Democracy in America | SLJ DVD Review

Gr 8 Up –This series contains many primary source documents including images of period maps, political cartoons, paintings, and newspaper headlines.

redstarDemocracy in America. 30 min. ISBN 9780985726201.

Expansion and Reform. 26 min. ISBN 9780 985726256.

Manifest Destiny. 22 min. ISBN 9780 985726263.

Securing the Republic. 32 min. ISBN 9780 985726232.

ea: (Growth of a Nation). Media Rich Learning. $49. Set $169. ISBN 9780985726218. 2017.

Gr 8 Up –This series contains many primary source documents including images of period maps, political cartoons, paintings, and newspaper headlines. Democracy in America is the most comprehensive of the four programs, covering the period 1814–38. It focuses on the Missouri Compromise, Andrew Jackson, and other presidents. (The famous political cartoon showing Jackson as King Andrew is explained.) There is a frank discussion of the Indian Removal Act and the strong role Andrew Jackson played in literally pushing the Native Americans off their lands. The cruelty of the Trail of Tears is shown with the examples of the famous painting by Robert Lindneux and the refusal of Jackson to abide by John Marshall’s decision in Cherokee Nation v. GeorgiaExpansion and Reform begins with a description of the pioneering settlers and explains how difficult pioneering life was. Relevant quotes from John James Audubon and Robert Fulton demonstrate controversial views about economic expansion. Manifest Destiny covers the period 1830–49, including the Mexican-American War. Securing the Republic covers the Louisiana Purchase, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the War of 1812. The commentary uses words such as lynch pin, precarious, sovereignty, which may require the teacher to prepare a vocabulary list before viewing. VERDICT The detailed series is great for a quick overview of a particular subject, with graphic maps, primary source images, stimulating quotes, and effective visual techniques to make the images come alive. Useful for AP U.S. history, these resources can lead to lively class discussions.–Ellen Frank Bayer, Flushing High School, New York City This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2018 issue.

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