See Section 1: Grading, Item 6 for details on the format and grading of this task.
Narrow the thesis question to a manageable topic after securing seven hard sources (not including internet sources) and reading the requirements of the paper. 1. What were the pros and cons of the creation of a National Bank? What political and constitutional issues were involved in this piece of legislation?
2. Compare and contrast “loose” and “strict” constructionism. What is the basis of support for each position?
3. Assess the extent to which the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 played a role in shaping American history after 1800?
4. Compare and contrast the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, especially their views on democracy, government power, the economy, and foreign affairs.
5. Which sectional and economic groups generally supported the Federalists and which the Democratic-Republicans? Why?
6. Write your definition of democracy. Then use this definition to argue that Jefferson or Hamilton was the better spokesperson for democratic government in the 1790s.
7. How would you have voted on funding, assumption, the National Bank, and protective tariffs in Hamilton's program? Explain why you would advocate strict or loose constructionism.
8. In which party, Federalist or Democratic-Republican, would you have been most comfortable? Why?
9. Describe what you think would be Hamilton's assessment of government in the United States today. Describe what you think Jefferson's assessment would be.
10. According to the text's authors, “critics claimed [Hamilton] loved his adopted country more than he loved his countrymen.” Rephrase this statement in your own words; then supply evidence supporting the statement.
11. Assess the validity of the following statement, “it was fortunate for the Republic that the Federalists had the helm [control of the government] for a time.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
12. What was the relationship between the French Revolution and American domestic politics in the 1790s?
13. Summarize the central argument of the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions. Explain why they are key documents in American history.
14. Very early in its national history, the United States established a tradition of isolationism in its foreign policy. How did the Neutrality Proclamation and Washington's Farewell Address contribute to this tradition?
15. Write your definition of majority rule. Then use this definition to argue that the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions were or were not a threat to majority rule.
16. Before 1790, American leaders denounced political parties. Explain why, nonetheless, political parties came into existence and what function they performed in the early Republic.
17. How were the Alien and Sedition Acts “supposed” violations of the Bill of Rights? What arguments were used to justify these acts and what arguments were used to argue against these? Do you find these arguments convincing? Why or why not?
18. List the provisions of Jay's Treaty. Which were most unsatisfactory to American interests? Why?
19. Which of the following do you think made the most important contribution to American national interests: Neutrality Proclamation, Farewell Address, Convention of 1800? Justify your answer.
20. John Adams called his peaceful resolution of the problems with France in 1800 “the most splendid diamond in my crown.” Why did he think so? Was his pride justified? Why or why not?
21. A diplomatic historian has said in reference to early American foreign policy that “Europe's troubles became America's opportunities.” What events of the 1790s would best illustrate the truth of this remark? Why?
22. Why do the text's authors refer to the case of Marbury v. Madison as “epochal”? Describe the short- and long-term ramifications of the decision.
23. What basis did Thomas Jefferson have for believing that American trade could be used as a diplomatic tool? Would you judge his economic coercion policy a failure or a success? Why or why not?
24. Assess the validity of Jefferson's claim that the election of 1800 “was a revolution comparable to that of 1776.” Do you consider that revolution to be a real revolution or a more moderate renovation in American political history? Support your answer.
25. List at least three key principles of government advanced by Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party before 1800. Describe how these ideals fared during Jefferson's administration. Were they translated into public policy? Explain how or, if not, why not.
26. Suppose you were a faithful Democratic-Republican Party adviser to President Jefferson in 1803. What arguments would you present in favor of the Louisiana Purchase? What arguments opposing the purchase would you have to counter?
27. Set the following statement in its historical context, “The day France takes possession of New Orleans we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation.” Why was Thomas Jefferson so alarmed?
28. The text's authors believe that the Louisiana Purchase was “the most glorious achievement of Jefferson as president.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
29. Assess the Jeffersonian presidency. What do you think were his three most important legacies? Explain your choices.
30. Set the historical context of the following quote, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. . . . “ Which principle does this establish? Has this principle had any impact in our current political and legal context? How so – do you agree with the principle or not? Why or why not?
31. Why were internal improvements a controversial issue in the decade following the War of 1812?
32. Why was the West the region most seized with the spirit of nationalism following the War of 1812?
33. To what extent had John Quincy Adam's behavior during the Florida Purchase Treaty and the Monroe Doctrine earned him the title of the “lone-wolf nationalist”?
34. Why did the United States reject the British foreign minister's proposal for a joint declaration of opposition to any further colonization in the Western Hemisphere?
35. To what extent was the Monroe Doctrine an isolationist document? Support your answer.
36. Rank the following in the order of what you see as their importance in shaping America's legal system: McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden, Fletcher v. Peck, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, Cohens v. Virginia. Justify your ranking.
37. Select two of the following and explain what important contributions to American nationalism after the War of 1812 they made: John Marshall, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, or John Quincy Adams? Justify your selection.
38. To what extent is the Era of Good Feelings “something of a misnomer” for the decade following the War of 1812?
39. Historians have sometimes referred to the program of the Jeffersonian Republicans after 1815 as “neo-Federalist.” Is this an accurate label? Why or why not?
40. Compare and contrast the competing views behind both sides of the Missouri Compromise. To what extent can the compromise be seen as a victory and a loss for both sides? Which side do you think got the better deal? Justify your answer.
41. The text's authors crown John Marshall as “the foremost of the Molding Fathers,” whereas a contemporary newspaper editorial condemned him as “a man whose political doctrines led him always…to strengthen government at the expense of the people.” Which point of view do you think has the most substance? Why?
42. Which do you think was the most significant event of the decade following the Treaty of Ghent: panic of 1819, McCulloch v. Maryland, Florida Purchase Treaty, Missouri Compromise, or Monroe Doctrine? Justify your selection.
43. Why were the landlocked South and West so ardently in favor of a war for freedom of the seas that sea-fronting states in the East opposed?
44. Since both France and Britain were guilty of placing commercial restrictions on American trade, why did the United States declare war only on Britain?
45. To what extent can it be said that the United States won a victory over Great Britain in the War of 1812?
46. Write your definition of national independence. Then use this definition to argue that the War of 1812 should or should not be called the Second War for American Independence.
47. Which do you think was the major cause of the War of 1812: western war hawk territorial expansion, British violations of American neutrality rights on the high seas, or the urge to uphold national honor and pride? Justify your selection.
48. What do the text's authors mean by stating that the War of 1812 “was 'won' by the United States, so far as it was won at all, in Europe”?
49. Regarding opposition to the War of 1812, the authors remark that “profits dull patriotism.” Is this a fair explanation of antiwar sentiment in 1812–1815? Why or why not?
50. What might the president and Congress have done in 1812 to avoid war with Britain and still maintain the nation's honor?
51. Assess the validity of the following statement, “America may not have fought the war [War of 1812] as one nation, but it emerged as one nation.”
52. Compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of Henry Clay's “American System.” What was the basis of support and opposition for this proposal?
53. Describe the ways in which nationalism exhibited itself in the American republic following the War of 1812?
54. Why was the election of 1824 so ridden with conflict and confusion? What was at stake between the competing candidates, especially Adams and Jackson?
55. Compare and contrast John C. Calhoun's position with regard to protective tariffs in 1816 with that of his position in 1828.
56. To what extent was Andrew Jackson a states' rightist? To what extent was he a nationalist?
57. Write your definition of political favoritism. Then use this definition to argue that the rotation in office/spoils system of the Jacksonians was or was not crass political favoritism.
58. Assess the validity of the following statement, “Andrew Jackson was a common man in the Presidency.”
59. If you had lived in the 1820, would you have voted for Andrew Jackson? Why or why not?
60. In what ways did Andrew Jackson as president reflected the views, values, and interests of the West and that of the South?
61. Select two of the following and explain how they would have supported Andrew Jackson and Jacksonian policies:
Thomas Jefferson John Adams
Alexander Hamilton George Washington
62. To what extent is the following statement true or false, “the Tariff of 1828 was dishonest.”? Why? What purposes lay behind passage of this tariff law?
63. Summarize the major points of each participant in the Webster-Hayne debate. Explain why the text's authors can claim that Webster “probably did more than any other person to arouse the incoming generation of northerners to fight for the ideal of the Union.”
64. Compare and contrast the Whigs and Democrats in regard to their beliefs, public policies, and supporters. Summarize the crucial differences between them.
65. To what extent did the tariff policy become an important national issue by 1832? Summarize the South's position on protective tariffs.
66. To what extent was John Quincy Adams's presidency frustrating for him and was ultimately judged a “failure?”
67. Write your definition of tyrant. Then use this definition to argue that Andrew Jackson was or was not a presidential tyrant riding roughshod over the Constitution.
68. Write your definition of a great president. Then use this definition to argue that Andrew Jackson was or was not a great president.
69. Compare and contrast Calhoun's South Carolina Exposition to the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions with regard to the doctrine of secession. Why did Calhoun put forward this view of constitutional propriety?
70. List the chief controversial issues of the Jackson administration. What position did Jackson take on each of them? Why?
71. Did the national government or the state of South Carolina “win” the nullification crisis? Justify your answer.
72. If you had been living in the age of Jackson, would you have been for or against the following: nullification, veto of the bank, and Indian removal? Justify your position.
73. Evaluate the wisdom of Jackson's veto of the re-charter bill for the Bank of the United States. Who gained and who lost by his veto?
74. Why has Andrew Jackson been called “the first modern president”?
75. It has been observed that “though Jackson was perhaps not himself a democrat, he was a democratic leader.” Do you agree or disagree? Why?
76. How does the election of 1840 “illustrate the shortcomings of democratic politics”?
77. The text's authors have presented the view that “if Jackson had only strangled the serpent of secession in the cradle [during the nullification crisis] …there might have been no costly Civil War.” Do you think that Andrew Jackson acted wisely in the nullification crisis? Why or why not?
78. To what extent does American democracy have on free-market capitalism? What role did class play in Jacksonian democracy?
79. Set the historical context of the following statement and state to what extent you agree or disagree with it, “we are not a nation, but a union, a confederacy of equal and sovereign states.”
80. Compare and contrast the economic development of the Northeast with that of the South. What were some of the reasons that cause those differences in development?
81. Compare and contrast the United States with Britain and Europe in the industrialization of its economy.
82. To what extent did the American government contribute to and promote industrial growth and economic expansion in the early nineteenth century?
83. To what extent did the impact of industrialization, urbanization, and the transportation revolution have on the development of American agriculture?
84. Summarize the impact of the industrial revolution on American labor, on the rich and the poor, and on families and home life.
86. To what extent did each of the following play in the development of industrialization of the American economy: technology, immigration, investment, government aid, and internal improvements?
87. Rank the following in terms of their contribution to industrialization: cotton gin, principle of interchangeable parts, Erie Canal. Justify your ranking.
88. Identify the single most significant development in (a) manufacturing technology, (b) transportation, (c) communications technology, and (d) business organization that encouraged industrialization in the United States. Explain your choice in each category.
89. List the five most important inventions of the early nineteenth century and rank them in order of importance. Justify your ranking.
90. Assess the validity of the following statement, “the Erie Canal was the single most important accomplishment contributing to economic expansion prior to the coming of the railroad.”
91. The text's authors claim that on the eve of the Civil War, “a truly continental economy had emerged… [in which] the principle of division of labor…applied on a national scale.” Briefly explain the operation of this “national” economy and its political implications.
92. If America is indeed a “nation of immigrants,” why does it have a history of native prejudice toward new immigrant groups?
93. Explain the impact of the market revolution on American workers, including women.
94. What traits fostered by America's early-nineteenth-century frontier experience are less than admirable? Why did they become American traits?
95. Compare and contrast the Irish and German immigrants of early-nineteenth-century America in terms of their motives for leaving Europe, pattern of settlement in the United States, impact on American life, and reception by native-born Americans.
96. The text's authors state that “the West, with its raw frontier, was the most typically American part of America” in the early nineteenth century. Explain what they mean by this remark. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
97. It has been claimed that the frontier acted as a “safety valve” for the East, allowing the discontented to begin an alternative life on the frontier. To what extent does this seem to have been true?
98. Assess the validity of the following statement, “The cotton gin affected not only the history of America but that of the world.”
99. How did Eli Whitney make the American Civil War more likely and at the same time give the Union an advantage once the war began?
100. Why were women prominent in the reform crusades of the early nineteenth century? What contribution did they make to social reform?
101. Why did the communitarian movement flourish in the early nineteenth century? What were communitarians trying to prove? Why did most fail?
102. How did each of the following encourage social reform: Second Great Awakening, industrialization, nostalgia for the past?
103. Write your definition of paternalism. Then use this definition to argue that early-nineteenth-century American reform efforts were in part paternalistic endeavors by middle-class Americans to “do something for” the less fortunate.
104. What do you find the single most worthwhile reform movement of the early nineteenth century? Why?
105. What was the relationship between industrialization and the women's rights movement? What did women reformers want?
106. In what ways did American literature in the early nineteenth century reflect the New Democracy of the Jacksonian age?
107. The text's authors contend that early-nineteenth-century Americans “were more interested in practical gadgets than in pure science,” and it is widely believed that Americans have always had a love affair with technology. Why?
108. How do the Knickerbocker group, Hudson River school, and transcendentalists all reflect the “nationalism” of early-nineteenth-century America? What particularly “American” values did each reflect?
109. The text's authors label Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville “literary individualists and dissenters.” Against what were they dissenting? Why?
110. What role did women play in the intellectual and literary movements of the early 1800s?
111. The authors claim that in early-nineteenth-century America, public schools “existed chiefly to educate the children of the poor.” Why were both upper- and lower-class Americans willing to support public education with their tax dollars?
112. Explain why the Mormons became a target for religious intolerance in America.
113. In the reform movements of the first half of the 1800s, historians have regarded some reformers in the abolitionist movement not so much as heroes, but as people who sought social control. What is your opinion?
114. To what extent was cotton production and slavery more a burden to the South than a benefit?
115. Why was the proposal for colonizing blacks back to Africa attractive to many whites, even as late as the onset of the Civil War?
116. To what extent were abolitionists extremists when they undertook to abolish slavery?
117. To what extent was slavery an exceptionally cruel institution?
118. What would be your view on slavery if you were a typical…
a. planter aristocrat c. non-slave owning white e. free black
b. small slave owner d. mountain Southerner
119. Assume the role of a southern slave. Describe what life is like for you. What experiences have you had, what have you seen happen, what emotions have you felt, and what do you believe and value?
120. To what extent did the “gag resolution” symbolize the threat that slavery posed for all Americans, North and South.
121. Assess the validity of the following statement, “slaves were better off than both wage earners in northern industry and free blacks back in Africa.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
122. Elaborate on the text authors' comment that with the invention of the cotton gin, “the slave [was]…chained to the gin and the planter to the slave.”
123. Assess the validity of the following statement, “white southerners…liked the black as an individual but despised the race. The white northerner…often professed to like the race but disliked individual blacks.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
124. To what extent did extreme abolitionists do more harm than good, with regard to the slavery problem?
125. It has been argued that both Britain and the North were tied to the South with “cotton threads.” Explain.
126. Describe the arguments and the ways in which the south reacted to antislavery arguments after the 1830's.
127. Texas declared its independence from Mexico in 1836. Why wasn't it annexed to the United States until 1845?
128. Compare and contrast President Polk's willingness to go to war against Mexico over Texas but not against Britain over Oregon?
129. Given the great enthusiasm for territorial expansion, why did the “all of Mexico” movement fail?
130. To what extent was the Mexican War a “limited” war?
131. Was there any validity to the charge that the Texas annexation and Mexican War were attempts to expand slavery? Why or why not?
132. Write your definition of national interest. Then use this definition to argue that the Webster-Ashburton Treaty or the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo did or did not serve the national interests of the United States.
133. Write your definition of imperialism. Then use this definition to argue that the United States was or was not an imperialistic nation in the 1840s.
134. List the following items in order of their importance as factors in the outbreak of war between the United States and Mexico: Slidell mission, Taylor's troops on the Rio Grande, debt claims of American citizens, Manifest Destiny, Polk's quest for California. Justify your ranking and explain how each item contributed to the outbreak of war.
135. List the following items in order of their importance as contributors to American expansion to the Pacific: land hunger, trade opportunities, suspicion of British intentions, Manifest Destiny. Justify your ranking and explain how each item contributed to territorial expansion.
136. Assess the validity of the following statement, “James K. Polk is one of America's near great presidents.” Do you agree that he should be so highly ranked? Why or why not?
137. To what extent was the Mexican War inevitable? Was it necessary? Why or why not? What might either side have done to avoid war?
138. Assess the validity of the following statement; the Mexican War was a major cause of the American Civil War.”
139. To what extent was there a reassertion of Manifest Destiny in the 1850s? What were the goals of America's diplomacy at the time?
140. Explain the widespread popularity of the concept of popular sovereignty as a way to resolve the issue of slavery in the territories. Then explain why it ultimately failed.
141. Explain the relationship between the Ostend Manifesto and the slavery controversy in the United States.
142. Write your definition of compromise. Then use this definition to argue that popular sovereignty was or was not a reasonable compromise between the sections on the slavery expansion issue.
143. Do you believe that there is a “higher law” than the Constitution? What is it? Why is this concept “dangerous to republican government”?
144. Assess the validity of the following statement, “the Compromise of 1850 contributed to the Union victory in the Civil War.”
145. To what extent was the Kansas-Nebraska Act a serious mistake for southern interests.
146. Compare and contrast the views of Clay, Webster, and Calhoun in the congressional debate that produced the Compromise of 1850.
147. To what extent did the building of the first transcontinental railroad linking the East and the West contribute to the wrenching apart of the North and the South?
148. The text's authors observe that during the debate of 1850, John C. Calhoun, hoping to save the Union, proposed “an utterly unworkable scheme of electing two presidents, one from the North and one from the South, each wielding a veto.” Explain why such an arrangement would have been “utterly unworkable.”
149. The authors argue that the North “got the better of the Compromise of 1850.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
150. It has been said that “the historian who searches for examples of intelligent and tolerant statesmanship in the period 1850–1854 seeks almost in vain.” Citing the “statesmanship” of men like Clay, Douglas, Webster, Calhoun, Pierce, and Fillmore, demonstrate that this argument is or is not supportable.
151. Do you think that by the end of 1854 the two sections had reached an impasse and that Civil War was inevitable sooner or later? Why or why not?
152. What was responsible for the violence in “Bleeding Kansas”? Why might the violence be viewed as a “prelude to Civil War”?
153. What were the implications of the Dred Scott decision for
a. the status of free blacks in the United States? c. the future of slavery in America
b. the concept of popular sovereignty?
154. Write your definition of national self-determination. Then use this definition to argue that southern secession in 1860–1861 was or was not an act of a people conscious of their own separate nationalism and determined to achieve it for themselves.
155. To what extent did each of these individuals contributed to the coming of the Civil War: John Brown, Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln.
156. Compare and contrast the criticism in Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin to Helper's The Impending Crisis of the South. Which had the more dramatic effect on public opinion? Why?
157. Always—in 1787, 1820, 1833, and 1850—the North and South had been able to compromise over their differences. Why not in 1861?
158. Rank the following in order of their importance to the coming of the Civil War: Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott decision, John Brown's raid, Lincoln's election. Justify your ranking.
159. Assess the validity of the following statement, “Kansas provided a horrible example of the working of popular sovereignty.”
160. Assess the validity of the following statement, “it was probably fortunate for the Union that secession and civil war did not come in 1856, following a Republican victory.”
161. The authors argue that despite Lincoln's election in 1860, the South “was not badly off.” What do they mean? Why, in spite of this, did southern states secede?
162. To what extent was the Crittenden Compromise a way to avoid Civil War? What modifications might have made it more attractive to both Lincoln and the South?
163. Explain why Britain finally decided against intervention on behalf of the Confederacy. In what ways was Britain helpful to the South anyway?
164. Write your definition of revolution. Then use this definition to argue that the Civil War did or did not produce a revolution in the political, economic, and social life of the United States.
165. To what extent was President Lincoln justified in his violations of ordinary civil liberties during the Civil War? Why or why not?
166. Assess the validity of the following statement, “the South's devotion to states' rights was a major reason for its failure to win the Civil War.”
167. During the Civil War many poor Southerners complained that it was a rich man's war but a poor man's fight. On what basis did they make this complaint? Could Northerners have made the same accusation for the same reason? Explain.
168. When confronted with Southern secession in 1861, why didn't Lincoln simply allow the South to separate in peace?
169. The Civil War began in 1861. Why was it 1863 before Lincoln committed the Union to the emancipation of slaves?
170. At the outset of the Civil War, the South confidently anticipated that King Cotton would guarantee it European intervention. Why didn't this intervention materialize?
171. Identify the significance of the Border States to both the North and the South. How did they influence the shaping of Union strategy?
172. Explain the economic, military, and diplomatic results of the Union victory and Confederate defeat in the Civil War. What do you think was the main reason that the South lost? Explain your choice.
173. Which of the following do you think was the most significant battle of the Civil War: Antietam, Gettysburg, or Vicksburg? Why?
174. Historians usually rank the “Great Emancipator,” Abraham Lincoln, as the “greatest” of American presidents. Do you agree? Why or why not?
175. To what extent did the role of blacks, free and slave, in both North and South, in any way affect the outcome of the Civil War?
176. The Civil War has also been called the “War Between the States” and the “War for Southern Independence.” Which of the three titles do you find most apt? Why?
177. Explain why General Sherman conducted the devastating “march to the sea.” Explain in what ways this was like conducting modern “total war.”
178. Assess the validity of the following statement, “the Emancipation Proclamation was a proclamation without emancipation.”
179. Assess the validity of the following statement, “the removal of Lincoln [as president in 1864] was the last real hope for a Confederate victory.”
180. List the three most significant immediate consequences of the Civil War. Justify your selection and indicate which one consequence you think was the most important and why.
182. What were the key elements of President Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction policies that stirred objections from Congressional Republicans? Why did congressional leaders so strongly object to those policies?
183. What role did each of the following play in the congressional assumption of control over Reconstruction policy: Black Codes, Southern election of former Confederates, President Johnson's personality and actions?
184. Why was President Johnson impeached? Why didn't the Senate convict him of “high crimes and misdemeanors”? Would Johnson's conviction have permanently altered the balance of power between Congress and the President?
185. How did freed slaves respond to Reconstruction? How did freedom affect the economic, social, and political life of former slaves? In what ways was their freedom still incomplete?
186. Radical Republicans have been both credited with having high ideals and accused of crass partisanship as motives for their Reconstruction policies. Which argument do you find more persuasive? Why?
187. Some historians have argued that Reconstruction was a total failure, while others have seen it as laying the foundation for future American progress in race relations and civil rights. What arguments can be made for each position? Which is more persuasive?
188. Assess the achievements and shortcomings of “radical” regimes in the South. What did they do that is worth admiring and worth condemning? What else might they have done to better achieve their goals?
189. Compare and contrast Lincoln's, Johnson's, and Congress's plans for Reconstruction. Cite what was included and what was omitted. Which program do you think was the best? Why?
190. There are several examples in American history of rapid reconciliation with the defeated foe. Why didn't the South receive this sympathetic treatment in Reconstruction? Who or what do you fault for the “harshness” of Southern Reconstruction? Why?
191. Had you been present, would you have been a supporter of President Johnson's plan for Reconstruction, a moderate Republican, or a radical Republican? Why?
192. It has been wryly observed that “the North won the Civil War, but the South won Reconstruction.” Interpret this statement and assess its truth.
193. The Fourteenth Amendment is commonly referred to as one of the most important additions to the Constitution. Why?