U.S History

One of the most important skills a historian develops is the ability to evaluate historical documents. This evaluation concerns asking questions of the documents that allows a historian to have insight in a particular topic or period being investigated. This week’s documents relate to the weekly module topic.  This week’s documents relate to the weekly module topic of culture and cultural interaction. If you still need help prioritizing your questions of the document go to Document Interpretation Tutorial Page. Use activities below to learn how to analyze various types of sources and to become an historian yourself.

Directions

In this weekly discussion assignment you will need to:

Choose one of the documents below to read.

  1. Write a 250 word initial post and present your interpretation of the document and the material you have been introduced. You can do this by following the guiding of the questions in the Document Interpretation Tutorial PageThis is due by: Thursday, 11:59 pm.
  2. Respond to at least 2 other classmates’ interpretations. Your response is due by: Sunday 11:59 pm.

old_book.jpgThe Confederate Constitution (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Read only article 1-5)

  • According to this document, what action had 14 states undertaken that violated the Constitution?
  • What is the “property” described in this document?
  • Does this document help us to address the question of whether the Civil War was fought over slavery? If so, how?

old_book.jpgJefferson Davis, Address to the Provincial Congress of the Confederate States of America  (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Read only the first four paragraphs)

  • What legal justification does Davis give for secession?
  • According to Davis, what role did slavery play in bringing about the Civil War?

old_book.jpgAbraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

  • What does Lincoln have to say about the expansion of slavery beyond its current boundaries?
  • Lincoln’s first inaugural address has often been noted for its conciliatory approach to the South.  In what ways does Lincoln attempt to soothe the fears of southerners? Conversely, in what ways does he state that he will remain firm on his principals regardless of whom he offends?

old_book.jpgGeorge McClellan to Abraham Lincoln Letter (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

  • President Lincoln had replaced McClellan for inactivity in the field.  In your opinion, does this letter portray McCellan as a leader?
  • Is it clear what General McClellan is saying?

old_book.jpgSouth Carolina Declaration of the Causes of Secessions (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Read, “In the present case, that fact is established with certainty…” to the end.)

  • According to this document, what action had 14 states undertaken that violated the Constitution?
  • What is the “property” described in this document?
  • Does this document help us to address the question of whether the Civil War was fought over slavery? If so, how?
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