Puritan minister Roger Williams

Essay Topic A:
Read the following two passages:
After being banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636 Puritan minister Roger Williams “founded the town of Providence” in what became Rhode Island on land purchased from the local Indians. Williams had preached that Massachusetts did not have the right to take land belonging to Native Americans, “that church and state should be entirely separate and that Puritans should not impose their ideas on others.”[1]“Rhode Island adopted a policy of tolerating all faiths, including Judaism,” it also “became a haven for other dissenters ….”[2]
During and after the Civil War, Pennsylvania Congressman Thaddeus Stevens was a leader of the Radical Republicans who advocated making emancipation a Union war goal, securing voting and civil rights for African Americans and using government power to protect their rights and safety. In his will, he instructed that he be buried in a racially integrated cemetery so that, as he wrote,
I might illustrate in my death
The Principles which I advocated through a long life:
EQUALITY OF MAN BEFORE HIS CREATOR.[3]
Consider the period from the first permanent English settlement in 1607 to the end of Reconstruction in 1877.Do you think that the attitudes and actions of Williams and Stevens toward the diverse racial, ethnic and religious groups in North America were typical of most Americans during this entire period?How would you characterize the relations between different groups? Write an essay explaining your position.

Essay B
Northerner Frederic Law Olmsted traveled in the South in the 1850s.He asked a Louisiana slave what he would do if he became free. “The slave responded that he would work, save money, buy a house and land, and would visit his mother back in Virginia.”[4]
Examining the period from the first permanent English settlement in 1607 to the end of Reconstruction in 1877, would you say that the goal of owning and working your own farm was the most common way that Americans aspired to upward social and economic mobility? Were there other paths that Americans followed to “get ahead?”In general, was America a land of opportunity where everyone could be successful? What factors influenced this? Compose an essay discussing your position.


[1] Mary Beth Norton, Jane Kamensky, Carol Sheriff, et. al., A People and a Nation: A History of the United States: Volume 1: To 1877, 10th ed., (Cengage Learning, 2015), 54.
[2] Norton, et. al., A People, 54.
[3] “Columbia Spy,” August 18, 2014, accessed December 1, 2018, https://www.columbiaspy.com/2014/08/columbia-home-…
[4] “Slavery: Program 9,” A Biography of America, Annenberg Learner.www.learner.org/series/biographyofamerica/prog09/transcript/index.html.

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Author Since: November 30, 2020