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 in the 21st Century

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 primary sources, 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. 

At the 2012 Republican National Convention, vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan argued that government interference had limited all Americans’ ability to access the American Dream.  In this final webinar, we will revisit the American way of life that Ben Franklin helped to define and that millions have sought to attain since our country’s inception. How has it changed?  And to what extent have outsiders successfully become insiders?

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:Acceptance Speech at the Republican National Convention (2012)


May 8, 2024 -
May 8, 2024
7:30 PM EDT
8:30 PM EDT
Teaching American History
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The Scholars

Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at Claremont McKenna College
Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at University of Wisconsin-Platteville
Honored Visiting Graduate Faculty at Wofford College