What is an American? Knockin' on the Door
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.
Our webinar will focus on an excerpt from Ben Franklin’s Autobiography. Written from 1771–1790, this work is the story of how such humble beginnings led to such a grand life. In living that life and writing so well about it, Franklin helped establish a way of life that many Americans recognized as distinctly their own.
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.