Monthly Archives: January 2012

Depicting “The Drunkard’s Progress”

Title: “The Drunkard’s Progress,” 1846

About the image: Step 1: A glass with a friend. Step 2: A glass to keep the cold out. Step 3: A glass too much (weaving). Step 4: Drunk and riotous (policeman with club”). Step 5: The summit attained…Jolly companions…A confirmed drunkard. Step 6: Poverty and Disease (with cane). Step 7: Forsaken by Friends. Step 8: Desperation and crime (with gun). Step 9: Death by suicide.” Early 19th century Temperance painting.  Fear, laced with appeals to the conscience, was the main weapon of temperance leaders of this period and later who endeavored to make Americans forswear the bottle.   The rise of social disorder, with burgeoning slums, impoverished families, increases in crime, prostitution and Sabbath-breaking, was seen by many as the result of drink.  Aside from the penitentiary and its supposed influence through fear, another means of crime prevention was the temperance movement.  “Drink is the cause: stop crime and poverty at their source.”  Temperance tales paint the drinker as not only immoral and sinful but also unsuccessful: the drunkard loses devotion to work, his reputation for reliability, and his job.

Why does American River College faculty member, Camille Leonhardt, find this image interesting?

Images of the Drunkard’s Progress are very useful in helping students to understand the Temperance Movement of the nineteenth-century.  The Temperance Movement arose within the broader context of economic and geographic transformations underway.  Alcohol consumption increased dramatically during the early nineteenth-century, with distilled liquor consumption peaking in the early 1830s.  The Drunkard’s Progress image serves as a useful tool for beginning to explore these trends during the era.  Why were Americans drinking more distilled liquor?  (Cultural changes underway and increased anxiety).   Why did they have access to more distilled liquor?  (Physical expansion and the ease of transporting a concentrated form of their crops, such as grains and barley).

The image also serves as a very useful tool for exploring how Americans sought to establish order within a period of cultural and economic change.  The two-pronged strategy pursued by temperance societies reveals how Americans sought to establish social order by imposing legal sanctions prohibiting the sale and manufacture of liquor, in addition to encouraging individuals to take oaths of abstinence.  Advocates of temperance signed pledges to abstain from liquor consumption.  Temperance advocates achieved a legal victory in Maine in 1851, with passage of the first statewide prohibition statute.

Participation in the Temperance Movement proved to be very validating for women and provided many women with opportunities to develop skills and confidence needed to demand political rights of their own. Established in 1874, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, WCTU, became one of the largest female organizations in the United States.  Even before the formation of the WCTU, other temperance societies provided women with the rare opportunity to participate in meetings, plan strategies, and gain experience with leadership.

View more temperance images from before 1870 here.

Related Topics/Themed Collections:  Nineteenth Century, Liquor, Temperance to 1870′s

Lessons in the Marchand Collection:

  • Northern Reform Communities Town Hall Meeting by Jeff Pollard, CHSS 8.6 & 8.9, IN PRINT – AVAILABLE IN THE MARCHAND ROOM

Related Resources Available in the Marchand Collection:

  • Susan Leighow,  Rita Sterner-Hine, The Antebellum Women’s Movement, 1820 to 1860: A Unit of Study for Grades 8-11,Organization of American Historians and the Regents, University of California, 1998.
  • Elisabeth Griffith, In Her own Right: The Life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.

Share your ideas! How would you use this image?

Click here to let us know.

Enlisting the Citizen Consumer in World War II

Del Monte Ad Katharine Kipp, graduate student in the History department at U.C. Davis, shares her thoughts about using advertisements to teach history.

The Marchand Collection features a vast selection of advertisements from various eras. I particularly like those printed during WWII by Del Monte Foods that asked the average citizen, women in particular, to help with the war effort through their consumption habits. I find these ads appealing because they offer an engaging and useful way to discuss the WWII home front. They provide a significant amount of material for students to examine, and do not require reading all of the text in order to fully understand the meaning of the ad as a whole. These images can help enhance lessons covering a wide range of issues.

First, they provide an opportunity for teachers to talk about the role of women on the home front. Typically, classroom discussions draw upon Rosie the Riveter as the primary example of women’s participation in WWII. These ads provide an opportunity to widen the scope on women’s lives during the war. The ads “drafted” female consumers by targeting their domestic sensibilities. They were asked to “Enlist Now!” in an effort to combat the challenges of rationing. Specifically, the ads argue that “Unless You Do Your Part” the rationing system will not work. Essentially these ads help demonstrate the link between a consumer and a patriotic citizen by reminding the audience that purchasing for one’s own self-interest would undermine the war effort. Consumers had to work together with producers to see the nation through the war. Use these ads alone or coupled with war industry ads to discuss the variety of ways women were called upon to contribute to the war effort.

Secondly, teachers can use these ads to help transition to Cold War lessons. They help transition the discussion from self-interest consumption as a potential danger during WWII, to consumption as vital for national stability during the Cold War era.

Finally, I think these ads combined with others from the 1940s and beyond offer an appealing way for students to discuss advertising in general—the importance, pitfalls, and significance. I find ads are a great way to engage students in discussion as they often portray stereotypes and gender roles, provide insight to socioeconomic issues of the era, and offer a glimpse into the mindsets of both the producer and consumer.

Click here to explore more advertising images in the Marchand Archive. How do you use advertisements to teach history? Share your thoughts here.

William Jennings Bryan Beyond the Scopes Trial

William Jennings Bryan Campaign Poster

Title:  “No Crown of Thorns, No Cross of Gold…”

About the image: William Jennings Bryan on a 1900 campaign poster. Symbols of the plow and the rooster; trusts as an octopus’ tentacles over industry.

Why does Davis High School Teacher, Kevin Williams, find this image interesting?

I find this image usable in several different ways in the classroom.  First, it could be used as a warm up for the election of 1900.  From the image, students can be lead to identify three central issues:  farmers and monetary policy, American foreign policy, and the influence of trusts.  The words that appear on this document also provide fodder for discussion.  They are loaded and clearly show the biases of Bryan the candidate.  I ask students to determine Bryan’s stance on the issues using the images and words.

Second, the image is useful as part of an investigation on campaigns.  A comparison of this campaign poster and a McKinley poster shows the differences in campaigning techniques between 1900 and today.  (A great McKinley poster for comparison can be found here.) You could also ask students to compare this campaign material to the political cartoons published during the election cycle of 1900. The Harp Week website “Presidential Elections 1860-1912,” is a great resource for this.

Finally, this would be a marvelous source to bring into any discussion of the Scopes Monkey Trial.  William Jennings Bryan is possibly best remembered for his conservative role in the prosecution of John Scopes.  I want students to know that Bryan wasn’t simply a reactionary, but was considered somewhat radical and revolutionary at other points in his life. After all, he did promote government ownership of railroads in the election of 1908.  This campaign poster could create a more complete picture of a very complex and important historical man.

Related Topics/Themed Collections: National Politics, Gilded Age

Lessons in the Marchand Collection:


Resources Available in the Marchand Collection:

  • Brett Flehinger, The 1912 Election and the Power of Progressivism: A Brief History with Documents, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
  • Ellen F. Fitzpatrick, ed., Muckraking: Three Landmark Articles, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1994.
  • Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, ed., Who Were the Progressives?, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002.
  • The Progressive Era: The Limits of Reform, Social Science Education Consortium, 1989.

Share your ideas! How would you use this image?  Click here to let us know.

“It would have been a rare spectacle indeed to see troops patrolling Pennsylvania Avenue to protect the life of the President of the United States against a possible attack by a handful of weary, footsore, and bedraggled war veterans.”

Mauritz A. Hallgren in The Nation, July 27, 1932

The Bonus Army marching in parade in Washington, D.C., 1932

The Library of Congress’ recent blog post “Occupying” the Bonus Army Protests of 1932 got History Project staff very excited. One of the treasures left to us by the late Roland Marchand was his collection of “Documentary Source Problems” which were digitized and launched on-line as Adventures in Roland Marchand’s File Cabinet in 1999.  His lesson The Bonus Army in Washington provides context and has students investigating whether the actions taken by the Veterans to occupy the mall in Washington D.C. were a “courageous defiance of lawlessness and a budding revolution” by analyzing documents from the event and considering questions such as: “Was there clear evidence that a Communist-led revolution was in the making,” “Was the Hoover administration trying to provoke a conflict by ordering the eviction of the veterans,” and “Did the clashes between police and the bonus marchers on July 28 amount to an actual riot?” We suggest that current events including the “Occupy” movement in the US as well as protests in the Middle East provide ways for students to make connections to this event from the Great Depression as well as other protest events throughout history.  These protest events provide avenues to discuss how and why citizens seek redress and why this may or may not lead to change. We invite you to peruse this documentary source problem and share your thoughts about using this approach in the classroom with us. The Bonus Army lesson, which has been adapted for high school students, is also available in its original format for use with university students.