History 410: Unit 3

United States, 1765-1861, Fall 2019

Part III, Transformation and Disunion (1800-1861)

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3

22. Andrew Jackson and Democracy

READ McDougall, Throes of Democracy, 47 bottom-54; AND Green book part 2: Jackson’s 2nd Message to Congress Andrew Jackson, from Paul Johnson, The Story of the American People (2004)

Notes: Do you see a connection between democracy and the removal of Southern Indians beyond the Mississippi? What were Jackson’s motives in pressing for removal? How did he justify the mass relocation along the “Trail of Tears?” What is your impression of Jackson’s personality and character?

23. Land, Capital and Slaves

READ Green book part 2: Charles Sellers, The Market Revolution, "Market Contradiction," 8 bottom-10 middle; 16 middle-19 middle; 26 bottom-31 top; AND Sven Bekert and Seth Rockman, eds., Slavery’s Capitalism, 1-4 top; 19 bottom-23 top; 26 bottom-27; Factsheet, “The Market Revolution”

Read the factsheet first, then Sellers and Beckert and Rockman.

Notes: How did most ordinary Americans live on the eve of the Market Revolution? Where does Sellers see a “contradiction between capitalist property and use-value communalism? What role did slavery play in the development of American capitalism?

24. Now what is an American? Two great books

READ Green book part 1: Excerpts from Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville and Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

How would Tocqueville and Thoreau answer Crevecoeur's question (what is an American)? How do these two authors feel about the transformation of American society that we read about last time?

If you find yourself thinking that Thoreau is a big hypocrite because he did not maintain total social isolation while at Walden, please read this website that clarifies common misconceptions about Thoreau and Walden.

25. Women and the Market

READ Greenbook, part 2: Daniel Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 837-849 top; Sellers, The Market Revolution, "God and Mammon," 405 bottom- 407 bottom; Lucy Stone, “A Disappointed Woman;” DBQ, “Northern Middle Class Women, 1776-187; Catharine Beecher, “Domestic Economy,” and “The Evils of Female Labor”

Notes: How did the market revolution change the lives of middle-class women? What were the “separate spheres” for men and women? Was it fair to equate the condition of women with that of slaves? What were the arguments against granting women the vote?

26. “The Whistle of the Locomotive”

READ McDougall, The Throes of Democracy, 142-153; AND Green book part 2: Sellers, The Market Revolution, "Market Explosion," 391 bottom-393 top; Charles Fraser, “The Moral Influence of Steam”

Notes: In what ways did the railroad and the telegraph shape American economic development? How important was government aid in promoting railroad development? Should the government have done more? Of the inventions McDougall lists, which do you find most significant? What would Thoreau make of the Fraser essay?

27. Research project.

We will meet in the library during class time. For homework, read the assignment carefully, especially the reflections on America's national history by Zinn, Rorty, and all. You should also look at the longer excerpts of some of these pieces that I gave you earlier in the term. The research essay will be assessed on the bases of the facts you present AND on whether you effectively connected your topic to the larger questions. If you have time, choose a topic and read something about it online.

28-30. Continue to meet in the library during class time and work on your research for homework outside of class.

31. Final essay is due. The automatic 48-hour extension does not apply to this paper.

32. The Argument over Slavery

READ Foner, Story of American Freedom, 63 middle-65 top; 84 bottom-94; AND McDougall, Throes of Democracy, 200 middle-203 middle; AND Green book part 2: William Lloyd Garrison, “The Liberator,” and John C. Calhoun, “On Reception of the Abolition Petitions”; David Walker, “Walker’s Appeal,” and Frederick Douglass, “Independence Day Speech”

Read Foner first, then Walker, Garrison, Calhoun and Douglass.

Notes: Why and how did slavery become the central issue in American politics? How did Garrisonian abolitionism differ from other antislavery efforts? Why does McDougall call the abolition movement “feeble?” What approach to the slavery question strikes you as most effective, given existing political, economic and social circumstances? How do you imagine Douglass’s audience reacted to his July 4 speech?

33. The Peculiar Institution

READ McDougall, Throes of Democracy, 63 middle-65 bottom; 354 top-356 bottom; AND in Green book part 1: Frederick Douglass, Autobiography; Green book part 2: Fanny Kemble, “Three Days of Plantation Life;” “The Peculiar Institution;” and “Go Down, Moses” Handouts: “Confessions of Nat Turner”

Read the “Peculiar Institution” factsheet first, then McDougall, Turner, Douglass and Kemble.

Notes: How were slaves distributed throughout the South? What impelled Turner to rise up? Was he a freedom fighter or a terrorist? What picture of slavery does Douglass present? What was life like for enslaved people? What does the Kemble reading suggest about the effects of slavery on slaves and their masters?

34. “Mexico Will Poison Us”

READ McDougall, Throes of Democracy, 283-285 top 297 middle-301 top; 316 bottom-319; 329 top-337 top; 346 bottom-350 middl; AND in Green book part 2: “Texas and the Politics of Expansion,” and Frederick Douglass and Gerrit Smith, “The Fugitive Slave Law”; Thoreau, “Civil Disobedience”

Notes: Why did the United States and Mexico go to war? Was it a just war? How do you define “just?” Assess the implications of the Wilmot Proviso. What were Wilmot’s motives? How was Mexico “poisonous” to the U.S.? What were the elements of the Compromise of 1850? Was it the best available solution to the slavery issue? Was there a solution?

35. Lincoln and Douglas

READ McDougall, Throes of Democracy, 365 middle-368 top; 375 middle-382 to; AND in Green book part 2: Abraham Lincoln, “A House Divided”; Green book part 1: “The Lincoln-Douglas Debates”

Notes: Pin down Lincoln’s position on slavery. Where did Douglas stand? Was Lincoln right to suggest the nation couldn’t survive half slave, half free? What is the significance of Lincoln’s invocation of the Declaration of Independence and Douglas’s invocation of the Constitution? Who gets the better of the debate?

36. Secession

READ McDougall, Throes of Democracy, 386 bottom-389 bottom; 392 top-397; AND in Green book part 1: Brown, “Address to the Virginia Court”; Lincoln, “First Inaugural Address”

Notes: What is your view of John Brown? Was he guilty of treason? How did Lincoln manage to win the election of 1860? Were South Carolinians rational in responding to the Republican victory with an ordinance of secession? Should Lincoln have done more to reassure the South?

37. Final assessment

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3