Women’s Rights – Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton


One of the major issues that we are examining during the Realist period is the fight for women’s rights. In class we will be examining the work of two women – Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth.

Each of these women worked to further the cause of suffrage and the abolitionist movement.

One of the main figureheads of the suffrage movement in America, Stanton wrote the ‘Declaration of Sentiments’, which were presented in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention. Stanton not only fought for women’s right to vote, but also for women’s property rights, employment rights, custody  rights, and right to birth control.


Click here to read her ‘Declaration of Sentiments’

sojourner_truth_lc1In addition to Stanton, Sojourner Truth also worked to support the cause of suffrage and abolition. Born into slavery, Truth would have 13 children (11 of them sold into slavery themselves, never to be seen again) before escaping to freedom. She then took on the role of public speaker, and used her own experience to encourage others not only to support the abolition of slavery but also the equality of women. Though she was illiterate herself, her speaking was clear and powerful. Many different versions of her famous ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’ speech exist today, but all of them share the similarity of tone and passion.

Click here to read her speech ‘Ain’t I A Woman?’

BONUS: Did you know that the original document ‘The Declaration of Sentiments’ has been lost? Click here to listen to an AMAZING podcast episode from the ladies over at ‘Stuff You Missed in History Class’ to learn more!

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

Realism – A Reaction to American Romanticism

This week we are beginning our unit on Realism, the literary response to Romanticism. The style of Realism includes representing REAL life lived by REAL people (not the idealized life that Emerson and Thoreau presented), and a simple, direct language that everyone could understand.

Issues that we’ll examine throughout this unit include the struggles and trials of the Civil War, the last stand of the Native Americans in the Indian Wars, the suffrage of women and the emancipation of slaves, the influx of a new immigrant population, and the growing divide between the rich and the poor.


As we move through the unit please keep track of how these issues and themes play out across the texts and how they interact with each other in the individual texts.


If you would like to review the video notes from class today, please view it below:



11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

11th Grade Literature – 9 Weeks Exam

As you prepare for your nine weeks exam in this class, remember that you will be responsible for all of the material we have covered so far this semester – this includes Pre-Colonial literature, Puritan, Revolutionary, Expansionism, and Romanticism. All of the materials we have covered this semester are available on this website – just look under the 11th Grade Literature tab… or search the website for the texts you need to review.

If you were not able to come to the after school study session, please see the powerpoint below:

Click here to open the after school study session powerpoint.

Also, make sure you are finishing your foldable/study guide, as it will be turned in after the exam for the first project grade of the 2nd nine weeks.


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

Emerson – The Father of Transcendenalism

ralph_waldo_emersonIn class today we began our study of the Transcendentalist – a group of close knit free-thinkers and non-conformist, largely from Massachusetts, that changed the future of American Literature. Please see the video below for the background notes on Transcendentalism, as well as background information on Emerson.

In class we are reading a series of texts by Emerson – you will either be responsible for reading excerpts of ‘Nature’, and determining how we see the ideals of Romanticism present in that text; ‘Self-Reliance’, and brainstorm an ‘Emerson’s Guide to Self-Reliant Living’ pamphlet; or his tenth essay, ‘Circles’, and complete an indepth analysis of the extended metaphor of the circle and how Emerson connects the ideas of Nature, The Individual, Society, and God/Spirituality.

Please click below to access copies of the essay from class.

Click here to access ‘Nature’

and here to access ‘Self-Reliance’.

Click here to access ‘Circles’.

See below for images from our notes and discussion in class:




img_20160926_123053897 img_20160926_123059244 img_20160926_123101783 img_20160926_123105351 img_20160926_123111414 img_20160926_123115880 img_20160926_123120773 img_20160926_123123994

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

The Early Romantics – The Fireside Poets


Until the third decade of the 19th century, America had little literature to call its own. Fireside poets represented a “coming of age” for the young country, as a first generation of poets took their name from the popularity of their works which were widely read as family entertainment (and in the schoolroom). These poets chose uniquely American settings and subjects, but their themes, meter, and imagery, however, were borrowed from  English tradition. Though not innovative, they were literary giants of their day, and by examining their poems for images of American daily life, politics and nature we can see the beginnings of the Romantic writings that follow.


You will be examining the poetry of two fireside poets – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and William Cullen Bryant.


The Mount of the Holy Cross – Colorado

Longfellow is by far the most famous of the Fireside Poets. No other American poet, not even Robert Frost, has matched Longfellow’s popularity at the height of his career. A bust of Longfellow was placed in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey (alongside Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton. Longfellow was a classmate of Nathaniel Hawthorn. He believed his task was to create in memorable form a common heritage for Americans and in the process to create an audience for poetry.


Picture1You should remember Bryant from our unit over Expansionism in American Literature, as we read his news article ‘On the Right to Strike’. The fame he won as a poet while in his youth remained with him as he entered his eighties; only Longfellow and Emerson were his rivals in popularity over the course of his life. “Thanatopsis,” if not the best-known American poem abroad before the mid nineteenth century, certainly ranked near the top of the list, and at home school children were commonly required to recite it from memory. At his death, all New York City went into mourning for its most respected citizen.



Below you will find the link to both of Longfellow’s short poems you will be analyzing – “The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls”, “The Song of Hiawatha”, “Thanatompsis”, “Old Ironside”, “The Cross of Snow”, “To A Waterfowl” “The Worship of Nature”, “The Search””, as well as Bryant’s poem “The Chambered Nautilus”. You need to not only analyze the poem in depth, but be sure to make connections between the content of these poems and the ideals of the Romantic/Transcendental writers we will be reading later.

Click here to access the British Romantic poem “Tinturn Abbey” by William Wordsworth, complete with our in-class annotations.

Click here to access the other poems in case you lost your hardcopy from class.


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

Nathaniel Hawthorne and “Young Goodman Brown”


Emanuel Thomas Peter Austrian, 1799?1873 A Young Girl with Pink Hair Ribbons ca. 1860 Watercolor on mother-of-pearl in gold-plated copper alloy locket 1 7/8 in. (4.76 cm) Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Albert T. Friedmann M1950.11                                                      Photo by John R. Glembin

‘Faith’ in her pink ribbons.


Born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote novels The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, and the short story “Young Goodman Brown,” among others. Descendants from Judge Hathorne of the Salem Witch Trails, Nathaniel Hawthrone changed the spelling of his name early in life in order to disassociate himself from his family’s ancestral past, and often examined the themes of guilt and sin and religious hypocrisy.

Spanning the ‘expansionist’ period and often being paired with Poe as a ‘Dark Romantic’, Hawthorne’s work helps us transition from Expansionism to Romanticism in our study of literary time periods and movements in America.



For more information about Nathaniel Hawthorne, please view the video below:


Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown” is an allegorical tale that examines Hawthorne’s two popular themes. Following Young Goodman Brown into the woods at night, Hawthorne examines our assumptions about our neighbors, our ourselves and our faith as Americans.

Please see the images and documents below to review our notes from class today, and to read the story.

Click here to read the story.


11th Grade American Literature Fall 2015 Fall 2016

The Foreign Mission School and Religious Tolerance in America

The relationship between earlier settlers, and later Americans, and the Native inhabitants of this country is an ongoing topic that we revisit in the texts we study in class.  In our class discussions we have noted the use of stereotypes when referring the Native Americans – the term ‘Native America’ itself in its homogeneous application, the ‘Noble Savage’ and ‘Wise Chief’, the ‘Indian Princess’ and the ‘Squaw’ and the barbarous ‘Savage’. We have also discuss how the Native American individuals themselves also seemed to purposely play into these stereotypes knowing that, unless they appeared to fulfill the preconceived notions of the white settlers and early Americans, there was a greater chance of their protests and pleas being ignored (See the post over Red Jacket’s speech for more information on this).

While many of the founders of the nation practiced Deist principals regarding religion, Christianity was still the dominant religion and touchstone for most Americans. The conflict between Puritan ideals and the Catholics and Quakers eventually shifted into the conflict between Protestants and all other religions (even other sects of Christianity) by the time of expansionism. In the early days of settlement, the conversion of the Native American was seen as a vital step to ‘civilizing’ the new world (as we discussed in our readings of Mary Rowlandson’s Captivity Narrative and Ben Franklin’s ‘Notes Concerning the Savages’), and as America set her eyes westward to expand, so the need to convert and assimilate the Native people of the American west to Christianity became another vital step in expansion.

One of the earliest accounts of this attempt at conversion took place at The Foreign Mission School. As we discuss and analyze the writings of Native American and Hawaiian students of this school, it is important to have a deeper understand of its history and historical context. 

The Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut was founded with the

plan that it would draw young men from world cultures, educate them, convert them to Christianity, and then send them back to their native lands to spread their new found religion. Click here to listen to the podcast episode over ‘The Heathen School’. 

And click here to read and listen to a recent interview with the author of the new book “The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Early Republic” and read a short excerpt from the book

We we be examining the letters of two Cherokee students at The Foreign Mission School, David Brown and Elias Boudinot, to a Swiss Baron that wanted to fund the school. These letters were written at the insistence of the school’s principal who claimed that the letters were the students’ own writing except for the changing of “a very few words”.


Elias Boudinot

Click here to read the letters of The Foreign Mission School students.

You will be working together in small groups to conduct a rhetorical analysis of the letters, focusing on the syntax, diction and rhetorical devices used by the students of the mission school to achieve their purpose of securing further funding for the school. Be prepared as a class the effectiveness of the author’s writing during the time period and compare that to its effectiveness to a modern readership. Also be able to discuss the reliability of the letter as a primary source document, and  cite specific evidence from the text that adds or detracts from its credibility.

*Note: If you are interested in researching or learning more about the issue of religious tolerance in America, this article from The Smithsonian can provide a jumping off point for more information – Click here for the Smithsonian article.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

“I Must Worship the Spirit in My Own Way” – Red Jacket and the continuing story of Native American religious conversion

In class we have examined the stereotypes of Native Americans portrayed by settlers and early American – both purposefully and unintentionally. Through the writings of William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson and Ben Franklin we have come to understand the perception of the Native Americans as Indian Princesses and Squaws, Noble Savages, Wise Chiefs and Bloodthirsty Savages. What has been missing from this analysis is the actual voice of the Native American people, from their own perspective.

In reading the speech of Red Jacket, analyze his use of rhetoric and be sure to compare his persona to that of the fictional personas of Native Americans put forth by the previous authors we’ve read – consider in what ways does he defy these stereotypes and in what ways does he knowingly play into them?

Be sure that you can answer the following questions by the end of your analysis:

  • Identify the primary message of Red Jacket’s speech
  • Compare his message with that of one of the previous nonfiction pieces we have read throughout the course so far by William Bradford, Mary Rowlandson and Ben Franklin.
  • Identify the similarities and differences between the past representations of Native Americans and Red Jackets own message and persona as a speaker
  • Analyzer the syntax and diction used by Red Jacket to achieve his purpose.

red_jacketNote on the speech: The Senecas, members of the Iroquois Confederacy, fought on the side of the British in the American Revolution. Red Jacket, also  known as Sagoyewatha, was a chief and orator born in eastern New York; he derived his English name from his habit of wearing many red coats provided to him by his British allies. After the hostilities, as the British ceded their territories to the Americans, the Senecas and many other Indian peoples faced enormous pressure on their homelands. Red Jacket was a critical mediator in relations between the new U.S. government and the Senecas; he led a delegation that met with George Washington in 1792, when he received a peace medal that appeared in subsequent portraits of the Indian leader. In 1805 a Boston missionary society requested Red Jacket’s permission to proselytize among the Iroquois settlements in northern New York State. Red Jacket’s forceful defense of native religion, below, caused the representative to refuse the Indian’s handshake and announce that no fellowship could exist between the religion of God and the works of the Devil.


I Must Worship the Spirit in My Own Way

“Friend and brother; it was the will of the Great Spirit that we should meet together this day. He orders all things, and he has given us a fine day for our council. He has taken his garment from before the sun, and caused it to shine with brightness upon us; our eyes are opened, that we see clearly; our ears are unstopped, that we have been able to hear distinctly the words that you have spoken; for all these favors we thank the Great Spirit, and him only.

Brother, this council fire was kindled by you; it was at your request that we came together at this time; we have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely; this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think; all have heard your voice, and all speak to you as one man; our minds are agreed.

Brother, you say you want an answer to your talk before you leave this place. It is right you should have one, as you are a great distance from home, and we do not wish to detain you; but we will first look back a little, and tell you what our fathers have told us, and what we have heard from the white people.

Brother, listen to what we say. There was a time when our forefathers owned this great island. Their seats extended from the rising to the setting sun. The Great Spirit had made it for the use of Indians. He had created the buffalo, the deer, and other animals for food. He made the bear and the beaver, and their skins served us for clothing. He had scattered them over the country, and taught us how to take them. He had caused the earth to produce corn for bread. All this he had done for his red children because he loved them. If we had any disputes about hunting grounds, they were generally settled without the shedding of much blood. But an evil day came upon us; your forefathers crossed the great waters, and landed on this island. Their numbers were small; they found friends, and not enemies; they told us they had fled from their own country for fear of wicked men, and come here to enjoy their religion. They asked for a small seat; we took pity on them, granted their request, and they sat down amongst us; we gave them corn and meat; they gave us poison in return. The white people had now found our country; tidings were carried back, and more came amongst us; yet we did not fear them, we took them to be friends; they called us brothers; we believed them, and gave them a larger seat. At length, their numbers had greatly increased; they wanted more land; they wanted our country. Our eyes were opened, and our minds became uneasy. Wars took place; Indians were hired to fight against Indians, and many of our people were destroyed. They also brought strong liquor among us; it was strong and powerful, and has slain thousands.

Brother, our seats were once large, and yours were very small; you have now become a great people, and we have scarcely a place left to spread our blankets; you have got our country, but are not satisfied; you want to force your religion upon us.

Brother, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost; how do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book; if it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us, and not only to us, but why did he not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?

Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit; if there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?

Brother, we do not understand these things. We are told that your religion was given to your forefathers, and has been handed down from father to son. We also have a religion which was given to our forefathers, and has been handed down to us their children. We worship that way. It teacheth us to be thankful for all the favors we receive; to love each other, and to be united. We never quarrel about religion.

Brother, the Great Spirit has made us all; but he has made a great difference between his white and red children; he has given us a different complexion, and different customs; to you he has given the arts; to these he has not opened our eyes; we know these things to be true. Since he has made so great a difference between us in other things, why may we not conclude that he has given us a different religion according to our understanding. The Great Spirit does right; he knows what is best for his children; we are satisfied.

Brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you; we only want to enjoy our own.

Brother, you say you have not come to get our land or our money, but to enlighten our minds. I will now tell you that I have been at your meetings, and saw you collecting money from the meeting. I cannot tell what this money was intended for, but suppose it was for your minister; and if we should conform to your way of thinking, perhaps you may want some from us.

Brother, we are told that you have been preaching to the white people in this place. These people are our neighbors; we are acquainted with them; we will wait, a little while and see what effect your preaching has upon them. If we find it does them good, makes them honest and less disposed to cheat Indians, we will then consider again what you have said.

Brother, you have now heard our answer to your talk, and this is all we have to say at present. As we are going to part, we will come and take you by the hand, and hope the Great Spirit will protect you on your journey, and return you safe to your friends.”

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

The Expedition of Lewis and Clarke – Synthesizing Multiple Perspectives

William Clark's Elkskin Bound Journal, open view, showing entry for Saturday, 26 October 1805.  Clark Family Collection. William Clark Papers. Missouri Historical Society Archives. Photograph by Allied Photocolor. Obj 109.  (c) 1982,  Missouri Historical Society.

William Clark’s Elkskin Bound Journal, open view, showing entry for Saturday, 26 October 1805. Clark Family Collection. William Clark Papers. Missouri Historical Society Archives. Photograph by Allied Photocolor. Obj 109. (c) 1982, Missouri Historical Society.

As we examining the Era of Expansionism, it would be impossible to skip the contributions of the thousands of pages of information supplied by the expedition of Lewis and Clarke. Recording daily notations on the flora and fauna of the west, as well as the Native inhabitants, weather patterns, natural resources and maps charting the terrain, the team members of the expedition provided the young America with valuable 1st person accounts of the new frontier into which we wished to expand.

As you read through the journal salmonlcentries that appear in your text, and in the attached document below, you will see the contribution of not just Lewis and Clarke, but also expedition members Floyd, Gass, Ordway, and Whitehouse. As you read through these be sure to consider the questions below, as we will discuss them in class:

  • Which writer provides the most descriptive account vs. the most factual account?
  • Why is it important for modern reader to analyze all the accounts from each given writer for each day?
  • How should a modern reader synthesize this information to create a more complete understanding of their journey?
  • Even after synthesis, is our understanding of the journey still affected by historical bias?

**A Note About Spelling In The Attachment (from 144613-004-50D3A138the source, unl.edu)
The spelling and capitalization of Lewis, Clark, and other members of the expedition have been retained as nearly as possible, but some conventionalizing has been necessary. Uncrossed t’s and undotted i’s and the like have been silently corrected. Misspelled words have been corrected in brackets when necessary for clarity. When letters or words defy comprehension, conjectural readings have been given in brackets with a question mark signifying the editor’s uncertainty. With ambiguous spelling, the journalist’s typical spelling has been taken as a guide, or the modern spelling has been adopted in disputed cases. With Clark that is nearly impossible. One researcher discovered that Clark spelled the word Sioux “no less than twenty-seven different ways.” Little can be promised in the way of consistency, for no rule can stand against Clark’s inimitable style.

Click here for the handout of the expedition letters not included in your textbook.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016

Thomas Jefferson after The Revolution

One of the founding fathers and writer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was a key figure in the writing and rhetoric of the Revolutionary period. However, please don’t think that his contributions stopped after 1776! Jefferson plays a vital role in the era of Expansionism that followed the Revolution, securing the purchase of the Louisiana Territories and commissioning the exploration of Lewis and Clarke. Jefferson was also aware of the key issues of conflict arising in American in its early infancy – the effect that changes to the banking and the economic system were having on Americans and American ideals, the conflict between Americans and the country’s Native inhabitants, and the ongoing moral struggle of the legality of slavery.

In the follow document you will find three letters from Jefferson spanning 1785 to 1821, addressing the issues above. As you read and analyze these documents consider the following questions –

  • What is Jefferson’s approach to addressing the issues of American expansionism?
  • How does Jefferson feel about the conflict with the Native Americans?
  • What is Jefferson’s opinion on slavery, and the effect it will have on the new nation?

Click here to read the letters from Jefferson to Chastellux, John Adams and Merriweather Clarke.

You will write a timed constructed response in class over the following prompt, grading using the GADOE 2 points rubric:

How does Jefferson’s authorial voice change from 1776 to 1812, and why would this change happen? Cite evidence from the text to explain your answer.

11th Grade American Literature Fall 2016