History | American History I
H105 | 3522 | Myers
Above class open to all students
A portion of this class reserved for University Division orientation
This course is designed to provide students with a broad, working
knowledge of American history from the days of European colonization
to the advent of the Civil War. Over the course of the semester we
will examine the political, economic, and social forces that shaped
the United States during these years, examining those forces through
the interactive lenses of race, class, gender, and religion. Our
readings and discussions will emphasize understanding the
contentious diversity of the “American Experience,” which has left
us, as its legacy, the American present.
To this end, our readings will be based on both primary documents
(written in the past by those who lived through the events in
question) and secondary sources (written by modern historians
studying past events). In this fashion we will not only learn about
the past through the words of those who lived through it, we will
also sharpen our ability to evaluate, analyze, and critically
interpret both secondary and original source material.
Topics for discussion will include: contact and colonization; the
cultural, religious, and economic diversity of the early colonies;
development of un-free systems of labor; the American Revolution and
Early Republic; the creation of the U.S. political system;
industrialization and the emergence of a market economy; religious
and social revivals; reform movements; westward expansion; the
growth of chattel slavery; and the dissolution of the Union.
Lecture attendance is mandatory and the course will require roughly
50 pages of reading per week from a textbook and a primary source
reader. Students will be evaluated through class discussions, short
written analyses of primary sources, and in-class essay exams.