1. Against what weaknesses or temptations does the writer say Father Abraham warned? What were the effects of such weaknesses or temptations according to the writer? How do these temptations “tax” individuals?
2. What sorts of behaviors and values did Father Abraham promote according to the writer? How could these behaviors and values improve individuals?
3. Do you still hear the advice given in this document today? Do you believe this is still important or relevant advice?
1. What were the “natural rights” of the colonists according to Adams?
2. What does Adams say about religion and religious tolerance? Are there any limits to Adams’ view and understanding of religious toleration?
3. Does Adams propose independence from Britain in this document?
4. How are some of the ideas and philosophies of the Enlightenment reflected in Adams’ The Rights of the Colonists?
1. What do we know about who Elias Boudinot is from this document?
2. What is the purpose of this “proclamation”?
3. What can we learn about the United States in 1783 from this document? What kind of portrait of the United States and its government in 1783 does this document present?
1. What were Thomas Jefferson’s views on manufacturing in his Notes on the State of Virginia?
2. What was Jefferson’s general vision for the United States and its economic development?
3. How did Hamilton’s vision for the United States differ from Jefferson’s? What were his general views on manufacturing?
1. What kind of government did Thoreau advocate for in this essay? What did Thoreau say about “majority rule” and the system of voting? What should be the basis of government according to Thoreau?
2. What criticisms did Thoreau make against the United States and the state of Massachusetts? In other words, why did he say he was committing “civil disobedience”?
3. What sort of “civil disobedience” did Thoreau advocate for in this essay? What did he do (or not do) to practice civil disobedience? Did he face any punishments for his disobedience? If so, what happened to him?
4. How did Thoreau describe throughout this essay the American people and the “mass of men” who serve the state? What did Thoreau say about the “rich man”? How did he characterize him? Do you think his characterization of Americans and/or the “rich man” is fair?
1. What other “declaration” or document in the nation’s history does this Declaration of Sentiments imitate or use as a model? Why might have the writers used this other “declaration” as a model?
2. In what various ways did men exercise “tyranny” over women according to this declaration?
3. What changes do the writers of this declaration propose?
4. Do you think all Americans would have agreed with this declaration? Why or not?
1. How does Douglass discuss religion in “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”? What does the continued existence of slavery say about Christianity in the United States? According to Douglass, what should churches in the United States be promoting and doing?
2. How does Douglass portray the United States in “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”? How does he view the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, “the fathers” of the republic, and the Constitution? How does he compare the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence to “the present” and the issue of slavery in his own day? What criticisms does he make against the nation? What does the continued existence of slavery and the slave trade say about the United States? What does he say about the Constitution in relation to slavery? What were his goals in giving this speech?
1. In his letter to Horace Greeley, how far did Lincoln say he was willing to go to end slavery? What was Lincoln’s primary goal?
2. To what extent were Lincoln’s war aims altered by the Emancipation Proclamation? Why does Lincoln say he is issuing the Emancipation Proclamation? Why do you think he mentioned specific states, counties, parishes, and cities?
3. In the Gettysburg Address, what did Lincoln say was at stake in the war? What meaning does he associate with the war and the Union?
4. Based on these documents, do you think Lincoln’s views on slavery and emancipation changed during the war?