Robert James Maddox is Professor Emeritus of History at Pennsylvania State University. His other books includeWeapons for Victory: The Hiroshima Decision(University of Missouri Press) andThe United States and World War II. He lives in State College, Pennsylvania.
UNIT 1. The New Land 1. 1491, Charles C. Mann, The Atlantic Monthly , March 2002 “Before it became the New World,” Charles Mann writes, “the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thought.” He surveys new research that indicates Indians lived in this hemisphere much longer than previously assumed, and that they had a larger impact on the environment. 2. A “Newfounde Lande”, Alan Williams, American History , September/October 1997 For Europeans, 1992 marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s “discovery” of the New World. Columbus first explored islands in the Caribbean, then the coast of South America. The year 1997 saw the quincentennial of what is generally regarded as the first European expedition to land in North America, led by John Cabot. Author Alan Williams tells what is known of John Cabot’s explorations. 3. Laboring in the Fields of the Lord, Jerald T. Milanich, Archaeology , January/February 1996 Beginning in the late sixteenth century, Spanish Franciscan friars established dozens of missions in what is now southern Georgia and northern Florida. By the time Spain ceded the area to Great Britain in 1763, only two missions remained. Although many of the friars acted from the highest motives, the net effect of the Spanish presence among native peoples was catastrophic. 4. Pocahontas, William M. S. Rasmussen and Robert S. Tilton, American History , July 1995 Few names from American colonial history are as well known as Pocahontas, an Indian woman who allegedly saved Captain John Smith’s life in 1607. The little we actually know about her has become wrapped up in mythology, some of which is used to pursue agendas having little to do with the facts. 5. The Pueblo Revolt, Jake Page, American History , February 2002 The killing of Franciscan priests in 1680 marked the beginning of a Pueblo Indian revolt against Spanish rule in New Mexico. The Spanish were forced to leave the province in defeat, and when they did reestablish control they treated Pueblo religious practices with far greater respect. 6. Bearing the Burden? Puritan Wives, Martha Saxton, History Today , October 1994 Puritan women were expected to view their husbands as “God’s representative in the family” and to defer to their authority. Martha Saxton describes how women attained moral and spiritual authority despite their subordination to men in secular matters. 7. Penning a Legacy, Patricia Hudson, American History , February 1998 In 1680, William Penn, who earlier had become a Quaker, petitioned King Charles II for a grant of land in what would become known as Pennsylvania. Penn created a constitution that provided for religious freedom, voting rights, and penal reform. He also addressed Native Americans in the region, asking them to permit colonists to live among them “with your love and consent.” 8. The Right to Marry: Loving v. Virginia , Peter Wallenstein, OAH Magazine of History , Winter 1995 In 1691, the Virginia House of Burgesses sought to reduce the number of mixed-race children born in the colony by passing a law providing for the banishment of any white partner in an interracial marriage. Peter Wallenstein discusses the history of this and subsequent legislation designed to prevent racial mixing. 9. Baptism of Fire, Paul A. Thomsen, American History , April 2002 In April 1754, a French force travelled down the Allegheny River to what is now Pittsburgh where they established Fort Duquesne. The following year, when the British regulars and Virginia militia attempted to oust the French, they suffered a crushing defeat. This episode between the British and French provided a “baptism of fire” for the young George Washington. UNIT 2. Revolutionary America 10. Flora MacDonald, Jean Creznic, American History , May/June 1997 Flora MacDonald was a Scottish heroine who had helped “Bonnie Prince Charlie” escape the British in 1746. She moved to North Carolina in 1774, where she was received with great fanfare. When the revolution came, however, she helped recruit men of Scottish descent to fight for the British. 11. Jefferson’s Secret Life, Barbra Murray and Brian Duffy, U.S. News & World Report , November 9, 1998 The long-denied allegations that Thomas Jefferson fathered a number of children with a slave mistress appear to have been confirmed by DNA tests. Barbra Murray and Brian Duffy discuss what these tests show, and Joseph Ellis analyzes the probable impact of this revelation on the reputation of the author of the Declaration of Independence. 12. Making Sense of the Fourth of July, Pauline Maier, American Heritage , July/August 1997 On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress resolved that “these United Colonies are, and, of right ought to be” independent of Great Britain. Two days later, the Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Celebrating the Fourth of July, Pauline Maier writes, “makes no sense at all”—unless we celebrate not just independence but the Declaration of Independence. She explains how the meaning and function of the Declaration have changed over time. 13. George Washington, Spymaster, Thomas Fleming, American Heritage , February/March 2000 That George Washington was a towering figure during the American Revolution is common knowledge. Thomas Fleming, writing about a lesser known aspect of Washington’s career, claims that “without his brilliance at espionage the Revolution could not have been won.” 14. Founders Chic: Live From Philadelphia, Evan Thomas, Newsweek , July 9, 2001 “It is hard to think of the Founders as revolutionaries,” Evan Thomas writes, “They seem too stuffy, too much the proper gentlemen in breeches and powdered wigs.” But, he argues, those who made the American revolution and consolidated it were extreme radicals at the time. 15. Founding Friendship: Washington, Madison and the Creation of the American Republic, Stuart Leibiger, History Today , July 2001 Though they later drifted apart, the collaboration between George Washington and James Madison during the critical years 1784 and 1787 had a profound impact on the Constitution and the government it produced. 16. Your Constitution Is Killing You, Daniel Lazare, Harper’s , October 1999 Some people passionately believe that the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans the untrammeled right to bear arms. Others just as passionately believe that the amendment must be read within the context of membership in the various state militias. Daniel Lazare examines the changing interpretations of this vexing question. 17. Do the People Rule?, M