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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

In 2008 ACES, in partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, the Yale History Department, and funded through a federal Teaching American History grant, embarked on a professional development program in American History for select ACES middle and high school teachers. Leading historians will introduce participating teachers to new scholarship and teaching strategies in American History through monthly History Forums, which will combine lectures, readings, and primary document workshops. Working with historians, archivists, and curriculum specialists, our participating teachers will explore and develop strategies for introducing these themes and documents into their middle school classrooms. These forums will be supplemented with Saturday field trips and professional development days, curriculum development workshops, teacher-initiated history projects, and an annual Summer Institute.

This project will provide high-level history content that covers the sweep of American history from the colonization period to the present. In project years 1-3, teachers will study the nation's past in chronological order. Year 1, "The Foundations of American Democracy," will focus on the settlement of the Americas and early founding years of our nation through 1800; Year 2, "Slavery and Emancipation," will examine the 19th century and the Civil War and Reconstruction; and Year 3, "The Struggle for Democracy in Twentieth Century America," will focus on the challenges and achievements of American democracy from 1900 to the present.

In years 4 and 5, project history content will be focused on how our nation has responded to different groups of people. Year 4, "Women and the Struggle for Inclusion," will examine women's roles from the nation's founding to the present day, and Year 5, "Race, Ethnicity, and Civil Rights," will examine the ways in which racial and ethnic minorities have experienced America and how the definition of who is "American" has evolved.