Seward House Museum And New York State Common Core Social Studies Framework Grade 7

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1 Seward House Museum And New York State Common Core Social Studies Framework Grade 7 Key Ideas 7.5 THE CONSTITUTION IN PRACTICE: The United States Constitution serves as the foundation of the United States Government and outlines the rights of citizens. The Constitution is considered a living document that can respond to political and social changes. The New York State Constitution also has changed over time. 7.6 WESTWARD EXPANSION: Driven by political and economic motives, the United States expanded its physical boundaries to the Pacific Ocean between 1800 and This settlement displaced Native Americans as the frontier was pushed westward. Content Understanding Seward House Museum Application 7.5c While the Constitution provides a formal process for change through amendments, the Constitution can respond to change in other ways. The New York State Constitution changed over time with changes in the early 19 th century making it more democratic. Through the perspective of Mr. Seward s career, students learn about the political and social events: the abolition movement, the Underground Railroad, Compromise of 1850, publication of Uncle Tom s Cabin, sectional crisis, Emancipation Proclamation. Through guided questioning, students reflect on how these events led to the 13 th Amendment to the Constitution and the abolition of slavery. 7.6a Conflict and compromise with foreign nations occurred regarding the physical expansion of the United States during the 19 th century. American values and beliefs such as Manifest Destiny and the need for resources increased westward expansion and settlement. Students are introduced to the concept of westward expansion through Jefferson s purchase of the Louisiana Territory, and how Mr. Seward continues the momentum of Manifest Destiny through purchasing the Alaskan territory from Russia. 7.6b Westward expansion provided opportunities for some groups while harming others. Students learn about the sectional crisis that developed as slavery extended into the western territories and the struggle to maintain the balance of power between the slave and Free states via Mr. Seward s role in the Compromise

2 of Students learn about Mr. Seward s endorsement and subsequent travels on the Transcontinental Railroad via a ring melted down from a commemorative golden spike used to dedicate the completion of the project. Students learn of Mr. Seward s support of the Erie Canal as governor, and his initiative to build railways through disparate parts of New York State to connect them to the canal. Through examining the details in a reproduction of Thomas Cole s landscape painting Portage Falls on the Genesee River, students observe and recall details from the painting to describe what the natural landscape was like before the railways were put through. 7.7 REFORM MOVEMENTS: Social, political, and economic inequalities sparked various reform movements and resistance efforts. Influenced by the Second Great Awakening, New York played a key role in major reform movements. 7.7b Enslaved African Americans resisted slavery in various ways in the 19 th century. The abolitionist movement also worked to raise awareness and generate resistance to the institution of slavery. Students visit the basement kitchen of the Seward s that was a Underground Railroad. Students. Students observe and recall details of their surroundings to make inferences on what the fugitive slave experience at the Seward House was like. Through a roleplaying activity, students assume the roles of pro-slavery, abolitionists and those seeking compromise. In character, students react to questions about political, economic and social impacts of slavery. Students are introduced to Uncle Tom s Cabin though Fanny Seward s personal copy in the home s library and contrast the popularity and impact of that novel to works they are familiar with.

3 7.7c Women joined the movements for abolition and temperance and organized to advocate for women s property rights, fair wages, education and political equality. Frances Seward was peripherally connected to the women s rights movement through acquaintances with Lucretia Mott, Martha Coffin Wright, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Students are asked to compare the rights they have now, with the rights Frances, her daughter Fanny, and sister Lazette had, or did not have. Students learn how the Seward women leveraged their resources and relationships to have a voice without having the vote. Students assess the risks that Mrs. Seward took to use her home as a station on the Underground Railroad and place her anti-slavery activities in the spectrum of activism for that time period. 7.8 A NATION DIVIDED: Westward expansion, the industrialization of the North, and the increase in slavery in the South contributed to the growth of sectionalism. Constitutional conflicts between the advocates of States rights and supporters of federal power increased tensions in the nation; attempts at compromise ultimately failed to keep the nation together, leading to the Civil War. 7.8a Early United States industrialization affected different parts of the country in different ways. Regional economic differences and values, as well as different conceptions of the Constitution, laid the basis for tensions between states rights advocates and supporters of a strong federal government. Students compare and contrast the industrial economy and paid labor of the northern states with the agrarian economy and slave labor of the southern states through Mr. Seward s concerns in his Irrepressible Conflict speech of In this speech, Seward cautioned that the different economic systems were in conflict with one another and ultimately only one could exist. Students learn about Mr. Seward s High Law speech as part of the Compromise of Seward posits that although the Constitution was nebulous on the issue of slavery and

4 could be interpreted either way, there was a higher philosophical law than the Constitution that was in direct conflict with slavery, thus settling the question. 7.8b As the nation expanded geographically, the question of slavery in the new territories and states led to increased sectional tensions. Attempts at compromise failed all together. Students learn about Mr. Seward s Higher Law speech as part of the Compromise of 1850 that tried to halt slavery s expansion into the western territories and the success in having California enter as a free state. 7.8c Perspectives on the causes of the Civil War varied based on the geographic region, but the election of a republican president was one of the immediate causes for the secession of the Southern states. Students learn how Abraham Lincoln and Mr. Seward vied for the Republican presidential nomination in 1859, and how Lincoln won because Mr. Seward s stance on slavery was considered too progressive. Lincoln wins the presidency and appoints Mr. Seward as Secretary of State. Students utilize a timeline activity in the Resource Kit to reflect on key political and social events occurring during Mr. Seward s lifetime (Fugitive Slave Law, publication of Uncle Tom s Cabin, Irrepressible Conflict Speech, etc.) and their effect on the nation as the Civil War approaches. Students learn about New York s contribution to the war effort, via Mr. Seward s son, William Jr., who led the 9 th New York Heavy Artillery Regiment. 7.8d The course and outcome of the Civil War were influenced by strategic leaders from both the North and South, decisive battles, and

5 military strategy and technology that utilized the region s geography. Students learn about Mr. Seward s role behind the strategy of delaying the Emancipation Proclamation until after a string of Union victories to avoid losing some of the Border States. 7.8e The Civil War impacted human lives, physical infrastructure, economic capacity, governance of the United States. Students learn about the effect of the war on the Seward family via the roles played by Mr. Seward (Secretary of State), and his sons: Fred (Assistant Secretary of State), Will Jr. (Brigadier General, NY Heavy Artillery Regiment), and Augustus (Paymaster in the Pay Corps) during the war. Students learn about how John Wilkes Booth s dissatisfaction with the Union victory led to his assassination plot targeting President Lincoln, Vice President Johnson and Secretary Seward, as an attempt to topple the Northern government. Students learn about opportunities for African American soldiers during the war through the son of Mr. Seward s servants, Willis Bogart, who joined Company B, 29 th Regiment, U.S. Colored Infantry during the Civil War.

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