Title Thumbnail

Reasoning with Democratic Values 2.0, Volume 2

Ethical Issues in American History, 1866 to the Present

David E. Harris Anne-Lise Halvorsen Paul F. Dain

256 pages
Teachers College Press

Now thoroughly updated and extensively revised for use in today’s history classrooms, this time-honored classic has never been more important than right now. The new edition, Reasoning with Democratic Values 2.0, presents an engaging approach to teaching U.S. history that promotes critical thinking and social responsibility. In Volume 2 students investigate 19 significant historical episodes, beginning with the era of expansion and reform and ending with problems facing Americans in the contemporary era. Each carefully researched story examines an ethical decision made by an individual or group from the American past, and is guaranteed to excite students’ imaginations and spark lively classroom discussions involving core values of American democracy—liberty, equality, life, property, truth, and diversity. The discussions aim to develop more mature moral reasoning by students while deepening their knowledge of American history. Each chapter contains five types of learning activities: Facts of the Case, Historical Understanding, Expressing Your Reasoning, Key Concepts from History, and Historical Inquiry.

In Volume 2, students can grapple with such ethical dilemmas as:

  • Should Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton have supported the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution?
  • Was investigative journalist Nellie Bly justified in lying to gain access to the Women’s Lunatic Asylum?
  • Was Woodrow Wilson right to call for entry of the United States into World War I?
  • Should interned Japanese Americans have volunteered to serve in the United States Army during World War II?
  • Should Hollywood director Elia Kazan have named communists in his testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee?
  • Should Representative John Conyers have introduced legislation for reparations to African Americans?

You can also purchase a comprehensive Instructor’s Manual that includes the rationale for the teaching approach, guidance for selecting chapters, direction for leading classroom discussions of ethical issues, suggestions for assessment and grading, answers for the learning activities, and more!

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: The authors are available, at no fee, to conduct professional development programs for teachers and/or administrators regarding teaching with RDV 2.0. Visit www.rdv2.org for more details, including author contact information. The authors have committed their royalties to teacher education.


Reasoning with Democratic Values 2.0, Volume 1: Ethical Issues in American History, 1607–1865 by David E. Harris, Anne-Lise Halvorsen, and Paul F. Dain

Reasoning with Democratic Values 2.0 Instructor's Manual: Ethical Issues in American History by David E. Harris, Anne-Lise Halvorsen, and Paul F. Dain

Author Bio

David E. Harris is a retired professor of teacher education at the University of Michigan. Anne-Lise Halvorsen is an associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, College of Education. Paul F. Dain is a retired government teacher and social studies department chair at Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.