A statewide project equipping K-12 educators to teach Iowa history using primary sources

Teaching Iowa History Logo

Home » Objects » 2018 040 010

2018.040.010 [Textbook]

Object Title
Catalog Number

This textbook, which was first created in 1893, was used to teach German speakers how to read, write, and speak English. In May 1918, Iowa Governor William Harding issued the Babel Proclamation, which made it illegal for anyone to speak any language other than English in public, in schools, and in church. In the months that followed this proclamation, textbooks like this replaced German textbooks used in places such as the Amana Colonies, where most of the population spoke German. This marked one of the first steps towards standardized education in Iowa. Content can be used with the following standards; 3rd grade SS 3.27 Immigration and Migration, 8th grade SS 8.25 Iowa Government, SS-Gov. 9-12.27 Unique Iowa Systems, SS-US. 9-12.23 Iowans Influence US History, and SS-Gov. 9-12.28 Iowa Issues and Policy in a lesson on anti-German sentiment in Iowa during the early 1900s. For any use other than instructional resources, please check with the organization that owns this item regarding copyright restrictions.

Iowa County
Iowa History Eras
U.S. Chronology
Object is related to the following library resources, which can be found by searching the catalog number in the advanced search section: Catalog #: 2018.045.023- History of Education in Iowa 2018.045.096- History of Iowa County, Iowa and Its People 2018.045.124- A Treasury of Iowa Tales 2018.045.178- Iowa?s Proud Heritage 2018.045.181- Uniquely Iowa 2018.045.191- Iowa: The Home for Immigrants 2018.045.192- Iowa: The Definitive Collection
During the course of WWI, the resentment towards German immigrants increased when German submarines attacked U.S. passenger and merchant ships. German-Americans began to be viewed as suspicious and possibly traitors of the nation. Many believed that those speaking in German were speaking of Germany government war plans and plans to attack the United States. There was strong belief that the language of our nation had to be separated from the language of the enemy. Governor Harding of Iowa began a language ban on writing and speaking German, that soon found its way into businesses, schools, and everyday life. Schools began to use English resources only, German families began to alter the spelling of their last name, common German foods were changed to a more American version and German newspaper/magazines were no longer printed. Harding found the ban legal under the First Amendment, explaining that citizens were entitled to freedom of speech as long as it is spoken in the native English language. The proclamation was repealed on December 14, 1918, however German resentment continued despite the end of the war. In 1923, the US Supreme Court granted citizens the right to speak in any language they pleased.
Object Appx Date