Happy Monday. Happy Monday.

September 29, 2003



Happy Monday.

Happy Monday. I did not blog over the weekend, largely because I had nothing to say. I have been grading papers, and caring for the baby, and going to high holiday services, and doing some reading for Tuesday.

I am not entirely happy about my sequence on the American Revolution, so I have been working on a new swing. Mostly this means firing up the word processor and making a mess of notes. Later today I will dig into the files and see what I did over the summer and last spring. I like my basic structure, but as always it needs tweaking.

We will have a three class sequence. I have already named them in the syllabus: Imperial Crisis, Revolution, The One and the Many. The idea is that the first one sets up the war, the second one fights it, and the third talks about state constitution making, the problem of republicanism, and life under the articles of confederation. Then, on Thursday of next week, we do the constitution and the week after that we have our midterm.

I am tweaking what I intend to do in each class because I changed the reading. The Imperial Crisis is a textbook chapter that runs through July, 1776. For Revolution I decided to focus on George Washington and we are reading half a dozen of his letters, plus the Declaration itself and Alexander Hamilton's letter to his father in law explaining how Hamilton and Washington came to quarrel. For The One and the Many we have a textbook chapter that covers the Revolution from 1776 to the end and then talks about constitutional arrangements. So the reading does not quite match up with the class subjects.

My current intention is to spend Imperial Crisis looking at how a batch of people defending traditional English constitutional arrangements and appealing to the rights of Englishmen ended up deciding that the king and his ministers were engaged in a crusade against liberty. The second will focus on Washington, although he will make a cameo on Tuesday when we fight the French and Indian War. I do feel that Washington is either ignored or, more often, made into a plaster saint. I give them Washington the businessman, land speculator, and practical legislator; I show a man with a ferocious temper, rigid self-control, and obsessive courtesy. I think it works, we will see.

At least some of the kids have been perking up when I tell them that we will be reading "other people's mail" this week.

And so to grade more papers.

Posted by Red Ted at September 29, 2003 09:12 AM | TrackBack