Study Questions for The Problem of Empire (1754-1776)

(From your professor)


  1. What is the purpose of the Declaration of Independence? Why was it written? How does it achieve its goal? What authority or authorities does Jefferson cite?
  2. What larger civic and cultural movement does this piece represent? From whose philosophical work does it most obviously borrow? (Hint: We've already read his stuff!)


  1. What parliamentary acts was Bland responding to with this piece?
  2. What was British parliament's appropriate role in colonial American lives, in his view? What did he feel was problematic about parliament's ability to make laws governing the lives of colonists? How much authority did he feel colonial legislatures should have over colonial subjects?

Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act Congress

  1. What was the main problem with the Stamp Act, and other parliamentary acts affecting colonists, according to this declaration?
  2. What rights, according to the declaration, should colonists and colonial governments be allowed to exercise?
  3. Does this declaration allow for British parliament to legitimately exercise authority over the colonies/colonists under any circumstances?
  4. How does this piece relate to the other primary sources read during this unit?


  1. What is controversial about this letter?
  2. What does it imply regarding the rights of colonists versus the rights of Englishmen living in the Mother country?
  3. Why do you think some colonists would be offended by the sentiments within? Was Hutchinson wrong?
  4. Do you think Hutchinson's statements were mischaracterized in any way (he had publicly stated similar things previously)? Explain.