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Is America a country built on the idea of “Freedom” or the reality slavery (or both)?

AMST 201
Summer 2015
Dr. Dustin Abnet
Contemporary American Issue Worksheet (50 PTS, P/F)
DUE: Start of Class on Tuesday, July 14 either online or in person

In this assignment, you are required to choose and write about a divisive issue in contemporary America that resonates with the topics of the course. You will then find a couple of news articles, videos, etc. from multiple sides of topic, attach them to the sheet (or insert the link into the text), and explain how and why the issue divides Americans.
1) What divisive issue in American culture do you want to write about?
2) Why do you want to write about it?

3) Provide Links to at least TWO news articles, videos, websites, etc from EACH major side in the debate. PLUS: ONE LINK to a more objective (less obviously one-sided) piece on the issue. (So at least 5 links or attached sheets in total)

4) How does each side of the debate define and imagine America? In other words, what do they want American to be?

5) How does each side of the debate define and imagine the ideal (or typical) American? In other words, who do they assume “real” Americans are?

Essay 1
AMST 201
Summer 2015
Dr. Dustin Abnet
DUE: July 26 at 11:59 PM on TITANIUM

Please answer ONE of the following question sets in a concise but well-developed essay (about 2-4 pages double-spaced should do) that incorporates evidence from the primary documents, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, and lectures. YOU MUST USE THE AMERICANIZATION OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC C.
You will be graded on how well you engage with the question and how clearly you explain your argument. There is no set “correct” answer to these questions. You have to look at the materials I have provided you with and create your own answer.
For citations to written documents, please use the following format: (Author Name, Page #). There is no need to cite my lectures.
Choose ONE of the following sets of questions. In each question set, the first (in bold) question is the main one you must answer. The remaining questions are designed to help you answer the question in a logical manner. Failure to address them may result in lost points.
1. How did the Revolution transform American society, culture, and identity? Who did the Revolution empower? How did it encourage other groups of people to challenge their authority? Were those other groups of people successful? Why or why not?

2. Why did late 18th and early 19th century Americans embrace Benjamin Franklin as the “ideal” American? What did this embrace suggest about American culture and politics in the time period? Why was this embrace so strange given Franklin’s history? Do you think Franklin is still an example of the “ideal” American?

3. Is America a country built on the idea of “Freedom” or the reality slavery (or both)? How did those two elements co-exist in 18th and 19th century America? Was slavery just an contradiction of “American” ideals or did those ideals depend on slavery?

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