History | American History I
H105 | 2771 | Knott

This course surveys the history of the United States from the
collision of cultures on this continent that began with
the 'discovery' of the 'New World' in the fifteenth century through
to the era of the American Civil War. The course explores social and
cultural history, that is, the experience of living in American
society in different periods and the cultural ideas Americans used
to understand their changing world. The experience and meaning of
freedom (and its opposites), and struggles and rebellion in the name
of freedom, will be particular concerns. In addition to surveying
the American past before 1865, the course also acts as an
introduction to methods of history. It asks not just what happened
in the past, but how do we ask questions and make interpretations
and arguments about that past. These two goals will be pursued
through a blend of lectures, class discussion, essay-writing and

Weekly readings will involve a blend of primary sources (produced by
people in the past) and secondary sources (the textbook, written by
historians). The former will include "Narrative of the Life of
Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself".