American history II: U. S. History since 1865

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AMERICAN HISTORY II: U.S. History since 1865

History H106 - Section 8726 (3 credits)

Fall 2012, Tuesdays & Thursdays, 10:30pm to 11:45pm

Cavanaugh Hall 217

Instructor: Dr. Robertson Office: Cavanaugh Hall 503T

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 12 noon – 1:30 pm e-mail: please USE ONCOURSE

and by appointment in a pinch, use:

phone/voice mail: 317/274-8017 & put “H106” in subject line

“The problem with history is that it’s written by college professors about great men. That’s not what history is. History’s a hell of a lot of little people getting together and deciding they want a better life for themselves and their children.”

—Bill Talcott quoted in Studs Terkel, Working: People Talk about What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (New York: New Press, 2004), 355-6.

History H106 is an introduction to the study of history and, specifically, an examination of U.S. history from the end of the Civil War (1865) until the present (2012). In it, we will examine both individual people and large-scale social trends such as immigration and migration, changes in legal and civil rights, government intervention and regulation, and international engagement. People’s lives were (and are) affected by these trends, while their actions have helped shape the trends. The course will focus on two different issues:

  1. What have people done when they got together and decided they wanted a better life for themselves and their children?

  2. How did they use their understanding of history—esp. American history—in their efforts?

Note: A survey course is intended as an introduction; we cannot cover all topics in fifteen weeks—even fifteen years. Some aspects of American history in these years will be covered in greater depth than others, while some important parts will not be covered at all.

A few important logistics

  • Classes will include discussion as well as lecture. The reading assignment for a given day should be completed before the class. Come prepared to talk about the readings (and lectures).

  • If you are facing a difficulty that makes it hard to do well in this course, I encourage you to contact me as soon as possible. You may simply show up during my office hours or you may email or phone me for an appointment.

  • Information for this class will be on ONCOURSE. You will need to access ONCOURSE regularly. Generally, I will post materials for Tuesday’s class by 7pm the preceding Friday and for Thursday’s class by 7pm the preceding Tuesday.

  • You are responsible for reading, understanding, and agreeing to the class requirements and policies laid out below as well as those posted on ONCOURSE.

  • There is a University web page that will let you know if the campus is closed for snow: You can also call: 317/278-1600

I have designed the lectures, discussions, and written assignments to assist you in learning how to better understand the relevance of the past for the present (and future). The priority is for you to analyze why things happened rather than simply memorize what happened. Therefore, an emphasis of the course is for you to practice thinking like a historian—to do history yourself.
Historians seek to explain what happened in the past. To do so they—and you:

  • analyze documents from the past along with secondary accounts;

  • synthesize that information in order to respond to historical questions;

  • support your positions with factual evidence; and

  • explain your conclusions to others through oral and written communication.

Gaining these abilities will help you to better understand American history, including topics and issues we do not focus on as a class. In addition, the assignments will assist you in developing the analytical and communication skills essential to doing well both in school and in the future. In particular, this class stresses the Fifth Principle of Undergraduate Learning: Understanding Society and Culture. The “Principles of Undergraduate Learning” (PULs) lay out the skills and abilities you can expect to develop by the time you graduate. You can find more information on them at:

The books to be purchased can be found in the Campus Bookstore as well as Indy’s College Bookstore and Textbook Alternatives. I have provided additional information on ONCOURSE including the isbn. There will also be an out of date back-up copy of FONER on RESERVE in the University Library:

  • Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty: an American History, v.2, Seagull Third Edition (New York: W.W. Norton, 2012).

  • Additional course readings (which will either be handed out or posted on ONCOURSE)— print out and bring to class when assigned.

Here is an overview of assignments with tentative due dates. We will discuss them in class. Detailed information will be posted on ONCOURSE—Resources:

Requirements for Written Work, including Formatting and Citation Guides.

Instructions for Assignments, including information about rewriting papers.

Preparing for Exams

  • Three written assignments, due September 4th, October 2nd, and November 13th (together worth 60% of course grade).

  • Midterm examination, October 18th (worth 20% of course grade).

  • Final examination, December 13th (worth 10% of course grade).


  • Class engagement (worth 10% of course grade) which includes attendance, completion of reading by the assigned date, participation in class discussions, submissions through email or cards, etc. Each class member starts with B- for this portion of the course grade. Thoughtful participation will improve this grade, while absences in excess of three (3) will reduce it.

  • Course grades are calculated based on the following scale:

97+ A+ 87-89 B+ 77-79 C+ 67-69 D+ <60 F

93-96 A 83-86 B 73-76 C 63-66 D

90-92 A- 80-82 B- 70-72 C- 60-62 D-

Please talk to me as soon as possible if you do not understand a policy.

  • When a student attends class consistently, she or he usually does better.

  • Students are, therefore, expected to attend all sessions. Attendance will be taken.

  • Attending class means arriving on time and staying for the full session.

  • The “Administrative Withdrawal”* policy is in effect in this class. If you miss more than four (4) classes in the first four (4) weeks, you may be withdrawn. Administrative withdrawal may have academic, financial, and financial aid implications.

  • Absences in excess of three (3) may have a negative impact on the “class engagement” portion of the class grade.

Developing intellectual skills is possible only when you actually do the work assigned. Plagiarism, cheating, or other academic misconduct will, at a minimum, entail a grading penalty for the work in question and may be reported to the appropriate dean’s office. The latter step may entail additional disciplinary action by the University. You can find additional information in the IUPUI Student Code of Conduct at:
Academic integrity is important to establish a level playing field for all students. To maintain it, I will use whatever means necessary (including Turn-It-In) to detect violations.

  • Work is due by the deadline even if you are not in class that day.

  • Extensions for assignments are granted only if you contact me BEFORE the deadline.

  • Make-up exams and papers are offered only at the discretion of the professor.

*Under ONCOURSE—Resources you will find elaborations on these policies

The goal is to create an environment where student can learn well. A baseline expectation is that each member of the class (including the instructor) will treat others with respect and civility—even when (especially when) there is disagreement. With this general principle in mind, here are some specific elaborations. I am happy to talk about why they are important. Enrollment in the class constitutes an agreement to abide by them.

  • We will start and end each class on time.*

  • If you must arrive to class late or leave early, please do so with a minimal amount of disruption.

  • Be sure to bring the necessary materials (such as assigned readings or note-taking materials) so that you can thoughtfully participate.

  • Turn off or mute cell phones, pagers, and beepers before class begins and put them away.

  • If you are facing a situation where you need to monitor your device, please let me know before the start of class, place the device on vibrate, and sit near the exit so you can leave without unduly disrupting the class.

  • If you use a laptop during class, it must be for taking notes.

  • If observe you using electronic devices to do non-class related tasks, including (but not limited to) emailing, checking Facebook, texting etc., I will ask you to leave the class and you will be recorded as absent for the day.

  • Newspapers, books, and materials from other courses must also be put away.

  • I welcome questions (although I may put you “on hold” until I conclude a point).

  • Private conversations between class members while I am lecturing or your classmates are talking are rude and disrupt the learning environment for others. Do not engage in them.

PLEASE NOTE: IUPUI holds you responsible for any activity on your computer account.

*Under ONCOURSE—Resources, see the policy on Attendance and being present for the full class session.

If you are hesitant to talk in class, come see me during my office hours or e-mail me.
You are entitled to an e-mail account through IUPUI. You may prefer to use another provider for e-mail. To ensure students’ privacy, I use your IUPUI email account or ONCOURSE (when replying). You will, therefore, want to set up your IUPUI account to forward information to any non-IUPUI account. For instructions on how to do so, go to:
If you have any difficulties with ONCOURSE, please contact me as soon as possible. You can also check UITS to see if there is a system-wide problem:

I have voice mail and you are welcome to call me. If you leave a message, speak slowly and clearly, provide a phone number, and state times when you will be at that number. I prefer that you email me through ONCOURSE email. If you have to use my IUPUI account, include “H106” in the subject line. Generally, I will respond to e-mail or voice mail within 48 hours.
If you submit an assignment to me outside of class, you need to bring a copy the next time you come to class. If you do not hear from me within 24 hours, contact me again.
The ability to listen carefully and take good notes is a useful life skill and one that improves with practice. I, therefore, ask that students not record my lectures. If recording is necessary for you to do well, please have the appropriate office contact me (i.e., Adaptive Educational Services or the Program for English for Academic Purposes).
It is often useful to talk over assignments or study for exams with other students. Each of you, however, is to write your own distinct paper or exam. You will want to use different examples or use examples differently in order to be clear that you have written a unique piece. If you have questions about what is appropriate collaboration, check with me.
I cannot stress too heavily the usefulness of planning ahead, saving work on your computer OFTEN, making backups (digitally or on paper), and printing out your paper early. Keep a back-up copy of any written work that you do not want to rewrite.
There are several campus offices designed to assist students to do well. In many cases, your student fees pay for them—so take advantage. In particular, I draw your attention to the following (I have provided links to them on ONCOURSE—Resources: Assistance for Doing Well). If you have suggestions of other offices that have been helpful, I would welcome the chance to add them to the list.

  • The office of Adaptive Educational Services (Taylor Hall) is charged with making campus life and learning accessible to students with disabilities. Students needing accommodations because of a disability need to register with Adaptive Educational Services (AES) before accommodations will be given.

  • The Bepko Learning Center (in Taylor Hall) offers general mentoring advice on how to do well in your college career. This year, they will be overseeing tutoring in History.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) provides counseling services to assist students with a wide range of concerns, including but not limited to: test anxiety, depression, grief & loss, and stress & time management.

  • The Office of Student Affairs for the School of Liberal Arts can help you with advising as well as negotiating issues with Liberal Arts faculty.

  • The Office for Veterans and Military Personnel (OVMP) is a centralized office designed to provide comprehensive resources to veterans and Veterans Affairs benefit recipients to aid in their overall success as IUPUI students.

  • The Student Advocate Office can guide you to departments and people, familiarize you with university policy and procedures, and give you guidance on a wide variety of issues.

  • The University Writing Center, with two locations: one in Cavanaugh Hall and the other in the Library. The staff (students and faculty) will work with you one-on-one to improve your writing.


  • Readings are to be read for the class that is listed on the syllabus.

  • This syllabus is subject to change which will be posted on ONCOURSE.

  • It is your responsibility to stay on top of additions and changes.

  • On ONCOURSE—RESOURCES, under Syllabus and Updates, you will find more detailed instructions about the reading. Although the framework for FONER is here, primary sources will be added.

8/21: Overview of course.

What information will you learn?

What skills will you develop?

What are the lessons of history? (exercise)

Why do historical interpretations change over time?

Race, Economics, and American Values

8/23: Political Reconstruction

FONER, ch. 15 and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, pp. A30-A31 (at the back)

HANDOUT: the South Carolina Declaration (1860) OR Sullivan Ballou letter (1861).

8/28: Political Reconstruction cont.

Thomas Nast cartoons (1860s-1870s) – ONCOURSE

8.30: Emancipation

Jourdan Anderson, “Relishing Freedom,” (1865) – ONCOURSE

9/4: The Legacy of Reconstruction – PAPER DUE

FONER, ch. 17: 641-53

Tillman, speech -- ONCOURSE

Washington, Atlanta Exposition Address -- ONCOURSE

Wells, “Southern Horrors” -- ONCOURSE

Economics, Conflict, and the Gilded Age
9/6: Industrialization: the economic system and work

FONER, ch. 16

9/11: Industrialization: the workers

FONER, ch. 16

9/13: Industrialization: the other civil war and the meaning of liberty
9:18: War and the global economy

FONER, ch. 17

Beveridge, The March of the Flag – ONCOURSE

Bryan, “America’s Mission” and “Imperialism” – ONCOURSE

American Families and the (changing) Role of Government
9/20: Family Life and Women


Charts regarding women and family life (on ONCOURSE).

9/25: Society’s Wrongs/Women’s Rights

FONER, ch. 18
9/27: Progressivism—from local reform to national politics

FONER, ch. 18

War, Economics, and Democracy
10/2: World War I – over there PAPER DUE

FONER, ch. 19

10/4: World War I – over here

FONER, ch. 19

World War I posters – ONCOURSE
10/9: The 1920s

FONER, ch. 20

“America for Americans” (on ONCOURSE)
10/11: The Great Depression and REVIEW:

FONER, ch. 20

10/16: NO CLASS—Fall Break
10/18: MIDTERM EXAM (covering the material through 10/9 and the 1920s).

10/23: The New Deal, pt. 1

FONER, ch. 21

Roosevelt’s Madison Square speech, 10/31/1936 -- ONCOURSE
10:25: The New Deal, pt. 2

FONER, ch. 21

10:30: World War II – overseas

FONER, ch. 22

11/1: World War II – at home

FONER, ch. 22

11:6: The Cold War

FONER, ch. 23

11/8: The Affluent Society

FONER, ch. 24

11/13: Other Americas PAPER DUE


11/15: The 1960s

FONER, ch. 25

11/20: Vietnam


11/22: NO CLASS—Thanksgiving
11/27: That 70s Decade

FONER, ch. 26

11/29: The Conservative Re-Alignment

FONER, ch. 26

12/4: Change, Change, Change: Americans, the Economy, and the World

FONER, ch. 27

12/6: 9/11 and a New Century

The Lessons of History?

FONER, ch. 28


10:30am to 12:30pm

Note: The time is different from that of class sessions. The location will be the same.

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