American conspiracies

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Conspiracy thinking has been a part of American society from the colonial period through the present day. Americans have labeled as enemies numerous groups, including Catholics, Communists, Democrats, Jews, Masons, Mormons, Republicans, and women, to name just a few. They have accused leaders such as Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Franklin Pierce of working to undermine the American way of life, not to mention the various conspiracy theories about aliens, AIDS, and the One World Government.
This investigation will explore a sample of those theories in United States history. Using an array of written and visual sources (personal correspondence, newspaper articles, editorial cartoons, televised speeches, etc.), students will be exposed to the conspiratorial language used by Americans to explain the unexplainable. They will emerge from this experience with a better understanding of the differences between conspiracies and conspiracy theories, the historical context for the belief in conspiracy theories, and the use of evidence and argumentation in critically analyzing conspiracy theories.





Explanation of Conspiracy including:

-historical basis and context



No Information

Conspiracy is identified, but not clearly explained

Conspiracy is clearly explained and given correct historical and contextual basis with no spelling or grammatical errors

Who and/or where does the conspiracy originate?

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Origin is identified, but not clearly explained

Original article or headline from when conspiracy first broke is included and explained with no spelling or grammatical errors

What are the effects of the conspiracy on American culture?

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Only one effect is given, or not clearly explained

Multiple effects are provided with accompanying explanation of how the conspiracy has had a lasting impression on American culture with no spelling or grammatical errors

Is there a particular group or demographic of people who give credence to this conspiracy? Why are they more likely to believe the conspiracy?

No Information

A group is identified, but not clearly explained as to why they would be more likely to believe

A group is identified with an accompanying explanation as to why they would be more likely to believe, with no spelling or grammatical errors

Identify the logical fallacies and discuss whether (and how) the conspiracy can be discredited

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Either logical fallacies or explanation of how conspiracies is missing or incomplete

Both identification of logical fallacy and how conspiracy can be discredited are logical and contain no spelling or errors

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