Lesson plan: History students read two primary sources and craft a slogan for an activist group that used Wilsonian language to advance its cause in 1919.
Activism in 1919 included:
- India: Push for Home Rule, then first satyagraha
- Declaration of Irish Independence
- 1st Pan-African Congress in Paris
- Korea: March 1st Movement
- Women’s movements
- China: May 4th Movement
- Filipino Independence Delegation to Washington, Manuel Quezon testimony
- Vietnamese claims for equal rights within French Empire
This activity grew out of presentations that I made in 2019 and 2020 on the global nature of the post-World War One peace process: “Global 1919” and “Global Voices at Versailles.” The page for the presentations includes links to more resources, primary source documents and secondary sources for teachers.
- Organizing slides for class, embedded below
- Excerpt from Woodrow Wilson’s “14 Points” speech
- One for each student
- Extension: Excerpts from WILPF Resolutions from 1st Congress (1915), which Woodrow Wilson read and which bear similarity to several of his 14 Points.
- One for each student
- Primary source documents in this folder and linked above, including:
- Statements from groups seeking rights in 1919. Each group of two or three students gets a different activist group, as far as possible (some activist groups can be doubled, of course).
- Placards of pictures of activist groups, each small group of students will need one to accompany their reading (Slides 16-25, first two for India, one each for the rest)
- 11 x 17 or similarly sized poster paper, one per group of two or three students
- Optional: paint stirrers to create picket signs with the poster paper
- All students get a copy of the excerpt from Wilson’s speech (I copy onto white paper) and one of the different activist groups (I copy onto ivory paper).
- Introduce the idea of the “Wilsonian Moment:” the time period from Wilson’s “14 Points” speech in 1918 through the signing of the Versailles Treaty in 1919. Slides 2-14.
- Students read and annotate excerpt from the “14 Points,” attending to overall message and phrases which marginalized groups around the world might use. [Note: this could be assigned as homework OR students could just use excerpts on slide 14]
- In their small groups, students compare annotations and identify usable phrases in Wilson’s speech.
- Give a quick overview of the groups that sought rights or social change in 1919, Slides 15-26.
- Review “Self Determination”
- Define “Home Rule”
- Give small groups the image set for their activist group.
- Students read and annotate the primary source from their activist group, paying attention to activists’ goals and use of language
- Student groups compose a slogan advocating for their activist group, that
- Expresses activists’ goal
- Uses persuasive language from Wilson and from the primary source
- Students write slogan on 11 x 17 poster paper
- Add visual that expresses goal and rhetoric [this could happen the next day]
- Go back through slides 17-26. For each activist group: students present their slogans and visuals with a brief explanation
- Reveal what happened to each activist groups’ demands and discuss how that group might respond. Slides 28-30.
- Slides 31-32 reveal how many groups responded to the disappointments of 1919 by radicalizing their movements
- Mona Siegel, Peace On Our Terms: The Global Battle for Women’s Rights After the First World War, Columbia University Press, 2020. This book is very readable and helped me to broaden the source base and anecdotes for class.
- Erez Manela. The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism, Oxford University Press, 2007.