Colonial House Questions Colonial House Questions to consider for the entire series.
1. What are the plus and minus factors of participatory observation? How do they apply to Colonial House?
2. How much was an issue of temporocentrism in the series of Colonial House? (Temporocentrism meaning using current morals and values to judge the past)
3. All colonies within the British Empire existed solely for the purpose of the mother country, England. This was known as mercantilism. Was England justified in enforcing the economic doctrine of mercantilism? Was this another form of imperialism? Was imperialism justified? Do you think that the experimental colony in Colonial House was an economic success for England?
4. What were some of the issues of life and death that faced the colonists from the voyage beginning in England to the establishment of the colonies? Why was death a constant companion to the colonists?
5. In general, why do people believe in a religion? Why did the colonists believe so intensely in religion and God? Do you believe in the absolute sovereignty of God today? Why was the Sabbath observed in colonial times? Why does it appear that today the Sabbath does not appear to be observed? Should it be?
6. The colonists lived in a theocracy whereby church and state were intertwined. The US Constitution states that Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion. The US Constitution says nothing about the separation of church and state. Why do we today believe in the concept of the separation of church and state? Why is it forbidden to display the Judeo-Christian commandments in public buildings like a court house? Why is any prayer forbidden in schools? Why is popular national talk show host Dr Laura Schlesinger either loved or hated? What is it about religion today that seems to bother people?
7. Profanity was forbidden in the colonies. How do you think the colonists would have defined profanity? How do you define profanity today? How do you define obscenity? Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said he could not define obscenity but knows it when he sees it. Do you agree? Why was the flashing of Janet Jackson’s breast such a “horrendous” event at the 20004 Super bowl? Is Howard Stern obscene? What about the statue of David in Delaware Park in Buffalo? (Ahh..David has no clothes on) European cities are much more open with nudity that we in the United States. Why?
8. What is justice? What if Scott Peterson could have an operation to change his genetic structure so that he would be a really nice guy with a social conscience like Mother Theresa. Would you allow this operation or sentence Scott to life imprisonment or death? If you want death, is justice then simply revenge? Remember, the colonists would kill a person for adultery and sew the lips of those accused of profanity.
9. The colonists were very intolerant of some issues. What were they? Are we as intolerant of any issues today? Identify them and how do we deal with them?
10. Why was social hierarchy so important in colonial times?
11. Why and how was slavery and indentured servitude justified?
12. Life was very tenuous in colonial days. Do we live in a world today that approximates the colonial world. We live longer but have to deal with terrorism and nuclear war. Imagine what it is like to live in the Middle East today.
13. It took a lot of physical endurance and creativity to survive in colonial America. Do we possess those qualities today?
14. What do you think it meant to be powerless in colonial society? Who are the powerless today? How do you define power today?
15. How do you define democracy? Should democracy be a world- wide aspiration?
16. Why were women’s right so curtailed in colonial society? What are the rights of women today in the United States and in the world?
17. In order to survive in colonial society, one had to think of the concept of group survival not individual rights. Do we today think more of individual rights rather can societal good? Why?
18. Compare the diet of colonial America with the diet of many Americans in 2005.
19. Work was very hard in colonial America. What do you think were the most difficult jobs? In his work Working, Studs Terkel researched 600 different working people in the United States and found that 70 percent of those interviewed, disliked their jobs. Why do you think so many people dislike their work?
20. How did the colonists cope with loneliness and isolation? How do we cope with these issues today?
21. Colonists had to deal with the issue of unexpected arrivals and they were at time disconcerted. How do we deal with unexpected events in life?
22. What kind of leadership style did Gov Don Heinz subscribe to? How would you evaluate him?
23. Some of the colonists in the Colonial House refused to attend church on the Sabbath. Hoe do you enforce 17th century morality on 21st century people?
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