Issue is America Exceptional?



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Topics for the debate will come from one of our supplementary resources, Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History, Volume 1.

PART 1. Colonial Society


ISSUE 1. Is America Exceptional?

YES: Seymour Martin Lipset, from American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword

NO: Ian Tyrrell, from "American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History," American Historical Review

ISSUE 2. Was Columbus an Imperialist?

YES: Kirkpatrick Sale, from The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy

NO: Robert Royal, from 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History

ISSUE 3. Were the English Colonists Guilty of Genocide?

YES: David E. Stannard, from American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World

NO: Steven T. Katz, from "The Pequot War Reconsidered," The New England Quarterly

ISSUE 4. Was the Colonial Period a "Golden Age" for Women in America?

YES: Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh, from "The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland," William and Mary Quarterly

NO: Mary Beth Norton, from "The Myth of the Golden Age," in Carol Ruth Berkin and Mary Beth Norton, eds., Women of America: A History

ISSUE 5. Were Socioeconomic Tensions Responsible for the Witchcraft Hysteria in Salem?

YES: Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, from Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft

NO: Laurie Winn Carlson, from A Fever in Salem

PART 2. Revolution and the New Nation


ISSUE 6. Was the Great Awakening a Key to the American Revolution?

YES: William G. McLoughlin, from "`Enthusiasm for Liberty': The Great Awakening as the Key to the Revolution," in Jack P. Greene and William G. McLoughlin, Preachers and Politicians: Two Essays on the Origins of the American Revolution

NO: Jon Butler, from "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as

ISSUE 7. Were the Founding Fathers Democratic Reformers?

YES: John P. Roche, from "The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action," American Political Science Review

NO: Alfred F. Young, from "The Framers of the Constitution and the `Genius' of the People," Radical History Review

ISSUE 8. Was Thomas Jefferson Committed to Bringing an End to Chattel Slavery?

YES: Dumas Malone, from Jefferson and His Time, vol. 6: The Sage of Monticello

NO: William Cohen, from "Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Slavery," The Journal of American History

ISSUE 9. Was Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Policy Motivated by Humanitarian Impulses?

YES: Robert V. Remini, from Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom, 1822-1832, vol. 2

NO: Anthony F. C. Wallace, from The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians

PART 3. Antebellum America


ISSUE 10. Was Antebellum Reform Motivated Primarily by Humanitarian Goals?

YES: Alice Felt Tyler, from Freedom's Ferment: Phases of American Social History to 1860

NO: David J. Rothman, from The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic

ISSUE 11. Was the Mexican War an Exercise in American Imperialism?

YES: Rodolfo Acuña, from Occupied America: A History of Chicanos, 3rd ed.

NO: Norman A. Graebner, from "The Mexican War: A Study in Causation," Pacific Historical Review

ISSUE 12. Did the Westward Movement Transform the Traditional Roles of Women in the Mid-Nineteenth Century?

YES: Sandra L. Myres, from Westering Women and the Frontier Experience, 1800-1915

NO: John Mack Faragher, from Women and Men on the Overland Trail

ISSUE 13. Did Slavery Destroy the Black Family?

YES: Stanley M. Elkins, from Slavery: A Problem in American Institutional and Economic Life, 3rd ed.

NO: Eugene D. Genovese, from Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made

PART 4. Conflict and Resolution


ISSUE 14. Is Robert E. Lee Overrated as a General?

YES: Alan T. Nolan, from "Rally, Once Again!" Selected Civil War Writings of Alan T. Nolan

NO: Gary W. Gallagher, from "Another Look at the Generalship of R. E. Lee," in Gary W. Gallagher, ed., Lee the Soldier

ISSUE 15. Did Abraham Lincoln Free the Slaves?

YES: James M. McPherson, from Drawn With the Sword: Reflections on the American Civil War

NO: Vincent Harding, from There Is a River: The Black Struggle for Freedom in America

ISSUE 16. Did William M. Tweed Corrupt Post-Civil War New York?

YES: Alexander B. Callow, Jr., from The Tweed Ring

NO: Leo Hershkowitz, from Tweed's New York: Another Look

ISSUE 17. Was Reconstruction a "Splendid Failure?''

YES: Eric Foner, from "The New View of Reconstruction," American Heritage



NO: Thomas Holt, from Black Over White: Negro Political Leadership in South Carolina During Reconstruction

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