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Multimedia Classroom Resources

Painting, of the house and shop of David Alling, New Jersey Historical Society

It is November 1776 and you are General George Washington. You are outnumbered and do not know where the British army will strike next. Should you evacuate Fort Washington and Fort Lee, fight to defend these locations, or leave the decision to the area commander? What would you do? This is the kind of question asked by an interactive exercise created by the New Jersey History Partnership TAH grant as part of a larger, multimedia website designed to teach U.S. history through New Jersey history.

Materials are organized around three themes: American Revolution, Market Revolution, and the Progressive Era. Each theme contains content summaries, lectures, lesson plans, resources on local historic sites, interactive features, primary sources, audio and video documentary clips, and a timeline. These materials are organized by topic or by type of resources.

American Revolution, for example, contains ten lectures and nine lesson plans, images of New Jersey historic sites such as Liberty Hall, primary source documents on topics such as women, African Americans, the state constitution, Quakers, and the Lenape, seven video clips on topics such as republican motherhood, the Great Awakening, and the battles of Trenton and Princeton, and the interactive exercise on the 1776–1777 campaign in New Jersey. Lesson plan topics include revolutionary heroes, African Americans’ quest for freedom, and the Battle of Trenton.

All of these resources, including a timeline, integrate local and state events into the larger story of U.S. history. The timeline begins with the Great Awakening in 1734 and ends with the actions of the New Jersey legislature to disenfranchise women, African Americans, and aliens in 1807. The introduction to this section notes that New Jersey “became ‘the crossroads of the American Revolution,’” in part because more battles occurred in New Jersey than in any other colony.

In addition to lectures, lessons, and other resources, Market Revolution invites you to advise Alexander Hamilton as he prepares to establish a manufacturing town in New Jersey, explore the history of Paterson’s development as a center of American textile production, and travel down the first New Jersey canal to explore the transportation revolution. The Progressive Era provides historical context, primary sources, and lesson plans on topics such as immigration, suffrage, mass entertainment, muckrakers, the silk strike, World War I, and the Great Migration. This section also features an interactive exploration of Alice Paul’s life and accomplishments, and looks at the origins of mass entertainment through the lens of New Jersey history.

The New Jersey History Partnership is an excellent model for creating lasting content and teaching resources as well as for integrating state history into American history courses.

Partners 

Montville Township School District; Kean University; New Jersey Historical Commission

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