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American Revolution and William Byrd Essay

1. How did William Byrd’s life in Virginia reflect British influences? How did it reflect American characteristics? (Mention pertinent customs, interests, institutions, and objects.)

2. In view of William Byrd’s great wealth and influence in Virginia, why didn’t he simply stay in America?

3. In what respects was colonial Virginia an aristocratic society? In what respects was it democratic?

4. The author suggests that in England, William Byrd was something of a gadabout, whereas in America his life was more stable and constructive. In what ways do Byrd’s vocational, intellectual, and sexual activities support this argument?

5. This chapter describes several levels of authority in colonial Virginia. Describe the distribution of power in each of these relationships: husbands and wives, masters and slaves, local gentry and average colonists, Virginia and England.

6. William Byrd’s career reveals both the satisfaction and the frustration of being a British American. In what ways were the two identities compatible? In what ways did they come into conflict?

“Reform in Early America: John Woolman on Goodness and Greed”

1.What were the principal beliefs of the early Quakers, and why were they persecuted?

2.What were the customs and practices in the colonies that John Woolman particularly condemned? What did these behaviors have in common?

3.What did John Woolman mean by the words “scramble” and “cumber,” and why did he condemn both? What did he mean by the “inner plantation”?

4.According to William Penn, what is the essence of a good marriage—and what force is most likely to undermine true love?

5. Why did John Woolman write: “the seeds of great calamity and desolation are sown and growing fast on this continent”?

“Divided Loyalties: Jonathan Boucher and the Pre-Revolutionary Crisis”

1. What were Jonathan Boucher’s main criticisms of America in his early years as a colonist? What did he like about America?

2. In what ways did Boucher contribute to colonial society and education while he was in America?

3. Like the Patriots, Jonathan Boucher opposed the Stamp Act—why?

4. What was Boucher’s position on the questions of bishops and clerical salaries? How did his thinking on these issues influence his relationship to the Revolutionary movement?

5. Why did Jonathan Boucher leave America? How did other people treat him in his final months in the colonies?

6. What was the Lockean view of government? In what ways did Boucher support it? What was the philosophical basis of his opposition to the Revolution?

7. What did Jonathan Boucher mean when he argued that liberty is merely a “phantom”—a “magical and misleading word”?

8. Were the Patriots justified in driving Jonathan Boucher into exile? Should they have allowed Tories the same liberty they demanded for themselves?

“The American Revolution, 1776: The Continental Army in the Year of Independence”

1.The author claims that American independence did not become a reality on July 4, 1776. In what ways was America still subordinate to Britain after Independence Day?

2. For what reasons did people join and desert the Continental army? 3. What were George Washington’s principal accomplishments and weaknesses as a military leader in 1775–1776?

4. Why was Washington “wearied to death” in 1776?

5. Describe the contribution of each of these persons to the Revolutionary War: Nathanael Greene, Joseph Hodgkins, Joseph Plumb Martin, Nathan Hale, Lydia Minturn Post, and Thomas Paine.

6. How did each of the following contribute to American independence: the rhetoric of Nathan Hale and Thomas Paine and the victories of the Continental army at Trenton and Princeton?

7. In 1776 Americans took pride in being a small nation that fought bravely against a larger nation. America is now one of the most powerful nations in the world, but can you see evidence in our statesmanship of a tendency to associate ourselves with smaller, “oppressed”


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