Assignments

Colonial Slavery -- weeks 1-3

Mini-Research Topics
Please divide these up amongst yourselves. Each student should be prepared to share your findings with the class during discussion. These are informal presentations, designed to help inform our understanding of the rich colonial period, particularly as it relates to the themes in the readings. If there is something worth copying for class, please do so. We can post a .pdf or create hard-copies for class.

MAPS (Colonial Virginia and Chesapeake, Atlantic Coast, trade routes, etc.) (Week 2)
NAVIGATION ACTS (Week 2)
GREAT AWAKENING (FIRST) AND APPEAL TO BACKCOUNTRY AND SLAVES (Week 3)
WOMEN IN COLONIAL VIRGINIA (Week 2 or 3)
SLAVERY IN THE SUGAR ISLANDS (Week 3)
INTERPRETATION OF COLONIAL SLAVERY AT HISTORY MUSEUMS (e.g. Colonial Williamsburg and others) (Week 3 or 4)

First Short Paper -- Due before October 14.

Virginia's social and cultural forms of unfree labor was neither natural nor ordained; the shape it took by the time of the Revolution could not have predicted, in 1600, 1650 or perhaps even 1750. Our analysis of North American slavery, as Tim Breen reminds us, should also be scrubbed of teleological thinking -- of seeking out things that will lead us inexorably down the road we know that colony eventually took. Depending on how you slice it, slavery and racism can appear (or not) to have developed hand in hand in Colonial America. It's not necessary to choose sides about which came first, slavery or racism, and in fact Peter Kolchin reminds us that the early historiographical debate about the relationship between slavery and racial prejudice has already lost it acrimonious tinge -- that the question of whether slavery caused prejudice or prejudice caused slavery presents, he says, a "false choice." (p. 14) Several of our authors have suggested that there was little difference between indentured servitude and slavery given the high death rate of 17th century Virginia, and that other factors (demographics, economy, political structure, as well as climate and geography) played crucial roles in the formation of slavery and racism. Therefore, as students and educators who seek to understand the historical development of Virginia's particular racial ideology, how do you explain the development and chronology of Virginia's unique brand of slavery and racism? Please write a 5-7 page paper that draws on the readings in the first four weeks of class. Use Chicago style footnotes and references.

Antebellum Slavery -- weeks 4-7

Mini-Research Topics

NAT TURNER'S REBELLION
COMPROMISE OF 1850
FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT
WILLIAM LLOYD GARRISON
AMERICAN ABOLITIONIST SOCIETY
REFORM MOVEMENT AND SECOND GREAT AWAKENING

Second Short Paper -- Due before November 1

[This essay is based on the readings analyzing slavery in the antebellum period: Genovese, Johnson, White, Yellin, and the various articles and primary source documents.]


Reconstruction -- weeks 8-10

Third Short Paper -- Due before November 30
Why does Radical Reconstruction fail? Using Foner, as well as the documents and articles listed for the last two weeks of the course, construct your own argument about why the Radicals did not achieve their goals in Reconstruction. You will be responsible for setting your own terms and parameters of the argument -- be clear about your actors, the timeline, and events that led to the end of Reconstruction. This is more content oriented, and less historiographical (although references to historiography are likely to appear, if not in your narrative, then in the discussion in the footnotes).

The essay should be 10-12 pages, double spaced, with full Chicago style footnotes, and is due by Friday November 30 via email.