Why was the Delaware Valley region a favorable one for both the Lenni Lenape and the European colonists who arrived in the 1600s?  How would you describe the interactions between these two groups in the period characterized as the “Middle Ground” era?  Lastly, how did William Penn describe the Lenni Lenape, was he right, and why did he choose the descriptions he did?

Question 1   “Anthony J. Drexel’s Institute” (800 words)


Based on the assigned readings, choose one element of the architecture of the Drexel Main Building, and discuss what this tells us about the unique vision of Drexel for his Institute.


You may broaden this to address the following: why did he and others think such a school would succeed at that time, why in Philadelphia, and what does it say more broadly about the American economy of the time?


Also, choose one of the buildings, colleges, programs, or majors added to Drexel in the last ten years–what do these say to the same questions above? Use the Drexel website and/or recent news reports from the Triangle or the Philadelphia Inquirer to assist you.


Question 2  imaging Philadelphia (800 words)

What was Edmund Bacon’s vision for the renewal of Philadelphia after WWII?  Why did he have the power to undertake the urban renewal plans that he did; which succeeded and which did not?  Specifically, how did Bacon address the challenges of urban renewal?  Ultimately why did the 1976 World’s fair fail to materialize?  What are the 3 MAIN lessons from history that should inform the planning for 2026?



Question3  renewal and riot (800 words)

Historians, help me out!

On this topic there are so many ways to go–you’ve done the reading, you know what’s at stake.

Based on what you’ve read, what do we need to know, what are THE key questions we need to answer in understanding Philadelphia’s urban form, planning trajectories, race and class divides, its futures, from the ’50s on?

Using Imagining Philadelphia and the Weigley book choose one of the following individuals/groups and explain the conflicts and challenges he/she faced, from their perspective, as the city changed after WWII:


Edmund Bacon

Richardson Dilworth

John Gallery

Catherine Sue Leslie Craig


Frank Rizzo

Dick Allen

Cecil B. Moore

Catherine Drinker Bowen


question4. Research Paper Assignment

The Future of the City

Lesson Plan

The history of Philadelphia is ready and waiting to be examined, and to be taught! This assignment asks you to take one of the major themes covered in this course and develop a lesson plan that delivers the material to an interested but uneducated student. The student might be at any grade or age level–from 1st grade to 100 years old–and part of the challenge in the assignment will be to effectively tailor your lesson to your audience.


  1. Choose a theme that has captured your interest in the course. The best themes involve multiple historical figures, a period of historical change, and one or more conflicts. For example, you might choose “Industrialization” or “Public Health in the City” or “Race and Ethnicity”–in each of these you can trace the theme over time, bring in multiple perspectives, and show how the history of the city involves conflicts, change, and the resolution of conflicts into the urban realities that have shaped the city over time.
  2. Determine your target audience, and consider teaching strategies. What do they know, and what do they not know? What sorts of contextual information do you need to provide? What materials will work best in delivering your lesson?
  3. Prepare to build the lesson. Collect the materials you will need. You will want to collect images, text, web links, and your own writings on the subject.
  4. Build the lesson. Start by writing an introduction to the lesson that explains the theme, sets forward specific questions to be answered (objectives), sets forward the methods to be used, and explains the skills to be developed in the learner (reading, analysis, writing, etc). Give an overview of the steps to be followed and the materials to be presented. Present and explain the materials and how they develop the lesson. Set “plateaus” where the learner can see what he is learning as he/she goes along. Provide a conclusion and detail the critical lessons and skills learned.
  5. Create an assessment tool. How will you assess the learner’s progress? A discussion? An essay? A creative writing exercise or role play?

The entire assignment will run 1000-1500 words in length, of your own writing (not including text you use from outside sources). Any quotes, links, and other materials you use MUST be clearly identified, with full bibliographic information.

Please post on the discussion board a brief outline of your project NO LATER THAN AUGUST 29.


+SPECIAL POINTS TO EMPHASIZE+  Consult this as you are getting started!
1. The paper should start with a well-researched (not wikipedia) essay of 2-3 pages or so that explains your theme in detail.  Papers without this grounding in knowledge don’t do very well.  This introductory essay would be the basis from which the lesson develops–you have to know something to teach something!  In the brief essay be sure to highlight sources you are using, major questions you want the students to be able to address, and the skills developed in the learner (a couple of sentences on this aspects are fine).
2. The paper should really strive to transform the learner’s knowledge and abilities–they will become interested in something they didn’t know about, and their skills grow as they work through the inquiry.  Show me exactly how you will do this, be specific about what happens in the classroom.
3. Remember, this is a history lesson–show CHANGE OVER TIME–how did we go from A to B?  That’s the objective . . . and of course the path is rarely linear is it–but that’s what makes the learning (and teaching) fun!



Question 5 (300 words)

Using the Franklin materials provided, especially Part 2 of his Autobiography, please answer one or more of the following questions:

1. What does Franklin’s account of his arrival and early days in Philadelphia tell us about the city in its colonial form?

2. How did Philadelphia offer opportunities to Franklin as a young thinker, writer, and printer?

3. How did Franklin shape the city?

4. Why and how did Franklin become the most famous American by the time of his death, and what role had Philadelphia played in forging this identity?


Question 6( 300 words)

Choose one or more of the questions below . . .

Was Benjamin West right about William Penn–what is the “argument,” what is he trying to convince you of, in his painting?

What made William Penn’s approach to government unique in the colonies?

What were the key elements in the physical plan of Penn’s “Green Country Towne”?  In which ways did the plan work out the way Penn expected, and in what ways not?


Question 7(300 words)

Once you have listened to the lecture, finished the reading, and viewed the slides for “Before Philadelphia,” please answer the following question(s):


Why was the Delaware Valley region a favorable one for both the Lenni Lenape and the European colonists who arrived in the 1600s?  How would you describe the interactions between these two groups in the period characterized as the “Middle Ground” era?  Lastly, how did William Penn describe the Lenni Lenape, was he right, and why did he choose the descriptions he did?


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