Keywords: Civil War
Meshach P. Larry, a Windham blacksmith, joined Maine's 17th Regiment Company H on August 18, 1862. Larry and his sister, Phebe, wrote to each other frequently during the Civil War, and his letters paint a vivid picture of the life of a soldier.
Maine supplied a huge number of soldiers to the Union Army during the Civil War -- some 70,000 -- and responded after the war by building monuments to soldiers who had served and soldiers who had died in the epic American struggle.
Although not everyone in town supported the war effort, more than 200 Pittsfield men served in Civil War regiments. Several reminders of their service remain in the town.
Grade Level: 6-8
Content Area: Social Studies
This lesson plan will give students the opportunity to read and analyze letters, literature, and other primary documents and articles of material culture from the MHS collections relating to the women of Maine between the end of the Revolutionary War through the national vote for women’s suffrage in 1920. Students will discuss issues including war relief (Civil War and World War I), suffrage, abolition, and temperance, and how the women of Maine mobilized for or in some cases helped to lead these movements.
Grade Level: 3-5
Content Area: Social Studies
Maine became a state in 1820 after separating from Massachusetts, but the call for statehood had begun long before the final vote. Why did it take so long? Was 1820 the right time? In this lesson, students will begin to place where Maine’s statehood fits into the broader narrative of 18th and 19th century American political history. They will have the opportunity to cast their own Missouri Compromise vote after learning about Maine’s long road to statehood.
Grade Level: 9-12
Content Area: Social Studies, Visual & Performing Arts
When European settlers began coming to the wilderness of North America, they did not have a vision that included changing their lifestyle. The plan was to set up self-contained communities where their version of European life could be lived. In the introduction to The Crucible, Arthur Miller even goes as far as saying that the Puritans believed the American forest to be the last stronghold of Satan on this Earth. When Roger Chillingworth shows up in The Scarlet Letter's second chapter, he is welcomed away from life with "the heathen folk" and into "a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people." In fact, as history's proven, they believed that the continent could be changed to accommodate their interests. Whether their plans were enacted in the name of God, the King, or commerce and economics, the changes always included and still do to this day - the taming of the geographic, human, and animal environments that were here beforehand. It seems that this has always been an issue that polarizes people. Some believe that the landscape should be left intact as much as possible while others believe that the world will inevitably move on in the name of progress for the benefit of mankind. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby a book which many feel is one of the best portrayals of our American reality - the narrator, Nick Carraway, looks upon this progress with cynicism when he ends his narrative by pondering the transformation of "the fresh green breast of a new world" that the initial settlers found on the shores of the continent into a modern society that unsettlingly reminds him of something out of a "night scene by El Greco." Philosophically, the notions of progress, civilization, and scientific advancement are not only entirely subjective, but also rest upon the belief that things are not acceptable as they are. Europeans came here hoping for a better life, and it doesn't seem like we've stopped looking. Again, to quote Fitzgerald, it's the elusive green light and the "orgiastic future" that we've always hoped to find. Our problem has always been our stoic belief system. We cannot seem to find peace in the world either as we've found it or as someone else may have envisioned it. As an example, in Miller's The Crucible, his Judge Danforth says that: "You're either for this court or against this court." He will not allow for alternative perspectives. George W. Bush, in 2002, said that: "You're either for us or against us. There is no middle ground in the war on terror." The frontier -- be it a wilderness of physical, religious, or political nature -- has always frightened Americans. As it's portrayed in the following bits of literature and artwork, the frontier is a doomed place waiting for white, cultured, Europeans to "fix" it. Anything outside of their society is not just different, but unacceptable. The lesson plan included will introduce a few examples of 19th century portrayal of the American forest as a wilderness that people feel needs to be hesitantly looked upon. Fortunately, though, the forest seems to turn no one away. Nature likes all of its creatures, whether or not the favor is returned. While I am not providing actual activities and daily plans, the following information can serve as a rather detailed explanation of things which can combine in any fashion you'd like as a group of lessons.