Greenwich Village: Breaking down the Historical Context

A note about Historical Context= aka "The Backstory"

Historical context is the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event. In order to better understand something in history, we must look at its context--those things which surround it in time and place and which give it its meaning.

Take out your role sheets, if you have them!

Based on who your character is and the group/faction they represent (or the primary source document you chose to analyze for Writing Project 1), I need for you to arrange yourselves into one of the following groups- Suffrage, Labor and Indeterminates/Bohemians.

In your groups, I would like for you to discuss the following:

Suffrage

  • Describe Greenwich Village. What kind of people live there? What is their vision for the future of American society?
  • What does it mean to be a citizen of the nation?
  • Would suffrage change the nation? The lives of women? How?
  • Is women's equality the starting point for a "New Woman"? a New America?

Labor

  • Describe Greenwich Village. What kind of people live there? What is their vision for the future of American society?
  • How could all workers improve the conditions of their labor? Role of women workers?
  • Do we need a revolution and the overturning of a capitalist society?
  • Can we reform U.S. capitalism to create a just society?

Bohemian/Indeterminates

  • Describe Greenwich Village. What kind of people live there?
  • What is the Bohemian vision for the future of American society? What could American be if we nurture it's potential?
  • Could Americans start a revolution of our national values and identities?
  • How can the New Woman change the relationships between men and women?

Most of the above questions are listed on page 69 of your Greenwich Village text as the Major Issues for Debate that will emerge in the game. Familiarity with these issues now will not only help you to understand the historical context for the primary source document you are analyzing and help you identify all of the key events that occurred leading up to the moment the writer was compelled to pick up his or her pen and write the document you are analyzing.