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Explore the British colonial experience in Ireland.

Explore the British colonial experience in Ireland. How did this experience prepare the British for creating a colonial empire in the New World? How will British treatment of the Irish be reflected in the plantation society of the American South? Can the British experience in Ireland be tied to the emergence of slavery in the British colonies?
b. Choose one of the three major continental colonial regions and write a paper in which you examine the British background of the settlers in that region. How did the cultural mores of each geographical region of Britain impact the nature and characteristics of the various British colonial settlements?
c. Research one of the Puritan dissenters, such as Anne Hutchinson or Roger Williams. How did their beliefs necessitate their removal from the Puritan community? How did their experiences serve to expand the meaning of religious freedom in America?
d. Study slave women (who endured a peculiar brand of suffering defined by the nature of their labor), the nature of sexuality and sexual mores on a plantation, and the distinctive challenges of motherhood on the plantation.
e. Examine the relations between Africans and Native Americans during the colonial period. Explore the lives of African Americans such as Anthony Johnson in Virginia, who came to America as an indentured servant, became a freeman, and secured his own indentured servants. You may also enjoy looking at the contact between the Seminole Indians and Africans in northern Florida, many of whom were fugitive slaves who sought refuge among the Seminoles.
f. Explore the importance of the Great Awakening to the American South. How did the movement impact the emergence of southern religious style? What was the particular impact of the Great Awakening on the southern backcountry?
g. Research the causes of the Salem witch trials. A variety of historical and scientific studies offer many dimensions to the possible origins of this phenomenon in American history.
h. Examine the roles of John Adams and Samuel Adams in the events leading up to the American Revolution. Study their religious, philosophical, and family backgrounds and how these aspects of their lives helped to define the nature of their support for the Revolution. Why were their roles so different, and how did their political styles complement each other?
i. Explore American colonial opposition to the American Revolution. Who were the Tories? Were there regional, social, or economic factors that contributed to a colonist’s resistance to revolution? How did Tories respond to the actuality of the Revolution?
j. Examine Thomas Jefferson’s influences in writing the Declaration of Independence. Was John Locke the only philosophical influence? How important were Scottish political philosophers of the Enlightenment?
k. Compare and contrast the Federalist and Republican parties with the modern-day Republican and Democratic parties. Is there any similarity between the issues that divided Americans in the eighteenth century and the issues that divide Americans today? In making the comparisons, look at policies related to federalism, economics, socioeconomic sympathies, foreign affairs, and regionalism.
l. Investigate the controversy surrounding Thomas Jefferson and his position on the issue of slavery. One approach to such a paper would be to research Jefferson’s thoughts and writings about slavery and liberty and explain how Jefferson was able to reconcile the two. A more personal approach would be a study of the relationship between Jefferson and his female slave Sally Hemings.
m. Research the Cherokee experience on the Trail of Tears. What does this event reveal about U.S. Indian policy and the status of Native Americans living in the United States in the early nineteenth century? Why were the Cherokee considered “civilized”?
n. Write a paper on the life of Sojourner Truth. Involved in both the abolitionist and women’s movements of the early nineteenth century, her life offers an insight into the connection between these two social reform movements.
o. Write a paper on children in slavery. An issue only recently examined, the plight of children in slavery reveals to students a particularly moving and poignant aspect of slavery’s horror.
p. Write a paper on the circumstances surrounding the Nat Turner revolt. How successful was the revolt? What factors contributed to the outcome? Slave rebellion was generally unsuccessful in the antebellum South. Why, then, did southern whites fear it so strongly?
q. Explore the issue of social mobility in nineteenth-century America. American historical myth often cites the “rags to riches” phenomenon as being typical of the American social condition. Was social mobility a reality in nineteenth-century America? What has typically been the nature of American social improvement over time?
r. Choose one of the nineteenth-century American utopian societies and write a paper on the origins, leadership, defining philosophy, and success of the community. What was it about nineteenth-century American society that sparked the creation of the community, and how effective were its members in offering a workable alternative lifestyle? What characteristics of American culture and which American values have made it most difficult for Americans to embrace communal living as anything more than a passing fancy?
s. Write a paper focusing on the role of women in the westward movement during the nineteenth century. Excellent sources that would expose students to some primary material in this area are the edited journals left by pioneer women that describe the impact the movement west had on their lives and the lives of their families.
t. Write a paper on the unique role of the Sioux Indians in American history. Why were they so distinctive from other Native American peoples? Why were they so successful in surviving and even capitalizing on the European and American presence in North America?
u. Write a paper on the origins of the modern-day Republican Party. What political factions coalesced to transform the Republican Party into a national party? What ideologies defined the Republican agenda? Was the party a product of pre-Civil War sectionalism? Compare and contrast today’s Republican Party with that of the era of Lincoln. Do the same comparison for the Democratic Party.
v. Write a paper on the history of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, focusing specifically on its performance at Fort Wagner, South Carolina. How was the regiment recruited? What is the significance of the Massachusetts 54th in terms of the lasting reputation and historical legacy of African American troops who fought in the Civil War? What was the 54th’s role in the Darien affair? Who led the Massachusetts 54th? How were white officers perceived by black soldiers, or other white soldiers? In answering this question, focus specifically on the life and death of Robert Gould Shaw.
w. Research the role of southern women in the Civil War, focusing on the diary of Mary Chesnutt of South Carolina. Chesnutt left an extensive record in which she addressed issues such as slavery, gender roles in the antebellum South, class distinction in the antebellum South, and the impact of the Civil War on southern society.
x. Research the military personality of William Tecumseh Sherman. Examine his innovative contributions to the northern war effort. Why is Sherman often considered the originator of concepts about modern war? What is Sherman’s legacy? How is he viewed in the South today as opposed to the North?

 

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