History and the Art of Storytelling: Two Tales from the Early American Republic, Each Told in Two Different Ways

Rich in American History , Summer Session I

South Central Services Cooperative, North Mankato, MN, 10 June 2010

A Workshop Presented by Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D. for the Minnesota River Valley: Rich in American History Continuing Education Program


TALE #1: Women’s Rights in the Atlantic World during the Age of Enlightenment

Primary Sources:

  • William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, vol. 1 (1765)
  • U.S. Constitution (1787), working draft and final draft
  • Judge Theodore Sedgwick’s ruling in Martin v. Commonwealth (1805)

Secondary Sources:

  • DuBois, Ellen Carol, and Lynn Dumenil, eds. “Mothers and Daughters of the Revolution, 1750-1800.” In Through Women's Eyes: An American History with Documents. 2d ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. Pp. 122-85.
  • Lewis, Jan. “Did the Constitution Create a Republic of White Men?” In What Did the Constitution Mean to Early Americans? Edited by Edward Countryman, 113-40. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1999.
  • Kerber, Linda K. Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980.


TALE #2: From the XYZ Affair to the Alien and Sedition Acts

Primary Sources:

  • First Amendment (1791)
  • John Marshall, Report of the XYZ Affair (1797), paraphrase
  • U.S. Congress, Sedition Act (1798)

Secondary Sources:

  • Herring, George C. “None Who Can Make Us Afraid.” In From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Pp. 56-92.
  • Simon, James F. What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002.


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