HST 121: History of the United States to 1877

Essay on the Readings

After documents have been discussed in the discussion section, write an essay on one of the topics below. It should be 2-3 pages in length. Use examples drawn from the readings. Quotations are not necessary. Turn the assignment in at the discussion section class or by email.
See the Dates page for the due date.

1: Puritan New England

On the Documents Roger Williams, A Plea for Religious Liberty, and the Trial of Anne Hutchinson

Write an essay on 1) how the trial of Anne Hutchinson was an example of what Roger Williams opposed in his A Plea for Religious Liberty and what he wanted to avoid in Rhode Island, 2) how, in colonial Massachusetts, law and religion were mixed together, and 3) how, because of her gender, ideas, and behavior, the court considered Anne Hutchinson to be dangerous to society.

2: Religion in Colonial America

On the Documents Roger Williams, A Plea for Religious Liberty, and Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God

Write an essay comparing these two documents in terms of style, how the authors tried to persuade the reader, and on the topics of evangelizing, toleration, the relation of church and government, and the relation of God and humans.

3: Conspiracy and Revolution

On the Document John Dickinson, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania

Write an essay

1) explaining the extent to which Dickinson is opposing the British government. Is he calling for the colonies to be independent of Great Britain? Is he denying Parliament's authority over the colonies?

2) and showing the influence of the Country Opposition ideology on Dickinson. Does he accept the stated purpose of government acts (such as taxation to pay for troops protecting colonial frontier families from hostile Indians) or, rather, does he look for hidden motives and see conspiracy 

4: English Constitution and Rights

On the Documents John Dickinson, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania and Samuel Seabury, Letters of a Westchester Farmer

Write an essay comparing these two documents in terms of style, how the authors tried to persuade the reader, and on the topics of the relation of the English government to the colonies, the English constitution, and rights. Do they believe that politicians on the two sides of the Atlantic can always be trusted with looking after the best interests of colonists?

5: Ratification of the Constitution

On the Documents U. S. Constitution including the Bill of Rights, Madison, Federalist 10, Mason, Objections to the Proposed Constitution, Henry, Speeches in the Virginia Ratifying Convention

Write an essay on why Madison thought the Constitution would correct problems in America and why Henry and Mason believed it could compromise liberty and rights.

6: Indians and Settlers

On the Documents Neolin, the Delaware Prophet, and Pontiac, the Master of Life Speaks to the Wolf, and Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa, the Shawnee Prophet, Speeches.

Write an essay that 1) explores different reasons why Neolin, Pontiac, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa wanted Indians to oppose British colonial or American settlers, and 2) explains their goals for Indians. 

7: Frontiersmen

On the Document Henry R. Schoolcraft, Journal of a Tour into the Interior of Missouri and Arkansaw ... in the Years 1818 and 1819.

Write an essay describing how an American such as Schoolcraft, from the settled area to the east, could see himself as more civilized and superior to those who lived on the frontier. Give examples of how he was critical and biased in his views of the frontiersmen.

8:  Interpreting the Declaration of Independence

On the Documents the Declaration of Independence, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Seneca Falls Declaration, and Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave is the 4th of July?

Write an essay showing how the women's rights movement and the anti-slavery movement used, and transformed the meaning of, the Declaration of Independence.


 

Home | Syllabus | Discussion Section | Map Bonus | Dates | Outlines | Terms | Charts