Is the United States better understood as an idealistic experiment that continually draws its people upward or as an engine of oppression that continually holds its people down?,’The Declaration of Independence opens: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights. Here at inception is a vision of national commitment to equality and rights. Yet the colonies that declared independence were full of inequality and rights denials. This basic tension—between liberal-democratic egalitarian ideals and oppressive hierarchical realities—persists to this day. It is a tension however that has not been static which leads to this question: Prompt: is the United States better understood as an idealistic experiment that continually draws its people upward or as an engine of oppression that continually holds its people down? 5-7 pages in length. ALSO provide an executive summary of the paper which should be about half a page. Which view do you think better characterizes the antebellum United States (from the constitutional convention to the cusp of the Civil War)? Choose one strand from the course analyze how both views are at play there and explain why your view is the dominant influence. You have wide discretion in choosing and defining the strand that you choose (choose one or more) ๏ Doctoral analysis – consider choosing a single Supreme Court opinion (e.g. Dred Scott or Prigg v. PA) and analyzing the ways that both tendencies are evident in the reasoning. ๏ Micro-history and the experiences of individuals – choose a single event and historical character (or set of historical characters) and explain how both impulses were at play (e.g. Amistad or attempted re-enslavement in New Orleans). ๏ Politics – choose a particular congressional/constitutional debate (e.g. the Constitutional Convention or the Missouri Compromise). ๏ Grand sweep of history – choose a long-term dynamic (e.g. slavery in the territories or the position of American Indians). Requirements: 5 pages ‘
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