Write a paper on Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

Write a paper on Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)

The following readings are available on electronic reserve, and can be found by clicking on the Course Reserves link on the course menu:

This week, we looked at one of the most troubled times in American historya moment where it was not even clear America as an idea or nation would even continue. In that regard, though we traveled far and wide in our thinking, it is hard to get around the centrality of Abraham Lincolns leadership in this era, and for that reason he looms large. To that end, make a claim about an important or otherwise dramatic contribution in Lincolns thought: what does he have to say about the project of American democracy? Do this by selecting one of the Lincoln documents we have for this week and draw connections (similarities, differences, or something else) between it and at least one other text.

In all cases, make sure you are being specific with how you illustrate this claims and these connections by using lots of good evidence from the texts themselves. An excellent answer might, for example, find something in Lincolns ideas and juxtapose a document that agrees with him and one that seems to disagree. Dont forget as you work that the film Glory also constitutes one of our class texts.

To complete this assignment, you will craft a synthetic response that addresses a central theme of this weeks module. Your response should

consist of between sixteen and twenty well-written sentences (somewhere between a page-and-a-half and two pages of material formatted as required);
provide a grounding claim or thesis;
illustrate your thinking by citing and close-reading at least two texts from this weeks assigned materials;
be organized into proper paragraphs to help organize your thinking;
include in-text citations for all textual evidence; and
demonstrate how you are working through your own thinkingmeaning, that you should not simply repackage things you heard in this weeks lectures (though the lecture may, of course, inform your thinking in some contextual way).
Feel free to provocatively juxtapose different sorts of texts, or make connections that arent the most obvious. So long as you make a clear, arguable claim and support your thinking with direct discussion of textual evidence you can successfully earn full points. After all, our cultural history is open for renegotiation all the time. This is your chance to negotiate that heritage. Additionally, this good thinking about a single weeks materials will serve as excellent preparation of material that might find its way into your final essay in the course where you will thinking about several different weeks texts together.

Text to draw from:
George Fitzhugh, Cannibals All!, or Slaves without Masters (1857)
Abraham Lincoln,
“First Inaugural Address” (1861)
Gettysburg Address (1863)
Second Inaugural Address (1865)
Write a paper on Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)
letter from Wendell Phillips, esq.
chapters IXI
Constitution of the State of Nevada
Glory, directed by Edward Zwick (1989)


  • Write a paper on Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845)
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