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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 9
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Consider the social changes brought about by the Revolution. Consider specific changes such as church-state separation in Virginia and the abolition of slavery in the North in relation to the Revolution's larger social significance.

    REFERENCE: Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (1991).

  • Analyze the structure and workings of the Articles of Confederation government, perhaps using the table on text page 181. Emphasis might be placed on the achievements of the Articles government, such as the western lands issue, as well as its obvious weaknesses.

    REFERENCE: Jack N. Rakove, The Beginnings of National Politics (1979).

  • Address directly the "Beard interpretation" of the Constitution as a conservative counterrevolution by the propertied elite. Explain the elements of the pro-Constitution movement that support such a view as well as its limits.

    REFERENCES: Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913); Robert Brown, Charles Beard and the Constitution (1956); Edmund S. Morgan, Inventing the People (1988).

  • Describe the ratification struggle as both a hard-fought political contest and a great political debate about the nature of humanity and the purposes of government. Consider particularly the key arguments of the Anti-Federalists, and what might or might not have been legitimate concerns of these historical "losers" (while remembering that the Bill of Rights is in effect a part of their legacy.)

    REFERENCE: Herbert J. Storing, What the Anti-Federalists Were For (1981).



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