The writing of
history reflects the interests, predilections, and even prejudices of a
to be rewritten because history is the selection of those threads of
causes or antecedents that we are interested in.
Wendell Holmes, Jr.
history with the past.
Not that I
would ever put myself on the same level as such a great historian as
John Hope Franklin or such a great jurist as Oliver Wendell Holmes,
Jr., but it is important that we understand the nature of
history. Most people when they use the word "history" are
referring to the past, but when historians use the term, they are
referring to a discipline, a method for chronicling, interpreting and
understanding the past.
The past does
not change, but history does. That is what Franklin and Holmes
are trying to convey, and it is what we must always remember.
Historians are constantly rewriting and revising history, not just
because they can, but because the discipline of history is
This year the
discipline of history will change. Most of the topics we will
study in APUSH will be familiar to you from other US History
classes, but many of the interpretations we make and the conclusions we
draw will be dramatically different. There is no agenda on my
part here; we will simply be studying American history in greater depth
and breadth than you have previously. Sometimes these differences
will arise out of new questions we ask, new sources we consult or
alternate theories we consider. Sometimes they will simply arise
out of new ways of seeing the same past from a new perspective.
What I have described above is the historical process, but there is
another level to the discipline of history that we also need to
consider: Historiography. Historians do not merely come up
with new interpretations and throw away the old; new interpretations
must be considered alongside the old, the traditional must be
considered alongside the radical, the standard must be considered
alongside the unique.
Reading & Writing
Below are two
essays analyzing the importance of Native Americans to the development
of the European colonies, especially the Atlantic colonies settled by
the English. After reading Charles Mann's "Native Intelligence"
and James Axtell's "Colonial America Without the Indians" write a
reader response paper of 2-3 pages or 500 words analyzing not just what
the authors say but how they say it. In other words, describe
your reponse to how each author presents the history. (Note: A
reader response is a little less formal than a typical essay, but it
should still have a thesis and use a logical argument structure.)
You have completed the APUSH Summer Assignment.
difficulties accessing the materials? Questions on the
until it's too late & jeopardize your class schedule.
via e-mail any time during the summer.