American Revolution

How did ideas and interpretations of freedom vary for different groups involved in the
Revolution? How did these different interpretations contradict and compete with one another? What
kind of freedom won out in the end, enshrined in the United States’ founding document?

Your goal will be to develop an analytical essay in response to the prompt drawing from at least several
of these documents. As you read them, look for themes that connect them even though they largely
come from different contexts and address different issues. Bring them into analytical conversation with
one another. Some questions to inspire your thinking… How do the documents seem to define liberty
and its limits? What role does race, gender, property, and class play in how the documents think about
freedom and who is entitled to it? What can we learn about the ways the revolutionary generation
thought about the meaning of freedom from these documents, and how did groups who were excluded
from this definition contest it? Do you see the way for future struggles being paved in these debates
about the nature and limits of freedom?

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