History | American History I
H105 | 17527 | Taysom
Above class open to all students
The novelist and essayist James Baldwin once observed that
history “does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past.
On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that
we carry it within us, [that] history is literally present in all
that we do.” As Baldwin recognized, the force of history is evident
in our own world, and because of that, history is for everyone. And
in American history, we carry around in us the universality of the
idea of freedom.
In this course we will use as a text, Eric Foner’s Give Me Liberty.
Foner draws attention to three dimensions of freedom that have been
critical in American history: (1) the meanings of freedom; (2) the
social conditions that make freedom possible; and (3) the boundaries
of freedom that determine who is entitled to enjoy freedom and who
is not. All have changed over time.
We will examine freedom and the events leading up to the Revolution,
the Revolution, the U.S. Constitution, the new nation, the “Second
War of Independence,” the Market Revolution, the Age of Jackson,
slavery, the Age of Reform, “Manifest Destiny,” the Dred Scott case,
and other events and ideas leading to the Civil War.
Through all of these eras and events we will see how freedom has
been transformed by the demands of excluded groups to be extended
the rights of the First Amendment and equal protection under the law
and other issues related to freedom.