Why does the concept of freedom and liberty change over time?

Broad topic:
History is full of paradoxes: conquests and killing in the name of saving souls, enslavement in
the process of creating greater freedom for some. Beginning with the first European colonists,
the very idea of freedom itself extended to only very specific approved people and cultural
practices. Big View Question: Why does the concept of freedom and liberty change over time?
Essay #1 Question: Pick a group that fought for an increase of rights in America from
1492-1800. With that group in mind, pick one question to focus on, but address both in some
1) What rights did they fight for, and why?
2) Did they gain or lose rights within that time period, and why?
Brainstorm: Potential Groups Claiming Rights/Some Discussion Points [this is a starting point,
you can add to this list!] Property Owners
American Revolution
putting down various rebellions
early colonists, single women, religious power, indentured servants
Slaves/African Americans
Stono Rebellion
Bacon’s Rebellion
Free black communities
Backcountry/poor farmers/Indentured Servants
New York Tenant Riots
Bacon’s Rebellion
Native Americans
King Phillip’s War
Powhatan Wars
Negotiations of land—Massachusetts, PA, etc.
Supporting French, British, Spanish (French and Indian War/ War of Independence)
under Spanish rule; haciendas/ repartimiento system.
Dissenters: Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams
Potential considerations…what documents could you use to provide evidence for the following?
why does this group want rights? which rights? what are the needs of this group?
how do they claim rights? can they just seize their rights, or are they requesting someone else
to extend rights to them?
attempts to persuade through logic, or appeals to emotion: ‘liberty’—the buzzword of the
American Revolution, the ‘rights of an Englishman’. how might a group use this language to
justify being included amongst those whose rights are protected?
attempts to persuade through violence: does any specific event trigger violent conflict?
who are they in conflict with/ who are they requesting rights from (who has the power to grant
did they achieve their goals? in what ways?
What your essay should include:
Intro + 3 body paragraphs + Conclusion= Total 5 paragraphs.
—Introduce your topic. 1-2 sentences [what will you be talking about, and why is it interesting or
important?] —Identify Key Concepts/ Define your Terms. 1-2 sentences —anything that might have multiple
interpretations, or people might not know (ex. if your topic is ‘American Colonists’—who are
‘American colonists?’).
—Thesis statement: 1-2 sentences. what is your argument? rephrase the question into your
paper’s purpose.
Thesis Ex. “From 1492-1800, American slaves fought to obtain freedom and liberty at their most
fundamental level. As the American colonies developed, slave rights eroded as a result of failed
slave rebellions and the growing critical role of slavery in supporting the social and economic
structures of the American South.”
could structure the essay as P1: slave rights and slave expressions of hope in early colonies; P2:
slave attempts to gain rights + results, P3: expansion of slavery + results.
or P1: the rights that slaves want, P2: early developments (early revolts and changing
economy), P3: later developments (later revolts and changing economy).
another configuration of the same idea: “From 1492-1800, American slaves fought to access the
basic rights to life and liberty. During this period, slaves’ freedoms were even further restricted
due to such failed slave rebellions as Bacon’s Rebellion, the Stono Rebellion, and the New York
Slave Revolt of 1712.”
each paragraph describes one of the rebellions, setting out the particular situation of the slaves/
what rights they hoped for, what triggered the rebellion, and the result.
***Note—if you like these, change them to make them your own—your own words, and feel free
to change around any examples to create whatever you can argue the strongest/what you are
most interested in.
—Topic Sentence. (the topic of your paragraph, connect back to your thesis)
—Evidence 1. 2-3 Sentences. introduce it, give the quote, and explain why it backs up your
point of view.
—Evidence 2: 2-3 Sentences. introduce it, give the quote, and explain why it backs up your
point of view.
—Wrap Up—sum up your point (rephrase your topic sentence AND THESIS) and/or link it to
your next paragraph.
**How to organize your body paragraphs, either:
by topic/logical flow of ideas (should be the same order as your thesis statement).
—Restate your thesis and topic sentences. 1-2 sentences.
—So what? What were the long-term effects of this fight? Can you relate this to any other
groups who have fought for freedom? Or, how is this group’s status in America today a result of
this fight?
DUE OCT 17. Printed Out and Handed to Me in Class. PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Papers receive
-5% for each class day it is late. PAPER 1 is worth 10% of your total grade for the course.
3-5 typed double-spaced pages. (12 points, Times font, 1-inch margins).
6 pieces of relevant support (quote or paraphrase/summarize), with proper citation. [2 per
paragraph] maximum of 2 references to your textbook author, Eric Foner.
minimum of 2 primary sources
can use the same source more than once
Has a well-developed and engaging research topic. Defines the scope of the research question
completely. Identifies key concepts. Locate your subject in time and space.
Retrieves relevant, quality information from a variety of sources.
Compares and evaluates information and sources. Analyzes own and other’s ideas and work
thoroughly. Evaluates the relevance of contexts.
Organizes and connects source information to the main idea and is able to clearly communicate
ideas, with correct spelling and grammar.
Gives credit for works used by quoting, citing, and listing references accurately according to a
selected writing style and guidelines
Essay stages:
Pick a topic. Write out your plan (thesis, 3 paragraph topics, and quotes) BY SUNDAY OCT 6.
On Monday I will ask you if you have any difficulties. That is the time to problem-solve. ***If you
email me a thesis statement or other essay questions by 8PM SATURDAY OCT 5, I will give
you feedback via email on MONDAY OCT 7.***
Write your rough draft and Works Cited. Oct 6 – Oct 12. ***If you email me a draft by 8PM
SATURDAY OCT 12, I will give you feedback via email on MONDAY OCT 14.***
Make edits and proofread. Oct 12-15. You may ask someone else to help you proofread, or tell
you if something doesn’t make sense. Use spell/grammar check—but make sure it doesn’t
change your meaning!
Print out your essay Oct 15-16 (Tuesday-Wednesday). Do a final read-through. You can make
neat corrections using a pen and/or whiteout if you are unable to print another copy.
Hand in Thursday, Oct 17. If you will not be in class Thursday, give it to a friend to hand in on
Thursday, or hand it in on Wednesday.
Resources for Primary Documents:
1. National Archives (look at Docs Teach and the National Archives Catalog)
2. Fordham University
3. Avalon Project
4. Spartacus Educational [will be better for your 2nd paper, not much before 1800] https://spartacus-educational.com
5. Suggested Reading List/Sources used in your book, Give Me Liberty.
6. Other books with primary sources:
Howard Zinn. Voices of a People’s History.
Secondary Sources/Prominent Historians:
*see if they have written any academic articles you can access online, instead of having to read
their whole book.
Gary Nash
Edmund Morgan
Garry Wills
Stacy Schiff