Homework One Answers - Student Ten
1. Which time period or periods in American History do you expect to enjoy studying the most? Why?
I will enjoy learning about the 1950s and 60s, the period from post-war prosperity to the social upheavals during the Vietnam War. This period interests me because the mood of the 50s still roughly typifies conservatives, while the mood of the 60s typifies liberals. Yet certain attributes of the 50s – for example, consumerism and planned obsolescence – are not favored by conservatives (or liberals), while the rebellious spirit of the 60s is actually quite the like the spirit of, say, the Tea Party movement. Generally, I am interested by this period because it was one of the major clashes between different conceptions of America.
- The contrast between the 50s and the 60s is fascinating, and worth much discussion.
2. When do you think Native Americans came here, and was it right for Europeans to settle here afterward?
Native Americans’ DNA matches closely with some Asians so it is possible though not proven, that they came from Asia through what is today Russia, Alaska, and Canada. There are several quite different theories about this, however. They clearly were in America for many centuries or millennia.
Honestly, I can’t see how the European settlement of the Americas was morally right. People say ‘Don’t judge people back then by today’s morality’ but the fact is that Christian morality has never changed very much. So from a Christian view, or even a plainly secular view, I don’t believe the settlement (particularly any violence used) was right. However, I also don’t believe that we should desert America and give it back to the Native Americans. It seems a little late for reparations. We can acknowledge that not everything in our history is a shining example of virtue, but then we can and should move on.
- Interesting perective on both issues. I'm not persuaded by the "similar DNA" arguments, particularly when other characteristics (like blood type) are different. Also, if Europeans wrongly took property, why shouldn't they give it back? What's the logic in keeping something, if it was wrongfully obtained?
3. Christopher Columbus: overrated, or not given enough credit? Explain.
Christopher Columbus was a human being who actually existed. Sometimes he is treated like a mythological figure and it seems like everyone either hates him or adores him. The fact is, like all people he was part good and part bad. He was a Christian and seems to have genuinely wanted to spread the faith. He was a highly skilled navigator. However, it is generally acknowledged that he treated the natives he encountered quite harshly, forcing them to mine for gold and committing atrocities against them. Just because he may have done a lot of good, he is not a god. He simply did what he did. I do think that today he is probably criticized more than he deserves.
- Super analysis, may use as a model answer.
4. True or false: the Puritans came to America in order to separate church from state (government). Explain.
The Puritans did not even want to break away from the Church of England, let alone separate church from state. The Puritans created a theocracy and practiced religious bigotry much the same as England did. The only difference was the religion being practiced. It is true that they sought religious freedom, but they did not seek religious plurality, i.e. freedom for all religions. Therefore, there was no separation of church and state.
The Puritans required the members of their government to agree with their religion. They also often expelled or even executed non-Puritans. The church and the state were almost one in the same in the Puritan colonies.
- Terrific answer.
7. In what ways did the colonies help build the economic strength of England?
The colonies shipped large amounts of resources and raw materials to England for England to manufacture into goods. Then the colonies would trade with England for these goods. So England bought raw materials at low prices from the colonies, and then sold the items it produced back to the colonies. This was how the system of mercantilism worked, and it meant that England made a fortune through trade with the colonies (and with other nations). The colonies and England also participated in the so-called Triangular Trade, which consisted of trade between the Caribbean, England, the American colonies, and Africa. This benefited all involved, of course including England.
- England probably benefited most of all, but the colonies did benefit too. A portion of this national and colonial benefit was at the expense of individual slaves.
8. Spain settled America before England did. So why is the United States an English-speaking nation, rather than a Spanish speaking one?
There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, the Spanish never did settle most of what is today the United States. The land occupied by the English colonies was not settled by Spain at any time, and so English was obviously the main language of the colonies, which expanded to form the modern United States. The Spanish primarily settled modern day Central and South America, where Spanish is still spoken.
Another reason is that the Spanish were mainly interested in gold, so they never brought their families to the New World to make permanent settlements. On the contrary, they often married Native Americans, and so today many Spanish-speaking South and Central Americans are part Native and part Spanish.
- Good analysis.
H1. Learning from the experience of the early settlements and colonies, how might our homeschooling community improve today?
Generally speaking, homeschooling should become more structured, like the colonies were. Obviously we can't have a "central government," but we can structure our groups better, and better connect with other groups to create a more politically powerful constituency, for example. Just like the colonies were single constituencies, so should our movement be in today's political climate.
Which colonial model, however, should we follow? We could follow the Puritan model, where we try to expel everyone from the homeschooling movement who isn't, let's say, a Christian, or we could follow the Pennsylvania model, where we would welcome as many people as possible into our homeschooling groups. Personally, I believe we should follow the second model. If homeschooling is so good, we should follow William Penn's example and make it easy to join our community.
- Terrific answer, may use as a model answer!
H2. Was it expensive to establish a colony? If so, who paid for it?
It was very expensive to establish a colony. To begin with, a ship loaded with provisions for a transatlantic voyage needed to be put together. This was not the only cost, but was probably the major one. In one of the most successful means of establishing a colony, a joint-stock company or group of investors would all pay into the cost of starting a colony, and then would (hopefully) share the profits that the colony made if it became successful. In another sense, slaves “paid” for the cost of some colonies by their free labor.
H5. Discuss any of the debate or discussion topics from the lecture. Debate: Were the Puritans right to be strict and expel people of other religions?
If by “right” we mean “practical” then the Puritans were “right” to expel people of other religions. Their presence did cause conflict and might have forced the Puritans to re-form the whole theocratic structure of their colony. It was easier for the Puritans to create their own society when they were completely homogeneous.
However, if by “right” we mean morally right according to Christian morality, then the Puritans were dead wrong. Jesus said, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matt 7:2). He also said, “But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:15). I’m not sure what the Puritans thought they were doing, but they were definitely not following the words of Jesus.
- Good answer, but slightly incomplete because it does not address the fundamental right of "freedom of association." If it was wrong for the Puritans to expel folks, then what is left of the freedom of association? Though not expressly in the Constitution, it is recognized as a fundamental First Amendment right. (Minus 1)
- Terrific homework, the finest so far. 89/90. Great start!--Andy Schlafly 23:54, 12 February 2011 (EST)