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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 11
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Focus on the rivalry between John Adams and Jefferson, examining their genuine and deeply held differences of principle regarding power, liberty, and the meaning of the new American experiment. Trace the evolution of their relationship, as it eventually revealed (in their letters) the even deeper commitments to American values that they shared.

    REFERENCE: Joseph Ellis, Founding Brothers (2001).

  • Consider the close connection between politics and law in the early history of the Supreme Court, with Federalist Marshall contending with Republican Jefferson. Show the importance of Marshall's bold new principle that the Supreme Court has the final power to interpret the Constitution.

    REFERENCE: G. Edward White, The Marshall Court and Cultural Change (1988).

  • Analyze the causes and consequences of the Louisiana Purchase, particularly its long-term implications for the Federalist-Republican conflict. Consider the expansion into Louisiana in relation to Americans' increasing fascination with the West, spurred in part by the Lewis and Clark expedition.

    REFERENCE: Donald Jackson, Thomas Jefferson and the Stony Mountain (1981).

  • Consider the puzzling problem of the causes of the War of 1812, and particularly the issue of maritime causes versus the Western War Hawks' frontier concerns. Examine the question of whether declaring war against Britain was essentially an emotional and irrational outburst, or whether it involved a defense of central American interests and principles.

    REFERENCE: Donald R. Hickey, The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict (1989); J.C.A. Stagg, Mr. Madison's War: Politics, Warfare, and Diplomacy in the Early American Republic (1983).



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