Michael Milton presents at NCSS

On November 21, Michael Milton, of the BHS Social Studies Department, presented with Dan Krutka at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Boston. They presented an activity that Mr. Milton does with his World History classes, merging the Enlightenment thinkers with Twitter.
Conference attendees were taken through the activity in groups where they assumed the roles of Voltaire, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Wollstonecraft and then responded to the USA Patriot Act.



Happy Constitution Week Day #5

Today is the final day of Constitution Week, but the Constitution is a document that deserves thought and attention every day!  So just because the week is over, don’t stop looking for ways that the Constitution can interact with your daily life!

Did you know that the Constitution of the United States is the shortest one in the world? The document drafted in 1787 totaled 4,400 words. The entire original document takes up four pages, each one measuring about 29 by 24 inches (73 by 60 centimeters). With the signature section, there are 4,543 words, and including all of the amendments brings the total up to 7,591.

And did you also know that nowhere in the Constitution is the word “democracy” used? The government established by the Founders is a republic, a system of government in which the people elect representatives to do the governing for them!

Speaking of the Constitution, there’s an essay competition out there for students to write about the Bill of Rights!

The process is easy: students should click this link. After registering, they simply provide basic information and answer this question in 800 words or less: “Since you were born, has America moved closer to or further away from the ideals outlined in the Declaration of Independence?”
The first prize winner will receive $5,000, second prize $3,000, and third prize $1,500! Students that submit essays by November 15, 2014 are also eligible for one of five $100 Early Bird cash prizes.
The competition is sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute, and the entry deadline is December 5, 2014.

Happy Constitution Week Day 4

Today’s fact about the writing of the Constitution is:

The Constitutional delegates met in secret, behind locked doors with sentries guarding the doors. The press was not allowed to attend. The windows were kept closed despite high temperatures and high humidity. Six days a week, for more than three months, they discussed, debated and voted all day in a hot, stuffy, closed room.  The reason for the secrecy was due to the fact that the delegates were sent to revise the Articles of Confederation, not draft a whole new government.  They were concerned that if word of what they were doing were to leak, they would be called home.  So technically, what they were doing could be seen as illegal!  When asked about that possibility, George Washington said: “The legality of this Convention I do not mean to discuss…. That powers are wanting, none can deny…. That which takes the shortest course to obtain them, will, in my opinion, under present circumstances, be found best. Otherwise, like a house on fire, whilst the most regular mode of extinguishing it is contended for, the building is reduced to ashes.”

Did you know you can have the Constitution on your iPad? Go to:  https://itunes.apple.com/app/u.s.-constitution-and-facts/id391169491?mt=8 to download this free copy of the Constitution of the United States of America. Supreme Court Justices travel with a copy wherever they go, and now you can too!

Happy Constitution Day!

Happy Constitution Day! On this day in 1787, the Constitution was signed by 39 representatives from the states who chose to send representatives to the Convention. The oldest person to sign the Constitution was Benjamin Franklin (81). The youngest was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey (26).

Today’s Constitution Day came about because of the efforts of Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, who said when arguing for the creation of the day: “…September 17 is more important to our everyday lives than Columbus Day, more important to our everyday lives than Thanksgiving, more important to our everyday lives than the Fourth of July…” You can read the full text of his speech at the byrdcenter.org’s website linked up here.

There’s a national Preamble Challenge today.  To participate, record yourself reciting the Preamble to the Constitution (below) and post it to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or social media of your choice! Use the hashtag #ConstitutionDay2014 or #preamble or #preamblechallenge.  Looks like at least a million other people are doing it today. You should too!  There are also hundreds of special naturalization ceremonies going on around the nation to welcome our newest citizens!

The Preamble is 52 words, and it reads: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Happy Constitution Week Day #2

Today’s Constitution Fact:

James Madison was the only delegate to attend every meeting of the Constitutional Convention. He took detailed notes of the various discussions and debates that took place during the convention. The journal that he kept during the Constitutional Convention was kept secret until after he died. It (along with other papers) was purchased by the US government in 1837 at a price of $30,000 (roughly $629,000 today). The journal was published in 1840. That journal is the only record we have of the Convention!

Did you know you can get the Constitution on your iPad or iPhone? Go to: https://itunes.apple.com/app/u.s.-constitution-and-facts/id391169491?mt=8 to download this free copy of the Constitution of the United States of America

A great site for information about the Constitution is http://constitutioncenter.org/constitution-day/, where there are links to information about the signers of the document, and suggestions for what you can do on Constitution Day.

Happy Constitution Week!

On September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States was signed. This Wednesday marks the 227th anniversary of the founding of the government of the United States of America.  To help to celebrate this event, there will be announcements each day in school and posted on this blog.  Students will be learning about the Constitution and its amendments all year long as part of both the US history courses and the several electives we offer that are America-themed.

Today’s trivia is:

When the Constitution was signed in 1787, the United States’ population was 4 million people. It is now more than 330 million people. In 1787, Philadelphia was the nation’s largest city, with 40,000 inhabitants. Now, it is New York City with a population of 8.5 million.

Did you know you can get the Constitution on your iPad or iPhone? Go to: https://itunes.apple.com/app/u.s.-constitution-and-facts/id391169491?mt=8 to download this free copy of the Constitution of the United States of America

You can get more information about the Constitution through a number of websites.  Today’s featured site is: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html where you can read a full transcript of the Constitution.

Welcome Back!

Summer is over, and here we are, ready to go for another school year! We’ve bid a fond farewell to the Class of 2014, and we are happy to welcome the Class of 2018 to our History Hall, where they will stay for the next four years on their path to graduation. Hopefully they will all be able to open their lockers…

We’ll be updating material on this blog all year long, commenting on current events in the school and around the globe, as well as bringing you all the important information about the BHS Social Studies Department. Please visit the faculty pages on this blog for information about our teachers and the courses they teach.

Nelson Mandela

from the Boston Globe, Coverage of Nelson Mandela's visit to Boston, http://www.bostonglobe.com/2013/07/17/nelson-mandela-visit-boston/sXVhfsd1JX1zxUzjFeInXK/story.html

from the Boston Globe, Coverage of Nelson Mandela’s visit to Boston in 1990, http://www.bostonglobe.com/2013/07/17/nelson-mandela-visit-boston/sXVhfsd1JX1zxUzjFeInXK/story.html

Nelson Mandela died in his home in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday at the age of 95.

Nelson Mandela became a figure of global importance for his role in the ending of the racist system of Apartheid that had been imposed in South Africa.  Mandela was a member of the African National Congress, which was a body that he described as dedicated to the “overthrow of white supremacy and the establishment of a truly democratic form of government.”  For his efforts, he was arrested multiple times before being tried for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964. He concluded his defense with this statement: “I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”  After his imprisonment, he became a rallying point for those working to change the government, but that change was a long time in coming.

Nelson Mandela was released from prison on February 11, 1990, at the same time that democracy movements had sprung up around the globe and the Cold War was ending, and he emerged as a leading figure in the effort to dismantle Apartheid.  Working with South African President F.W. De Klerk, they successfully did just that, subsequently electing Mandela as the new leader of the country and earning both men the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

Though Mandela’s personal and political struggle was long, and by his own admission he was in no way a perfect man, he became known for his forgiveness of those who had so brutally oppressed him, and his public ability to forgive even those who were his jailers served as an inspiration for South Africa as it attempted to reconcile its own history, and for the world as it continues to struggle with oppression in its many forms.

Here at Burlington High School, we wish to acknowledge the struggle that Mandela led, the victories he achieved, and the leadership he showed. Though he himself remarked “I am no angel,” he did make the world a better place through his actions and his determination. South Africa has “lost its greatest son,” as current South African President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday, and the world has lost an individual who, for a while, transcended not only the petty boundaries humans create to separate themselves, but the bounds of history itself.

May we know more like him in the years to come.