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history paper 47


In both short and long essays please respond to arguments that Takaki makes in “A Different Mirror” while also integrating material from lectures, discussions, and primary source documents. This is an exam and not a paper–it shouldn’t take you much more than 3 hours. You should treat this like an in class exam with open books/notes using your notes, the documents, and your textbook (Takaki). Do NOT use wikipedia or any other internet sources.

Please numbers your essays and please upload your exam as a SINGLE word or pdf file. Do NOT submit from your google docs or any other remote drive.

Short Answers

Answer FOUR of the following in 1-2 paragraphs. You must use Takaki to answer these questions but you are welcome to refer to documents we’ve read if it makes sense. Do not use outside sources. (25 points each)

You may answer a fifth for up to 5 points extra credit.

  1. Why was Bacon’s Rebellion such a significant event in colonial America? And how does Takaki’s argument about the “giddy multitude” as he called it carry over to one of his larger arguments in the book?


Image: The burning of Jamestown, 1676.

  1. In what ways did the Market Revolution and the rise of “King Cotton” contribute the changes in the United States including the Northern, Southern, and Western regions? How it affect Native Americans and African-American slaves?

king cotton.gif

  1. How does Takaki’s “grand narrative” apply to Irish immigrants?


Image: Cartoon, The Usual Irish Way of Doing Things.

  1. What were the ramifications of the Mexican War:

a. for the Mexicans that lived in the territory ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo?

b. on American politics (particularly in regards to the issue of the institution of slavery)?


  1. What, according to Takaki, was unique about Chinese immigration to the US in the mid nineteenth century both in terms of the immigrants themselves and in terms of their reception.

antichinese cartoon.jpg

Image: Cartoon, Pacific Chivalry

  1. What does the Dawes Act of 1887 illustrate about general “American” attitudes towards Indians and their ability to “assimilate” into the melting pot ideal? What were its long-term ramifications according to Takaki?


Image: Cartoon, The Dawes Act, Chomp, Chomp, Chomp

Essay Question

Answer ONE of the following in 4-6 paragraphs. You must use Takaki to answer this question but you are welcome to refer to documents we’ve read if it makes sense. Do not use outside sources. (50 points) You may answer a fifth for up to 5 points extra credit.

  1. It has been suggested in this class, by me as well as by your textbook, that the category of “race” is not an immutable physical construct but rather a relatively modern social contract that has evolved over the course of the last half-millennium according to historical developments. What historical factors led to the emergence of the “racial hierarchy” and a “caste labor system” in the British colonies and later United States. Please make sure you use examples from Takaki or by referring to documents we’ve read. (Note that Takaki does not use to term “caste labor system” to refer solely to slavery but also when discussing “vaqueros,” Chinese and all “Calibans of color.”)


Image: Johann Heinrich Ramberg, Stephano, Trinculo, and Caliban (left) Dancing from the Tempest (ca. 1810)

  1. How does Takaki utilize the terms “civilization” and “savagery” to tell the story of American history from “a different mirror?” Note that he presents these terms as “mirror images” of each other and the definition of one says a lot about the fear and self-identification of the other. Please make sure you present Takaki’s definition of these two terms in your response (that is what are the characteristics of civilization and what are the characteristics of savagery) and give at least TWO examples of groups branded as “savage.”

buffalo bill and sitting bull.png

Image: “Wild” Bill Cody (Buffalo Bill) and Sitting Bull, 1885.


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