History 1361 • American History to 1876 Reading Response and Short Paper Topics Reading Response Topics and Due Dates: • You must respond to TWO of these questions. • Responses should be about a page each, typed in 10-12 point font and double-spaced. • For more tips, see the “Paper Guidelines” handout. September 1: [based on The Sovereignty and Goodness of God] What do you think was Mary Rowlandson’s main goal in writing her captivity narrative: to warn the Puritans to return to piety (or else face divine punishment), or to encourage them to unite in the face of evil? (The reading is still due on Thursday, August 27, but I’ve extended the deadline for the response paper because this assignment sheet is coming to you later than I’d like. This has no bearing on the other response paper deadlines). September 3: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 2] What were the most important values that Puritan parents tried to instill in their children? How did children respond to these lessons? September 17: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 4] In what ways did colonial elites and non-elites appear at odds in how they understood the wider goals of the American Revolution? How did they understand ideas like “liberty” and “equality” differently? September 25: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 5] Based on the documents, what was the founders’ primary motivation in designing the Constitution: to rein in the people, or to rein in the government? Paper Topics and Due Dates: • Everyone will write on the first paper topic. For your second paper, you may choose from the remaining topics. • Papers should be about 2-3 pages each, typed in 10-12 point font, double-spaced. • For more tips, see the “Paper Guidelines” handout. PAPER ONE (due October 1): Benjamin Franklin seemed preoccupied with the appearance and practice of virtue in his Autobiography. What was he trying to accomplish by focusing so intently on virtue? Was he simply trying to improve his own image, or was there some greater political significance to his praise of virtue? To answer this question, you should be thinking both about why Franklin wrote this book, and whom he expected to read it. PAPER TWO (due December 3; choose ONE of the following topics): Option A: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 7] In this chapter’s essay, Nathan Hatch argues that the Second Great Awakening was a democratic movement that reflected the increasingly democratic times in the early nineteenth century. Do the documents in this chapter refute or support his thesis? To answer this question fully, you will have to suggest what you understand “democracy” to mean, and how you think it played a role (or didn’t) in religion and society during the early American republic. Option B: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 8] According to Frederick Jackson Turner, what effect did the frontier have on American society and culture? How do the individual experiences of the frontier, as documented in this chapter, bear out Turner’s argument? Option D: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 10] Based on the documents, was slave culture more a product of repression by masters or creative adaptation by slaves? Does your conclusion support or refute Drew Gilpin Faust’s argument in the chapter’s secondary source? Option D: [based on Thinking Through the Past, chapter 12] How do George Frederickson and James McPherson explain the North’s victory in the Civil War? Which of these views do the documents tend to support, and why?