American Sovereignty

Choose A or B

A. Patrick Griffin writes that “The years 1763 to 1800 marked the start and end of a process by which Americans struggled to act in a world without limits. The revolution began over an idea, the idea of sovereignty: the shape or form ultimate power should take, where it was to be located, and…the justifications for each.” How did the idea of sovereignty change for Americans from 1763 to 1800? Briefly describe the idea of sovereignty before 1776. Focus most of your essay on the idea of sovereignty after 1776. In what ways did Americans construct and deconstruct the meaning of sovereignty? Who got to participate in the construction/deconstruction and who did that sovereignty apply to? Finally, what role did the Revolution of 1800 play regarding the concept of American sovereignty?

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B. Enlightenment philosophy strongly influenced patriotic ideology during and after the American Revolution. For example, Thomas Jefferson changed John Locke’s “Life, Liberty, and Property” into “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” However, ideology is not always reflected in reality. The Declaration of Independence declares that “All men are created equal.” The preamble of the Constitution begins “We the People of the United States.” Were all men created equal in the early United States? Who were “the People of the United States?” Evaluate the phrases above and the experiences of three groups between 1783 and 1800. You may choose from white women, African-Americans, Ohio Indians, white western settlers, and socio-political elites. Explore the gap, if it exists, between revolutionary rhetoric and ideology in the new nation.

For more information on American Sovereignty read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_sovereignty_in_the_United_States

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