1. What are the economic and political issues raised by having an imbalance between free and slave states? Why did the balance of free and slave states matter?

2. How did Anglo-American settlers in Texas see themselves? Did they adopt a Mexican identity because they were living in Mexican territory? Why or why not?

3. Consider the annexation of Texas and the Mexican American War from a Mexican perspective. What would you find objectionable about American actions, foreign policy, and attitudes in the 1840s?

4. Consider the arguments over the expansion of slavery made by both northerners and southerners in the aftermath of the U.S. victory over Mexico. Who had the more compelling case? Or did each side make equally significant arguments?

5. Does the history of the cotton kingdom support or undermine the Jeffersonian vision of White farmers on self-sufficient farms? Explain your answer.

6. Based on your reading of William J. Anderson’s and John Brown’s accounts, what types of traumas did enslaved people experience? How were the experiences of Black women and men similar and different?

7. What strategies did enslaved people employ to resist, revolt, and sustain their own independent communities and cultures? How did enslaved individuals use White southerners’ own philosophies—paternalism and Christianity, for example—to their advantage in these efforts?

8. What are the major arguments put forward by proslavery advocates? How would you argue against their statements?


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