A leading textbook publisher has invited me to pull together some accompanying materials for its textbook aimed at the US Survey I and II, (i.e. from the closing of the Bering Straight to the opening of the investigation into the Justice Department’s firing practices).
Looking over the fine existing examples of collected readings supplements, I realize that a large number of typical selections were written by political and military elites. Recognizing that survey courses must situate the major political and military events, (if for no other reason than to provide context for intellectual, social, and cultural histories), I am certain that this project will silhouette its fair share of generals on horseback and statesmen in debate. But I would like to punctuate the American Survey with as many engaging samples of literary, industrial, philosophical, reform, and scientific writers as the press will tolerate. I’d even like to include historians who were involved in the debates of their day. Just by way of example, I have a copy of a letter from Frederick Jackson Turner to his press, shrugging off as “unimportant” a disparaging review from a “rather non-influential and radical historian” named Charles A. Beard.
So I ask you, teachers of undergraduate American History classes, what specific reading excerpts would YOU like to see included in such a supplement?
Please reply to this question by posting a comment at the bottom of this post, or by emailing me at textcontext (at) psu.edu. I appreciate your suggestions, and you may well see them included!