Discuss the relationship between masters and slaves in the American South. Did masters have all the power in this relationship, or did the enslaved exert some power?

  1. The Marquis de Lafayette, who fought for American independence and revisited the United States fifty years later, wrote, “I would never have drawn my sword in the cause of America if I could have conceived that thereby I was founding a land of slavery.” What might Lafayette have seen in 1824 America that would impel him to make such a statement? How had slavery evolved? Was it expanding? How entrenched in American life was it at this time?

 

  1. Explain how improvements in transportation and communication made possible the rise of the West as a powerful, self-conscious region of the new nation. Discuss the internal borderlands within the West.

 

  1. Discuss the impact of the market revolution on women and African-Americans (both free and slave).

 

  1. Andrew Jackson, one historian has written, was the “symbol for an age.” How might Jackson be considered symbolic of certain ideas and trends in the early nineteenth century? Can you think of other appropriate symbolic figures for that period?

 

  1. Explain how Democrats and Whigs viewed liberty and the role of government in securing liberty.

 

  1. Analyze the arguments that were presented during the nullification crisis. Be sure to comment on how Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun interpreted the Constitution differently and how each defined the rights of states. Finally, speak to how the crisis illustrated the growing sectional differences in America.

 

  1. For the most part, white southerners defended the “peculiar institution” whether or not they had slaves, whether they were rich or poor, and whether they lived on large plantations or small farms. Why was this the case?

 

 

 

  1. Discuss the relationship between masters and slaves in the American South. Did masters have all the power in this relationship, or did the enslaved exert some power? Points to consider include paternalism, the size of slaveholdings, slavery and the law, forms of slave resistance, and labor organization (task and gang systems).

 

  1. Slave rebellions were rare but important. Compare the slave rebellions (merely planned or actually carried out) of Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner. What did Vesey attempt to do? What did Turner attempt to do? How were these men similar? How did they view slavery and freedom? How did white society react to them, and why?

 

  1. The various reform and utopian communities that sprang up throughout America during the first part of the nineteenth century typically understood the meaning of freedom differently from mainstream Americans. Analyze the various meanings these groups gave to the word “freedom” and compare those meanings with the ones given by mainstream America. Your essay ought to give the reader a sense of what these communities were rejecting about mainstream society.

 

  1. The abolitionists’ greatest achievement lay in shattering the conspiracy of silence that had sought to preserve national unity by suppressing public debate over slavery. Explain how the abolitionists achieved this and comment on how successful the movement was or was not.

 

  1. Explain how the religious revivals of the Second Great Awakening popularized the outlook known as perfectionism, which held that both individuals and society at large were capable of indefinite improvement. How did this idea of perfectionism relate to the various reform movements that arose in the antebellum period?