Exploration and Colonization
Summarize the motives, expectations, problems, and rewards associated with the age of European expansion.
Describe the impact of Europeans on Native American (Indian) cultures and the impact of native cultures on Europeans. Then explain why it was or was not a good thing that European culture prevailed.
Which one of the following do you think made the most important contribution to European expansion: Renaissance thought, the search for new trade routes, or new developments in technology? Explain your choice.
What lessons do you think English colonists learned from their early Jamestown experience? Focus on matters of fulfilling expectations, financial support, leadership skills, and relations with the Indians. What specific developments illustrate that the English living in the plantation colonies tried to apply these lessons?
Select any combination of two of the three colonial settlement areas (South, New England, middle) and compare and contrast them. Focus on the motives of their founders, religious and social orientation, economic pursuits, and political developments.
To what degree was the government of Massachusetts Bay simultaneously theocratic, democratic, oligarchic, and authoritarian?
Write your interpretation of John Winthrop’s comment that Massachusetts Bay was to be “as a city upon a hill” and “a beacon to mankind.” In your opinion, do Americans still hold this view of their nation’s role in the world? Why or why not?
Compare and contrast the economies, geography and climate, mortality rates, sex ratios, and family relationships of New England and the southern colonies***
Which do you think was the main cause of Bacon’s Rebellion: resentment felt by backcountry farmers, Governor Berkeley’s Indian policies, or the pressure of the tobacco economy? Justify your choice.
Describe what you think town life contributed to the life-style of New Englanders; then consider what was the consequence of the absence of towns in the colonial South.
Explain how the Great Awakening, an intensely religious movement, contributed to the development of the separation of church and state in America.
Compare and contrast the French colonies in North America with their British and Spanish counterparts. Consider, for example, location, timing, economy, political organization, and religious influences.
The French and Indian War has also been called the “Great War for Empire.” Explain why this might be an appropriate name for this war.
It is sometimes observed that the roots of future wars lie in the results of past wars. In what ways does it appear that the French and Indian War helped to cause the American Revolutionary War?***
Both the British and the colonists were devoted to the principle of “No taxation without representation.” This being true, how did both taxation and representation become major sources of controversy between the colonists and Parliament?
In what ways were the mercantilist policies of the British burdensome to the colonists? In what ways were they beneficial? From this comparison, draw a conclusion about the effects of mercantilism and the Navigation Laws on British-colonial relations up to 1763.
Account for the widespread and enthusiastic colonial reception of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.
Thomas Jefferson was a slaveowner. Why, then, did he state in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal”?
Confederation to Constitution
Compare and contrast the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, especially in regard to the specific powers granted by each to the national government.***
Historian Charles Beard described the Constitution as the “reactionary” phase of the Revolutionary era. What did he mean by this, and what could have led him to this conclusion?
Compare and contrast “loose” and “strict” constructionism. What is the basis of support for each position?
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