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Sweet Land of Liberty – Memorable Moments in American History - The 18th Century DVD Review by Erica Beyea

Marshall Publishing and Promotions, Inc.
1075 Bradford Court
Elgin, IL 60120

Sweet Land of Liberty is a series of educational DVD’s that investigate defining moments of American history. This DVD, highlighting the 18th century, is about forty minutes long and is broken down into six different short segments. The DVD can be watched in its entirety or the short clips can be used as an introduction or enhancement to a history class focused on the subject matter. The DVD condenses animation, graphics, actual video footage, narration, and audio clips into each segment to briefly yet thoroughly give the viewer an understanding of the historical moment.

Though this DVD is titled 18th Century, the first clip is a lesson about the lost city of Cahokia located in the mid-continent of what we now know as the United States, well before the land was settled on the east coast, during the estimated time frame of 700-1400. It then naturally progresses to the lost colony of Roanoke, Virginia in the late 1500’s and includes the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century, before turning to some of the important highlights of the 18th century.

Highlighted memorable moments of the 18th century include the Boston Tea Party, the Bill of Rights, and the early capitals of the new American government. Both the Boston Tea Party and the Bill of Rights are such uniquely American events that are foundational to an understanding of early American history, and this DVD really brings that thought to the student’s attention.

This DVD is recommended for middle school and high school students. We watched it as a family and agreed that there was new and interesting material (the Cahokia settlement) that was indeed fascinating. The video does an excellent job emphasizing the most key details of each topic in a condensed video clip. While the material itself is not enough for an entire lesson, it serves the purpose of drawing the student in and piquing their interest for further study.

The longest segment of this DVD is the section that gives an overview of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, also known as the Bill of Rights. After watching this segment, we had lively family discussion concerning the interpretation presented of the amendments. We did feel that the video slightly editorialized the amendments and did not present them as objectively as it could have. While this was excellent for stimulating classroom discussion, we feel that when used in a home school setting, parents should watch and discuss this particular segment with their students, to ensure that guidance and understanding is paramount.

This DVD is currently available on the publisher’s website for $19.95. The entire series can be purchased, to have introductory video clips to more extended classroom lessons on many of the highlights of American history for middle and high school students. The research and fact presentation of these videos is very thorough, and we do recommend them for enhancing your learning experience.

-Product review by Erica Beyea, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, March, 2018