Assignment Rocktober 28/29 – The Masque of the Growing Nation

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  • I can discuss the progress and limits of social growth in America in the antebellum era
  • I can utilize perspective to analyze and evaluate the past
  • I can represent the ideas, experiences, and impact of individuals and groups from the past using different platforms.
  • I can present oral information clearly, accurately, and creatively.

The Masque of the Growing Nation from Chuck Taft on Vimeo.

The masquerade ball was a somewhat popular event during colonial times in America, and it remained in fashion during the first half of the 19th century.  Harking back to Venetian tradition, the celebrations were originally used to recognize upcoming marriages.  They later became a social event in which participants would disguise themselves, and the challenge was to guess their actual identity.  Masquerade balls have become a part of popular culture as well, including scenes in Romeo and Juliet, The Dark Knight Rises, Phantom of the Opera, and a short story by some guy named Poe.

On Monday, all young historians will participate in a masquerade ball honoring the study of the growing nation and focusing on our essential question – Should America’s growth in the antebellum era be celebrated or denounced? You will be given a role to play at the masquerade.  Your task is to do some research about your role and use your critical thinking to craft a statement about your perspective concerning a specific aspect of the time period.  Do you think the era should be seen as one to celebrate, or one to denounce?  Your statement should be about a paragraph long, and you should have a thesis or specific point to your statement.  You should use one or two sources – no more are really necessary for this activity.

In addition, you should design a mask that represents your role, your opinion, or something about you and the era.  You can use one of the masques in class, print your own, or create your own original design! Be creative, be historical, be colorful! Have fun with this – ok?

For example, if I was Alexander Hamilton, I may say …

We should celebrate the early 1800s because, as a country, we established a strong national economy. (that’s the thesis)  Through my economic plan, we attacked the debt crisis, developed a national monetary policy, created a national bank, and pushed for more industry in the United States. This economic growth continued as the century progressed, leading to a market revolution.  The nation was more connected with canals, roads and eventually railroads, and both farmers and artisans produced goods for the markets instead of themselves.  Capitalism rules, my friends!

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