After the Fact

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Mrs. McGahey & Mrs. Leeper

Objective: To help students understand that history is not simply “what happened in the past,” students should have read “The Strange Death of Silas Deane,” available as the prologue to After the Fact by Davidson and Lytle or at

Please have the following questions answered when you come to class on THE FIRST DAY!!!!

As students read the article, they should answer the following questions:

1. Explain why the authors believe that the view that “history is what happened in the past” is, in their words, a “profoundly misleading” view of history. Do you agree with their view?

2. How do the authors define the word history?

3. Identify from the reading at least 6 general tasks the historian must face if he/she is to produce history.

A. Determining which topic to write about

B. Locating materials on the topic

C. Selecting materials from among available sources

D. Analyzing available materials on the topic

E. Determining relationships among selected data.

F. Presenting data and analyses in a coherent and intelligible manner.

4. “The Strange Death of Silas Deane” is a secondary historical source. What makes it a secondary source? What is a primary source? Did the authors use any primary sources to help them write the story? If so, please identify any primary source they used.

In class students will share their answers to the question of “What is history?” Students will then be divided into groups of 3 or 4 and each group will be assigned one of the historical thinking skills to discuss, diagram/draw, and present to the class. In addition to an explanation/diagram/drawing, students should provide 1 or 2 examples from “The Strange Death of Silas Deane” to illustrate their assigned skill

Historical Skills

  • Historical argumentation

  • Appropriate use of relevant historical evidence

  • Historical causation

  • Patterns of continuity and change over time

  • Periodization

  • Comparison

  • Contextualization

  • Interpretation

  • Synthesis

Students’ objectives:

1. Write a definition (in your words) for your skill

2. Draw a picture or diagram of your skill

3. Provide 2 examples from the Silas Deane article

4. Present your findings to class

5. Take notes on all presentations

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