Essential Question: How do we know “whose” history is the “Truth”? Sub-Questions



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Jennifer Mitnick

French and Indian War Lesson


Essential Question: How do we know “whose” history is the “Truth”?

Sub-Questions: What really happened at Jumonville Glen and how do we know?

How do historians figure out what happened in history?


Objectives:

Students will be able to:



  • Determine the events that happened at Jumonville Glen by comparing and contrasting different primary source accounts

  • Analyze primary source accounts to determine bias, misrepresentation, missing information, and misleading information

  • Understand a historian’s role in telling and teaching history by evaluating primary sources for their validity

…by writing down their analysis of these primary sources as well as writing about the role of

historians as storytellers and as analysts of primary sources



…and by presenting their analysis to the class
Materials:

  • Lecture notes on and images of the Jumonville Glen incident

  • Worksheet with different accounts of the Jumonville Glen incident

  • Guiding questions worksheet



Lesson Overview:


After listening to and taking notes on a lecture about the events leading up to the French and Indian War, including the Jumonville Glen incident, the students will have the opportunity to make their own assumptions about the events that transpired at Jumonville Glen. The students, in groups, will read different primary source accounts of the event, and answer guided questions to help them determine “whose history is the Truth,” and will present their analysis to the class.
Procedures:

  1. The teacher will present a lecture to the class on the events leading up to the French and Indian War. However, when presenting about the Jumonville Glen incident, the teacher will stick as close as possible to the “facts” while also highlighting the uncertainties:

    1. ie. George Washington and his men surrounded the French encampment as the French were waking up

    2. It is unclear who fired first

    3. After the firing stopped and the document was being translated, Ensign Jumonville “was killed”

  2. The students will get into groups and read each of the primary source accounts. They will then answer the questions on the accompanying worksheets.

  3. The students will then compile their responses into a single written group analysis of what they think actually happened.

  4. As each group presents, the teacher will facilitate discussion highlighting where the groups may have come up with a different analysis and where the groups agree and why.

  5. After all groups have presented, each group will then get a chance to defend their analysis and why they think it’s the “Truth.”

  6. The teacher will then lead a class discussion about the role of historians and how historians use primary sources to determine the “Truth”. The following are guided questions to facilitate the discussion:

    1. What do you think is the job of a historian?

    2. How does a historian figure out the “Truth”?

    3. Can a historian really ever figure out the “Truth” or should the historian be content with presenting many different versions of a story?

    4. What is the difference between simply telling “Facts” and presenting an “Analysis” of facts, sources, and events?

    5. Do historians living today have an easier job or harder job given all the technology we have now that we didn’t have then? Why or why not?

    6. If someone had videotaped the events at Jumonville Glen, would we have known the Truth? Why or why not?

  7. The students will then be given time to start their homework, which will be to answer some questions based on this class discussion and to explain what they think of the historian’s role in studying and presenting history and the historian’s methods for determining what happened in history.

Name________________________________ Date___________________ Period________


What Happened at Jumonville Glen?
Directions: Read each of the following accounts of what happened at Jumonville Glen. In your groups, answer the questions that follow each source, and then answer the questions that deal with all the sources. When you finish, discuss how you will present your analysis to the class to answer the question, “What happened at Jumonville Glen?”
Note: The following sources were copied from Fred Anderson, Crucible of War (New York: Vintage Books, 2000), p. 52-59.
Source 1: Excerpt from George Washington’s description of the event in his diary
“. . . .we formed ourselves for an Engagement, marching one after the other, in the Indian Manner: We were advanced pretty near to them, as we thought, when they discovered us; whereupon I ordered my company to fire; mine was supported by that of Mr. Wag[gonn]er’s, and my Company and his received the whole Fire of the French, during the greatest Part of the Action, which only lasted a Quarter of an Hour, before the Enemy was routed.

We killed Mr. de Jumonville, the commander of that Party, as also nine others; we wounded one, and made Twenty-one Prisoners, among whom were M. la Force, M. Drouillon, and two Cadets. The Indians scalped the Dead, and took away the most Part of their Arms. . . .”


Note: Washington replicated this account on May 29 in his official reports to Lieutenant Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia, as well as in his letters to his younger brother Jack Washington on May 31.
Questions for Source 1:
1. According to Washington’s account, what made him give the order to “fire”?
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2. How long did the “greatest Part of the Action” last?


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3. Who killed Mr. de Jumonville? By what method was Mr. de Jumonville killed?
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4. Did the Indians participate in firing on the French? What did the Indians do and when?

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5. What seems to be missing from Washington’s account?

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Source 2: In the confusion of the firing, one of Jumonville’s soldiers managed to hide in the woods, where he watched the fight and part of its aftermath before slipping away to make his report. Contrecoeur described it in a letter to Duquesne on June 2:
“One of that Party, Monceau by Name, a Canadian, made his Escape and tells us that they had built themselves Cabbins, in a low Bottom, where they sheltered themselves, as it rained hard. About seven o’Clock the next Morning, they saw themselves surrounded by the English on one Side and the Indians on the Other. The English gave them two Volleys, but the Indians did not fire. Mr. de Jumonville, by his Interpreter, told them to desist, that he had something to tell them. Upon which they ceased firing. Then Mr. de Jumonville ordered the Summons which I had sent them to retire, to be read. . . . The aforesaid Monceau, saw all our Frenchmen coming up close to Mr. de Jumonville, whilst they were reading the Summons, so that they were all in Platoons, between the English and the Indians, during which Time, said Monceau made the best of his Way to us, partly by Land through the Woods, and partly along the River Monaungahela, in a small Canoe. This is all, Sir, I could learn from said Monceau.”
Questions for Source 2:
1. Based on the “facts” you know about the event, what key part of the incident did Monsieur Monceau not get to see because he fled the scene shortly after they began reading the summons?
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2. Why did the French make their encampment in “a low Bottom”? Do you think this would be a good place to camp if you knew there was an enemy nearby? (Think about the pictures I showed you on the PowerPoint) Why or why not?
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3. When the French woke up, where were the English and where were the Indians?
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4. According to Monceau, did the Indians participate in firing on the French?
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5. When the summons was being read, where were the English, French, and Indians in relation to each other?
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Source 3: Another witness, an Indian from Tanaghrisson’s camp, had come to Fort Duquesne and informed Contrecoeur of the following:
“that Mr. de Jumonville was killed by a Musket-Shot in the Head, whilst they were reading the Summons; and the English would afterwards have killed all our Men, had not the Indians who were present, by rushing between them and the English, prevented their Design.”
Questions for Source 3:
1. What prevented the English from killing all the French?
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2. By what method was Mr. de Jumonville killed and by whom?
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3. After reading sources 1, 2, and 3, do you think the events were a fair fight or a massacre? Why? Be specific.
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Source 4: The following account was rendered by an illiterate twenty-year-old Irishman from Washington’s regiment who was not in fact a member of his detachment on the morning of May 28. Private John Shaw, however, heard detailed accounts of the engagement from soldiers who had been present, and he recounted them in a sworn statement before South Carolina’s governor on August 21:
“That an Indian and a White Man haveing brought Col. Washington Information that a Party of French consisting of five and thirty Men were out [scouting] and lay about six miles off upon which Col. Washington with about forty Men and Capt. Hogg with a Party of forty more and the Half King with his Indians consisting of thirteen imediately set out in search of them, but haveing taken different Roads Col. Washington with his Men and the Indians first came up with them and found them encamped between two Hills[. It] being early in the morning some of them were asleep and some eating, but haveing heard a Noise they were immediately in great Confusion and betook themselves to their Arms and as this Deponent has heard, one of [the French] fired a Gun upon which Col. Washington gave the Word for all his Men to fire. Several of them being killed, the Rest betook themselves to fight, but out Indians having gone round the French when they saw them immediately fled back to the English and delivered up their Arms desireing Quarter which was accordingly promised them.

Some Time after the Indians came up the Half King took his Tomahawk and split the Head of the French Captain haveing first asked if he was an Englishman and haveing been told he was a French Man. He then took out his Brains and washed his Hands with them and then scalped him. All this he [Shaw] has heard and never heard it contradicted but knows nothing of it from his own Knowledge only he has seen the Bones of the Frenchmen who were killed in Number 13 or 14 and the Head of one stuck upon a Stick for none of them were buried, and he has also heard that one of our Men was killed at that Time.”


Questions for Source 4:
1. According to this account, who fired first?
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2. What part do the Indians take in the battle?
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3. Who killed the “French Captain” according to this account? With what did he kill him?
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4. Based on what you know about Indian politics of the time period – particularly the Half King’s position as the Iroquois’s diplomatic spokesman for the Ohio Indians at the Forks – why do you think the Half-King may have had a reason to kill Ensign Jumonville in a “spectacular way”?

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Source 5: Contrecoeur obtained the following final account of the battle more than three weeks after his initial report to Duquesne. Contrecoeur’s informant was Denis Kaninguen, a deserter “from the English army camp” whose name suggests that he was a Catholic Iroquois an this most likely a member of Tanaghrisson’s party. Lieutenant Joseph-Gaspard Chaussegros de Lery, commandant at Fort Presque Isle, transcribed Contrecoeur’s summary of Kaninguen’s statement before he forwarded it to Montreal.
[July] The 7th, Sunday, at midday, a courier arrived from the Ohio [la Belle Riviere]. Monsieur de Contrecoeur . . . sends the attached deposition of an English deserter.

Denis Kaninguen, who deserted from the English army camp yesterday morning, arrived at the camp of Fort Duquesne today, 30 June.

He reports that the English army is composed of 430 men, in addition to whom there are about 30 savages. . . .

That Monsieur de Jumonville had been killed by an English detachment which surprised him[. T]hat that officer had gone out to communicate his orders to the English commander[. N]otwithstanding the discharge of musket fire that the latter [Washington] had made upon him, he [Washington] intended to read it [the summons Jumonville carried] and had withdrawn himself to his people, whom he had [previously] ordered to fire upon the French[. T]hat Monsieur de Jumonville having been wounded and having fallen[,] Thaninhison [Tanaghrisson], a savage, came up to him and had said, Thou art not yet dead, my father, and struck several hatchet blows with which he killed him.

That Monsieur Druillon, ensign and second in command to Monsieur de Jumonville, had been taken [captive] with all of the detachment, which was thirty men[.] Messieurs de Boucherville and DuSable, cadets, and Laforce, commissary, were among the number of prisoners[. T]hat there were between ten and twelve Canadians killed and that the prisoners had been carried to the city of Virginia [Williamsburg].

That the English had little food with them.

That if the French do not come into the territory of the English, the latter will no longer want [to] come into the land of the former.

That the said Denis Kaninguen had been pursued in leaving the English camp by a horseman, whose thigh he broke with a gun shot, [and that he] had taken his horse, and had ridden at full speed to the French camp.”


Questions for Source 5:
1. What were the words that the Half King spoke to Ensign Jumonville? Do you have a guess as to why he may have spoken those words before he killed him?
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2. How many men were killed?


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Directions: Before you answer the following questions, which are based on all the sources, please take note of the following additional facts (from Fred Anderson’s Crucible of War, p. 58):


  • Washington had never before led troops in battle.

  • Washington later described the hiss of passing bullets as “charming” – and in the midst of more confusion, smoke, and noise than he would ever have experienced before.

  • Shots fired in battle almost invariably produce two to four times as many wounds as deaths.

  • Washington’s men had scanty training, and their Brown Bess muskets were inaccurate.

  • Men firing downhill will always overshoot their targets unless they have been instructed to aim low.

1. Write down ALL the POSSIBLE events of the Jumonville Glen Affair below, and then, in the column on the right, write the NUMBER of the source that AGREES with that possible event.




List of ALL possible events during the Jumonville Affair.

Note: You MAY write conflicting facts below.



Source number that agrees with the event listed on the left







2. Do you think Washington is being entirely truthful? Why or why not? Why might Washington be intentionally leaving out some facts? Do you find this ironic, given the mythical “Cherry Tree” story?

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3. Do you think Washington was in control of his men? Do you think Washington was in control of the Half King and his warriors? Why or why not?


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4. Washington’s account makes it seem that all the French soldiers were killed by whom and during what part of the action?
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5. Given the lack of training of Washington’s men and the inaccuracy of the muskets, who do you think killed most of the Canadians? Why don’t you think Washington stopped this from happening? (Think about what happened immediately before this).


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6. Do you think it possible that the Half King actually sent the Indian in Source 3 to Fort Duquesne to tell the French that the English had killed Jumonville, and then attempted to massacre his men? Why or why not?
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7. Would you agree with the statement that the event was an ambush, followed by a massacre? Why or why not?
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8. Based on your group’s analysis of what you read, write an account of the “Truth” below:

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For Homework -- to be done AFTER class discussion:

1. What do you think it is a historian’s job to do?

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2. Should a historian analyze sources and events to come up with a “new” truth or should the historian merely present many people’s versions of events?

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3. Is it possible to report on something without bias? Does modern technology help us to do this? _____________________________________________________________________________



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