“The Chinese Question from a Chinese Standpoint,” 1873

How did the Chinese in California confront anti-Chinese discrimination in the late 1800s?

Women, Temperance, and Domesticity

How does women’s role in the campaign against alcohol consumption in antebellum America reflect the strengths and limitations of the cult of domesticity?

The Cult of Domesticity

How did the cult of domesticity oppress and empower women in the nineteenth century?

The Enslaved and the Civil War

How did African Americans enslaved in the Confederacy undermine the Southern cause during the Civil War?

The Family Life of the Enslaved

How did slavery shape the family life of the enslaved in the American South?

Map of the Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

As the Underground Railroad helped guide fugitive slaves to freedom, what dangers and challenges confronted the fugitives and supportive agents?

A Pro-Slavery Argument, 1857

How did proponents of slavery in antebellum America defend it as a positive good?


“What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?”

What arguments and rhetorical strategies did Frederick Douglass use to persuade a northern, white audience to oppose slavery and favor abolition?

Hester’s A: The Red Badge of Wisdom

What does the scarlet A do for Hester Prynne?

Thoreau’s Critique of Democracy in “Civil Disobedience”

What criticisms of representative democracy does Thoreau raise in “Civil Disobedience”?

Aylmer’s Motivation in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark”

In “The Birthmark” how does Nathaniel Hawthorne use symbolism to reveal the motivation of Aylmer, the story’s protagonist?

Individualism in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”

In his essay “Self-Reliance,” how does Ralph Waldo Emerson define individualism, and how, in his view, can it affect society?

The Religious Roots of Abolition

How did American Christians in the nineteenth century come to see slavery as something that needed to be abolished?

The Expansion of Democracy during the Jacksonian Era

How did the character of American politics change between the 1820s and the 1850s as a result of growing popular participation?

Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase

Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase

Why did President Thomas Jefferson negotiate the Louisiana Purchase?

Revolution of 1800

The Revolution of 1800

How did Thomas Jefferson use his first inaugural address to bridge the political divide generated by his election and redirect presidential policy?