Read the Articles of Confederation at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. How well do you think the Articles of Confederation would have worked, had it not been for that phrase “and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State”?
2. Under what circumstances could an individual state engage in war?
3. Why do you think the authors of the Articles felt it necessary to be so specific?
4. In Article XIII, to whom do you think “the Great Governor of the World” refers?
View pictures of the classical revival in America at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. Can you think of reasons, other than their appreciation of classical style, why the leaders of the country would gravitate toward that style in both their personal (Monticello) and public buildings?
2. As the United States grew and became more diverse, what happened to its architectural styles?
Read Harriet Ann Jacobs’s account of life in the South after Nat Turner’s Rebellion at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. How would you describe Jacobs’s demeanor as she wrote about the experiences in her community in the weeks and months following Nat Turner’s rebellion?
2. In comparison to their total numbers, very few slaves escaped to freedom in the North. Which of Jacobs’s early life experiences indicated that she would have the courage to take a chance on trying to escape?
3. What part of society made up the mob that “mustered” in Jacobs’s town? What reason does she give for their participation? What does this case illustrate about white society in the slave South?
4. Why do you think Jacobs subjected herself to living in an attic crawlspace for years before making her escape to the North?
5. What questions come to mind as you read the excerpts from diary? Did you find inconsistencies or descriptions that sounded implausible? What might account for them?
Read a newspaper account of an anti-Catholic riot in Philadelphia at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. What part of the Constitution did the Catholics defending the church cite in upholding their actions? Do you think they were correct in their interpretation? Explain.
2. In what ways had the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania failed to carry out their duties, according to the Pennsylvania Freeman? Which groups finally came to the aid of the people in the church?
3. What major differences do you see between mob action near and within the church and that of lynch mobs across the South?
Read John L. O’Sullivan’s, “Annexation” (1845) at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. What arguments does O’Sullivan give for the annexation of Texas?
2. How does he address the slavery issue?
3. What other territories does he see eventually joining the United States?
4. How does this article typify the dominant thinking that led to the spread of the United States beyond the Mississippi to the west coast?
Read South Carolina’s Ordinance of Nullification at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. What was South Carolina’s main argument against the protective tariffs of 1828 and 1832? How valid do you think their argument was?
2. The question of whether states could “absolve” themselves from their “political connection” with the other states of the Union was effectively answered when the South lost the Civil War. However, even today the theory has many supporters. Are they right or wrong?
3. Do you think the southern states were justified in resenting the industrialized urban areas of the North and the Northeast? Why or why not?
Read Lincoln’s remarkable Second Inaugural Address at the link below and then answer the accompanying essay questions:
1. What does Lincoln mean when he says that “Neither [party] anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease”?
2. How confident does Lincoln appear to be about victory for the Union in the war?
3. In what ways does Lincoln note that the course of the war, and its causes, have evolved as the war years passed?
4. For what reasons should we not place excessive faith in the journalists’ description of Lincoln’s address? How do their descriptions compare to those of modern political analysts who “explain” to the American people what has just been stated in presidential addresses?
5. What elements in Lincoln’s address make this such a special and widely hailed speech?