Jul 8, 2011

Forging A Nation (B811)

Scenes from the View-Master Bicentennial packet Forging a Nation (B 811).


View-Master Forging A Nation (B811), Packet Cover

Packet Cover


From the 16-page booklet:

(This is the second of a series of four View-Master packets covering 200 years of U.S. history. The other three packets are entitled The Revolutionary War, Westward Expansion, and The Twentieth Century.)

This story begins in 1787 with a nation that was not really a nation but a loose confederation of 13 states, held together by a purposely weak government because each state was jealous of its own power. It ends, a scant 99 years later, with a nation that had expanded from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific; that was rapidly becoming a world power; that led the world in inventions and technology; that had become a symbol of liberty to oppressed peoples everywhere. The history of the United States during those years is unique on this planet.

Walt Whitman, “poet of democracy,” has written eloquently of the land and the common people of 19th century America: “The varied and amply land, the South and the North in the light…”


Scene A2

Signing of Constitution, 1787

View-Master Forging A Nation (B811), Scene A-2: Signing of Constitution, 1787

A new nation was founded with signing of Constitution


From the 16-page booklet:


“In order to form a more perfect Union,” delegates from 12 of the 13 states met at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, in the spring and summer of 1787. The result was the U.S. Constitution, signed Sept. 17.

This picture shows leaders of the convention announcing the signing to Philadelphia citizens. Washington, the convention president, waves the document above his head. With him are Hamilton, who contributed many ideas toward the Constitution, and one-legged Gouverneur Morris, who did the actual writing. Aging Benjamin Franklin is helped toward his sedan chair.


Scene B2

Star-Spangled Banner, 1814

View-Master Forging A Nation (B811), Scene B-2: Star-Spangled Banner, 1814

Fort McHenry defense inspired Key to write Nat’l Anthem


From the 16-page booklet:


Three weeks after the raid on Washington, a British fleet had sailed into Baltimore Harbor and was attacking Fort McHenry. A Baltimore seamstress had made a huge flag, 42 by 30 feet, to fly above the fort.

Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer aboard one of the British ships on a diplomatic mission, watched anxiously as, hour by hour, the British bombardment kept pounding the fort. Could the Americans hold out?

Late that night the cannonade stopped. By “dawn’s early light” of the next morning, Key could make out the big flag, still rippling defiantly. Thrilled at the sight, he began to compose a poem that would become our National Anthem.

(The original Star-Spangled Banner—the flag of Fort McHenry—is on display in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.)


Scene C4

One-room School of 1870’s

View-Master Forging A Nation (B811), Scene C-4: One-room School of 1870s

Schools shaped “an American awareness”


From the 16-page booklet:


Few institutions did more to create a sense of “belonging to America” than the public school did during the latter part of the 19th century. Children of town and country, of all national origins, read the works of American authors, and learned to appreciate the Nation’s great men such as Washington and Lincoln.


Scene C6

Edison’s Electric Light, 1879

View-Master Forging A Nation (B811), Scene C-6: Edison's Electric Light, 1879

After hundreds of failures, Edison perfected electric light


From the 16-page booklet:


Thomas A. Edison, the most famous inventor in history, took out more than 1,000 patents during his lifetime. None changed the lives of Americans more than the first commercially successful electric light bulb.

On Oct. 19, 1879, after working himself and his assistants up to 20 hours a day for weeks and trying hundreds of materials for a filament, he passed an electric current through a carbonized thread in a vacuum. His assistants cheered. The lamp glowed!

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