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About the USA - Virtual Classroom
Newsletter for English Teachers

ELECTIONS 2008: Results and Analysis
On November 4, Americans elected Illinois Senator Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States. Addressing supporters in Chicago November 4, the president-elect said, “[…] tonight we’ve proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”

The World Reacts to the Election: Not only in homes and on streets across the United States, did people celebrate the election of Barack Obama as a significant event in U.S. history.

Presidential Transition: Work Begins Immediately for Next U.S. President and His Team: Major economic, foreign policy challenges await the Obama administration - Barack Obama will not take the oath of office until January 20, 2009, but work to address the many challenges that await him in the presidency begins immediately.

Focus on Native Americans: Each November many teachers lecture about the First Thanksgiving, the quintessential American holiday. Giving an accurate picture of the events in Plymouth in the fall of 1621 and explaining how that event fits into American history is a complex task. In this section we point you to teaching materials that give a complete and accurate portrayal of the first Thanksgiving and the role of its Native American participants.

National American Indian Heritage Month: There are nearly 4.6 million American Indians and Alaska Natives in the United States, 1.6 percent of the U.S. population. Each November, National American Indian Heritage Month pays tribute to the first Americans and celebrates their enduring contributions to U.S. history and culture. (

Native American Literature: The first American literature to be created, Native American literature has been the last to be recognized. Beginning with its first thousand years of oral literature and continuing to the present with writers in all genres of literature, Native American is an important element in the literature of the United States.

In Focus: Thanksgiving Myth? - Though many competing claims exist, the most familiar story of the first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony, in present-day Massachusetts, in 1621.

Webchat Station: Native American History Month - Wednesday, November 19, 16:00–18:00 - A discussion of the role of identity among Native American Indians - with a focus on the concept of shared identity between American Indians and Afro-descendants.

A DAY IN HISTORY: November 19 - The Gettysburg Address
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that 'all men are created equal.”
Speaking of a "new birth of freedom," President Abraham Lincoln delivered one of the most memorable speeches in U.S. history at the dedication of the cemetery for the Union war dead in Gettysburg, following the most famous battle of the Civil War in July 1863.


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Updated: November 2008