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Toolbox Library, primary resources thematically organized with notes and discussion questionsOnline Seminars, professional development seminars for history and literature teachersLiving the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Topic: Predicaments of Early Republican LifeTopic: ReligionTopic: PoliticsTopic: ExpansionTopic: Equality
Topic: Expansion
Overview of Living the Revolution
Resource Menu: Expansion
Text 1. The Northwest Ordinance
Text 2. Noble/Lincecum
» Reading Guide
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Text 3. Thomas Jefferson
Text 4. Hugh Henry Brackenridge
Text 5. Cornplanter/Washington
Text 6. Indians/U.S. Agents
Text 7. Elias Boudinot
Text 8. Lewis Cass
Text 9. Background

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Reading Guide
2.  Harriet Noble, On Emigrating from New York to Michigan in 1824, 1856

Gideon Lincecum, On Emigrating to Alabama in 1818, 1904

  Settler's first house
"Settler's first house"

Very accessible texts. Contrasting them could generate insightful class discussion. In these selections we see that restlessness was an American trait even in the earliest days of the nation, and we see how the frontier both bred and eased that restlessness. We also see contrasting images of the frontier. In one it is harsh and demanding, in the other bountiful and yielding. Part of the contrast is attributable to the climactic differences between the regions in which Noble and Lincecum settle: she struggles through gloomy Michigan winters; he finds easy living in balmy Alabama. Gender perspectives account for some of the difference, too. Noble's is a story of bringing domesticity and civilization to the wilderness; Lincecum's is a tale of a "big camp hunt." In Noble's account we see a woman forced to create a new role for herself. In Lincecum's we see a man behaving like Daniel Boone. 15 pages.

Discussion questions
  ·  Why does Noble move west? Why does Lincecum?
  ·  Given the difficulty of their trip and their motives for undertaking it, what does the westward migration tell us about the people who made it?
  ·  What is the significance of Noble's insistence on having a door in her house?
  ·  What would Lincecum's story be like if his wife told it?
  ·  How do Noble's and Lincecum's stories illustrate the challenges that the Northwest Ordinance was intended to address?
  ·  How do Noble and Lincecum relate to Native Americans?

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Topic Framing Questions
  •  What implications did westward migration hold for national unity?
  •  How did the citizens of the early republic think about Native Americans and their place in the developing nation?
  •  How did Native Americans respond to the westward press of the United States?
  •  How did the United States respond to the presence of Native Americans on the western frontier?

Toolbox: Living the Revolution: America, 1789-1820
Predicaments | Religion | Politics | Expansion | Equality

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