American Lives Across the Centuries: What Is an American?

Saturday afternoon in Georgia


Students will use the words of Jean de Crèvecoeur in his 1782 work, Letters from an American Farmer, to guide them as they analyze a life history documented by the Works Progress Administration from 1936-1940, using their analyses to create a patchwork of biographies. After, students consider what it means to be an American today and reflect on how the definition of being American has changed over time.

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High School


Civics, English Language Arts, Social Studies


120-150 minutes


America, American, American farmer, American workers, identity, Jean de Crèvecoeur, life histories, oral histories, Works Progress Administration


Teaching with the Library of Congress

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