This debate-style reader is designed to introduce students to controversies in American history. The readings,which represent the arguments of leading historians,reflect a variety of viewpoints,and are presented in "yes" and "no" pairs. Taking Sides actively develops critical thinking skills by requiring students to analyze opposing viewpoints and reach considered judgements.
Table of ContentsPART 1. Colonial Society
ISSUE 1. Is America Exceptional?
YES: Seymour Martin Lipset, from American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword
NO: Ian Tyrrell, from "American Exceptionalism in an Age of International History," American Historical Review
ISSUE 2. Was Columbus an Imperialist?
YES: Kirkpatrick Sale, from The Conquest of Paradise: Christopher Columbus and the Columbian Legacy
NO: Robert Royal, from 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History
ISSUE 3. Was the Colonial Period a "Golden Age" for Women in America?
YES: Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh, from "The Planter's Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland," William and Mary Quarterly
NO: Mary Beth Norton, from "The Myth of the Golden Age," in Carol Ruth Berkin and Mary Beth Norton, eds., Women of America: A History
ISSUE 4. Did Racism Cause the Enslavement of Africans in America?