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Images of American Wars and Warriors: Trial and Triumph

Author: Sandy O’Keefe


Rudolph Blankenburg School

Year: 2010

Seminar: American Literature and American Painting, 1840 to 1940

Grade Level: 8

Keywords: American History, Civil War, revolutionary war, vietnam war, WW1

School Subject(s): American History, History, Social Studies

Images stay with you in your memory for a long time.  Some images never leave your mind.  Americans have seen images of war come and go and they have seen images of war in movies as well as photographs.  Some are disturbing and some are inspirational.  Through art and photography, Americans are able to connect with what soldiers’ experience.  Through images, the people at home or students sitting in a classroom can experience the glories of patriotism as well as the horrors of war through images.  Whether the images are portrayed in movies, still photographs or poems, art has a way of allowing a person to connect on a deeper level.

Students from various grade levels in the School District of Philadelphia study American history. 8th grade students in particular study the time period from the first explorers of the new world to the modern time period.  There is a vast amount of material to cover and a collection of images from U.S. History giving the students a brief overview of several wars that America has fought in will help students connect with history and help them to understand what our country has been through as well.  Images of a battlefield of fallen soldiers can show the horrors of war while patriotic images of soldiers raising a flag can inspire.  Students must study all of the American wars, but there are very few images and photographs in textbooks for students to see.  This unit will allow for this exploration.

This unit will provide an overview of images from several American wars.  The unit will also discuss how the American people perceive and connect to the image of a warrior or war hero.  This unit will study the images including paintings, posters, or photography from the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WWI, WWII, and the Vietnam War.

Download Unit: OKeefe-Unit.pdf

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