Reading the American Past, Volume I: To 1877 : Selected Historical Documents

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2008-01-04
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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This two-volume primary-source collection provides a diverse selection of voices from the nation's past while emphasizing the important social, political, and economic themes of a U.S. history survey course. Thirty-one new documents (one per chapter) present history from the perspective of notable leaders and ordinary people alike, focusing particular attention on the West, gender, ethnicity, and America in a global context. A revised introduction offers clear and helpful guidance on how to read and analyze primary documents. Edited by one of the authors of The American Promise and designed to complement the textbook, Reading the American Past features over 150 documents, each accompanied by a headnote and questions for discussion. Chapter headnotes and comparative questions further encourage students' understanding of the sources.

Author Biography

MICHAEL P. JOHNSON (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a professor of history at the Johns Hopkins University. He has written or edited six books, including No Chariot Let Down: Charleston’s Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War (1984) and The American Promise.

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructorsp. v
Introduction for Studentsp. xi
Ancient America: Before 1492p. 1
A Taino Origin Storyp. 1
Ramon Pane, On Taino Religious Practices
A Seneca Origin Narrativep. 4
The Woman Who Fell from the Sky
Genesis: The Christian Origin Narrativep. 7
"In the Beginning"
Aristotle on Masters and Slavesp. 10
The Politics, ca. 300 B.C.
Comparative Questionsp. 14
Europeans Encounter the New World, 1492-1600p. 15
The King of the Congo Writes to the King of Portugalp. 15
King Afonso and King Joao III, Correspondence, 1526
Columbus Describes His First Encounter with "Indians"p. 20
The Diario of Christopher Columbus's First Voyage to America, 1492-1493
A Conquistador Arrives in Mexico, 1519-1520p. 23
Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain, 1632
A Mexican Description of the Conquest of Mexicop. 27
Mexican Accounts of Conquest from the Florentine Codex
Sir Thomas More Describes New World Utopiap. 33
Utopia, 1515
Comparative Questionsp. 36
The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700p. 37
Richard Frethorne Describes Indentured Servitude in Virginiap. 37
Letter to Father and Mother, March 20, April 2, 3, 1623
Opechancanough's 1622 Uprising in Virginiap. 42
Edward Waterhouse, Declaration, 1622
Francisco Pareja Instructs Spanish Missionaries about the Sins of Florida's Timucuan Indiansp. 46
Confessionario, 1613
Sex and Race Relationsp. 51
Testimony from Virginia Court Records, 1681
Bacon's Rebellionp. 54
Nathaniel Bacon, Declaration, 1676
Comparative Questionsp. 57
The Northern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century, 1601-1700p. 58
The Arbella Sermonp. 58
John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity, 1630
Observations of New England Indiansp. 63
Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of America, 1643
Keeping Order in a Puritan Communityp. 68
Suffolk County Court Records, 1671-1673
A Provincial Government Enacts Legislationp. 72
The Laws of Pennsylvania, 1682
Words of the Bewitchedp. 76
Testimony against Accused Witch Bridget Bishop, 1692
Comparative Questionsp. 78
Colonial America in the Eighteenth Century, 1701-1770p. 80
Confessions of a Thief and Rapistp. 80
A Boston Broadside, 1768
Poor Richard's Advicep. 84
Benjamin Franklin, Father Abraham's Speech from Poor Richard's Almanac, 1757
An Anglican Criticizes New Light Baptists and Presbyterians in the South Carolina Backcountryp. 89
Charles Woodmason, Sermon on the Baptists and the Presbyterians, ca. 1768
Advertisements for Runaway Slavesp. 93
South Carolina Gazette and Virginia Gazette, 1737-1745
A Moravian Missionary Interviews Slaves in the West Indies, 1767-1768p. 97
Christian George Andreas Oldendorp, History of the Evangelical Brethren's Mission on the Caribbean Islands, 1777
Comparative Questionsp. 101
The British Empire and the Colonial Crisis, 1754-1775p. 103
An Oration on the Second Anniversary of the Boston Massacrep. 103
Joseph Warren, Boston Massacre Oration, March 5, 1772
A Boston Shoemaker Recalls British Arrogance and the Boston Tea Partyp. 107
George R. T. Hewes, Memoir, 1834
Daniel Leonard Argues for Loyalty to the British Empirep. 110
To the Inhabitants of the Province of Massachusetts-Bay, 1774-1775
George Washington Concludes That the Crisis Has Arrivedp. 114
Letters, 1774
Edmund Burke Urges Reconciliation with the Coloniesp. 117
Speech to Parliament, March 22, 1775
Comparative Questionsp. 121
The War for America, 1775-1783p. 122
Thomas Paine Makes the Case for Independencep. 122
Common Sense, January 1776
Letters of John and Abigail Adamsp. 126
Correspondence, 1776
George Washington Seeks Congressional Support for the Continental Armyp. 133
Letter to John Hancock, President, Continental Congress, September 24, 1776
Boston King Seeks Freedom by Running Away to the British Armyp. 137
Memoir, 1798
Joseph Brant Appeals to British Allies to Keep Promisesp. 141
Address to British Secretary of State Lord Germain, 1776
Message to Governor of Quebec, Frederick Haldimand, 1783
Comparative Questionsp. 145
Building a Republic, 1775-1789p. 146
Richard Allen Founds the First African Methodist Churchp. 146
Life, Experience, and Gospel Labours, 1833
Thomas Jefferson on Slavery and Racep. 150
Notes on the State of Virginia, 1782
Making the Case for the Constitutionp. 154
James Madison, Federalist Number 10, 1787
Mercy Otis Warren Opposes the Constitutionp. 159
Observations on the New Constitution, 1788
The Rights of Man in the Age of Revolutionp. 164
Declaration of the Rights of Man, 1789
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789
Comparative Questions
The New Nation Takes Form, 1789-1800p. 169
Why Free Government Has Always Failedp. 169
William Manning, The Key of Libberty, 1798
A French Sugar Planter Describes the French and Saint Domingue Revolutionsp. 172
A Sugar Planter of Saint Domingue Experiences Revolution in France and Saint Domingue, 1791
Mary Dewees Moves West to Kentuckyp. 177
Journal, 1788-1789
Alexander Hamilton on the Economyp. 181
Report on the Subject of Manufactures, 1791
President George Washington's Parting Advice to the Nationp. 186
Farewell Address to the People of the United States, 1796
Comparative Questionsp. 190
Republicans in Power, 1800-1824p. 192
A Jeffersonian Sailmaker's Fourth of July Addressp. 192
Peter Wendover, Oration, July 4, 1806
James Hamilton's Path to Enlistment during the War of 1812p. 195
Confession, 1818
James Forten Protests Pennsylvania Law Threatening Enslavement of Free African Americansp. 199
Letters from a Man of Colour, on a Late Bill before the Senate of Pennsylvania, 1813
President Thomas Jefferson's Private and Public Indian Policyp. 202
Letter to Governor William H. Harrison, February 27, 1803
Address to the Wolf and People of the Mandan Nation, December 30, 1806
Meriwether Lewis Describes the Shoshonep. 205
The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1805
Comparative Questionsp. 210
The Expanding Republic, 1815-1840p. 211
David Crockett Hunts Bear in Western Tennesseep. 211
A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee, 1834
President Andrew Jackson's Parting Words to the Nationp. 214
Farewell Address, March 4, 1837
Cherokees Debate Removalp. 218
John Ross, Answer to Inquiries from a Friend, 1836
Elias Boudinot, A Reply to John Ross, 1837
Sarah Grimke on the Status of Womenp. 223
Letters on the Equality of the Sexes, 1838
David Walker Demands Emancipationp. 226
Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, 1829
Comparative Questionsp. 229
The New West and Free North, 1840-1860p. 231
The Anxiety of Gain: Henry W. Bellows on Commerce and Moralityp. 231
The Influence of the Trading Spirit upon the Social and Moral Life of America, 1845
That Woman Is Man's Equal: The Seneca Falls Declarationp. 235
Declaration of Sentiments, 1848
A Farmer's View of His Wifep. 238
Eliza Farnham, Conversation with a Newly Wed Westerner, 1846
A Texan Enlists to Fight in the Mexican Warp. 240
James K. Holland, Diary, 1846
Gold Feverp. 245
Walter Colton, California Gold Rush Diary, 1849-1850
Comparative Questionsp. 249
The Slave South, 1820-1860p. 251
Madison Hemings Recalls Life as Thomas Jefferson's Enslaved Sonp. 251
Interview, 1873
Plantation Rulesp. 255
Bennet Barrow, Highland Plantation Journal, May 1, 1838
Nat Turner Explains Why He Became an Insurrectionistp. 259
The Confessions of Nat Turner, 1831
The Proslavery Argumentp. 263
James Henry Hammond, Letter to an English Abolitionist, 1845
Hinton Helper Demands Abolition for the Good of White Southernersp. 267
The Impending Crisis of the South, 1857
Comparative Questionsp. 271
The House Divided, 1846-1861p. 272
The Kansas-Nebraska Actp. 272
Abraham Lincoln, Speech in Peoria, Illinois, October 16, 1854
The Antislavery Constitutionp. 275
Frederick Douglass, The Constitution of the United States: Is It Proslavery or Antislavery? 1860
The Proslavery Constitutionp. 278
Jefferson Davis, Speech before the U.S. Senate, May 1860
A Free African American Concludes Emigration Is Necessaryp. 280
Granville B. Blanks, Letter to the Editor, 1852
Abolitionist Lydia Maria Child Defends John Brown and Attacks the Slave Powerp. 283
Correspondence between Lydia Maria Child and Virginia Governor Henry A. Wise, 1859
Comparative Questionsp. 288
The Crucible of War, 1861-1865p. 289
President Lincoln's War Aimsp. 289
Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862
The Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863
The Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
A Former Slave's War Aimsp. 292
Statement from an Anonymous Former Slave, New Orleans, 1863
The New York Draft Riotsp. 295
Report of the Committee of Merchants for the Relief of Colored People Suffering from the Late Riots in the City of New York, 1863
A Virginia Woman Confronts Union Foragersp. 301
Nancy Emerson, Diary, 1864
General William T. Sherman Explains the Hard Hand of Warp. 304
Correspondence, 1864
Comparative Questionsp. 311
Reconstruction, 1863-1877p. 313
Carl Schurz Reports on the Condition of the Defeated Southp. 313
Report on the Condition of the South, 1865
Black Codes Enacted in the Southp. 317
Mississippi Black Code, November 1865
Former Slaves Seek to Reunite Their Familiesp. 321
Advertisements from the Christian Recorder, 1865-1870
A Black Convention in Alabamap. 326
Address of the Colored Convention to the People of Alabama, 1867
Klan Violence against Blacksp. 330
Elias Hill, Testimony before Congressional Committee Investigating the Ku Klux Klan, 1871
Comparative Questionsp. 333
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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