History | American History I
H105 | 8333 | Gamber
Above class open to freshmen and sophomores only
This course introduces students to major developments in American
history from European contact to the Civil War. Our study will cover
early exploration and settlement; the making of the American
Revolution and the creation of a nation in the decades following it;
early nineteenth-century changes such as westward movement, the
expansion of slavery, industrialization, immigration, and
urbanization; antebellum reform movements; and the disunion of the
nation that led to Civil War. While we will cover key events and
discuss famous figures, we will also explore the lives and
experiences of ordinary Americans.
We will place particular emphasis on how various peoples
defined “America,” first as a “New World,” eventually as a new
nation. What was “America,” who counted as “Americans,” and how did
those definitions change over time?
This course also serves as an introduction to historical inquiry and
analysis. We will focus on learning to read primary sources
critically and using evidence to make historical arguments.
Requirements: regular attendance and participation; weekly quizzes;
two short (3-5 pp) papers; three examinations (essay format).
Reading (about 50-75pp. per week) will be a blend of primary
documents and secondary scholarship:
• Mary Beth Norton, et. al., "A People and a Nation," brief
edition, Volume 1
• Frederick M. Binder and David M. Reimers, "The Way We Lived:
Essays and Documents in American Social History," Volume I
• Frederick Douglass, "Narrative of the Life of Frederick