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CORE 133: World Civilizations since 1453
Primary Source Analysis Paper – Due Sunday, April 29 by 11:59 pm via TURNITIN
Primary sources (sources written during the historical period in question) are designed to supplement the
readings in the textbook and place you in dialogue with another time and place. For this paper, I have supplied
you with three primary source selections that illustrate how European Enlightenment thought influenced
political revolutions across the Atlantic world. You should also use Rousseau’s The Social Contract, The
Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, and The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female
Citizen in your paper. You will need to examine these sources as a historian by asking yourself these general
questions: what can they tell us about the past and the worldview of past cultures? How do they help us
understand the historical theme of the week and the class as a whole?
Paper Prompt Please write a 6-page paper in specific answer to the following question: What do these documents reveal
about the role Enlightenment thinking played in the Atlantic World revolutions of the late eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries?
Consider –
• Enlightenment era thinking about the relationship between the individual and the state.
• The shared language of liberty and equality in the United States and France, especially.
• The limits of political revolutions in Atlantic World colonies.
Grading Criteria/Rubric Thesis Statement-~10%
Single statement laying out the argument of the essay, perhaps simply re-wording the question into a
declarative statement. The thesis should be obvious to reader and answer the question. The thesis is a
“Roadmap.” You must tell me what you’re discussing in the essay. Hook your reader into the topic with a
strong first sentence that answers the question.
Source Evidence-50%
You should include direct, relevant references or quotes from the materials included in this paper assignment.
Beyond referencing these texts, you should also explain the significance of the evidence you use from these
texts. The paper is significantly weighted toward the source evidence so you may wish to focus your essay by
making sure you cover the following:
• Contextualize the author, artists, etc. (who, what, when, where…).
• Summarize (briefly) the argument of the sources and explain what they argued, why they argued it,
and how they made their argument.
Contextual Evidence-20%
You should use the secondary sources (textbook and lectures) to provide relevant background/context for your
essay. Make sure that you consider the following questions when you contextualize your sources:
• Place the sources into a dialogue with each other and relate them. How do these sources understand
the early modern Atlantic world? What problems and opportunities do they articulate? With what
larger issues are they wrestling.
• Place the author and their arguments within the larger themes of the course. What themes and trends
is the author speaking to? How does their argument relate to larger issues in the class? How are we to
make sense of the work historically?
Information is correct. Command of course information and readings should be evident.
Organization & Style-10%
Proofread. Informal, but should be organized clearly and succinctly considering you have the time to prepare
outlines and potential answers.
***In terms of citing sources – Only use the materials provided for you (including the sources below, the
textbook and other posted Moodle primary sources) for this paper. Do not use references from the web or any
other source not from class. Your paper will be penalized for this. Citation methods should follow a simple
MLA-style, parenthetical format using brief citations (author, abbreviated title and page number) in text and
fuller reference in a Works Cited page.
Primary Sources –
1. Thomas Paine, selected from Common Sense (1776)
“Of Monarchy and Hereditary Succession – In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture
chronology there were no kings; the consequence of which was, there were no wars; it is the pride of kings
which throws mankind into confusion. Holland, without a king hath enjoyed more peace for this last century
than any of the monarchical governments in Europe. Antiquity favors the same remark; for the quiet and rural
lives of the first Patriarchs have a happy something in them, which vanishes when we come to the history of
Jewish royalty.
Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the heathens, from whom the children of Israel
copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention the devil ever set on foot for the promotion of
idolatry. The heathens paid divine honors to their deceased kings, and the Christian world has improved on the
plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who
in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust! Another evil which attends hereditary succession (passing
the crown to the next member of the family that is in line for the thrown) is, that the throne is subject to be
possessed by a minor at any age; all which time the regency acting under the cover of a king have every
opportunity and inducement to betray their trust. The same national misfortune happens when a king worn out
with age and infirmity enters the last stage of human weakness. In both these cases the public becomes a prey
to every miscreant who can tamper successfully with the follies either of age or infancy.
In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only) but the world in blood and ashes.
‘Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it. In England
a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which, in plain terms, is to empoverish
the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred
thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society, and
in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.
Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs – But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the
more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their
families. Wherefore, the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so,
and the phrase PARENT OR MOTHER COUNTRY hath been jesuitically adopted by the King and his
parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds.
Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new World hath been the asylum for the
persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from EVERY PART of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from
the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the
same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still. I challenge the
warmest advocate for reconciliation to show a single advantage that this continent can reap by being connected
with Great Britain. I repeat the challenge; not a single advantage is derived. Our corn will fetch its price in any
market in Europe, and our imported goods must be paid for buy them where we will. But the injuries and
disadvantages which we sustain by that connection, are without number; and our duty to mankind at large, as
well as to ourselves, instruct us to renounce the alliance: because, any submission to, or dependence on, Great
Britain, tends directly to involve this Continent in European wars and quarrels, and set us at variance with
nations who would otherwise seek our friendship, and against whom we have neither anger nor complaint. As
Europe is our market for trade, we ought to form no partial connection with any part of it. It is the true interest
of America to steer clear of European contentions, which she never can do, while, by her dependence on
Britain, she is made the makeweight in the scale of British politics. A government of our own is our natural
Of the Present Ability of America: with some Miscellaneous Reflections – These proceedings may at first seem
strange and difficult, but like all other steps which we have already passed over, will in a little time become
familiar and agreeable; and until an independence is declared, the Continent will feel itself like a man who
continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, hates to set about
it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.”
2. Simón de Bolívar, “Message to the Congress of Angostura” (1819)
“We are not Europeans; we are not Indians; we are but a mixed species of aborigines and Spaniards.
Americans by birth and Europeans by law, we find ourselves engaged in a dual conflict: we are disputing with
the natives for titles of ownership, and at the same time we are struggling to maintain ourselves in the country
that gave us birth against the opposition of the invaders. Thus our position is most extraordinary and
complicated. But there is more. As our role has always been strictly passive and political existence nil, we
find that our quest for liberty is now even more difficult of accomplishment; for we, having been placed in a
state lower than slavery, had been robbed not only of our freedom but also of the right to exercise an active
domestic tyranny…We have been ruled more by deceit than by force, and we have been degraded more by
vice than by superstition. Slavery is the daughter of darkness: an ignorant people is a blind instrument of its
own destruction. Ambition and intrigue abuses the credulity and experience of men lacking all political,
economic, and civic knowledge; they adopt pure illusion as reality; they take license for liberty, treachery for
patriotism, and vengeance for justice. If a people, perverted by their training, succeed in achieving their
liberty, they will soon lose it, for it would be of no avail to endeavor to explain to them that happiness consists
in the practice of virtue; that the rule of law is more powerful than the rule of tyrants, because, as the laws are
more inflexible, every one should submit to their beneficent austerity; that proper morals, and not force, are the
bases of law; and that to practice justice is to practice liberty.
Although those people [North Americans], so lacking in many respects, are unique in the history of mankind,
it is a marvel, I repeat, that so weak and complicated a government as the federal system has managed to
govern them in the difficult and trying circumstances of their past. But, regardless of the effectiveness of this
form of government with respect to North America, I must say that it has never for a moment entered my mind
to compare the position and character of two states as dissimilar as the English-American and the SpanishAmerican. Would it not be most difficult to apply to Spain the English system of political, civil, and religious
liberty: Hence, it would be even more difficult to adapt to Venezuela the laws of North America.
Nothing in our fundamental laws would have to be altered were we to adopt a legislative power similar to that
held by the British Parliament. Like the North Americans, we have divided national representation into two
chambers: that of Representatives and the Senate. The first is very wisely constituted. It enjoys all its proper
functions, and it requires no essential revision, because the Constitution, in creating it, gave it the form and
powers, which the people deemed necessary in order that they might be legally and properly represented. If
the Senate were hereditary rather than elective, it would, in my opinion, be the basis, the tie, the very soul of
our republic. In political storms this body would arrest the thunderbolts of the government and would repel
any violent popular reaction. Devoted to the government because of a natural interest in its own preservation,
a hereditary senate would always oppose any attempt on the part of the people to infringe upon the jurisdiction
and authority of their magistrates…The creation of a hereditary senate would in no way be a violation of
political equality. I do not solicit the establishment of a nobility, for as a celebrated republican has said, that
would simultaneously destroy equality and liberty. What I propose is an office for which the candidates must
prepare themselves, an office that demands great knowledge and the ability to acquire such knowledge. All
should not be left to chance and the outcome of elections. The people are more easily deceived than is Nature
perfected by art; and although these senators, it is true, would not be bred in an environment that is all virtue, it
is equally true that they would be raised in an atmosphere of enlightened education. The hereditary senate will
also serve as a counterweight to both government and people; and as a neutral power it will weaken the mutual
attacks of these two eternally rival powers.
The British executive power possesses all the authority properly appertaining to a sovereign, but he is
surrounded by a triple line of dams, barriers, and stockades. He is the head of government, but his ministers
and subordinates rely more upon law than upon his authority, as they are personally responsible; and not even
decrees of royal authority can exempt them from this responsibility. The executive is commander in chief of
the army and navy; he makes peace and declares war; but Parliament annually determines what sums are to be
paid to these military forces. While the courts and judges are dependent on the executive power, the laws
originate in and are made by Parliament. Give Venezuela such an executive power in the person of a president
chosen by the people or their representatives, and you will have taken a great step toward national happiness.
No matter what citizen occupies this office, he will be aided by the Constitution, and therein being authorized
to do good, he can do no harm, because his ministers will cooperate with him only insofar as he abides by the
law. If he attempts to infringe upon the law, his own ministers will desert him, thereby isolating him from the
Republic, and they will even bring charges against him in the Senate. The ministers, being responsible for any
transgressions committed, will actually govern, since they must account for their actions.
A republican magistrate is an individual set apart from society, charged with checking the impulse of the
people toward license and the propensity of judges and administrators toward abuse of the laws. He is directly
subject to the legislative body, the senate, and the people: he is the one man who resists the combined pressure
of the opinions, interests, and passions of the social state and who, as Carnot states, does little more than
struggle constantly with the urge to dominate and the desire to escape domination. This weakness can only be
corrected by a strongly rooted force. It should be strongly proportioned to meet the resistance which the
executive must expect from the legislature, from the judiciary, and from the people of a republic. Unless the
executive has easy access to all the administrative resources, fixed by a just distribution of powers, he
inevitably becomes a nonentity or abuses his authority. By this I mean that the result will be the death of the
government, whose heirs are anarchy, usurpation, and tyranny…Therefore, let the entire system of government
be strengthened, and let the balance of power be drawn up in such a manner that it will be permanent and
incapable of decay because of its own tenuity. Precisely because no form of government is so weak as the
democratic, its framework must be firmer, and its institutions must be studied to determine their degree of
stability…unless this is done, we will have to reckon with an ungovernable, tumultuous, and anarchic society,
not with a social order where happiness, peace, and justice prevail.

3. Selections from The Memoir of General Toussaint L’Ouverture. Written by himself (1802).
“Since I entered the service of the Republic, I have not claimed a penny of my salary; Gen. Laveaux,
Government agents, all responsible persons connected with the public treasury, can do me this justice, that no
one has been more prudent, more disinterested than I. I have only now and then received the extra pay allowed
me; very often I have not asked even this. Whenever I have taken money from the treasury, it has been for
some public use; the governor (l’ordonnateur) has used it as the service required. I remember that once only,
when far from home, I borrowed six thousand francs from Citizen Smith, who was governor of the Department
of the South.
I will sum up, in a few words, my conduct and the results of my administration. At the time of the evacuation
of the English, there was not a penny in the public treasury; money had to be borrowed to pay the troops and
the officers of the Republic. When Gen. Leclerc arrived, he found three millions, five hundred thousand francs
in the public funds. When I returned to Cayes, after the departure of Gen. Rigaud, the treasury was empty;
Gen. Leclerc found three millions there; he found proportionate sums in all the private depositories on the
island. Thus it is seen that I did not serve my country from interested motives; but, on the contrary, I served it
with honor, fidelity, and integrity, sustained by the hope of receiving, at some future day, flattering
acknowledgments from the Government; all who know me will do me this justice.
I have been a slave; I am willing to own it; but I have never received reproaches from my masters.
I have neglected nothing at Saint Domingo for the welfare of the island; I have robbed myself of rest to
contribute to it; I have sacrificed everything for it. I have made it my duty and pleasure to develop the
resources of this beautiful colony. Zeal, activity, courage, – I have employed them all.
In passing through France, I have seen in the newspapers an article concerning myself. I am accused in this
article of being a rebel and a traitor, and, to justify the accusation, a letter is said to have been intercepted in
which I encouraged the laborers of St. Domingo to revolt. I never wrote such a letter, and I defy any one to
produce it, to tell me to whom it was addressed, and to bring forward the person. As to the rest of the calumny,
it falls of itself; if I had intended to make war, would I have laid down my arms and submitted? No reasonable
man, much less a soldier, can believe such an absurdity.
If the Government had sent a wiser man, there would have been no trouble; not a single shot would have been
Why did fear occasion so much injustice on the part of Gen. Leclerc? Why did he violate his word of honor?
Upon the arrival of the frigate Guerrière, which brought my wife, why did I see on board a number of people
who had been arrested with her? Many of these persons had not fired a shot. They were innocent men, fathers
of families, who had been torn from the arms of their wives and children. All these persons had shed their
blood to preserve the colony to France; they were officers of my staff, my secretaries, who had done nothing
but by my orders; all, therefore, were arrested without cause.
Upon landing at Brest, my wi …
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