Your passion for controversy and debate will guide your vision of the American Dream. Prepare a written or oral legal brief about the status of the American Dream. Defend your argument with evidence from the collections. (A legal brief includes: title, who vs. whom, statement of facts, argument, conclusion, references.)
Team Management Roles
Individual responsibilities might include:
- Team Manager
As team manager you have full responsibility for this team. You will manage all aspects of the project by assisting the research, production, and archive managers in meeting their obligations to complete the project. Excellent interpersonal and management skills are required. You are ultimately responsible for helping the team meet the project deadline.
- Research Manager
Your job is key to the success of this project. You can shape the research by using focus questions. You will assist others in finding just the right quote, picture, or sound bite. Your team will rely on effective use of your detective and inquiry skills as you search the collections.
- Production Manager
You will lead the group in building the final product. You must gather materials from your archive manager and work with the researcher during production. You must be flexible and resourceful as you work and assist others with last minute changes; manage graphics, sound or movie clips; and deal with the unexpected occurrences of creating a product.
- Archive Manager
Excellent organizational skills make this job a challenge. You will keep track of all materials for the team and check to be sure that resources are compatible. For example, are your sound clips in the correct format? You will keep the original files, and back up files, and organize the the final project.
How will your project be assessed? Identify which of these questions you will use to guide your inquiry:
- What is the American Dream?
- How has the American Dream changed over time?
- How do diverse cultures view the American Dream?
- How have significant historical events affected the American Dream?
- How will new opportunities of the 21st century challenge the American Dream?
- What makes being a lawyer an effective medium for exploring the American Dream?
Create an action plan and and determine your timeline for completing the project. Include the following information in your action plan:
Timeline and Responsibilities
- Choose your team management responsibilities and decide each manager's specific responsibilities.
- How much time do you have?
- What deadlines do you need to meet?
- What materials do you need?
- How do you plan to manage the materials?
What is your focus for inquiry? Identify your research topic or theme. What questions will focus your research? List a series of genuine questions you intend to answer by your research. What additional information do you need to answer these questions?
How will you know you've found what you are looking for? List the type of resources you intend to look for to answer your research questions. What primary resources from American Memory will you search for?
How do you know that the examples you've found are valid? Once you have located a few examples of primary sources, what are your criteria for selecting these as evidence? Record your ideas on the primary source analysis tool. Be sure to note information you'll need for Citing Primary Sources.
Tips for Searching the Collections
There are many ways to search the American Memory collections. Learn to work with keywords and work within a specific collection of resources. Here are a few helpful hints to get you started:
Use the search tips list
Within each collection, browse the indexes of authors, subjects, and titles.
Use the Collection Connections section of the Teachers Page to find out more about a specific collection or to see a list of collections with related topics.
To search all text collections, use this link:
Manuscript and Broadside Collections/Books and Pamphlets
Specific Collections that may be of help:
- An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
- Words and Deeds in American History: Selected Documents Celebrating the Manuscript Division's First 100 Years
- A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873
- Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921