History interpretation- kim woods | History homework help


One of the most important skills a historian develops is the ability to evaluate historical documents. This evaluation concerns asking questions of the documents that allows a historian to have insight in a particular topic or period being investigated. This week’s documents relate to the weekly module topic. This week’s documents relate to the weekly module topic of culture and cultural interaction. If you still need help prioritizing your questions of the document go to the Document Interpretation Tutorial Page. Use the questions below to learn how to analyze various types of sources and to become an historian yourself. 


In this weekly discussion assignment you will need to:

  1. Choose one of the documents below to read from one of the 2 categories.
  2. Write a 250-500 word initial post and and present your interpretation of the document and the material you have been introduced to in this modulel


  1. Category 1: Popular Sovereignty

George Fitzhugh, Slavery Justified

  • What does Fitzhugh consider to be the basic failures of the northern states and France?
  • According to Fitzhugh, what is the proper status and role of women?
  • Give some examples that illustrate why Fitzhugh considers slavery to be superior to free labor.

The Lincoln-Douglas Debates— Pick one

Fugitive Slave Act

Stephen A. Douglass, Debate at Galesburg, Illinois Section, “Mr. Douglas’ Speech (pages 207-219)

  • According to Douglas, what did the compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill (late Act) mean for the country?
  • From the document, how would you characterize Douglas’s stance on slavery

Abraham Lincoln, Charleston Debate

  • How would you summarize Lincoln’s attitudes toward race and slavery as expressed in this excerpt?
  • The excerpt is the height of the art of debate for its time. How does it compare with political rhetoric in today’s elections?
  • What is Lincoln’s main point within this introductory speech? What issue does he devote the most time to?

Category 2: Sherman’s March to the Sea

The Confederate Constitution (Read only article 1-5)

  • According to this document, what action had 14 states undertaken that violated the Constitution?
  • What is the “property” described in this document?
  • Does this document help us to address the question of whether the Civil War was fought over slavery? If so, how?

Jefferson Davis, Address to the Provincial Congress of the Confederate States of America  (Read only the first four paragraphs)

  • What legal justification does Davis give for secession?
  • According to Davis, what role did slavery play in bringing about the Civil War?

Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address

  • What does Lincoln have to say about the expansion of slavery beyond its current boundaries?
  • Lincoln’s first inaugural address has often been noted for its conciliatory approach to the South.  In what ways does Lincoln attempt to soothe the fears of southerners? Conversely, in what ways does he state that he will remain firm on his principals regardless of whom he offends?

George McClellan to Abraham Lincoln Letter

  • President Lincoln had replaced McClellan for inactivity in the field.  In your opinion, does this letter portray McCellan as a leader?
  • Is it clear what General McClellan is saying? 

South Carolina Declaration of the Causes of Secessions (Read, “In the present case, that fact is established with certainty…” to the end.)

  • According to this document, what action had 14 states undertaken that violated the Constitution?
  • What is the “property” described in this document?
  • Does this document help us to address the question of whether the Civil War was fought over slavery? If so, how?


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