Where the Explorers coursepack was purposefully wide-ranging, this second text is more streamlined. The topic at hand is the definition of American.
The first half of the anthology provides readings on the intentions of this newfangled nation, and the narrative of how the decision was reached to break away from the most liberal-minded and humanitarian kingdom in human history (not to say the British Empire was atrocity-free). In the end we created a document called the Constitution, loyalty to which entitled one to full-fledged citizenship, regardless of background.
|Discovery of America||Paul La Farge||1|
|New Colossus||Emma Lazarus||6|
|What Is an American?||Hector St Jean de Crevecoeur||7|
|Gettysburg Address||Abraham Lincoln||9|
|Four Freedoms||Franklin Delano Roosevelt||10|
|Wordy Shipmates||Sarah Vowell||11|
|Fifty Years||Larry Gonick||14|
|Ohio, 1754||Larry Gonick||16|
|Americans & Empire||Edmund Morgan||20|
This wasn't actually true, of course. Most Americans weren't citizens in our earliest years, and most suffered deeply from this denial. Changes were required and still are. The greatest characteristic of the Constitution is that changes to it are built right in. This process began even before its ratification, with the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments. Since then, most of the Amendments have the effect of distributing the rights of American citizens more widely.
The second half of the coursepack explores this process.
|Douglass Meets Lincoln||Larry Gonick||47|
|How It Feels||Zora Neale Hurston||48|
|Creation Stories||Barbara Kingsolver||50|
|Phoenix, Arizona||Sherman Alexie||53|
|House on Mango Street||Sandra Cisneros||61|
|American Born Chinese||Gene Luen Yang||68|
|Undeterred by Reality||Molly Ivins||87|