This week, you have the opportunity to do an in-depth historical exploration of Clarence Walker, Mongrel Nation: The America Begotten by Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings. This monograph will help you understand how historians debate interpretations of the past based on new evidence, a field of study historians refer to as historiography. Read the monograph in its entirety, taking detailed notes on each chapter. Highlight key ideas and annotate passages you may wish to write about for your paper. Pay close attention to the earlier historians have interpreted the sexual liaison between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings and how Clarence Walker makes new contributions to an ongoing scholarly debates.
1. Compare Clarence Walker’s arguments about race and sexuality in the early American republic to the earlier historical interpretations.
2. Analyze Walker’s reasons for writing this book and his contributions to ongoing debates among historians.
3. Write an essay of 350-500 words which answers the following question:
Make an argument explaining HOW earlier historians interpreted the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson and WHY certain historians denied such a relationship existed. Support your arguments with extensive textual evidence from Walker, Mongrel Nation. The best papers will clearly summarize Walker’s main arguments, situate this book in broader historiographic debates about race and sexuality in the early American republic, and consider whether or not the United States was truly founded as a “mongrel nation.”