Cover Image 50 Core American Docs
“An Incident in Contemporary American Life,” by Mitchell Jamieson at the Department of Interior, Library of Congress

Knockin' on the Door: Farmers

One way to understand American history is to see it as a series of efforts by outsiders to become insiders, to join fully in American life. This is a story told by African American history, by immigrant history, and by labor history, for example. 

This year’s Documents in Detail webinar series will focus on the efforts of outsiders to “knock on the door” and gain full admittance to American life. Using sources from our CDC volume, 50 Core American Documents, we will examine what people thought was the American way of life and why people wanted to join it. In the later sessions in the series, we will examine the question of whether the terms on which outsiders join in American life have now changed. 

Thomas Jefferson may have famously sought to make America a “nation of farmers.”  But by the late 19th century, his vision was overcome by the rise in the commercial power of corporations that ultimately weakened farmers’ economic power and independence.  Our readings on the Farmers Movement (1873–1874) examine how small farmers attempted to counteract the power of corporations by forming associations that would protect their economic interests and traditional way of life.

Our webinars meet monthly on Wednesday nights at 7:30-8:30 pm ET. Participants who remain digitally present for the duration of the webinar will receive an attendance letter from Teaching American History for 1 hour of professional development.

Highlighted Document: The Farmer’s Movement


October 25, 2023 -
October 25, 2023
7:30 PM EDT
8:30 PM EDT
Teaching American History
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The Scholars

Professor of History; Chair, Master of Arts in American History and Government at Ashland University
Senior Fellow at Teaching American History
Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at University of Dallas