Primary Source Responses

Directions: read the assigned documents, found within the “Readings from The Norton Mix” section of the textbook. After reading all of the documents, respond with at least one direct quote from the document and utilize relevant passages of Give Me Liberty! for each response.

Do not worry about the study questions included in your book – you should only respond to the two questions here. There are no make-ups, ensure you answer the appropriate questions below.

Note: an exceptional primary source response will utilize material found in the corresponding main sections of the textbook. Consult the course schedule or the table of contents for relevant material. No outside sources are allowed

Students need to cite relevant page numbers from the textbook as necessary (e.g. when using quotes or citing non-common knowledge)

Submissions are to be submitted to the appropriate Dropbox prior to the start of class on the date listed.

Assignment #1 – due September 4th

  • Richard Frethorne, “An Indentured Servant’s Letter to His Parents (1623)”

  • Ottobah Cugoano, “Narrative of the Enslavement of a Native of Africa (1787)”

  • Q1: Describe the different experiences Frethorne and Cugoano had in their journeys to the British Colonies.

  • Q2: Indentured servitude and forced slavery made up the majority of the arrivals in the American colonies. How do the experiences of both Frethorne and Cugoano complicate our understanding of the colonies as a land of opportunities and advancement? How could we adequately describe the colonies so that we take into account not only opportunity but also the frustrations, fear, and danger many arrivals experienced?

Assignment #2 – due October 9th

  • George Fitzhugh, “A Defense of Slavery (1854)”

  • Frederick Douglass, “Fourth of July Speech (1852)”

  • Q1: What is Fitzhugh’s rationale for supporting slavery? How does he see it compared to northern wage labor? How does his positive assessment of slavery contrast to the evidence you’ve read so far this semester? Consider in particular Cugoano’s narrative, Douglass’s speech and relevant material from the textbook.

  • Q2: What is Douglass’s feelings on the Fourth of July and the Declaration of Independence? How does Douglass’s tone change over the course of the speech? How do you receptive do you think the audience of 600 abolitionists was to the speech?

Assignment #3 – due November 6th

  • “The Scopes Trial (1925)”

  • “Inventions Re-Making Leisure (1929)”

  • Q1: What was the main issue in the Scopes Trial? How does Darrow’s line of questioning fit in to the issue of the trial and why would Darrow seek to cross-examine Bryan in this manner?

  • Q2: Muncie, Indiana (or “Middletown”) like Dayton, Tennessee experienced numerous changes over the course of the 1920s that redefined how its residents functioned and experienced the world. What were some of these changes? Who do the authors not discuss in their report and how does our understanding of the 1920s change when we incorporate this group?

Assignment #4 – due December 4th

  • “Dear America, Letters Home from Vietnam (1966 – 1969)”

  • Q1: Based on your reading of these letters, how did views of American engagement in Vietnam change over time? How is the tone of the letters written earlier different from those written toward the end of the war?

  • Q2: How do the writers of these letters view the Vietnamese? How are their views of Vietnamese people different than their views of Vietnamese soldiers?

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