Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. It stated the reasons why the
colonies sought independence from Britain. The declaration opened with a preamble;
which described why the colonies overthrew their ruler and had decided to become a
Article I: Article One gave the power of making laws to congress. It also stated that
congress would consist of two houses. It also limited the terms for each house, and the
president of the United States of America. It had specific rules for t
Lecture 1 Notes: Course Introduction
About the encounter between Europeans and native peoples of America.
Not just initial meeting or conquest but over hundreds of years.
Clash of peoples and cultures. Partly physical: military, politica
Lecture 4 Notes: Indian Exploitation
Foundations of Economy
Spanish empire huge, lasted more than 300 years, went through many changes
So no generalizations could cover all variation.
Slow communications; rigid rules, often ignored; layers of bureaucracy.
Lecture 6 Notes: Spanish Influence
One of distinguishing features of Spanish conquest was emphasis on Christianizing
Indians. Not true of many empires: didn't care or tolerated other religions.
Primarily job of mendicant (begging) orders, took vow of pove
Lecture 5 Notes: The Columbian Exchange
For each crop, animal species, weed, or illness, one has to consider: How did it spread?
with or without human help? What was its specific value or contribution or impact? by
itself? in combination with others? How
Lecture 2 Notes: The Spanish Conquest
As previously noted, I will cover some material in lectures that is not in the readings.
Students are responsible for class material.
There is a tremendous literature on the initial conquest of the Americas, we can on
Lecture 3 Notes: Las Casas
Bartolom de las Casas was most famous defender of the Indians.
Challenges to historical understanding: to truly grasp his point of view and his rhetoric; to
get past layers of myth and hagiography; to try to understand his true
Lecture 10 Notes: War and Captivity
Guns and war
New England colonies full record. Different aspects much studied.
With Indians, much on war, captivity.
Settler colonies like New England worldwide have bad record of harming native
They are le
Lecture 8 Notes: The Fur Trade
First exploration and contact
First crossing of Atlantic and contact much more unofficial for North America than with
Often alleged that Viking, Welsh, Irish, Phoenician, Egyptians etc. early-on crossed to
Lecture 9 Notes: Jesuit Relations
What seem to have been the goals of publishing the Relations? How might the goals
have shaped, even distorted what wrote?
How are the Relations structured? What are the characteristic events? What are the high
Lecture 7 Notes: Resistance and Rebellion
At initial conquest, resistance variable: Maya held out longer than Aztec, famous Inca
state held out at margins of Peru 1536-72. Other regions only partially subdued or not
at all. But in core areas, thought for
Lecture 1 Notes: Interpreting Political Thought
Is there an American creed?
- This is a contentious point; Huntington says yes, but many others argue
- Accepts Tocquevillian idea that Americans are born equal.
- American lacks a feu
Lecture 2 Notes: Revolutionary America
- Individual rights/liberties violated by English Empire; thought to be
guaranteed by English Constitution;
- Violations include: new taxes, stamps, quartering of British troops (with
Lecture 4 Notes: Republicans vs. Federalists
Jeffersonian Republicans v. Hamiltonian Federalists, with Madison in the Pivot
I. Background Themes
1. Central question of the period: how strong (and big) the national government
should be; relationship betwee
Lecture 5 Notes: Individualism
Emerson and Thoreau
- Not typically thought of as political writers.
- Their writings raise interesting questions about the relationship between
democracy and individual freedom and character.
o Does democracy
Lecture 3 Notes: Constitution Debates
Debating the Constitution
Federalist Papers were a response to a series of Anti-Federalists papers; published in
New York newspapers.
2 Main issues divided the delegates at the Constitutional Convention
- popular so
Lecture 6 Notes: Nativism
Racism, Nativism, and Sexism in Antebellum America
Student presentations on readings:
Nott and Gliddon, Types of Mankind
- Pseudo-scientific approach to understanding racial differences
- Classifies mankind into 3 groups: Caucas
Lecture 8 Notes: Politics of Time
The New Inegalitarians, or the Descent of Man
- Mark Twain called it the Gilded Age.
- Shift from a country of small farmers to large corporations and masses of
- Characterized by a strengthened fait
Lecture 9 Notes: The Progressive Era
The Death of Freedom?
Progressive Era, 1898-1912
- Who were the Progressives, and what did they stand for?
o Centrists progressives: T. Roosevelt, Croly, Wilson, Booker T.
o Left progressives: Dewey, Addams
Lecture 10 Notes: Politics of Difference
The Politics of Inclusion and the Politics of Difference
Different ways of understanding relationship between freedom and equality
Freedom opposed to equality (libertarian view)
- Role for government in assuring b
Lecture 7 Notes: New Birth of Freedom
A New Birth of Freedom?
3 themes pervade Lincoln readings:
1. Lincoln was intellectually honest; curious; pragmatic.
2. Tension between reason and passion.
3. Tension between continuity and change.
General points re