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Patrick OBrien

Annotated Bibliography: Mentor Texts for Teaching Writing in U.S. History I and II Classrooms

Texts to Teach Writing in a United States History I Classroom

Declaration of Independence (original Jeffersonian draft and final draft):
Summary: Document ratified, published, and disseminated by the Second Continental Congress
(1776), in which the thirteen British declared the existence of and the rationale for their
independence from Britain. The Jefferson draft was the rough draft written by the first author, and
the final draft represents the draft as revised by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and
subsequently by the Second Continental Congress.
Online Location: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html (final
draft)
https://jeffersonpapers.princeton.edu/selected-documents (Jefferson's Rough Draft)
Genre: Primary Source
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: revision, collaborative writing, small moment/explode the moment, how to build
content, focus, transitions, appeal to the senses/imagery/descriptive language, conflict,
structure/organization, point of view/stance, intertextuality, argument

Cross of Gold speech by William Jennings Bryan (1896)
Summary: This is a speech delivered by William Jennings Bryan on July 9, 1896, at the
Democratic National Convention in Chicago. His speech advocated bimetallism. Since 1873
(passage of the Coinage Act), the United States abandoned its policy of bimetallism and began to
operate a de facto gold standard (i.e. currency was back by gold, rather than gold and silver). In
1896, the Democratic Party wanted to the silver standard, and the subsequent inflation that would
result (i.e. greater flow of currency) would make it easier for farmers and other debtors to pay off
their debts by increasing their dollars. Bryan was thirty six years old at the time of this speech,
had presidential aspirations, and his dramatic speaking style and rhetoric was readily accepted by
the crowd.
Online Location: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5354/
Genre: Primary Source (speech)
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: small moment/explode the moment, how to build content, focus, transitions,
appeal to the senses/imagery/descriptive language, conflict, structure/organization, point of
view/stance, metaphor, simile, analogy, voice, audience, argument

Shame of the Cities by Lincoln Steffens (1904)
Summary: This is a muckraking book that was intended to reach a middle class reformer
audience to enlighten them on the topic of political corruption in the early 20th century city.
Steffens attacked corrupt electoral practices and shadowy dealings in businesses and city
governments across the nation. He often focused on what he perceived to be the completely
wicked lives of political bosses, police corruption, graft, and other political abuses of the time. In
so doing, Steffens was limited by his point of view -- i.e. that of a white middle class anglo-saxon
Protestant.
Online Location: https://archive.org/details/shameofcities00stefuoft (suggested excerpt p. 11)
Genre: Reform Literature (persuasive)
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: Argument versus polemic (i.e. teaching students argument is to explicitly interact
with/acknowledge multiple sides of a conflict -- and Steffens does not), point of view/stance,
metaphor, audience

What to the Slave is the Fourth of July by Frederick Douglass (1852)
Summary: By 1852, Douglass had converted from the moral suasionist strategies of abolitionist,
William Lloyd Garrison, to political abolitionism and the possible uses of violence to overthrow
slavery. Douglass was struggling financially; his newspaper, Frederick Douglass' Paper, survived
only on philanthropy, and he could hardly support his growing family on meager lecturers' fees. At
the time, the place of a radical black abolitionist in America's future was altogether uncertain. In
these circumstances Douglass crafted this speech in response to the invitation of the Rochester
Ladies Antislavery Society. As was the tradition in black communities of New York state,
Douglass insisted on speaking on the 5th and not the 4th of July. Before nearly 600 people who
paid the 121/2c admission, Douglass rose as orator of the day after a reading of the Declaration
of Independence by a local minister.
Online Location: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to-the-slave-is-the-
fourth-of-july/ (text of speech)
http://zinnedproject.org/materials/frederick-douglass-the-meaning-of-july-fourth-for-the-negro/
(text of speech, and video re-enactment)
Genre: Speech
Red Flags: violent references, strong language
Mini Lessons:point of view/stance, metaphor, audience, explode the moment, setting, conflict,
structure/organization, analogy, argument, informative

Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln (1863)
Summary: Speech delivered by President Abraham Lincoln at the dedication (Nov. 19, 1863) of
the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pa., the site of one of the decisive battles of the American
Civil War (July 13, 1863). Lincoln, in brief fashion, eulogized the soldiers who had fallen at
Gettysburg, and proclaimed that the Civil War must bring about a new birth of freedom,
ostensibly proclaiming that that this freedom will/must include the abolition of slavery.
Online Location: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/gettyb.asp
Genre: Speech
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons:small moment/explode the moment, how to build content, focus, appeal to the
senses/imagery/descriptive,conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance, audience,
sentence variety, parallel structure

Federalist Papers 10 and 51 (1787-1789)
Summary: The Federalist papers are essays that were written by James Madison, Alexander
Hamilton, and John Jay in an attempt to to gain popular support for the ratification of the
Constitution. In Federalist Ten Madison focuses on factions. He defines the term, talks about the
possibililty of eliminating them, and argues, very much against popular thought at the time, that a
large republic -- as opposed to a smaller, more direct democracy, will more effectively reduce the
influence of factions. Federalist Fifty-One is most notable for representing Madisons argument for
separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism. In making this argument, Madison
concludes that the constitution, which allows for these mechanisms, will best protect liberty and
enable a harmonious coexistence of national and state governments.
Online Location: http://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/fed.asp
Genre: Persuasive, Argumentative Essay
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons:how to build content, focus, transitions, conflict, structure/organization, point of
view/stance, metaphor, audience, mode: argument, sentence variety

Atlanta Compromise by Booker T. Washington (1895)
Summary: On September 18, 1895, African-American spokesman and leader Booker T.
Washington spoke before a predominantly white audience at the Cotton States and International
Exposition in Atlanta. His Atlanta Compromise address, as it came to be called, was one of the
most influential speeches in American history. In this speech, Washington urged African
Americans to accept segregation, and assuaged the fears of his white listeners concerns about
uppity blacks by claiming that his race would content itself with living by the productions of our
hands. That is to say, African Americans would focus on vocational self-help and uplift, as
opposed to a more assertive claim to civil rights.
Online Location: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1895washington-atlanta.asp
Genre: Speech, Persuasive
Red Flags: May cause reader to lose spine
Mini Lessons: how to build content, focus, conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance,
metaphor, simile, analogy,audience

The Story of Freedom by Eric Foner (excerpt)
Summary: Eric Foner discusses the evolving meaning and scope of the popular conception of
freedom throughout United States history. As Foner sees it, the notion has been contested
throughout American history. His narrative shows freedom to have been shaped not only by
great white men but by ordinary folk from all walks of life. This particular except (Ch. 2 - To
Call it Freedom) discusses the contradiction among colonial whites of owning actual slaves
while objecting to being metaphorical slaves of Britain.
Publication Information: W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1999.
Genre: Editorial
Red Flags: Strong language, strong imagery
Mini Lessons:how to build content, focus, transitions, quotations/dialogue,
structure/organization, point of view/stance, metaphor

Inaugural Editorial by William Lloyd Garrison (1831)
Summary: In his first editorial for his abolitionist newspaper The LIberator, Garrison demarcates
the evolution of the anti-slavery movement from one that supported colonization, gradual
emancipation, and compensation for slave owners, to supporting immediate emancipation, racial
equality and citizenship, and no compensation. The reader is also introduced to Garrisons fiery
language and provocative metaphors and analogies.
Online location: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2928t.html
Genre: Historical, U.S. History
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: focus,appeal to the senses/imagery/descriptive, language, conflict,
structure/organization, point of view/stance, metaphor, simile, analogy, voice, audience, mode:
argument

No Progress Without Struggle by Frederick Douglass (1857)
Summary: Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave, a leader of the abolitionist movement in
the North, editor of the abolitionist newspaper The North Star and, after the Civil War, a diplomat
for the U.S. government. This speech is from an address on West India Emancipation, delivered
August 4, 1857. In it, Douglass argues that there must be struggle (violent and peaceful) if there
is to be progress. He also discusses the limits (or lack thereof) of oppression, and challenges
those against slavery to accept and transcend the necessary struggle.
Online location: http://www.blackpast.org/1857-frederick-douglass-if-there-no-struggle-there-no-
progress
Genre: Speech
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons:conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance, analogy, voice, audience,
mode: argument

White Mans Burden by Rudyard Kipling (1899)
Summary: In February 1899, British novelist and poet Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem entitled
The White Mans Burden: The United States and The Philippine Islands. In this poem, Kipling
urged the U.S. to take up the burden of empire, as had Britain and other European nations.
Published in the February, 1899 issue of McClures Magazine, the poem coincided with the
beginning of the Philippine-American War and U.S. Senate ratification of the treaty that placed
Puerto Rico, Guam, Cuba, and the Philippines under American control.
Online location: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/kipling.asp
Genre: Poem
Red Flags: Racialist content
Mini Lessons: focus, appeal to the senses/imagery/descriptive, language,conflict,
structure/organization, point of view/stance,metaphor, simile, analogy, dialogue, audience, mode:
argument

Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards (1741)
Summary: This sermon (this particular excerpt is known as The Metaphor of an Angry God)
was delivered to the congregation of Enfield, Massachusetts (later Connecticut) in July 1741.
Edwards combines vivid imagery of the Christian concept of Hell with observations of the secular
world and citations of scripture.
Online location: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/kipling.asp
Genre: Sermon
Red Flags: Violent Imagery
Mini Lessons: how to build content, focus,appeal to the senses/imagery/descriptive, language,
conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance, intertextuality, metaphor, audience, mode:
argument




City Upon a Hill by John Winthrop (1630)
Summary: City upon a hill is a phrase often used to refer to John Winthrops famous speech, A
Model of Christian Charity. It was given aboard the Arbella not long before reaching New
England. Winthrop referred to their place in the New World as a city on a hill that would be
watched by the world in order to inspire the Puritans. It is often cited as a taproot of American
exceptionalism.
Online location: https://www.gilderlehrman.org/sites/default/files/inline-
pdfs/Winthrop%27s%20City%20upon%20a%20Hill.pdf
Genre: Lay sermon
Red Flags: Reader may become ethnocentric
Mini Lessons:small moment/explode the moment, appeal to the senses/imagery/descriptive,
language, setting, metaphor, voice, audience

Texts to Teach Writing in a United States History II Classroom

Beaumont to Detroit by Langston Hughes (1943) metaphor, analogy
Summary: Langston Hughes poem from 1943. Beaumont, TX and Detroit, MI were two in a
series of race riots that swept the nation from May 12 to August 29, 1943, at the height of U.S.
involvement in WW II. In this poem Hughes poses the argument that Hitler and Mussolini are
similar to Jim Crow. It's a good example of Hughes's ability to write to immediate social and
political events.
Online location: http://modampo.blogspot.com/2006/03/beaumont-to-detroit-1943.html
Genre: Poem
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons:focus, language, conflict, point of view/stance, metaphor, voice, audience,
sentence variety

Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King (1963)
Summary: In 1963 Martin Luther King, in Birmingham because he was invited by the Alabama
chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to investigate and potentially act, was
criticized by the local clergy (among others) for being an outisde troublemaker and for pushing
too radically for civil rights. The Letter represents Kings response. It is a seminal text in United
States history.
Online location: http://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
Genre: Speech
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: how to build content, focus, transitions, quotations/dialogue, appeal to the
senses/imagery/descriptive, conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance, metaphor, voice,
audience, mode: argument

The Four Freedoms by Franklin D. Roosevelt
Summary: In the State of the Union Address of 1941, Roosevelt makes a case for increased
United States involvement in World War II. In this context, that meant increased aid to the British
and increased war production at home. This is a seminal text in United States history, with the
third freedom (Freedom from Want) largely seen as the most controversial.
Online location: http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/fourfreedoms
Genre: Speech
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: how to build content, focus, transitions, appeal to the/imagery, conflict,
structure/organization, point of view/stance, sequence, voice, audience, mode: argument,
informative,

First Fireside Chat by Franklin D. Roosevelt (1932)
Summary: Upon taking office in 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was faced with a downward spiraling
banking crisis (caused, in large part, by the plummeting stock market -- in which the banks were
heavily invested). Banks were collapsing and people were removing their money from banks,
causing more banks to fail. In this first fireside chat, Roosevelt explains how he is going to
respond to the crisis, clearly explains the banking industry, and urges Americans to keep their
money in banks.
Online location: http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/fdrfirstfiresidechat.html
Genre: Speech, Fireside Chat
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: clear explanation of complicated topic, how to build content, focus, transitions,
conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance, metaphor, sequence, anecdote, voice,
audience, mode: argument, informative

Message to the Grassroots by Malcolm X (1963)
Summary: "Message to the Grassroots," delivered November 1963, was one of the last
speeches Malcolm gave before leaving the Nation of Islam. In this speech, Malcolm defines
revolution, compares and contrasts a "Black Revolution" with a "Negro Revolution," and argues in
favor of a worldwide union of nonwhites against the powerful, privileged position of those
benefiting from white racism.
Online location: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/message-to-grassroots/
Genre: Speech
Red Flags: Strong language
Mini Lessons: how to build content, focus, quotations/dialogue, language, conflict,
structure/organization, point of view/stance, alliteration, metaphor, simile, analogy, anecdote,
voice, audience, mode: argument, informative

Fixin-to-Die-Rag by Country Joe and the Fish (1968)
Summary: Satirical look at some popular attitudes towards the Vietnam War. It was released at
the height of the war.
Online location: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3W7-ngmO_p8&feature=kp
Genre: Song
Red Flags: deals with war and death
Mini Lessons: humor, hyperbole, satire, juxtaposition

Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen (1984)
Summary: Springsteen song -- originally a folk or a rockabilly country-style song and originally
entitled Vietnam -- that is about the struggles encountered by veterans of the Vietnam War upon
return home. It is a highly popular and highly misunderstood song.
Online location: http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1014
Genre: Song
Red Flags: N/A
Mini Lessons: persuasion, allusion, simile, alliteration
Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday (1939)
Summary: Performed by Billie Holiday and written by Abel Meerpool, Strange Fruit is a very
powerful song about the practice of lynching (i.e. the Strange Fruit are African Americans being
hanged). It is often credited with being the first modern American protest song.
Online location: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZyuULy9zs&feature=kp
Genre: Song
Red Flags: Violent topic
Mini Lessons: small moment/explode the moment, how to build content, focus,, appeal to the
senses/imagery/descriptive, language, frame device, conflict, metaphor

Charity Girls and City Pleasures by Kathy Peiss (2004)
Summary: Cathy Peiss argues that turn of the 20th century working class immigrant girls pushed
the boundaries of respectable notions of femininity to create a culture that was deeply
influenced by mass culture (i.e. cheap amusements), by what was affordable and attainable,
and thus became a taproot of modern teen culture.
Online location: http://maghis.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/4/14.extract
Genre: Essay
Red Flags: Mention of adult situations
Mini Lessons: persuasive writing, how to build content, focus, transitions, quotations/dialogue,
conflict, structure/organization, point of view/stance, more showing than telling, mode: argument,
informative