Help your students explore works of art as primary documents.
Who are “We the People” (today) and who have “We the People” been (over the past millennium)? The close study of art can do much to answer this question, but one must proceed with extreme caution. Traditionally, the study of the art made in North America has largely involved the examination of painting and sculpture commissioned by the only group affluent enough to pay for such works: wealthy white men.
In the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Benny Andrews protested the exclusion of Black artists from museums. Flag Day captures a complex sense of being both imprisoned by and liberated by the American flag as efforts to combat racial discrimination were slowed by continuing resistance from white institutions.
Thomas Cole's painting reflects both the hopes and the anxieties brought on by the Market Revolution and Manifest Destiny. As the United States expanded westward, displacing Indigenous communities, was its drive to industrialize destined to destroy the landscape's sublime beauty?
APUSH: KC-4.1.II.C, KC-4.2.III.A, KC-5.1.I.A
Found marking the grave of an important individual, this gorget was worn as a neck ornament during life. Mississippian culture was one of the most cosmopolitan Native American cultures prior to the arrival of Europeans. The city of Cahokia was an important hub for trade networks.
APUSH: KC 1.1.I.C