The Freedmen's Bureau: Catalyst for Freedom?
A document-based teaching unit
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Students investigate primary source documents to evaluate federal government policy regarding the transition of some four million African Americans from slavery to freedom at the conclusion of the Civil War. Lessons examine the political debate over the establishment of the Freedmen’s Bureau, its goals, the problems encountered in pursuing stated goals, and an evaluation of its effectiveness. Documents include excerpts from federal legislation, diary entries, letters, bureau records, land regulations, and labor contracts. Students are actively involved in a military hearing using evidence culled from official transcripts.
Lesson 1: Establishing the Freedmen's Bureau
Lesson 2: From Slavery to Free Labor
Lesson 3: Education for All
Lesson 4: Evaluating the Bureau
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