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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 4
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Explain the search for a suitable labor supply in the plantation colonies, contrasting the relative advantages and disadvantages of white indentured servants and slaves (from the planters' point of view).

    Perhaps use Bacon's Rebellion as the clearest illustration of why planters feared uncontrolled laborers and turned increasingly to slavery.

    REFERENCE: Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom (1975).

  • Explore the origins of American race relations by examining the closely linked development of slavery and racial prejudice in the seventeenth century.

    The emphasis might be on how slavery, once established, tended to reinforce prejudice, while prejudice justified slavery.

    REFERENCE: Winthrop Jordan, White over Black (1968).

  • Provide a portrait of a "typical" New England town, focusing on the close connection between town and church and on family life, particularly the role of women and the relation of farming and trade in the region.

    Several towns have been studied in detail and the various social roles of men and women can be traced over time.

    REFERENCE: Stephen Innes, Creating the Commonwealth: The Economic Culture of Puritan New England (1995).

  • Explore the Salem witch trials in more depth.

    The rich literature on the trials can be used to illuminate seventeenth-century New England history from numerous perspectives: town life, religion, the beliefs and actions of common people, generational conflict, and so on.

    Perhaps the most interesting is the light it sheds on the condition of women-both ordinary women and the extraordinary "witches"-and on gender relations and ideas in seventeenth-century America.

    REFERENCE: Carol F.

    Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (1987).



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