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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 2
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Examine the condition of England at the time of the nation's early colonization efforts. Focus especially on the rise of the Elizabethan monarchy and the spirit of the English renaissance (for example, Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh) in London and other commercial centers, as well as the social upheaval in the countryside ("enclosure"). Show how these factors-as well as religious rivalry with Spain-lay behind the colonization effort.

    REFERENCE: Carl Bridenbaugh, Vexed and Troubled Englishmen, 1590-1642 (1968).

  • Explore what has been learned from history, anthropology, and archaeology regarding the life of American Indians before 1492. Emphasize that these societies were varied and dynamic, and had undergone significant conflicts and changes over many centuries. Perhaps select one North American Indian culture that had disappeared by the time of the Columbian encounter (e.g., the Anasazi culture that built Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon in the Southwest), and compare their ways of life with those of the Indians that the Europeans first met when they arrived.

    REFERENCE: Brian M. Fagan, Kingdoms of Gold, Kingdoms of Jade: The Americas Before Columbus (1991).

  • Consider the traditional Indian cultures of the south Atlantic coastal regions, and examine the transformations they underwent in response to English colonization. Explain the particular changes that affected the Powhatans of Virginia in relation to the larger patterns of English-Indian encounters that shaped subsequent American history.

    REFERENCE: Helen Rountree, The Powhatans of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture (1989).

  • Examine the issue of race relations in the early southern colonies, showing how the early patterns established there set a course for subsequent American history. Focus particularly on the policies of driving out the Indians and of importing African slaves as a solution to the labor shortages in the New World.

    REFERENCE: Timothy Silver, A New Face on the Countryside: Indians, Colonists, and Slaves in South Atlantic Forests 1500-1800 (1990).



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