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Monday, February 1

Slavery’s Challenge

Text: chap. 23; Sources: Equiano

Equiano, The Life of Gustavus Vassa (excerpt in Johnson)

1)            What was life and settlement in Sub-Saharan Africa in the Eighteenth century

2)            How did the slave trade function in Africa?

3)            How did the author end up as a slave and how did the make it to the Caribbean?

General Questions:

1)       How did the Atlantic slave trade work and how could it have been maintained for so long?

2)       What were the effects upon the African continent?

3)       What were the effects of slavery in the Americas?


Wednesday, February 3

Revolutions in Political Identity: American

Text: chap. 26 (pp. 634-41); Sources: Paine

Paine, Common Sense (excerpt in Johnson)

1) In Paine’s view, what are the problems with the English system of government?

2) What does Paine think of aristocracy? Why?

3) What does Paine consider to be the best solution to the conflict between England and its American colonies?


Friday, February 5

Enlightenment in America

Sources: The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, The Bill of Rights

Declaration of Independence

1)       What ideals/principles are at work in the Declaration of Independence?

2)       Why was this document so radical?

3)       Why has the Declaration resonated so much across time?

The Constitution of the United States

1)       Explain why the Constitution is such a radical document.

2)       What is the structure of the U.S. government?

3)       Are there any parts of the Constitution that strike you as undemocratic?

The Bill of Rights

1)       Are there any rights or groups left out of this original Bill of Rights?

2)       Why does this text was at the time and remains controversial?


Monday, February 8

Revolutions in Political Identity: France

Text: chap. 26 (pp. 642-49); Sources: Declarations of the Rights of Man (Johnson, pp. 102-04); Anthology: Revolutionary Documents

Declaration of the Rights of Man

1)       Why is this document so radical?

2)       Who and what falls under attack in this document?

3)       Was there anyone left out of this document?

French Revolutionary Documents (Anthology)

1)       Which groups and institutions did Sieyes attack in “What is the Third Estate?”

2)       Did the French Revolution go beyond changing the political system?

3)       What duties did the new French revolutionary regime impose upon its citizens?

4)       Keeping in mind the “Law of Suspects” and Robespierre’s declarations, did the French Revolution overreach?  To which Enlightenment author does this allude?



Wednesday, February 10

Expanding Political Identities

Text: chap. 26 (pp. 649-55); Anthology: Women in the Age of Revolution

1)       What is Abigail Adams’ argument regarding the equality of women during the American Revolution?

2)       What is Olympe De Gouges’ purpose in writing her Declaration?

3)       Why does De Gouges place such an emphasis on women and marriage?

General Questions: What do the difficulties for Haiti and for women within the French and American revolutionary movements say about individuals and attitudes at the time?


Friday, February 12

Reconsidering Revolutions of Identity

Text: chap. 26 (pp. 655-61), chap. 27 (pp. 710-17); Sources: Bolívar

Bolívar, The Jamaica Letter (Johnson)

1)       What is Bolívar’s opinion of Spain?

2)       What kind of attitudes does Bolívar exhibit toward his fellow Americans?

3)       What choices for post-independence government does Bolívar mention and which does he envision for the former American Spanish colonies?

4)       What ideals appear to drive Bolívar’s bid for independence?

General Question: Were the independence wars in Latin America liberal or conservative?