History 410: Unit 2

United States to 1860, Fall 2020

Part II, Revolution and Early Republic

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3

10. Asylum for Liberty

Gordon Wood, The American Revolution, xxiii-xxv; 3-16

Handout:"Consumption and Trade in the British Atlantic"

Notes: What did Americans mean when they used the word “liberty?” To what extent do American political values and practices diverge from those of Britain? Assess Paine’s ideas: what was novel and significant about them? How does he “transform the rights of Englishmen into the rights of man?” (12).

11. The Imperial Crisis

Wood, The American Revolution, 4 middle-12 bottom; 21 bottom-24; 27-38 bottom

Handouts: Thomas Hutchinson letter, 1765; "Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress”

Consider the two documents. Are the elites who composed the Stamp Act Congress rebelling for the same reasons as the mob in Boston? We can read the Stamp Act resolutions. Is it possible to "read" the actions of unruly mobs?

12. Decision for Independence

Wood, The American Revolution, 38-44; 49 (from "Thus") to 57

Handouts: Revolutionary Timeline; Adams and Adams, “The Intimate Revolution”; Declaration of Independence (rough and final drafts),

Notes: How did the events of this period push the colonists closer to rebellion? What made the Coercive Acts “intolerable” to the colonials? Why does Wood call the dispute “irreconcilable? Do you agree? Was there a point of no return? What are the most significant phrases in the Declaration of Independence?

13. Social Dimensions of the Revolution

Wood, The American Revolution, 92-95, 99-106; 117-123 (bottom); 126-129.

Handout: Manning, "On Learning."

Notes: How revolutionary was the Revolution? What social and economic changes did it bring about? Did Americans become more equal as a result? Does Wood make a good case for the Revolution undermining slavery? Did anything change for women?

14. The New Governments

Wood, The American Revolution, 70-74.

Handouts: Nast, "Writing on the Clean Slate" from The Unknown American Revolution; and Lynn Warren Turner, excerpt from The Ninth State: New Hampshire’s Formative Years (1983), p. 29; David Graeber, “Surely one has to pay one’s debts,” Excerpt from Debt; William Manning "On the Shays Affair." I left out a few pages from Nash. The are attached in a PDF at the bottom of this page and in an email I sent you.

How effective are the state and the confederation governments of the 1780s? How is Graeber's book relevant?

15. Turbulence in the States

Wood, The American Revolution, 139-150

Handouts, “The Republic of Rogue Island,” by Tom Cutterham

Why was money such a problem in the new states?

16. The Turbulence comes to Exeter, New Hampshire

READ: Lynn Warren Turner on Exeter's Paper Money Riot from The Ninth State

Were the rioters guilty of treason? What were their demands and were they reasonable? Assess the outcome of these events. ***In class, remind me to give you the worksheets for Federalist #10 and Essays of Brutus (you can also download them off the bottom of this page).*** Interesting side note for the music buffs: The militia that defeated the Paper Money Rioters played the Rogues March in their triumph. You can read about that song and its role in history here.

17. The Constitution: The Debate over Ratification

Wood, The American Revolution, 158-166

Handouts: Constitution. READ CAREFULLY: Federalist #10, paragraphs 1-11; and answer all the questions from I through III on the Federalist #10 worksheet.

Each paragraph (or clause) of the Constitution deals with one discrete aspect of the government. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the Constitution and know where to look for stuff. Federalist #10, is essentially James Madison's explanation of the why the Constitution is a good form of government. If you don't buy his argument then you wouldn't support ratification. It's a confusing essay and it's very important that you understand each step in his reasoning. If you miss one step the whole thing won't make sense. As you read Federalist #10, note the influence of recent events and controversies in the states on the document.

18. Ratification debate continued.

READ the rest of “Federalist 10” and the "Essays of Brutus" AND fill out the rest of the worksheet for Federalist # 10"; AND "Worksheet for the Essays of Brutus," Just parts III and XI.

What are the essential differences between Madison and Brutus. How do their views of human nature and government differ? Who's basic vision do you prefer? If he doesn't like Madison's Constitution, what kind of government would Brutus design?

Food for thought: Historians traditionally depicted the framers of the Constitution as great liberals, defenders of the rights of man, and the creators of a democratic society. Historians who take this approach are sometimes referred to as Whigs. But beginning in the early 20th century, revisionists began to challenge this view of the framers. Some "progressive" historians, led by Charles Beard, argued that the Constitutional Convention was dominated by an elite and that the Constitution itself is an instrument written to protect elite interests against popular democracy. Based on our in-class readings so far, which view seems more accurate?

19. Faultlines in the New Republic

SOME OF THESE READINGS ARE IN THE LOOSE COLLECTION OF HANDOUTS I GAVE YOU, WITH THE ADAMS ON THE FRONT PAGE; THE REST ARE IN THE GREEN COLLECTION OF HANDOUTS I GAVE YOU A WHILE BACK WITH THE PICTURE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS ON THE COVER. Some are in the first half, some are in the second half of that book. Green book #2: Handouts, Walter McDougall, Freedom Just Around the Corner, 337-346; Sellers, The Market Revolution, "Merchants and Farmers," 31-33; Loose Handouts: "Hamilton Versus Jefferson"; Crevecoeur, "Letters from an American Farmer"; Washington, “Farewell Address,” Jefferson, “First Inaugural Address”

Read Sellers first, then McDougall and the documents.

Notes: What were the main features of Alexander Hamilton’s economic plan? To what extent was the debate over the plan a debate on what sort of country the U.S would become? On what grounds did Jefferson oppose it? Where do you stand? What advice did Washington leave for the Americans? What does Jefferson promise in his inaugural address?

20. Empire of Liberty

Foner, Story of American Freedom, 50-58; AND Walter McDougall, The Throes of Democracy, 17 middle-22 middle; 102-106

Handouts (Green Book #2): Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self Reliance; Factsheet, People in Motion

Video: On the Whiskey Rebellion

Notes: How did Americans define their “destiny?” Why were they so restless? What does Foner mean by the phrase “social conditions of freedom?” Why was the West so crucial in achieving them? Contrast the Whig and Democratic views of the role of government. Where do the parties differ? What do you make of the Emerson essay?

21. TBA (You will be writing something)

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3