HIS325: African American History
Module 4: Midterm Examination
In essays of at least 500 words each (about 2-pages double-spaced), address five of the following six essay topics. Your essays should properly cite all of your sources, including textbooks and any other sources you may use.
1. During the early years of the British colonies in North America, people of African descent occupied a number of social positions, and slavery was not fully codified in law. However, by the early 1700s, racial slavery was legally established, and the vast majority of the rapidly growing African population was permanently enslaved. Explain how and why this "terrible transformation" took place – including both the worldwide and local factors –and analyze the main social and economic roles that enslaved black people played by the mid-eighteenth century.
2. Evaluate the main forms that slave resistance took, analyze the historical forces behind this resistance, and explain its main effects.
3. Explain why slavery was questioned widely during the Revolutionary period, and why the northern and southern history of the institution diverged so greatly after the Revolution.
4. From the early colonial period to the Civil War, enslaved people — who were descended from many African nationalities and ethnicities – managed to construct a broadly common culture and ethnic identity of their own. Explain how they did this, what cultural resources they drew on, and what the main forms of this culture were; evaluate the importance of the emergence of African American culture under slavery to the history of African Americans and to the US in general.
5. It is widely believed that, from the Northern point of view, the Civil War was a war to end slavery, but in fact the initial war goals of the Union was to force the secessionist states back even with slavery intact. Explain why the North failed initially to advocate the destruction of slavery. And explain why and how this changed—why and how the Civil War did in fact became a war to abolish slavery.
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