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Documents and Debates in American History and Government - Vol. 1, 1493-1865

Selected and introduced by Sarah A. Morgan Smith


This collection of documents presents American history from 1493 to 1865 as a series of 15 chronologically arranged topics. For each of these, a selection of documents recreates a debate over a particular issue critical to understanding the topic and the corresponding period in American history. Taken together, the debates highlight enduring issues and themes in American life, such as the effort to balance freedom and equality as well as liberty and order; the struggle for inclusion and full participation of African-Americans, women, and working people; the conflict over how America should organize its economy and what role government should have in American economic life; and the argument over how America should use its power in the world. This volume and its companion, which covers American history from 1865, are part of an ongoing series of document volumes produced by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University.


Table of Contents

Debates Include:

  • Merchants and Morality in Colonial Massachusetts
  • Labor, Servitude and Slavery
  • Experiments with Freedom of Conscience
  • Between Resistance and Revolution
  • Revolutionary Considerations of Citizenship and Self-Government
  • The Whiskey Rebellion
  • The Market Revolution and (The Myth of?) Free Labor
  • The Nullification Crisis
  • The Peculiar Institution: Positive Good or Pernicious Sin?
  • John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry
  • War for Union or Abolition?