A Nation on Trial



I am still not completely decided on my final project being the Constitutional Convention versus Martin Luther. I did in fact find more resources on Martin Luther. This included several three minute videos saying almost exactly what I wanted for my time line. Unfortunately, I was unable to coerce TimelineJS into using the videos from the History.com website. While YouTube has many videos on the same subject I could not find the same ones and most were of the entire hour long special. The TimelineJS website did mention it supported the YouTube start-at time though I know nothing about that and if it includes a related end-at time. I also considered using a product called PlayOn (https://www.playon.tv/) to record the videos on History.com and upload them to my WordPress site. My first attempt at this failed due to either network or other latency problems with the laptop I used. I do actually still hope to try these options out, however, given how much time I burned on it already, I was a little loathe to spend more when an assignment was due.

Images and YouTube videos worked just fine though and I was able find videos that suited my thinking concerning the Constitutional Convention. So with that, I started the Wikipedia walk to get acquainted with all the characters. This formed the basis of my time line as well as pointed me towards additional resources, both directly and indirectly by giving me more specific things to search for.

Within the confines of what is supported in TimelineJS, it works very well. With the exception of the failed ‘iframe’ for History.com videos, I found you can in fact embed quite a bit HTML within the template spreadsheet. I was able to embed inline styles, bulleted lists and font styles. I was particularly glad to be able to right and left justify the text which is a look I prefer for almost any presentation. Being “old fashioned” I must admit I used tables a couple times to create columns because I did not feel like figuring out the ‘div’ tag and/or if it would suffer any quirks in the TimelineJS module. Based on how well all the other tags worked, the ‘div’ tag would probably have been fine so I will probably give it a try later.

I do wish there were a way to order things other than date. I realize a time line is date centric, but in this case I was not actually interested in the date of the documents, but rather the dates they were being discussed. As with the Martin Luther trial, the more I researched, the more I became more interested in their ongoing impact. So in this case, I had to muck with the dates to get the slide order I wanted. I was able to use the Display Date column to put what I wanted, including plain text “times” such as “During the Convention”, “Ongoing”, etc. which was quite handy.

Speaking of ordering, I discovered quite by accident, TimelineJS does in fact order the slides by date not row order. However, trying to work with the slides when the rows are out of order can be wasteful of time, so I found myself constantly resorting the rows. This made the alternating background colors quite annoying.

While I did use Wikipedia pretty heavily to focus my time line, I had originally intended to use images from the Library of Congress website. However, I found the site quite difficult to navigate. It appears to be a very rich website. Besides having a a great deal of information, I was again concerned direct access to the images might baffle TimelineJS like the videos from History.com. Recalling the comments that Wikipedia is usually pretty careful about ensuring its content is free in some form and that most of the images I wanted would be of Colonial government documents, I figured the safest thing, technology wise, would be to pull the images from Wikipedia.

I was able to condense a few slides by finding an online resource for creating animated gif files. The site Gif Creator (http://gifcreator.me/) allowed me to upload several images and create a single, rotating image of several documents so I could mention them in a single slide instead of many.

Going forward, should I choose to continue with the Constitutional Convention I will definitely need to figure out how to navigate the Library of Congress web site. It not only has many of the obvious documents of interest, it has Colonial Broadsides as well. I did find it interesting that although the Library of Congress did have the Federalist Papers, it did not seem to have the Anti-Federalist Papers and by all appearances, tracking those down will be a bit more difficult. Although I did initially gravitate towards the ongoing effects of the Constitution and the Convention that created it, I did find it interesting that the split between Federalist and Anti-Federalist was fairly even. It’s almost as though the Federalists won simply because they were better organized and had better marketing. Should I try to pull my focus back to just the time of the Convention, instead of the longer range impact I will most certainly want to read those.



Primary Sources

Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/

“The Federalist Papers”, accessed October 23 2016, https://www.congress.gov/resources/display/content/The+Federalist+Papers

“Newspaper articles and notices printed in 1787 during the Constitutional Convention in Phila.”, accessed October 23 2016,  http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002705836/

“Primary Documents in American History, Articles of Confederation”,accessed October 23 2016, http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/articles.html

“Primary Documents in American History, The Bill of Rights”, accessed October 23 2016, https://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/ourdocs/billofrights.html

Secondary Sources

“American Newspapers during Ratification, 1787-1788”, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of History, Center for the Study of the American Constitution, accessed October 23 2016, http://csac.history.wisc.edu/american_newspapers.htm

“American Revolution, From Revolution to Reconstruction and Beyond”, University of Groningen, Faculty of Arts, accessed October 23 2016, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1786-1800/the-anti-federalist-papers/

Herbert Storing and Murray Dry, The Complete Anti-Federalist, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981)

“Complete November 1787 Boston Newspaper With Numerous Articles Concerning The Proposed New Constitution”, History Gallery, accessed October 23 2016, http://www.historygallery.com/law/1787ConstitutionNewspaper/1787ConstitutionNewspaper.htm

“Copyright Timeline: A History of Copyright in the United States”, Association of Research Libraries, accessed October 23 2016, http://www.arl.org/focus-areas/copyright-ip/2486-copyright-timeline#.WAwPC3UrKkA

“Introduction to the Constitutional Convention”, accessed October 23 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JDF0WWW13A&t=1s

Tom Ginsburg, “The Influence of the U.S. Constitution on Other Countries”, found in article. Influence of the U.S. Constitution Abroad, University of Chicago Library News, Law News from the D’Angelo Law Library, September 17, 2011, Lyonette Louis-Jacques, accessed October 23 2016, http://news.lib.uchicago.edu/blog/2011/09/17/influence-of-the-u-s-constitution-abroad/

Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/

“American Philosophical Society”, accessed October 23, 2016,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Philosophical_Society

“Anti-Federalist Papers”, accessed October 23, 2016,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Federalist_Papers

“The Complete Anti-Federalist”, accessed October 23, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Complete_Anti-Federalist

“Constitutional Convention”, accessed October 23, 2016,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_Convention_(United_States)

“Federalist Papers”, accessed October 23, 2016,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Federalist_Papers

“Society of the Cincinnati”, accessed October 23, 2016,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Society_of_the_Cincinnati

“United States Constitution”, accessed October 23, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution

“United States Bill of Rights”, accessed October 23, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights

“Virginia Plan”, accessed October 23, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Plan