Office Hours: MW 9:00am — 10:00am and 11:30am — 12:30pm
Course Description and Purpose: This course is designed for students interested in the first half of American history (up to 1877). This time period is extremely pertinent to understanding the evolution of the United States. As such, many historical issues will be addressed. They include class, gender, race, US foreign relations, intellectual thought, national identity, as well as changing social and cultural attitudes. Of course, not all of these topics will be covered in full. However, it is the instructor’s intent to make these topics accessible to students through course readings, written assignments, exams, and discussions. This class fulfills the IGETC for Social Sciences.
This class is not for the feign-hearted nor the squeamish! Lectures and readings deal with controversial topics and class material is approached from a historical angle. Those students who are not comfortable discussing religion, race, human sexuality, and other relevant class topics are advised to drop this course.
This course requires students to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings, including primary sources, charts and statistics, secondary sources, and other relevant material. Since this is a transfer-level course, students need to actively participate in class and complete assignments on time. Expect college-level reading and writing!
Class Procedure: Students are required to attend class regularly and on time. Talking, the use of a cell phone, and/or the use of any other electronic equipment is/are not allowed during class. Students must turn off all electronic devices prior to class. If any electronic device sounds off in class, the owner of the device will be asked by the instructor to leave and return only in the following class session. Students who do not arrive to class on-time will not be allowed to attend.
Required Readings: Eric Foner. Give Me Liberty!: An American History, Brief, Third Edition/Volume 1. W. W. Norton, 2012.
Online resources, found via websites and the instructor’s website.
Questions to Think About:
The following questions are meant to direct class readings and discussion:
AMERICAN DILEMMAS: What political, cultural, and economic debates dominated American society? Why? How?
ECONOMICS AND HISTORY: What role did economics play in shaping American politics?
SOCIAL ROLES: In what ways did Americans of diverse backgrounds “experience” living in America differently?
GOVERNMENT AND SOCIETY: What role did the government play in American society? In what ways did the government help improve the livelihood of the average American? In which ways did it fall short?
PROGRESS AND CHANGE: Does American history constitute a story of constant and ever-advancing progress?
Class Participation: 7%
Quizzes (8 out of 12): 2% each (16% total)
Long Essays (2) 14% each (28% total)
Short Essays (2): 7% each (14% total)
Final (mandatory): 20%
No assignment will be accepted via email nor will any grade be sent out via email. All assignments MUST be written using academic formatting (MLA, APA, or Chicago) and handed in to the instructor in person.
Note: The instructor reserves the right to deviate from the course schedule and the policies stated herein this syllabus so long as the changes are reasonable and such changes are announced promptly.
Class Participation and Attendance:
To get a high class participation grade, students are encouraged to voice their opinions, so long as they are relevant to class topics. Since attendance is mandatory, there is no grade for coming to class. However, students who are absent 5 or more times will be automatically excluded from the course. Each tardy will count as 1/3 of an absence and will be assessed when determining exclusions. Additionally, it is in the students’ interest to get to class on time since quizzes are always given at the beginning of class.
Quizzes (8 out of 12):
A total of 12 quizzes will be randomly given. Held at the start of class to test students’ knowledge of the reading material, each quiz involves one or two broad questions and will be graded based on how well the question(s) is/are answered. Students are allowed to use printed copies of primary source readings when completing quizzes. Although only 8 quizzes will be counted officially, additional points scored after the initial 8 quizzes will be added to students’ final grade. Quizzes must be written in ink.
Long Essays (2):
There are two 3.5—6 page essays assigned for this class. To get a good grade, the essays need to include information from both class lectures AND assigned readings. Students are encouraged to submit drafts and/or outlines for my personal review. Late essays: Papers will be docked one step down (A becomes A-, A- becomes B+, and so on) for each class meeting they are late. Late papers can only be turned in within two weeks of the original due date. Because the essays can be turned in up to two weeks late, no make-up essays will be given nor will late papers qualify for the essay rewrite.
Rewrites for Long Essays:
A rewrite is allowed once for each long essay. However, students can only rewrite an essay under three conditions: 1) a complete paper must have been turned in on time and received at least a grade of D, 2) the student has met and discussed with the instructor his or her strategy for improving the paper, and 3) the old copy must be stapled to the back of the rewrite and turned in on the due date. Higher grades on rewrites will replace the “old” scores.
Short Essays (2):
Students are expected to write two 1.5—2.5 page essay responses. To get a good grade, the essays need to include information from BOTH class lectures and assigned readings. There is one major difference between the short essays and their longer counterparts: the short essays are not eligible for rewrites. While one objective of assigning these short essays is to get students to engage with the readings and the lecture material, the real purpose of these papers is to prepare students for writing the long essays.
Exams (Midterm and Final):
Both the midterm and final are essay exams. The essay must be supported by both lectures AND reading material. Be sure to turn in a green book (any size) indicating your name and class a few class sessions before the exam. It will be given back on the day of the exam. Students who fail to turn in a green book may lose exam time on the date of the exam. No make-up exam will be given. Exams must be written in ink.
Plagiarism and Cheating: No tolerance for plagiarism will be given to any student for any reason. This includes taking passages from a writer without giving him/her full credit as well as passing an assignment written by another person as one’s own. Students who participate in academic fraud will receive an F for the class and be reported to the proper academic authorities. Since this class emphasizes primary source analysis and students are provided open access to these sources, any unauthorized research is prohibited and will fall under the plagiarism provision stated here-in. The penalties for plagiarism stated above also apply to cheating.
Disabled Students: Students who have special needs should speak to the instructor ahead of time if accommodations are required. They are also encouraged to visit the campus Disabled Student Program and Services (DSPS) for support should they need additional help.
Please note: All reading assignments listed are on the dates when they are due. Writing assignments’ due dates are in bold.
M, 8/27: Class Introduction W, 8/29: European Empires and the Americas
New World Diplomacy and New World Foreign Policies @ instructor’s website
Native American Primary Sources @ instructor’s website
W, 9/19: The Road to American Independence (1763-73)
Road to American Independence Primary Sources @ instructor’s website
Soame Jenyns, “The Objections to the Taxation of our American Colonies by the Legislature of Great Britain, briefly consider'd” (1765)
http://homepages.udayton.edu/~alexanrs/SOAME.html M, 9/24: Proclaiming Independence (1773-6) Short Essay 1 Due Proclaiming Independence Primary Sources @ instructor’s website
W, 9/26: The American War of Independence (1775-1783)
Long Essay 1 Assigned
American War of Independence Primary Sources @ instructor’s website
M, 10/1: Lesson on History Writing I W, 10/3: Creating a Constitution: A Balancing Act
“Harrington: To the Freemen of the United States” @ instructor’s website
Creating a Constitution A Balancing Act Primary Sources @ instructor’s website
M, 10/8: Creating a Constitution: the Slavery Issue