History | American History I
H105 | 8332 | Sword


Above class open to undergraduates only

This course introduces the history of what is now the United States,
beginning with the catastrophic collision of cultures during the
European age of exploration and concluding with the American Civil
War.   The goal is to extend your mental map of the country across
time, as well as space.  To this end, we will alternate between a
birds-eye view of important events and trends, and reconstructing
what the early American scene looked like through the eyes of people
on the ground.   You will meet, among others, the Powhatan Indian
Pocahontas and the explorer John Smith, President George Washington
and his runaway slave Ona Judge, and the nineteenth-century social
commentators Ralph Waldo Emerson, Catherine Beecher and Benjamin
Palmer.

The course will not only expand your knowledge of the American past,
but also help you develop the analytical skills that make the study
of history a useful path into a range of professions.  Readings
emphasize primary sources such as maps, journals, letters, and legal
documents.   There will be short weekly exercises designed to help
you analyze and argue from these materials, and to foster class
discussion.  There will also be two mid-terms and a final.