Unit 1: Framing the American Narrative


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includes: the beginnings of the War, The Enlightenment, John Locke, Deism, Thomas Paine and "Age of Reason", Thomas Jefferson and "The Declaration", Adam Smith and "Wealth of Nations", The Constitution

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Unit 1: Framing the American Narrative

  1. 1. Forming an American Identity Framing theAmerican Narrative
  2. 2. DO NOT TAKEA. Pre-War Conflicts with Britain 1. French and Indian War, 1754 a. Britain vs. France and Northern Indian alliesb. Britain wins, but constant battles with Indians 2. Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)a. Britain taxes colonies to pay war debtsb. pass Navigation Acts, limit American tradec. pass series of laws for profit; Stamp Act, Tea Act, etc. 3. Boston Massacre a. British soldiers kill five tax law protestorsb. fuel larger protests; anti-British, revolutionary sentiments 4. First Continental Congress (1774): claim unfair treatment, rejected by Britain 5. Britain tries to arrest colonial leaders, Battle of Lexington begins War
  3. 3. DO NOT TAKEB. Forming American Identity 1. British control of colonies slack, “salutary neglect” 2. Enlightenment influences new political ideals 3. Great Awakening: revivals of religion 4. mass distribution of print: create American identity
  4. 4. DO NOT TAKEC. The Enlightenment (1600s to French Revolution) 1. birth of modern philosophy, Scientific and Industrial Revolutions 2. first major philosophical question: “I think; therefore, I am.” (Descartes) 3. change in major question: from “What is Real” to “How do we Know?” 4. leads to challenges church, governments, artistic expression a. rise of existentialism and atheismb. new types of religious groupsc. rise of socialism and communism 5. Major beliefs a. ability to understand universe; sentiment guides morality (not God)b. encourages merit-based opportunity, growth in trade
  5. 5. English Philosopher, John LockeJohn Locke (1632-1704) is one of the most important, but largely unknown names in American history today. A celebrated English philosopher, educator, government official, and theologian, it is not an exaggeration to say that without his substantial influence on American thinking, there might well be no United States of America today – or at the very least, America certainly would not exist with the same level of rights, stability of government, and quality of life that we have enjoyed for well over two centuries.
  6. 6. English Philosopher, John LockeLocke’s specific writing that most influenced the American philosophy of government was his Two Treatises of Government. In fact, signer of the Declaration Richard Henry Lee saw the Declaration of Independence as being “copied from Locke’s Treatise on Government” – and modern researchers agree, having authoritatively documented that not only was John Locke one of three most-cited political philosophers during the Founding Era but that he was by far the single most frequently-cited source in the years from 1760-1776 (the period leading up to the Declaration of Independence).
  7. 7. John Locke, 1632-1704
  8. 8. DO NOT TAKED. American Deism 1. God made it possible for people to discover natural laws through reason 2. shared belief among many of the American founders 3. sought principles that were consistent among many major religions 4. major ideas: a. universe orderly and goodb. perfectibility through understandingc. show worship and belief through good works
  9. 9. DO NOT TAKEE. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) 1. Background a. born in England; spent 37 years drifting through many occupations unsuccessfullyb. new start in America, went to Philadelphia by recommendation of Franklin, began work as journalistc. supported Revolution in America (and later in France)d. later imprisoned in France for being English citizen; released by request of James Monroe who claimed him as an Americane. died an outcast because people thought he was a radical atheistf. stripped of right to vote, destitute, harassed, denied consecrated burial 2. Writings a. 1776 “Common Sense” – pamphlet denouncing England, fueling Revolutionary sentimentb. 1791 “Rights of Man” – defense of republican government, support of French Revolutionc. 1796 “Age of Reason” – on deismd. use of persuasive methods, essayist
  10. 10. Thomas Paine, 1737-1809oil painting by Auguste Millière (1880)
  11. 11. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason Paine supported the ousting of the French monarchy and the attempt toestablish a republic. Paine accepted honorary citizenship in France, andwas elected to the French Revolutionary National Assembly. In 1793, hevoted against the execution of the French king. Paine spoke out againstthe act of violent revenge, and pointed out that such punishments werethe tactics of cruel monarchs. He urged the king’s exile instead. After theking’s execution, anyone who had voted against the execution wasdeemed an enemy of the Revolution. Paine was arrested and sentenced todeath. During his imprisonment, Paine completed The Age of Reason. In thiscontroversial work, Paine strongly condemned all organized religion, andin particular Christianity, as a series of “fabulous inventions.” Though heacknowledged all are free to believe as they wish, he declared, “The onlytrue religion is Deism, by which I mean, the belief of one God, and animitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moralvirtues.” The Age of Reason was read widely throughout Europe andAmerica.
  12. 12. Thomas Paine, The Age of ReasonIntroduction to the book:TO MY FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:I PUT the following work under your protection. It contains my opinions upon Religion. You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the Right of every Man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.Your affectionate friend and fellow-citizen,THOMAS PAINELuxembourg, 8th Pluvoise,Second Year of the French Republic, one and indivisible.January 27, O. S. 1794.
  13. 13. Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason Age of Reason, Part First, selections from Sections I-II
  14. 14. Exercise1. Take out your text from Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God; It is quite clear that Americans had different views on religion, and it is clear that both, in some way, influenced this country’s formation.2. First, go through the work by Paine. Find one important point that he makes in support of Deism (see your handout). On your own sheet of paper, Explain what he means by this idea. (one paragraph)3. Then, infer what Edwards might say to Paine in response, based on his own concept of God in Sinners. Use details from his work to support this response. (one paragraph)4. How would Paine refute Edward’s claim? (one paragraph)5. You can choose to write this as an actual dialogue (writing in each person’s perspective), or you can write separate paragraph responses.6. Homework if you do not finish. We will discuss tomorrow.
  15. 15. Add to your Enlightenment/F. Revolutionary Writings, influenced by Enlightenment Deism Handout 1. Influences of the Enlightenment a. challenge Puritan theo-centric thoughtb. growth in sense of national identityc. emphasis on social well-being rather than personal spiritual progressd. more eager to read accounts of individual’s experiences than religiousintrospectione. caused greater social mobility and cultural acceptance of reason, equality, innate moral sense 2. Revolutionary Writingsa. use of Enlightenment ideas and anti-monarchy language to spur supportb. growth of mass-produced newspapers and pamphlets (printing press)c. women’s rights writings begin to emerge (slowly)d. idealistic assumption that all people share common sense of right andwrong (fundamental idea of American democracy)
  16. 16. DO NOT TAKEG. Thomas Jefferson (1746-1826) 1. Background a. born in Virginia, educated at William and Mary Collegeb. studied lawc. elected to House of Burgesses in 1769, spokesperson for the rights of personal liberty and religious freedomd. chosen by Second Continental Congress to draft Declaratione. short term as governor of Virginia, minister to France, Secretary of State,Vice President, Presidentf. as president, expanded US with Louisiana Purchaseg. after retirement, helped establish University of Virginia 2. Writings a. early pamphlets call for rejection of British Parliamentary authorityb. embodied beliefs in rights of individuals and states to self- govern, strove tokeep power vested in agrarian backbone of countryc. avoided elaborate public displays - simple
  17. 17. Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States 1743-1826
  18. 18. Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence Too Late to Apologize, Declaration of Independence edition
  19. 19. Exercise1. Independently, we will all re-read the Declaration, annotating for all six of the major Enlightenment ideas (see handout).2. We will then break the room up into six groups.3. Each group will be assigned one of the six Enlightenment ideas.4. As a group, you need to decide which line of the Declaration BEST represents that idea.5. Choose someone in your group who writes nicely – have them write the quote on the piece of poster-board provided for you (pretty large, we will hang these in the room as reminders of the roots of American thought as we read literature influenced by it).6. Decorate in the spirit of American patriotism to your liking 
  20. 20. IndependentWork1. On a sheet of your own paper, write your group’s chosen quote at the top. Using CQT format, support your choice – how is it an example of the particular Enlightenment idea?2. CQT = Context, Quote, Tie-in – Context = topic sentence, the historical significance, summary of the work and its purpose (includes title of work and author), intention of your analysis (what you’re aiming to show) – Quote = integrate into your argument as support/evidence (avoid “quote bombs,” saying “this quote shows”) – Tie-in = analysis; how does the information you’ve presented so far demonstrate what you’ve wanted to show? “Tie-in” to your topic sentence, making sure to use lots of details and explicit explanation. Don’t leave anything to assumption – pretend your reader is unfamiliar with both the declaration AND the Enlightenment, which means you need to give adequate expression to BOTH. *Response should be a lengthy paragraph.
  21. 21. Adam Smith, 1723-1790Portrait by John Kay, 1790
  22. 22. Wealth of Nations Journal/Discussion Topic Since Adam Smith’s writing, America has grown, flourished, and has established its foundational principles politically, socially, and economically. However, in our day and age especially, we are starting to really see the long-term consequences of Smith’s proposed system.selection 1, from Michael Moores Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)selection 2, from Michael Moores Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)selection 3, from Michael Moores Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
  23. 23. Wealth of Nations Journal/Discussion TopicIn your notebooks, thoroughly answer the following:We live in a very trying time – with such things as the Occupymovement bringing grievances to light, and the internet makingcommunication so accessible that movements such as the ArabSpring can assemble in record speeds, it is obvious that there ismuch unrest about the state of our world. Now that you arefamiliar with the principles of Adam Smith’s system ofCapitalism, provide examples of problems you see in your dailylife (here in California, the US, or in the World at large) whichare a result of those principles. What gave rise to thoseproblems, and how might Adam Smith answer them? Howwould you answer them? Be thoughtful about this, and diginto your political pockets for this response.
  24. 24. The United States of America, ConstitutionSchoolhouse Rock: The Constitution, PreambleBecause, who can resist a good blast from the elementary school past?
  25. 25. The Basic Structure of the Constitution (1787) 1. Preamblea. The preamble is the introduction to the Constitution.b. states the fundamental purposes, principles, and goals of the government established by the Constitution c. defines the reasons behind the Constitution, establishes what justifies a government, and explains how its citizens have come to create one 2. Articles a. The Constitution is divided into 7 sections called Articles. b. Each article explains a part of the Constitution c. Major 3: i. Article I – explains the legislative branch (Congress) ii. Article II – explains the executive branch (President) iii. Article III – explains the judicial branch (Supreme Court) d. supporting articles: i. Article V – explains how to add amendments to the Constitution. ii. Article VI – called “The Supremacy Clause”; states that laws made by Congress are superior to state laws; state laws are not allowed to conflict with national laws. 3. Amendments a. amendment – a formal written change to the Constitution b. The Constitution has 27 amendments. c. The first 10 amendments = The Bill of Rights i. lists the rights all citizens have that the government cannot take away. ii. added to the Constitution by Congress in 1791
  26. 26. Exercise (and brainstorming)On your own sheet of paper, brainstorm some responses to the following questions:1. What is respect?2. How can we create an atmosphere of respect?3. What are our responsibilities as students?4. What is our teacher’s responsibility to us?5. What are our rights in the classroom?6. What are our teacher’s rights?