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Founding Fathers Research Paper



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The Constitution, the Articles, and Federalism: Crash Course US History #8

For Thomas Duckenfield, there's also a lesson in freedom's influence on generations. The Washington, DC, attorney and government contractor descends from the Thompsons and Newmans, of whom 50 were listed in Carter's deed of gift. Since age 12, Duckenfield has enjoyed genealogy. At first, he focused on his father's side of the family. He had just delved into his mother's side when she brought him a newspaper clipping about "a twilight ceremony on a torch-lit clover field near the site of Nomini Hall. But examining his mother's family tree, he was surprised to see the "Thompson and Newman lines break through -- , , all the way back to I knew these people were free African Americans back to at least Duckenfield wrote Delano, who mailed him a copy of the deed of gift.

He later visited Delano and began collecting government records in Westmoreland County. In Census documents, he noticed his ancestors and adjoining families had two parents, a rarity in an era when slaveholders ripped families apart. Tax records from onward indicate a trend of education, land ownership and gainful employment -- not just in planting and agriculture but an array of occupations. His ancestors had wills and passed on wealth, he said. By the s, they were graduating from colleges and entering the teaching and nursing professions. In the s, women in his family were attaining a variety of professional degrees.

He was so impressed with the ancient poplars lining the drive to Nomini Hall that he planted trees along the driveway to their old home, she recalled. Gilmore came across the deed of gift while taking an African American history class her senior year in high school, she said. She "felt really passionate about finding those lost stories -- and I'm sure that my dad reminded me that we had some of those stories right at home in Westmoreland County. For Gilmore and others, it's a mystery that the legacies of Carter and his deed of gift remain hidden in history.

To understand his erasure, it's necessary to understand his lofty station among the Virginia gentry of his day. He counted Washington's half-brother, Lawrence, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson as friends; he regularly dined with and loaned money to the latter. Washington himself was a neighbor, and Robert E. Lee's mother was the great granddaughter of his grandfather, Robert "King" Carter. King Carter was a man of enormous wealth and power, a colonial governor who owned about 1, slaves and more than , acres of land. He died in , about three months after Carter III's father, leaving the boy with a fortune. The sprawling Nomini Hall, which is tough to locate on a map today, was just one of his 16 plantations. A religious wanderer drawn later in life to integrated churches, Carter III was not the first to free his slaves.

Others, middle-class Quakers and Baptists among them, had released a few slaves here, a few there, but none rivaled Carter's deed, which established a schedule to free slaves, starting with the oldest and later their children. Carter also allowed the freedmen to choose their last names so they could keep families together and pass down wealth. He ensured they had salable skills, arranged for them to buy or lease land, and bought their wares. He also spent a great deal on transporting them from his plantations to the Northumberland courthouse, and on lawyers to guarantee his heirs -- some none too happy he was paring their inheritance -- didn't undo his wishes.

A noble act went unheralded So, how has this great manumission remained largely unknown outside of a handful of history buffs and the growing body of descendants? There are theories. One is that Carter shunned attention, as evidenced by his unmarked grave at Nomini Hall. Gilmore struggled to find "personal writings that would speak to his feelings on the issue" while writing her high school paper, she recalled. A platitude is the only clue Carter left in the deed : "I have for some time past been convinced that to retain them in Slavery is contrary to the true Principles of Religion and Justice and that therefor sic it was my duty to manumit them.

Another hypothesis is that, unlike wealthy contemporaries such as Jefferson, Madison and Washington, Carter was not great at politics and thus didn't inspire their enduring legend. A third postulation is the manumission was so deeply unpopular -- neighbors complained, and one threatened to torch Carter's home -- it didn't compel much documentation. A brief in a Richmond newspaper constitutes the bulk of the coverage.

Levy, whose books include a biography of Carter, "The First Emancipator," has another suspicion: America doesn't care -- because it's inconvenient. As Levy sees it, American history feebly attempts to level the founding fathers' fondness for freedom with their ownership of humans by uncritically parroting their assertions that there was no pragmatic way to emancipate hundreds of thousands of slaves. Slavery was a necessary evil, to hear the founders tell it. Many have tried to raise awareness of Carter's counterculture stance on slavery, going back to his children's tutor. Living at Nomini Hall in , Philip Vickers Fithian marveled over how the generous but eccentric aristocrat weekly allotted each slave 16 pints of dry corn and a pound of meat.

Good God! She later did her master's thesis on the topic. She later directed John Barden to various research. The historian, who spoke at the bicentennial, devoted almost pages of his page doctoral dissertation to listing slaves and descendants freed by the deed of gift, providing biographical details gleaned from tax and court records. This proved useful to researchers as well as descendants trying to trace their family lineage back to the enslaved.

Reading the copy of the deed Barden sent her about six years ago, Chrystal Gaskins, 49, of Spotsylvania, Virginia, discovered her family had ties with the Gaskinses, Harrises and Robinsons -- surnames encompassing more than 80 of Carter's slaves -- as well as tangential links to other lines. Suppose you are taking a Near Eastern history class and your professor has distributed the following paper prompt:. What were the particular goals of nation-building? What kinds of strategies did the state employ? What were the results? Be specific in your analysis, and draw on at least one of the scholars of nationalism that we discussed in class. This has been especially true in the Middle East, where the country of Jordan offers one example of how states in the region approached nation-building.

To help them face the difficult challenges of founding a new state, they employed various strategies of nation-building. The first draft of the introduction, while a good initial step, is not strong enough to set up a solid, argument-based paper. Here are the key issues:. From the beginning of your paper, you want to invite your reader into your specific topic, rather than make generalizations that could apply to any nation in any time or place. Ask yourself if the sentence you have written can apply in any time or place or could apply to any event or person.

If the answer is yes, then you need to make your opening line more specific. The paper prompt is not asking you to talk about nation-building in general, but nation-building in one specific place. Certainly, such background information is critical for the reader to know, but notice that it simply restates much of the information already in the prompt. The question already asks you to pick one example, so your job is not simply to reiterate that information, but to explain what kind of example Jordan presents.

You also need to tell your reader why the context you are providing matters. You also need to assess those strategies, so that you can answer the part of the prompt that asks about the results of nation-building. It directly answers the question in the prompt. Even though you will be persuading readers of your argument through the evidence you present in the body of your paper, you want to tell them at the outset exactly what you are arguing. It discusses the significance of the argument, saying that Jordan created an especially stable state. It offers a roadmap for the rest of the paper. The writer knows how to proceed and the reader knows what to expect. If you write your introduction first, be sure to revisit it after you have written your entire essay.

Because your paper will evolve as you write, you need to go back and make sure that the introduction still sets up your argument and still fits your organizational structure. Your conclusion serves two main purposes. First, it reiterates your argument in different language than you used in the thesis and body of your paper. Second, it tells your reader why your argument matters. In your conclusion, you want to take a step back and consider briefly the historical implications or significance of your topic.

You will not be introducing new information that requires lengthy analysis, but you will be telling your readers what your paper helps bring to light. Perhaps you can connect your paper to a larger theme you have discussed in class, or perhaps you want to pose a new sort of question that your paper elicits. In the s, the Jordanian National Movement unleashed fierce internal opposition to Hashemite rule, crafting an alternative narrative of history in which the Hashemites were mere puppets to Western powers. Gillis identified in his investigation of commemorations: a process of both remembering and forgetting.

It forgets, however, the many different histories that Jordanians champion, histories that the Hashemite mythology has never been able to fully reconcile.

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