Go though the three lectures and Listen to the audio /Ask a meaningful question,

Go though the three lectures and Listen to the audio /Ask a meaningful question, and explain why you are asking it. A “meaningful” question is a question that is directly grounded in one or more of the documents that you read for the day. Good questions ask about ideas or concepts you have encountered in the documents that don’t make sense to you. For example, you will notice that John Locke starts off by talking about what he calls “the state of nature,” even though he clearly recognizes that most people do not live that way. So why would he spill so much ink discussing it? What’s up with that?
Here are some Documents you can use:
Note: These documents form three distinct sets. The first two represent an exchange between an anonymous critic of the colonists who protested the Stamp Act and John Adams, both of them referencing a third document–the Virginia Resolutions, passed by the Virginia legislature in response to the Stamp Act; the next three represent an exchange between the Royal Governor of Massachusetts and the Upper and Lower houses of the Massachusetts legislature; the final document is the Declaration of Independence.
The Virginia Resolutions as Printed by the Newport Mercury (June 24, 1765), in CAPCT, Vol. I, p. 174
Why do the authors of these resolutions place such emphasis on the original royal charter that authorized English peoples to settle in Virginia? Are these Virginians making a revolutionary argument? Or should we better understand them as conservative?
This document is available on line, here: http://www.masshist.org/database/viewer.php?item_id=285&pid=2
Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, October 19, 1765, in CAPCT, Vol. 1, p. 175
Compare this document with the Virginia Resolutions. Is it more or less revolutionary? Are the authors rejecting the British constitution?
This document is available on line, here:
William Pym, “Letter to the London General Evening Post and the Newport Mercury, 1765, in CAPCT, Vol. I, pp. 176-177
NB: “William Pym” is a pseudonym. The author dismisses the authority of the colonial charters as a source for colonial rights. On what basis does he do so? What is the author’s criticism of the action of the Virginia legislature? What does he think the Virginians should have done instead?
A transcription of this document can be found here: https://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/william-pym-asserts-parliamentary-supremacy/
John Adams, Clarendon, No. 3, January 27, 1766, in CAPCT, Vol. I, pp. 182-185
John Adams wrote three essays in response to William Pym, under the psedonym of the Earl of Clarendon, a well respected 17th century statesman. In this essay, Adams lays out what he takes to be the essential principles of the British constitution. According to Adams, what is the purpose of a constitution? What metaphors does he employ to make his argument? How does Adams define the British constitution? What is the role of the British monarch, according to Adams? What is it that ensures that the people of Great Britain continue to enjoy their liberties? Pay special attention to the penulitmate paragraph, on page 185. Adams suggests here, but does not develop further, a criticism of the British attempt to tax the colonies. How do you think he might have developed that argument?
This document, along with an excellent essay explaining it, can be found here:
Another reply to Pym, probably by Benjamin Franklin, is this one. The headnote to this document does a nice job explaining the back ground of this controversy:
Thomas Hutchinson, “Speech of the Governor to the Two Houses, January 6, 1773, in CAPCT, Vol. I, pp. 230-233
According to the Governor, what is character and organization of the British empire? What role does Parliament play in that empire? What role does the government of Massachusetts play? (pp. 230-231) What does Hutchinson mean when he uses the word “corporation”? (p. 230) According to the governor, what is the source of the “distrubed and disordered state” of the Colony of Massachusetts that he describes at the very beginning of the speech? (p. 231) Why are the colonists not exempt from taxation (or other legislation) by Parliament, according to the Governor? (pp. 231-232)
You can find an online transcription of this speech here. Scroll down to the bottom–the editor provides a really good brief essay that describes the back ground of this document: http://www.drjosephwarren.com/2013/01/the-constitution-has-been-called-into-question/
Bowdoin, Gray, Otis, Hale, et. al., “Answer of the Council to the Speech of Governor Hutchinson, January 25, 1773, in CAPCT, Vol. I, pp. 233-238
Why is the authority of Parliament limited, according to the Councilors? (pp. 234-235) What limits are there on Parliament’s authority? When the Councilors frame their argument, to what authorities do they refer? (p. 235) According to the Councilors, why are the inhabitants of Massachusetts exempt from Parliamentary taxation? (pp. 236-237) What are the key, fundamental rights of the inhabitants of Massachussets that the Councilors discuss? (pp. 235-238)
You can find an online transcription of this speech here: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/evans/N10121.0001.001/1:3?rgn=div1;view=fulltext
Answer of the House of Representatives to the Speech of the Governor, January 26, 1773, in CAPCT, Vol. I, pp. 238-244
What is the author’s main point, in their extended discussion of this history of the colonial charters? (pp. 239-243) When the authors discuss “corporations,” (p. 241) what do they mean by that word? If the English empire is not a unified, hierarchical entity (as advocates for the British parliament, including Governor Hutchinson, claimed), what was it? What is the author’s understanding of the character of the British empire? (pp. 243-244)
Here is an on line transcription: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/evans/N10121.0001.001/1:4?rgn=div1;view=fulltext
Declaration of Independence, in CAPCT, Vol. I, pp. xvii-xixTo what extend does this document recapitulate the arguments of John Locke? (Look at the second paragraph especially). What are the main crimes that this document alleges that the King of England has committed? How does the document conclude?
If you can’t find this on line, you aren’t trying! But just in case, here is a definitive transcription! https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
Secondary Sources:
“The American Revolution,” Chapter 5, The American Yawp: https://www.americanyawp.com/text/05-the-american-revolution/
“The Stamp Act,” Encyclopedia Brittanica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Stamp-Act/69389
“United States,” subsection “History,” subsection “Colonial America to 1763,” subsections “Imperial Organization,” and “The Growth of Provincial Power.” Encylopedia Brittanica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/United-States/111233#77690.toc
“United States,” subsection “History,” subsection “The American Revolution and the Early Federal Republic,” subsections “Prelude to Revolution,” “Foundation of the American Republic,” and “The Social Revolution.” Encylopedia Brittanica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/United-States/111233#77699.toc
“Boston Tea Party,” Encylopedia Brittanica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Boston-Tea-Party/15841
“Intolerable Acts,” Encylopedia Brittanica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Intolerable-Acts/42639
“Declaration of Independence,” Encylopedia Brittanica. https://academic.eb.com/levels/collegiate/article/Declaration-of-Independence/42263

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