The Facing History Approach

At the heart of Facing History's project on the Reconstruction era is our belief that the lifeblood of democracy is the ability of every rising generation to be active, responsible decision-makers. This website features a video series with accompanying lessons and primary source documents that will help students to ask essential questions about the nature of democracy as they study the history of the Reconstruction. The resources available online provide an introduction to our complete unit The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy, and educators looking to dig deeper should download the unit and attend our professional development.

About the Unit

The Reconstruction Era and the Fragility of Democracy is aligned with college and career readiness standards and unfolds over 16 lessons, sequenced according to the underlying pedagogy — or scope and sequence — that shapes every Facing History and Ourselves course of study.

Over the course of several weeks teaching this unit, students:

  • Examine the relationship between the individual and society,
  • Reflect on the way that humans divide themselves into “in groups” and “out groups” throughout history,
  • Dive deep into the history of Reconstruction, and
  • Explore the way that history is remembered and its various legacies in contemporary society.

Developed and refined over four decades, Facing History’s methodology deepens students’ ethical and moral reasoning, challenges their critical thinking and literacy skills, and engages them in a rigorous study of history.

Explore Our Pedagogy

Proven Impact

Facing History’s research department and independent research evaluators have conducted more than 100 evaluation studies of Facing History since its inception. Results show that Facing History:

  • Fosters student achievement by developing students’ skills related to the humanities and social sciences, including inquiry, analysis, interpretation, empathic connection, judgment, and critical thinking.
  • Develops student conceptual competencies in five key areas related to historical understanding: the capacity to analyze evidence, causality, agency, significance, and continuity and change.
  • Increases student engagement by increasing their interest in reading, motivating them to learn, and increasing their ability to relate history to their own lives.

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Everything you need to get started teaching your students about racism, antisemitism and prejudice.