This course explores the revolutionary developments in BritishNorth America between 1760 and 1800. The American Revolution involvedmore than just a colonial rebellion against Britain or a war forindependence. It was a "revolution." Exactly what that revolutionmeant, however, has elicited differing views from its participantsand contemporary observers, as well as from each subsequentgeneration of historians. Today historians note that the nation'snoblest ideals and promises, as well as its most invidiouscontradictions and hypocrisies, emerged from the American Revolution.One of the quests of this course will be to discover just how"revolutionary" was the American Revolution, and what were thevarious meanings that diverse Americans during that era attached tothis epochal event of nation-building and social and culturaltransformation.
A supplementary objective of this course will be to analyze thevarious meanings that contemporary American society and cultureattributes to the American Revolution. Finally, this course isdesigned to expose students to the art of historical research andwriting by exploring an event that left behind a rich and voluminousdocumentary record.
The following books are required readings and are available at theCollege Bookstore:
- Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution.
- Pauline Maier, From Resistance to Revolution.
- Robert Gross, Minutemen and Their World.
- Sylvia Frey, Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age.
- Susan Juster, Disorderly Women.
- Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790.
- Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787.
Additional readings and documents (listed in the class schedulebelow) are on reserve at McCabe Library. Other reading assignmentswill be distributed by class handouts.
Reading and class participation:
Students are expected to attend all class meetings, complete thereadings, and be prepared for discussion of the assigned reading eachweek. Classsroom discussions are an integral part of the course, andall students are expected to participate. The following is theHistory Dept. policy on attendance: "Students are required to attendall classes for the successful completion of the course. Unexcusedabsences will result in a lower grade."
The principal writing focus of this course will be on thepreparation of an original research paper by each student. The finalresearch paper will be approximately 20 (double-spaced) pages.The following smaller written assignments will be completed over thecourse of the semester, many of which will be designed to assist eachstudent in the preparation and writing of the research paper.
Research prospectus: Early in the semester, students willsubmit a 1-page prospectus that describes their topic for theresearch paper. The prospectus should explain the historical problemor question you wish to address, and the type of sources you willexamine in your research. Two weeks later, a revised prospectus(2-3 pages) will be submitted that reflects the first stagesof research and new perspectives on the topic (and possible thesis)for your paper.
Preliminary bibliography: At the end of week 5, eachstudent will submit a preliminary bibliography which lists theprimary and secondary sources that will serve as the basis for theresearch paper.
Document analysis: Each student will prepare a documentanalysis paper (2-4 pages) based upon one or more shorterprimary source documents that he or she will use for the researchpaper. The paper should set the document within its historicalcontext -- explicating its meaning from the text, while alsoexplaining the significant historical changes it reflects.
Sequence of Assignments and Due Dates:
- Iniital research paper prospectus Feb. 6
- Revised prospectus and bibliography Feb. 20
- Document analysis paper Mar. 6
- First draft of research paper Apr. 10
- Student presentation in class Apr. 22-29
- Final draft of research paper May 1
The American Revolution in Contemporary America:
Students will complete a short paper (3-4 pages) analyzingthe meaning of the American Revolution in its various manifestationswithin contemporary American culture. Students will have a great dealof freedom in choosing their topics, but papers may be written onsuch topics as popular culture (films, theater, television,advertising, etc.), museum exhibitions, recent Supreme Courtdecisions, Presidential addresses or political campaigns, social orpolitical activist groups, and the Internet. A handout will bedistributed outlining the expectations and topics for thisassignment. Due: March 23.
A final examination will be given on the scheduled final examdate.
Date and Time: __________________________
All assignments are due as stated in the syllabus.Noextensions will be granted. Late papers will receive gradereductions.
Document Source Books: (On Reserve at McCabe Library)
Jack P. Greene, From Colonies to Nation.
Richard D. Brown, Major Problems During the Era of the AmericanRevolution.
Jan. 19 INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE
Jan. 21 HISTORICAL INTERPRETATIONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
- Linda K. Kerber, "The Revolutionary Generation," in Eric Foner, ed., The New American History (1990), pp. 25-49.
- Gordon S. Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution, Introduction, pp. 3-8.
- Gary B. Nash, "The Forgotten Experience: Indians, Blacks, and the American Revolution," in William M. Fowler, ed., The American Revolution: Changing Perspectives (1979), pp. 29-42.
Jan. 23 COLONIAL SOCIAL ORDER
- Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790, pp. 5-138.
Jan. 26 LAB: BASIC LIBRARY RESOURCES VIA COMPUTER
Jan. 28 DISCUSSION
- Wood, Radicalism of the American Revolution, pp. 11-168.
Jan. 30 A FRAGILE EMPIRE REACHES A CRISIS
- James Otis, Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved (1764), Greene, 26-33.
- Virginia Stamp Act Resolves (1765), Greene, 60-1 & Brown, 81-2.
- Declarations of the Stamp Act Congress (1765), Greene, 63-5 & Brown, 84-5.
- Benjamin Franklin's Examination Before the House of Commons (1766), Brown, 87-94.
- Thomas Whately, The Regulations Lately Made . . . (1765), Greene, 46-51.
- Daniel Dulany, Considerations on the Propriety of Imposing Taxes . . . (1765), Greene, 51-59
Feb. 2 LAB: LIBRARY RESOURCES AT SWARTHMORE & NEARBYLIBRARIES
Feb. 4 DISCUSSION -- A RADICAL REVOLUTION?
- Wood, Radicalism of the American Revolution, pp. 169-369.
- Debate between Michael Zuckerman and Gordon Wood, inWilliam and Mary Quarterly 51 (Oct. 1994), pp. 693-716.
Feb. 6 A REVOLUTION FOR ORDINARY INDIVIDUALS
- Alfred F. Young, "George Roberts Twelves Hewes (1742-1840): A Boston Shoemaker and the Memory of the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly 38 (1981), 561-623.
- William Manning, Key of Libberty, pp. 122-70.
- Joy and Richard Buel, The Way of Duty: A Woman and Her Family in Revolutionary America, ch. 5-8.
- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Intro, ch. 2, 8.
Research paper prospectus due.
Feb. 9 FILM: (To be announced)
Feb. 11 COLONIAL RESISTANCE, RIOTS, & MOBS
- Pauline Maier, From Resistance to Revolution, pp. 3-157.
- Gov. Bernard Describes the Boston Stamp Act Riot (1765), Brown, 82-84
- Josiah Quincy Describes the Boston Stamp Act Riot (1765), Greene, 61-63
- John Dickinson, Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania (1767-68), Greene, 122-33.
- Association and Resolves of the New York Sons of Liberty (1773), Greene, 198-200.
- The Continental Association (1774), Greene, 247-50.
Feb. 13 IDEOLOGIES OF THE REVOLUTION -- WHIGS &REPUBLICANISM
- Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution, pp. 94-143 [also skim pp. 144-59.]
- Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, pp. 1-124.
Feb. 16 STUDENT CONFERENCES ABOUT RESEARCH PAPERS
Feb. 18 IDEOLOGIES OF THE REVOLUTION -- PAINE & THERADICALS
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense (see documents below)
- Eric Foner, Tom Paine and Revolutionary America, pp. 77-144.
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense (1776) in P. Foner, ed., Complete Writings of Thomas Paine, vol 1, pp. 1-46 [read first 2/3, skim the rest.]
- Declaration of Independence (1776), Brown, 169-72 & Greene, 297-301.
- John Dickinson Opposes Independence (1776), Brown, 166-69.
Feb. 20 REVOLUTION & WAR -- POLITICAL MOBILIZATION
- Maier, From Resistance to Revolution, pp. 161-296.
- John Shy, "The American Revolution: The Military Conflict Considered as a Revolutionary War," in Stephen G. Kurtz and James H. Hutson, eds., Essays on the American Revolution (1973), pp. 121-156.
- Don Higginbotham, "Reflections on the War of Independence, Modern Guerilla Warfare, and the War in Vietnam," in Ronald Hoffman and Peter Albert, eds., Arms and Independence: The Military Character of the American Revolution (1984), pp. 1-24.
- Charles Royster, A Revolutionary People at War, pp. 25-126.
Revised prospectus and preliminary bibliography due.
Feb. 23 LAB: HISTORICAL METHODS -- RESEARCH
Feb. 25 SOCIAL CHANGE & THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
- Gary B. Nash, "Social Change and the Growth of Prerevolutionary Urban Radicalism," in Alfred F. Young, ed., The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism, pp. 3-32.
- T. H. Breen, "'Baubles of Britain': The American and Consumer Revolutions of the Eighteenth Century," in Cary Carson, et al., eds., Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the Eighteenth Century, pp. 444-82.
- Or: T. H. Breen, "Narrative of Commercial Life: Consumption, Ideology, and Community on the Eve of the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly 50 (1993), 471-501.
Feb. 27 REVOLUTION & WAR -- SOCIAL HISTORY OFCOMMUNITIES
- Robert Gross, Minutemen and Their World.
Mar. 2 CIVIL WAR? -- THE LOYALISTS
- Robert Calhoon, "Epilogue: A Special Kind of Civil War," in The Loyalists in Revolutionary America, 1760-1781, pp. 500-06.
- Robert M. Weir, "'The Violent Spirit,' the Reestablishment of Order, and the Continuity of Leadership in Post-Revolutionary South Carolina," in Hoffman, et al., eds., An Uncivil War: The Southern Backcountry During the American Revolution, pp. 70-98.
- Tom Paine Attacks the Loyalists (1776), Brown, 265-66.
- Newspaper Attack on the Loyalists (1779), Brown, 266-68.
- Loyalists Plead Their Cause (1782), Brown, 269-72.
- Jonathan Boucher, A View of the Causes . . . (1775), [Binder only]
- Grace Galloway, A Loyalist Wife (1778-79), [Binder only]
- Edward Countryman, A People in Revolution: The American Revolution and Political Society in New York, 1760-1790, pp. 103-90.
- Ronald Hoffman, "The 'Disaffected' in the Revolutionary South," in Alfred F. Young, ed., The American Revolution: Explorations in the History of American Radicalism, pp. 273-313.
Mar. 4 A REVOLUTION FOR AMERICAN INDIANS
- James H. Merrell, "Indian-White Relations in the New Nation" in Jack P. Greene, ed., The American Revolution: Its Character and Limits, pp. 197-223.
- Colin G. Calloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country, pp. xi-xvi, 26-64, 292-301.
- Mary Young, "Let's Hear it for the Losers," Reviews in American History 24 (1996), 579-84.
- Gregory Dowd, A Spirited Resistance.
- James H. Merrell, The Indians' New World, pp. 215-225.
Mar. 6 NO CLASS -- WORK ON RESEARCH PAPERS
Document analysis paper due.
SPRING BREAK - MARCH 9-13
Mar. 16 LAB: HISTORICAL METHODS -- WRITING
Mar. 18 RELIGION & THE REVOLUTION -- EVANGELICALAWAKENING
- Susan Juster, Disorderly Women: Sexual Politics and Evangelicalism in Revolutionary New England.
- William G. McLoughlin, "The Role of Religion in the Revolution," in Stephen G. Kurtz and James H. Hutson, eds., Essays on the American Revolution (1973), pp. 197-255.
- Jon Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith, pp. 194-224.
Mar. 20 RELIGION & THE REVOLUTION -- CHURCH & STATE
- Isaac, Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790, pp. 143-322.
- Issac Backus, An Appeal for Religious Liberty (1773)
- Ezra Stiles, The Place of Religion in the United States (1783), Brown, 356-58
- Philadelphia Jews Seek Equality Before the Law (1783), Brown, 358-59
- Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom (1786), Brown, 364-66
Mar. 23 WOMEN, GENDER, & THE REVOLUTION
- Mary Beth Norton, "Revolutionary Advances for Women," (from Liberty's Daughters) and
- Joan Hoff Wilson, "The Illusion of Change," (from Alfred F. Young ed., The American Revolution) both reprinted in Richard D. Brown, Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, pp. 311-30.
- Hannah Griffits, The Female Patriots (1768), [Binder only]
- To the Female Patriot, No. 1 (1770). [Binder only]
- Abigail Adams, "Remember the Ladies" (1776), Brown, 302-05.
- Linda K. Kerber, Women of the Republic, esp. ch. 3, 5, 7, 9.
- Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "Dis-Covering the Subject of the `Great Constitutional Discussion,' 1786-1789," Journal of American History 79 (Dec. 1992), 841-73.
- Ruth H. Bloch, "The Gendered Meanings of Virtue in Revolutionary America," Signs 13 (1987), 37-58.
Mar. 25 THE PROBLEM OF SLAVERY & THE FOUNDING OF THENATION
- Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, pp. 363-87.
- William W. Freehling, "The Founding Fathers and Slavery," American Historical Review (1972), 81-93.
- Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia & Letters. [Binder only]
- Caesar Sarter, Essay on Slavery (1774) [Binder only]
- Tom Paine, Essay on Slavery (1775) [Binder only]
- John Cooper, "To the Public" (1780) [Binder only]
Mar. 27 AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE REVOLUTION
- Sylvia Frey, Water from the Rock: Black Resistance in a Revolutionary Age.
Mar. 30 To be announced
Apr. 1 REVOLUTIONARY STATE GOVERNMENTS
- Wood, Creation of the American Republic, pp. 127-389 (esp. ch. 4-6, 9).
- Virginia Bill of Rights (1776)
- Virginia Constitution (1776)
- Pennsylvania Constitution (1776), all of the above, Greene, 332-345.
Apr. 3 NO CLASS - WORK ON RESEARCH PAPERS
Apr. 6 CONFEDERATION AND STATE REPUBLICS - A CRITICALPERIOD?
- Wood, Creation of the American Republic, pp. 393-467.
- Merrill Jensen, "The Achievements of the Confederation," (from The New Nation (1950)) &
- Jack Rakove, "The Confederation: A Union Without Power," (from The Beginnings of National Politics) both reprinted in Richard D. Brown, Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution, pp. 406-22.
- Benjamin Rush Criticizes the Pennsylvania Constitution (1777), Greene, 357-69.
- Thomas Jefferson Notes Weaknesses in the Virginia Constitution, Greene, 369-74.
- James Madison, "Vices of the Political System" (1786), Brown, 466-71 & Greene, 514-19
Apr. 8 THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION -- A COUNTER REVOLUTION?
- Wood, Creation of the American Republic, pp. 471-518.
- Edward Countryman, A People in Revolution: The American Revolution and Political Society in New York, 1760-1790, pp. 252-79.
Apr. 10 DISCUSSION
Draft of research paper due.
Apr. 13 FEDERALISTS AND THE RATIFICATION DEBATES
- Wood, Creation of the American Republic, pp. 519-64.
- The Federalist Papers (see documents below)
- The Federalist Papers, -- Federalist No. 10, 39, 51, 84.
Apr. 15 THE ANTIFEDERALIST PERSUASION
- Cecilia M. Kenyon, "Men of Little Faith: The Anti-Federalists on the Nature of Representative Government," William and Mary Quarterly 12 (1955), 3-43. Also reprinted in Jack P. Greene, ed., The Reinterpretation of the American Revolution, pp. 526-66.
- Gordon S. Wood, "Interests and Disinterestedness in the Making of the Constitution," in Richard Beeman, et al., eds., Beyond Confederation: Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity, pp. 69-109.
- Richard Henry Lee, Letters from the Federal Farmer (1788), Brown, 535-36.
- James Winthrop, Letters from Agrippa (1787). [Binder only]
- Letters of Philadelphiensis (1788). [Binder only]
- "John De Witt," "To the Free Citizens of . . . Massachusetts (1787). [Binder only]
- Patrick Henry Opposes the Constitution (1788), Brown, 540-42.
Apr. 17 DISCUSSION
Apr. 20 THE BILL OF RIGHTS
Apr. 22 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS (if necessary)
Apr. 24 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
Apr. 27 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
Apr. 29 STUDENT PRESENTATIONS
May. 1 OVERVIEW AND REVIEW -- IRONY & LEGACY OF THEAMERICAN
Research paper due.
...The book, Honor and the American Dream: Culture and Identity in a Chicano Community, and the film, Salt of the Earth, both relay to their audience, the pursuit of happiness within the Chicano community in which they live. These works aim to show how Mexican-American immigrants fight to keep both their honor and value systems alive in the United States of America, a country which is foreign to their traditions. The Mexican-Americans encountered in these works fight for their culture of honor in order to define themselves in their new homeland, a homeland which honors the American dream of successful capitalism. The author of Honor and the American Dream, Ruth Horowitz, takes us to Chicago’s Chicano community of 32nd Street in the 1970s. She introduces us to a wide range of residents as they face the challenge of keeping their honor and value system brought with them from their former country. While keeping this honor and value system alive inside their community, they face the challenge of a completely different set of values based on the American dream. Salt of the Earth is the story of Mexican-American miners living in the small New Mexico community of Zinc Town. The movie focuses on the miners whose lives are subjected to the unjust treatment of the Zinc Mining Company. The immigrants come together in the form of a union and fight for their rights of basic plumbing, sanitation, and equal pay with that of the Anglo-Americans. Earth is a story of...