Curriculum Summary

Foreign Americans: Immigrant Catholics in 19th Century Chicago

As an outgrowth of the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, which seeks to connect people to original books from Loyola University Chicago’s original library, “Foreign Americans: Immigrant Catholics in 19th Century Chicago” seeks to adapt the insights and materials for high school history classrooms. The unit traces the emergence and spread of European Catholic immigrants in 19th century Chicago, with the lessons centered around the guiding question “What does it mean to be an American?” Separated into five categories, the unit covers a variety of facets within the subject, including reasons immigrants came to the United States, differences in Chicago’s various ethnic neighborhoods, parochial schooling, labor unrest, and the World’s Columbian Exposition. Beyond the content, these lessons emphasize practice and development of research skills such as primary source analysis, database research, and library resource utilization. This combination of engaging content with underappreciated historical skills makes this unit extremely useful for high school teachers looking to expand their student’s historical skill set. “Foreign Americans” represents a combination of invaluable, rarely utilized historical documents with a practical, modern teaching approach. The lesson plans, unit projects, and documents represent the beginnings of a central hub where teachers can seek out individual resources, lesson plans, mini inquiry arcs, and a full two and a half week unit, ready to be used in their classrooms.

In the following tabs, you will find the curriculum divided into separate tiers, each with three lesson plans and all necessary supplementary materials. Primary sources for each lesson can be found under the “Primary Sources” tab.