By Joseph J. Ellis
Via photographs of 4 figures—Charles Willson Peale, Hugh Henry Brackenridge, William Dunlap, and Noah Webster—Joseph Ellis presents a special standpoint at the position of tradition in post-Revolutionary the US, either its excessive expectancies and its frustrations.
Each lifestyles is attention-grabbing in its personal correct, and every is used to brightly remove darkness from the old context.
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Image source: Art Resource, NY. A member of the Mixtec people, who lived within the Aztec empire, made this necklace for an Aztec aristocrat. Mixtec and Aztec peoples associated frogs with rain and fertility, which were important factors for survival in civilizations with large cities and complex societies that depended on stable crop yields of maize and other products. Practicing Historical Thinking What does it mean to read closely? Three questions accompany each document in this textbook. They ask you to examine the text—either written or visual—a second or third time to develop your critical reading and thinking skills.
In this letter, Afonso writes to the king of Portugal, John III, on the growth of the slave trade in Kongo. . Sir, in our Kingdoms there is another great inconvenience which is of little service to God, and this is that many of our people, keenly desirous as they are of the wares and things of your Kingdoms, which are brought here by your people, and in order to satisfy their voracious appetite, seize many of our people, freed and exempt men, and very often it happens that they kidnap even noblemen and the sons of noblemen, and our relatives, and take them to be sold to the white men who are in our Kingdoms; and for this purpose they have concealed them; and others are brought during the night so that they might not be recognized.
Historians must do more than just identify details. They must offer some analysis of the item within the context of the time and place in which it originated, as in this next question: Analyze: If frogs represented fertility for the Aztecs, why might a high-status Aztec want to wear these symbolic objects? Finally, a historian must consider the meaning of the object or document and assess its historical significance. In this process, called evaluation, the reader makes an informed judgment about the text.