Syllabus

Hello!  In addition to the readings and assignments detailed on the syllabus, I will post several web-based assignments here throughout the semester.  Be sure to check this site regularly.

Online Assignment: September 4

Before class read the excerpt from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the Declaration of Independence.  We will discuss both documents in class.

I’m Thomas Paine. Click me to read a portion of Common Sense.

Online Assignment: September 6

Before class read the entire Constitution. Also read No. 10 of the Federalist Papers.  Write a two paragraph response to the piece.  Did you find Madison’s argument convincing?

I’m James Madison. Click me to read one of my most important Federalist Papers, #10.

Online Assignment: October 2

Read this excerpt from Frederick Douglass and write a one-page editorial in response to the article from the point-of-view of a Southern slave owner.

I’m Frederick Douglass. Click me to read an excerpt from My Bondage and My Freedom

Online Assignment: Due October 25

Find an example of a document that represents the burgeoning “American culture” in the early 19th century.  You could choose a painting, sculpture, poem, excerpt from a novel, etc.

Online Assignment: Due November 6

Read some of Jefferson’s views on race, a letter written by William Lloyd Garrison in 1830, and an endorsement of slavery from George Fitzhugh.

I’m Thomas Jefferson. Click me to read some of my (complicated) thoughts on slavery and race.
I’m Willliam Lloyd Garrison. Click me to read one of my letters.

Online Assignment: Due November 8

Click on the picture of General Winfield Scott and read the address/ultimatum he gave to the Cherokee Nation in 1838.  Can you think of any other similar ultimatums issued by American leaders in history?

I’m General Winfield Scott.  Click me to read an ultimatum I gave to the Cherokees.

Online Assignment: Due November 13

Read the following excerpt of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.

I’m Alexis de Tocqueville. Click  me for an excerpt of my Democracy in America (1831)

Online Assignment: Due November 15

Read Emerson’s “Nature” and an excerpt from Thoreau’s “Walden,” which are linked below.  Pick one of the essays and write three paragraphs analyzing the work and explaining why you think the Transcendentalist movement occurred when it did.

I’m Henry David Thoreau. Click me to read Walden. Choose one section to read.
I’m Ralph Waldo Emerson. Click me to read “Nature”

Online Assignment: Due November 27

If you have time read Herman Melville’s excellent short story, “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street”

I’m Herman Melville. Click me to read a great short story.

Online Assignment: Due November 29

Read the Confessions of Nat Turner and use it as the basis to write a two paragraph op-ed in which you argue that slavery should be abolished.

Online Assignment: Due December 4

Read the Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention.

Online Assignment: Due December 6

Read James Polk’s “War Message” and write a two paragraph reaction as if you were a Mexican living in the disputed territory.

Hello.  I’m James Polk. Many people forget that I was a President.  Anyway, click me to read my war message.