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Using Primary Sources in the Classroom

Settlement Unit

Lesson 1: From Territory to State

1. Background information for teachers:

 

The Comptroller of Public Accounts, also known as the Auditor of Public Accounts, served as the state's chief financial officer responsible for virtually all revenue and accounting functions. Vouchers were sent to the comptroller requesting payment from the state treasury for goods and services rendered to the state including vouchers issued in 1817 and 1818 when the state was governed as the Alabama Territory. After Alabama became a state in 1819, the office of the comptroller continued its original functions, reporting to the state government rather than the territorial government. The vouchers provide justifications for expenditures, such as salaries for the governor, legislators, and other state officials; travel reimbursements for state legislators; payment for supplies and services; and funding for state institutions, such as the University of Alabama.

 

2. Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

 

1. Identify the early governors.
2. Identify the location of the territorial capital, temporary capital and first permanent state capital.
3. Identify the first steps necessary to change from a territory to a state.
4. Compare the cost of supplies as government became more complex.
5. Compare the role of government officials then and now.

 

3. Suggested Activities:

 

1. Make copies of Documents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 and give to students.
2. Ask students to put documents in chronological order.
3. Define "comptroller."
4. Define "census."
5. Use general suggestions for analyzing a written document.
6. Discuss requirements for becoming a state.
7. List the topics discussed in documents (census, legislature, per diem, travel, capital buildings, land military, etc.).
8. Identify the governors: territorial and state. Use text book to check dates of tenure.
9. Using Document 8 study and discuss government income and expenses and responsibilities in 1821 and today.
10. Mapwork: Use a current Alabama road map and Document 9, the 1823 Tanner map. For younger students, use Document 10, the hand-drawn 1819 map with picture of Gov. William Wyatt Bibb.

 

a. Identify places mentioned in Documents 1 - 8: towns, counties, and rivers.
Identify possible routes taken by territorial legislators to attend the convention in Huntsville.
c. Discuss travel conditions at that time period.
d. Note the "chief towns and forts" mentioned in Document 12 and compare their importance then with now.
e. Compare the location of the Federal Road and other routes with location of modern highways. Note the correlation.

 

Document 1: "Lauderdale County Census Certificate," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 3, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 2: "Dallas County Census Certificate," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 3, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 3: "Representative William Anderson Per Diem," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 3, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 4: "Representative Samuel Bigham Per Diem," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 6, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 5: "Governor William Wyatt Bibb Salary," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 6, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 6: "Furnishings for the General Assembly - 20 December 1819," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 6, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 7: "Travis and McJimsey Account," Alabama Comptroller of Public Accounts, Vouchers, SG8355, Folder 8, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 8: "Treasurer's Report 1821," John Coffee Papers, LPR27, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 9: E. Lucas Jr. and B. Tanner, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Alabama 1823, Map B-30, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 10: "Territory of Alabama 1819," Nathan H. Glick, Pen and Ink Drawings, LPR92, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 11: "Members of the Convention of Alabama," Alabama Secretary of State, Register of State Legislators in the General Assemblies of Alabama 1819-1825, SG 3215, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Document 12: Lucas Jr. and B. Tanner, Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Map of Alabama 1823, Map B-30, Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama.

 

Go to Lesson 2: Frontier Justice

 

Return to Settlement Unit introduction

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Updated: December 10, 2013

http://www.archives.alabama.gov/teacher/set1.html