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An Historical Exploration of Father Charles E. Coughlin's Influence

Teaching Fr. Coughlin's Social Justice


Studying Coughlin's publication, Social Justice, helps to illuminate the beliefs and actions of one of the era's most vocal and controversial figures. Along with Louisiana Senator Huey Long and Dr. Edward Townsend, Coughlin offered his listeners and readers a set of ideas to explain their daily struggle around them and to help shape their perception of what was happening to them. By examining the writing and medium of Fr. Coughlin, students and the public can better understand the social, economic, and political turbulence that existed during the Great Depression.

Lesson Plans

These fourteen lesson plans are broken down into eight major conceptual units. Each has an introduction that provides an overview of the subject matter that the lesson plans will deal with along with some suggestions on how to approach this difficult set of primary sources. Additionally, each lesson plan has a set of primary source articles from Social Justice and recommendations for both background readings for teachers and students.

It is strongly recommended that teachers use the first lesson plan to help students engage and consider how Coughlin uses words and formulates arguments. Further, teachers should add additional materials to help contextualize the content of Social Justice and to help students understand the often subtle complexities of Coughlin's ideas.

Lesson Plans Developed by
Matthew Lawrence Daley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History
Grand Valley State University

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