Directions: Use the themes, questions and video clips below to teach and learn with portions of C-SPAN's American Writers program featuring H. L. Mencken, The American Language. Link to the complete video clip list to identify clip descriptions and create your own lessons. Each theme contains questions and video clips appropriate for varying grade levels.
Lesson Credit: Curriculum Advisory Team Member, Michael Moore.
1. How did H.L. Mencken influence the politics of his day?
2. What were H.L. Mencken's feelings about FDR and the New Deal?
3. How did H.L. Mencken feel about politicians in general?
4. How would H.L. Mencken define himself politically today?
5. Mencken was often labeled a "libertarian." What is a libertarian and how would Mencken define himself politically today?
1. Through journalism, how did H.L. Mencken shape public opinion?
2. How did H.L. Mencken feel about his job as a reporter?
3. What was the Scopes Trial
about and what was Mencken's influence on the trial?
4. How did H.L. Mencken respond to the "roaring twenties," the Great Depression and World War II?
5. What is H.L. Mencken's legacy at the Baltimore Sun?
1. What was H.L. Mencken trying to accomplish in his book "The American Language?"
2. Readers today have labeled Mencken an anti-semite and a racist, was
he? Why or why not?
3. How did H.L. Mencken influence other authors such as Sinclair Lewis and Theodore Drieser?
4. What can one learn from reading the works of H.L. Mencken?
5. Is H.L. Mencken a relevant writer today? Why or why not?