend to bring students to accept moral relativism. I start with the proposition that killing innocent people is always wrong. Students need to know that John Brown's Pottawatomie Massacre is no less evil than Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Murrah Building, and to understand the danger from those who believe that the ends justify the means.

This investigative effort is a form of social science, an exercise in sociology: to find out what made these men willing to do what they did, before making judgments on the morality of it.Similar to what John Lewis Gaddis described in Chapter 4 of The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past, students are looking for independent variables that set these characters apart from the millions of others who believed deeply in causes but did not go around killing innocents.

I want to have students discover for themselves how a systematic sociological comparison of cases can reinforce an important moral principle, that those who come to be "true believers" (see discussion of Eric Hoffer's The True Believer Below) i.e. those willing to kill innocents for a cause are dangerous for society and represent the opposite of the ideal of civilized discourse.

As Hoffer suggest below, totalitarianism's roots lie in the cold heart of the resentful, the fanatic, and often the losers of society who latch onto a cause larger than themselves. Not all true believers kill the innocent, and not all totalitarian personalities wind up in charge of whole countries, as Lenin, Stalin, and Mao did.

Put another way, a fanatical belief system is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a person to become a domestic terrorist. What I ask my students to do is to link the two parts of the puzzle: the fanatical belief system with the actor's individual circumstances. Put together, these two parts of the puzzle combine to hand us a warning about what Isaiah Berlin called "positive liberty" -- the people who know what's best for you, and are willing to kill you if you don't agree.

In no way do I intend to have students excuse murder by explaining causes that some might agree with, or to bring students to accept moral relativism. I start with the proposition that killing innocent people is always wrong. Students need to know that John Brown's Pottawatomie Massacre is no less evil than Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Murrah Building, and to understand the danger from those who believe that the ends justify the means.

In his short but influential book, The True Believer, Eric Hoffer describes the rise of mass movements, like Communism and Fascism. Hoffer's analysis may be useful here as well, despite the fact that most of the men we will study were loners rather than joiners. How? First, each of these men, although acting largely alone, saw themselves as acting within a movement of some kind: abolitionism (Turner and Brown), anarchism/antiestablishment (Manson), anti-big government (McVeigh), and the anti-abortion movement (Kopp). All but Manson maintained contact with the broader movements they saw themselves adherents of, even thought the acts that made them famous (or infamous) were carried out in isolation. So, some of Hoffer's descriptions may fit, as follows:

1) Reformers, and fanatics, can be dangerous:

"If anything ails a man," says Thoreau, "so that he does not perform his functions,
if he have a pain in his bowels even…he forthwith sets about reforming – the
When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, is well for the timid to lock doors,
shutter windows, and lie low until the wrath has passed. For there is often a
monstrous incongruity between the hopes, however noble and tender, and the
action which follows them. It is as if ivied maidens and garlanded youths were to
herald the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

2) Unhappy people, rather than acting out of self-interest, often identify with a holy

cause, and selflessness can be dangerous:

People who see their lives as irremediably spoiled cannot find a worth-while
purpose in self-advancement. They look on self-interest as on something tainted
and evil; something unclean and unlucky. Anything undertaken under the auspices
of the self seems to them foredoomed. Nothing that has its roots and reasons in the
self can be noble and good. Their innermost craving is for a new life — a rebirth —
or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a
sense of purpose and worth by identification with a holy cause. There is no doubt
that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-
esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is

3) Belief in a devil or enemy can motivate men to murderous acts. (Turner and

Brown's devils were slave owners or supporters of slavery. McVeigh's devil was the

federal government. Kopp's devil was abortion doctors.)

Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without
belief in a devil. Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the
vividness and tangibility of its devil.

Early on in the film Mississippi Burning, two FBI agents assigned to investigate the disappearance of three civil rights workers are discussing the civil rights movement:

Ward: "Some things are worth dying for." Anderson: "Down here, things are different; here, they believe that some things are worth killing for."

In this unit, I present students with a rogue's gallery of American history's best known and some less known killers, some claiming various levels of divine inspiration, some claiming revenge on the government, some claiming fidelity to some confused and radical economic or political theory. Whatever place they had on a religious-political spectrum, they acted with similar motives. A fire, a passion of some kind, moved them to act, and to further some cause, they were willing to have others die.

American history has long history of violence, much of it political. Four presidents assassinated, many unsuccessful attempts to do so. Mayors, governors, Congressmen attacked, threatened and killed. South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks nearly beat Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner to death on the Senate floor, using a shillelagh. The motive? Sumner had given an anti-slavery speech, "The Crime Against Kansas." While beating Sumner viciously in the head, Brooks says: "It is a libel, sir, a libel on the South. Kansas is none of yours, sir."

What will the long view, covering over 150 years of American history, reveal to high school students about the place of such individuals in American history?

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Unit Plan and Teaching Strategies

The Unit will begin by defining domestic terrorism and terrorism:

domestic terrorism - terrorism practiced in your own country against your own people. The 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City was an instance of domestic terrorism.

act of terrorism, terrorism, terrorist act - the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature (source: The Free Dictionary.com)

Nat Turner:

Nat Turner was born in Southampton County, Virginia, in 1800. In 1828 he confided to a few companions that a voice from heaven had announced that "the last shall be first", which was interpreted to mean that the slaves should control.

On February 12, 1831, an annular solar eclipse was seen in Virginia. Turner saw this as a black man's hand reaching over the sun, and he took this vision as his sign. The rebellion was initially planned for July 4, Independence Day, but was postponed for more deliberation between him and his followers, and illness. On August 13, there was another solar eclipse, in which the sun appeared bluish-green (possibly from debris deposited in the atmosphere by an eruption of Mount Saint Helens. Turner took this occasion as the final signal, and a week later, on August 21, he began the rebellion. On the night of the 21st of August 1831, with seven companions, he entered the home of his master, Joseph Travis, and murdered the residents. In all thirteen men, eighteen women, and twenty-four children had been murdered. After hiding for six weeks Nat was captured on the 30th of October and was tried and hanged, having made, meanwhile, a full confession. Nineteen of his associates were hanged and twelve were sent out of the state.

As far as his motivations are concerned, he, like Brown, believed himself to be doing God's work, that he was intended for "some great purpose." It appeared that God's purpose included the intentional killing of 18 women and 24 children. What follows is Turner's own words, and is excerpted from The Confessions of Nat Turner:

SIR,--You have asked me to give a history of the motives which induced me to undertake the late insurrection, as you call it--To do so I must go back to the days of my infancy, and even before I was born. I was thirty-one years of age the 2d of October last, and born the property of Benj. Turner, of this county. In my childhood a circumstance occurred which made an indelible impression on my mind, and laid the ground work of that enthusiasm, which has terminated so fatally to many, both white and black, and for which I am about to atone at the gallows. It is here necessary to relate this circumstance--trifling as it may seem, it was the commencement of that belief which has grown with time, and even now, sir, in this dungeon, helpless and forsaken as I am, I cannot divest myself of. Being at play with other children, when three or four years old, I was telling them something, which my mother overhearing, said it had happened before I was I born--I stuck to my story, however, and related somethings which went, in her opinion, to confirm it--others being called on were greatly astonished, knowing that these things had happened, and caused them to say in my hearing, I surely would be a prophet, as the Lord had shewn me things that had happened before my birth. And my father and mother strengthened me in this my first impression, saying in my presence, I was intended for some great purpose, which they had always thought from certain marks on my head and breast

John Brown:

Brown is motivated by a deep and uncompromising belief that God commands him to end slavery by any means. A dramatized family scene in the historical novel Raising Holy Hell expresses it well:

And all flesh shall know that I, the Lord, have drawn my sword out of its sheath. It shall not be sheathed again. I, John Brown do hereby solemnly pledge my determination, in secrecy before God and my family, to dedicate my life henceforth to do all in my power to carry forth the eternal war on slavery-the mother of all abominations and the sum of all villainies-neither by word nor by deed, but by force of arms alone, certain in the knowledge that the cost of liberty is less than the price of repression, and that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin.
He who is not with me is against me. Now which of my dear family will pledge alongside its loving father? And which… will dare to… go against him?
His sneer fans from ear to ear.
In a very real sense there are two John Browns. The first most clearly fits the definition. The first is the John Brown of the Pottawatomie Massacre in Kansas, where Brown, his sons, and accomplices, brutally attack and murder proslavery activists. The Doyles, father and sons, are rousted from their beds at night onto a dirt road:

Training his pistol on Billy's midsection, the old man cocks the hammer by the web of his thumb. "Beat it. Go on. Take a hike," he says grimly, pointing the barrel at each of them in succession before aiming suddenly sidewise and high in advance of releasing the spur. The shot powders the night to fractions. "Runaway! Now! All you Doyles!"
Drury and his father cover forty yards on the dead hurtle, before meeting up with Owen, Salmon, and Oliver standing musketeered across the middle of the road, their swords gripped like bayonets out-thrust at armslength before them.
So intent are father and son on getting away, so hell-bent on outrunning their imaginary pursuers, that they collide head long with the roadblock, impaling themselves to the hilt on the blades. (Source: Raising Holy Hell)
Compared to the Kansas murders, the raid on Harpers' Ferry looks like an armed insurrection, carried off with the na´ve belief that slaves would join Brown's raiders, and, once given the huge numbers of arms, that a widespread slavery rebellion would ensue. Brown miscalculated, badly. His accomplices did not indiscriminately kill civilians, but they found themselves surrounded, shot, down, and Brown was later tried for treason and hung.

The Harper's Ferry Brown and the Bleeding Kansas Brown cannot be neatly separated, morally. Their motivations were the same, that killing innocents in the name of anti-slavery is justifiable.

Charles Manson:

Charles Manson organized, and ordered, some of the most gruesome killings in American History (the Tate and LaBianca murders), and became the leader, and object of adoration, of his own cult, known as The Manson Family. Manson believed that lyrics to a Beatles song, "Helter Skelter" commanded him to precipitate a race war. Even though Manson is widely regarded as insane, his own words suggest that his acts were intentional, and he insists that his deeds are a reflection of society.

From the world of darkness I did loose demons and devils in the power of
scorpions to torment.
I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all
going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at
me, but I am only what life inside each and every one of you.
I can't judge any of you. I have no malice against you and no ribbons for you. But I
think that it is high time that you all start looking at yourselves, and judging the lie
that you live in.
I'm probably one of the most dangerous men in the world if I want to be. But I
never wanted to be anything but me.
If you're going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy.
Living is what scares me. Dying is easy.
My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system... I am only what you made
me. I am only a reflection of you.
So for you people who are filled with fear that I might someday be released: breath
easy, I don't see it happening.

Timothy McVeigh:

The Oklahoma City bombing was a bomb attack on the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April19, 1995. It was the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Oklahoma blast claimed 168 lives, including 19 children under the age of 6, and injured more than 680 people. It destroyed or damaged 324buildings within a sixteen-block radius, destroyed or burned 86cars, and shattered glass in 258nearby buildings, and was estimated to have caused at least $652million worth of damage.

The chief conspirators, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, met in 1988 at basic training for the U.S. Army at Fort Banning, Georgia. Michael Fortier, McVeigh's accomplice, was his Army roommate. The three shared interests in survivalism (preparing for a time after major discretions in society), opposed federal or state controls on firearms, and supported the militia movement. They expressed anger at the federal government's handling of the 1992 FBI standoff with Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, and also the FBI's handling of the Waco, Texas, a 1993 51-day standoff between the FBI and a religious group, some say a cult, called the Branch Davidians. The standoff began with the shooting deaths of federal agents who were attempting to execute a search warrant and ended with the deaths of Branch Davidian spiritual leader David Koresh and 75others. In March1993, McVeigh visited the Waco site during the standoff, and then again after its conclusion. McVeigh later decided to bomb a federal building as a response to the raids.

James Charles Kopp:

James Charles Kopp (born August 2, 1954) is the American who was convicted in 2003 for the 1998 sniper-style murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, an American doctor from Amherst, New York, who regularly performed abortions. Prior to his capture, Kopp was on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List. He was affiliated with "The Lambs of Christ," a militant anti-abortion group. Kopp has been referred to as a terrorist by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism, and was "well-known in militant anti-abortion circles, where he was nicknamed Atomic Dog."

On October 23, 1998, at about 10 p.m., Dr. Barnett Slepian was standing in the kitchen of his home in Amherst, New York. Kopp fired a single shot from a rifle from nearby wooded area, which entered the Slepian home through a rear window. Slepian was a well-known obstetrician/gynecologist who performed abortions at a women's clinic in Buffalo, New York. He also maintained a private medical practice in an office in Amherst, New York. Within hours of the murder, anti-abortionists posted Slepian's name "crossed out" on their internet website, which also served as "a virtual hit list of doctors who carry out abortions."

Kopp claims that his conversion occurred [to being pro-life] in 1980, at Stanford Hospital in California, when a female acquaintance, who was in favour of abortion, took him to the hospital morgue to show him an aborted fetus, in its eighth month of gestation, which had been discarded in a small bucket. Kopp was horrified by the sight, and decided to involve himself in the anti-abortion movement, and which eventually led to his conversion to Catholicism. He also became involved with the militant Christian groups, the "Army of God" and the "Lambs of Christ."

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Classroom Activities


1. Students will be able to identify and describe the goals and tactics of the American abolitionist from 1800 to 1861.

2. Students will be able to identify and describe the actions of, John Brown and Nat Turner.

3. Students will be able to identify and describe the state of race relations in the late 1960's and the early 1970's.

4. Students will be able to identity, and describe the actions taken by, especially the murders committed by, Charles Manson's "family."

5. Students will be able to identify and describe Ruby Ridge siege and the Waco Standoff, survivalism, and the anti-gun control movements at about that time.

6. Students will be able to identify, and describe, Timothy McVeigh, and the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.

7. Students will be able to identify, and describe, the radical anti-abortion movement.

8. Students will be able to identify, and describe, James Charles Kopp, and his shooting of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian.

9. Students will research, and present the result of the research, on Brown, Turner, Manson, McVeigh, and Kopp, with respect to the following: family history, marital status and/or issues with intimacy, employment and financial problems, history of violence, views of authority, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and affiliations with causes or groups.

Ideas for Student assignments/projects:

Students will deliver their conclusions about how these men are similar or different, based on the results of researching and creating profiles, in a debate/discussion for posting to the Wilbur Cross High School podcast site.) Here are some free associations that might illuminate some common threads, and not so common threads in these subjects:

-Nat Turner: claims divine inspiration, murdered innocents, militant abolitionist

-John Brown: claims divine inspiration, possible madness, murdered innocents,

and militant abolitionist

-Charles Manson: sociopathic, violent and using others to commit most violent

acts in the name of starting a race war, possibly insane/psychopathic

-Timothy McVeigh: gun culture, resentment and anger at US government, blames

US government for Ruby Ridge

-James Charles Copp: claims religious inspiration for radical pro-life views, gun

culture, resentment and anger at US government

The following are five lesson plans out of a total maximum of eight lesson plans (two teaching weeks: three 45 minute classes and two 90 minute class).

Day One Lesson Plan: Introduction to The Unit, and Abolitionism

A. Learning Objectives-The students will be able to

1) identify and describe the abolitionist movement of the 19th Century.

2) identify and describe John Brown, The Pottawattamie Massacre, and

the Harper's Ferry Raid.

3) Identify and describe Nat Turner's rebellion.

4) Describe the possible motivations behind John Brown and Nat Turner's


B. Initiation Strategy: I will read the description of John Brown's Pottawattamie Massacre from Raising Holy Hell, and pose the following question, what would make someone decide that killing innocent people can be justified, or, to put it another way, what kind of person will kill an innocent person in the name of a cause?

C. Lesson Strategy:

1. Students are given two minutes to write about their reaction to the reading and to the questions. This is "thinking on the page."

2.Teacher guides a discussion of slavery and the abolition movement, describing John Brown's actions and Nat Turner's rebellion.

D. Closure: Teacher poses and explains the homework question.

E. Homework: Students read an excerpt from The Confessions of Nat Turner, and write one page about his motivations and explanations for his rebellion, in particular the killing of women and children.

Day Two Lesson Plan: Radicalism In The Late 20th Century

A. Learning Objectives-The students will be able to:

1) identify and describe Charles Manson, the Charles Manson family, and the motivations for their actions.

2) identify and describe Timothy McVeigh, and the motivations behind his bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.

3) identify and describe James Charles Kopp, and the motivations behind his shooting of Dr. Bernard Slepian.

B. Initiation Strategy:

Students are shown ten minutes of film clips on all three, and are asked to write for ten minutes about whether any of the actions depicted can be justified by a cause, and if not, what might explain their actions: insanity, early childhood trauma, having been brainwashed by radical philosophy, etc?

C. Lesson Strategy:

1.Teacher leads discussion of Manson Family killings, Oklahoma City Bombing, and the Slepian shooting, reposing the same question.

D. Closure: Teacher plays a news clip about Tim McVeigh's execution and reactions to it by residents of Oklahoma City.

E. Homework: Student are put into 5 groups, and they review the "Profile of Some Domestic Terrorists" and fill in what they or think or know so far.

Day Three and Four Lesson Plans: Putting Together a Profile

A. Learning Objectives-The students will be able to:

1) research and compile a detailed profile of the subjects.

2) develop a theory about what explanations can be found for the subjects' actions.

3) identify and describe what make the subjects similar or different.

B. Initiation Strategy: What have your learned so far about what made these men cause the death of innocent people? What do they have in common, and how are they different? Let's go further and do the research.

C. Lesson Strategy:

1.Students, in groups do two days of library research, using the attached chart and creating their own about their own subject.

D. Closing: Teacher explains the written homework task, and explains the debate/discussion forum and what a Podcast is.

E. Homework: Students write five paragraphs, describing the three most important reasons that they believe that killing innocent people can sometimes be justified, or three reasons why killing innocent people can never be justified

*Use quotes from the time wherever possible, citing source. You may also add or substitute your own profile characteristics.

Day Five Lesson Plan: Creating a Podcast

A. Learning Objectives-The students will be able to:

1) make an oral presentation about how their subject was able to justify the killing of innocents.

2) discuss/debate the question of whether any cause can justify the killing of innocent people.

3) support their arguments with relevant facts and references to sources.

B. Initiation Strategy: Teacher models, with three student volunteers, the use of microphones, enunciation, and rules of the debate/discussion

C. Lesson Strategy:

Students have a debate/discussion about whether killing innocent people, even in the name of a cause, can ever be justified, and included in that debate a presentation of the profile of their subject.

D. Closing: Teacher plays back five minutes of the discussion.

E. Homework: Students write one page about what they learned from the debate, what they learned from the unit.

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Olds, Bruce. Raising Holy Hell. New York: Picador, 1995 (powerful historical novel on Brown, book portrays Brown at his most fanatic).

Boyer, Richard O. To Purge This Land with Blood (1973) (Brown through the Bloody Kansas period).

"John Brown". History.com. 7/5/11. http://www.history.com/topics/john-brown (good, basic information for teachers and students)

Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner. New York: Vintage Books, 1967 (best known historical novel on Turner)

Davis, Mary Kemp. Nat Turner before the Bar of Judgment: Fictional Treatments of the Southampton Slave Insurrection. Baton Rouge: Louisiana University Press, 1999 (how historical fiction has treated Nat Turner).

The Confessions of Nat Turner: The Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, Virginia, a first-hand account of Turner's confessions published by his lawyer, Thomas Ruffin Gray, in 1831 (Styron's novel is largely based on this account).

Gaddis, John Lewis. The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past. Oxford University Press: New York, 2004. (Brief and dense book about patterns in history and the historian's craft.)

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. New York: Harper and Row, 1951 (short and convincing book on mass movements and how individuals can become fanatics).

Atkins, Susan with Bob Slosser. Child of Satan, Child of God. Logos International; Plainfield, New Jersey, 1977 (Manson Family member's story).

Bugliosi, Vincent with Curt Gentry. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. New York: Norton, 1974 (best-known account of the Manson Murders).

Manson, Charles, as told to Nuel Emmons. Manson in His Own Words. New York: Grove Press, 1986 (Manson speaks for himself).

Jones, Stephen and Peter Israel. Others Unknown: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing Conspiracy. New York: Public Affairs, 2001 (Defense counsel argues that McVeigh and Nichols did not act alone).

Michel, Lou and Dan Herbeck. American Terrorist: Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City Bombing. New York: Regan Books, 2001 (The authors persuaded Timothy McVeigh to give the first account of his story, given with no compensation or right of approval. American Terrorist sheds light on every aspect of McVeigh's life. It describes his relationship with Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier and the consuming distrust of the government shared by the three.)

Wells, Jon. Sniper: The True Story of Anti-Abortion Killer James Kopp. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada: John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2008 (The shooter is James Kopp, the son of a Marine, who came to embrace the pro-life cause and ultimately the notion of "justifiable homicide" against abortion providers. Kopp fancies himself a lone wolf in the movement; a celibate man driven to "defend the unborn." He is nicknamed "Atomic Dog" in the movement and helps orchestrate assaults on abortion clinics.)


American Vision. New York: Glencoe, 2010 (recently published textbook has basic information on all five subjects)

Students could use History Channel.com for articles on all five men, which are brief and to the point. An example is the following:

"John Brown". History.com. 7/5/11. http://www.history.com/topics/john-brown (good, basic information for teachers and students)

"James Kopp Biography". Bio. 7/5/11. http://www.thebiographychannel.co.uk/biographies/james-kopp.html


American Vision. New York: Glencoe, 2010 (recently published textbook has basic information on all five subjects).

Computer lab, sound recording equipment for podcast creation (microphones, mixer, laptop, Garageband and, iWeb programs).

Wall maps

Clips from America: The Story of us

The Confessions of Nat Turner: The Leader of the Late Insurrection in Southampton, Virginia, a first-hand account of Turner's confessions published by his lawyer, Thomas Ruffin Gray, in 1831 (Styron's novel is largely based on this account).

Hoffer, Eric. The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements. New York: Harper and Row, 1951 (short and convincing book on mass movements and how individuals can become fanatics).

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APPENDIX: Connecticut Social Studies Curriculum Framework Grades PK-12

American History - The course should emphasize 20th/21st century events with review of earlier events where necessary to provide appropriate background and context.

Standard 1: Content Knowledge (Knowledge of concepts and information from history and social studies is necessary to promote understanding of our nation and our world.)

Students will be able to:

1.1 demonstrate an understanding of significant events and themes in United States history.

1.2 trace the evolution of citizens' rights (e.g., Palmer Raids, struggle for civil rights, women's rights movements, Patriot Act).

1.12 evaluate the role and impact that significant individuals have had on historical events.

Standard 2: History/Social Studies Literacy (Competence in literacy, inquiry and research skills is necessary to analyze, evaluate and present history and social studies information.)

Students will be able to:

2.1 access and gather information from a variety of primary and secondary sources including electronic media (maps, charts, graphs, images, artifacts, recordings and text).

2.1.1 find relevant and accurate information from a variety of sources to answer a history/social studies question.

2.2 interpret information from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including electronic media (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, images, artifacts, recordings and text)

2.2.2 choose valid sources and provide evidence to answer a history/social studies question.

2.2.3 cite evidence from a source to determine an author's purpose and intended audience.

2.3 create various forms of written work (e.g., journal, essay, blog, Web page, brochure) to demonstrate an understanding of history and social studies issues.

2.3.7 create written work (e.g., electronic medium or persuasive pieces) that analyzes a historical event, place or person using various news media sources.

2.3.8 compose a thesis statement using primary and secondary sources.

2.3.9 prepare a research paper/project using primary and secondary sources and properly cite evidence.

2.4 demonstrate an ability to participate in social studies discourse through informed discussion, debate and effective oral presentation.

2.4.10 prepare formal oral arguments using relevant evidence to defend a point of view.

2.4.11 ask relevant questions related to social studies/history to initiate, extend or debate a point of view.

2.5 create and present relevant social studies materials using both print and electronic media

2.5.14 represent information in various formats.

Standard 3: Application (Civic competence in addressing historical issues and current problems requires the use of information, skills and empathic awareness.)

Students will be able to:

3.1 use evidence to identify, analyze and evaluate historical interpretations.

3.1.1 use evidence to develop an interpretation of a historical event.

3.1.2 evaluate primary and secondary interpretations of a historical event.

3.2 analyze and evaluate human action in historical and/or contemporary contexts from alternative points of view.

3.2.5 develop criteria for judging the actions or policies of an individual or group in the past.

3.2.6 portray the attitudes reflected in a historical period using a variety of writing formats (eulogy, editorial, diary).

3.2.7 develop criteria to evaluate alternative viewpoints on a contemporary issue.

3.3 apply appropriate historical, geographic, political, economic and cultural concepts and methods in proposing and evaluating solutions to contemporary problems.

3.2.12 formulate a historical question and devise a research procedure that would lead to an answer.

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