On December 15, 1791, the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution—known as the Bill of Rights—were ratified. Designed to spell out limits to the federal government’s power and to protect the individual liberties of Americans, these amendments include many of the hallmarks of the country’s democratic ideals: freedom of speech, the press, and religion; and the protection against being punished by the government without due process of law.
Today marks the 79th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the “Night of Broken Glass.” This series of violent attacks against Jews that spread across Germany, Austria, and parts of Czechoslovakia was a major escalation in the Nazis’ increasingly violent campaign against Jews that would result in the Holocaust. According to historian Martin Gilbert, Kristallnacht was “a brutal, hysterical, uninhibited assault on everything Jewish, on a far wider scale than hitherto, and yet only a prelude to something far larger still.”
Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior
On October 3, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). Previous immigration policies from the 1920s had set national-origin quotas, which discriminated against immigrants who were not from northern Europe. By abolishing these quotas, the INA contributed to a significant shift in demographics in the United States over the last 52 years.
We awoke this morning to learn of another horrific act of violence. Students and teachers arrived at school as news was breaking about the attack by a gunman on an outdoor concert in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. We mourn the victims and we are filled with sadness for those who have lost friends and loved ones.
Topics: current events
Holocaust and Human Behavior explores the history of the Weimar Republic in Germany, the rise of the Nazi Party during that era, and the Nazis’ assault on democracy during their first years in power. This history can help us reflect on the nature of democracy, itself, and what factors may sustain it or undermine it in any country and in any time period.
Topics: Holocaust and Human Behavior
At Facing History, we recently revised our seminal case study, Holocaust and Human Behavior. Why is it time for a new edition? In today’s world, how to build and maintain democratic societies that are resilient to violence is more important than ever. Not to mention that Holocaust scholarship and the study of human behavior have changed dramatically since the last revision of this work 20 years ago. So has technology. That’s why we’ve included a digital version of the new edition, along with the print version, which allows educators to build a customized experience in their classroom. We wanted to create a more dynamic experience for teachers and students as they grapple with this difficult history and the moral questions it raises.
April is Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month and at Facing History, we’ve revised our seminal case study, Holocaust and Human Behavior. This revision is the culmination of five years of research, discussion, writing, and video and web production by the organization. We wanted to create a more dynamic experience for teachers and students as they grapple with this difficult history and the moral questions it raises.
Every family in the United States originated from somewhere else. From Native Americans who migrated across a land bridge to North America to immigrants who sailed aboard a steamship to Ellis Island, many chose to come to America. Hundreds of thousands of others were brought here against their will aboard slave ships.
This Friday, the United States will inaugurate its 45th president, Donald Trump. The tensions and divisions that were unearthed by the 2016 presidential campaign will not be put to rest once President Barack Obama transitions power to this new administration. Instead, they will require active, thoughtful, and responsible participation of citizens to work through together; our responsibilities as citizens do not end at the voting booth. This inauguration is an appropriate time to reflect and renew our engagement as committed participants in a healthy democracy. As we take stock in our own role in this, how do we also help students make sense of these divisions and assess the strength of democracy and civil society?
Facing History has eagerly awaited next week's release of Go Set a Watchman since its discovery was announced this past February. Today we were treated to a sneak preview with the release of the book's first chapter. As earlier media reports indicated, the book features an adult Scout returning to Maycomb, Alabama, to visit her father 20 years after the events of the original book. It is written in third person and therefore isn’t limited to Scout’s point of view.