Identify 2-3 ideals or values, describe them, and consider their relative value

You are expected to do the reading, carefully and comprehensively, and answer ONE discussion question by 11:59pm each Wednesday. You can choose any of the week’s questions. Each question should be answered in 4-5 well-written sentences. Citation style is informal (e.g., Tocqueville, pg 55), but the posts should be carefully worded to clearly explain and support your argument. If you exceed 5 sentences, be certain that your post is well-edited and concise.

 Friday replies (2 replies, 1.5 points each): After your classmates have posted, you are expected to reply to two posts by 11:59pm each Friday. You may agree or constructively disagree, but please add a meaningful comment or question (no sentence length requirement, but also no unsupported, simple statements like “I agree!”).

week one

Module 1: Learning Materials
Early colonial leaders sought religious freedom from the Old World and developed new conceptions of religious and political freedom in the process. Revolutionary advocates, such as Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin, provide passionate accounts of the need to respect individual rights, while uniting to fight as a cohesive republic. Try reading the Declaration of Independence as a justification for rebelling against an unjust sovereign and a reiteration of natural rights of man. Later, the Constitution would establish another sovereign and the Bill of Rights would seek to protect individual rights from that sovereign. I hope that you’ll enjoy these early contributions to America’s evolving conception of freedom.

Read the following (See Module 1’s pdf of Franklin and Paine excerpts if your text has not arrived yet):

Benjamin Franklin (skip the first article “Observations Concerning the Increase of Mankind,” but read the others)
Thomas Paine
Declaration of Independence
Watch the following:

Intro and Module 1
The following video lecture introduces the course themes, grading structure, and historical context for the first week’s readings. There are parts of the video that do NOT apply to our Summer session class: the essay is optional (not required) for our class, all students post in DBs every week, and we do not read the section on Protestant views of freedom (so you can skip minutes 8:20 to 12:12 of the video).

Module 1: Discussion
No unread replies.No replies.
By midnight on Wed, 5/20, post a well-edited and -supported, 4-5 sentence response to the following prompt, and then reply by Friday, 5/22 to two group members’ posts. Replies can be shorter but should engage with the author, further the conversation, and include supporting evidence. The Canvas deadline shows 5/22, but be sure to post your initial response by Wed, 5/20.

Let’s do a ‘close reading’ of the 2nd and 3rd sentences of the United States’ Declaration of Independence (posted below). Specifically:

Identify 2-3 ideals or values, describe them, and consider their relative value (i.e., Which might be most important? How you you know?
Describe 2-3 proposed or implied political actions. Be specific. Who should do what to whom? For what reason(s)? Are there differences between actions of the People and of the Government? Any sense of who is part of the People vs the Government?
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…”


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Identify 2-3 ideals or values describe them and consider their relative value


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