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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 3
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Explain Puritanism in terms of the "Puritan dilemma" of trying to pursue high religious ideals while somehow remaining practically effective and involved in the world.

    Emphasize how the Puritans believed that their "errand into the wilderness" in New England would enable them to build an idealistic "City upon a Hill" that would inspire a corrupt world.

    REFERENCE: Andrew Delbanco, The Puritan Ordeal (1989).

  • Examine the relationship between Puritan theology, the ideas of government its educated leaders promoted, and the religious beliefs and experience of the more ordinary settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    Consider the ways in which Puritanism created both strong communal ideals, while almost guaranteeing tensions and conflicts at the boundaries of church and society.

    REFERENCE: David Hall, Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious Beliefs in Early New England (1989).

  • Explore the development of religious, political, and social freedom in New England and the middle colonies.

    Examine the role that the fight against religious intolerance in New England played in the developing ideas of American religious liberty, and the particular role that dissenters like Quakers and Baptists played in that development in New England, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

    REFERENCES: Carla Gardina Pestana, Quakers and Baptists in Colonial Massachusetts (1991).

  • Consider the relations of the New England settlers and their Puritan leadership to the Indians.

    Examine how they adjusted, or failed to adjust, their understanding of covenant and the communal role of town government to those on the frontier of settlement.

    Analyze episodes like King Philip's War and the Pequod War to discover what they revealed about the roles of "insiders" and "outsiders" in defining American identity and culture.

    REFERENCE: Jill Lepore, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origin of American Identity (1998).

  • Examine the origins of ethnic and social diversity in America by focusing on the early middle colonies, especially New York and Pennsylvania.

    Contrast the ethnic and religious diversity of those two colonies with the Anglo-Saxon, Puritan character of New England and relate this to the more turbulent politics of the middle colonies.

    Consider how the middle colonies' ethnic variety laid the basis for later American immigration and ethnicity.

    REFERENCE: Michael Zuckerman, ed.

    , Friends and Neighbors: Group Life in America's First Plural Society (1982).



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