The Debate Over Independence

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Unit 3 Discussion:
The Debate Over Independence

One of the key roles of a historian is to understand the differing perspectives of the past. Just like people today have differing political opinions, so too did people in the past. While we may not always agree with a particularly perspective, it is still important to understand all points of view.

This discussion will focus on the debate over independence in 1776. You will read two very different perspectives on whether or not Americans should declare their independence from Great Britain. While Thomas Paine supported American independence from Britain and explained these reasons in his famous document Common Sense, Charles Inglis insisted that Americans should remain loyal to Britain in the hopes of preventing further bloodshed. The goal of this assignment is to read both perspectives and understand the main arguments offered by each in favor of or against independence.

DISCUSSION READINGS

Thomas Paine – Common Sense
Charles Inglis Against Independence


INSTRUCTIONS

There are two parts to this assignment: an initial posting and a response. You are required to read both of the above documents, take notes, and then present your findings to the class. Here is how it will work:

1. INITIAL POSTING: Your initial posting will attempt to convince the American colonies that independence is necessary. You will read the document by Thomas Paine, then use his arguments to present a compelling case for independence. Your posting should convey all of the main themes conveyed by Paine, as well as include examples from the reading to illustrate your main points. You can be as creative as you’d like with your initial posting. Here are a few ideas:

-create a PowerPoint, (after all, didn’t they have computers in 1776?)
or
-create a pamphlet (just like Common Sense) or newspaper article where you discuss your main points (Word and Publisher work well for this format)

2. RESPONSE: Your response is based on document by Charles Inglis. You will read the document, then note at least three reasons why Americans SHOULD NOT declare independence. You will then respond to one of the Thomas Paine postings and explain why Americans should remain loyal to Great Britain, offering at least three reasons that you found in the reading by Charles Inglis. . Feel free to write in character as if you were living in 1776.

The goal for this assignment is to comprehensively discuss the main points made by Paine and Inglis in their writings. You are graded on how effectively and comprehensively you cover the themes in both readings. Make sure that you include key points from each reading, and use examples to illustrate your points. Since you are only using these readings (and no outside sources), you only need to cite your work if you use a direct quote.

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