Room: Keene-Flint 113 Office Hours: Tuesday 11: 30-12: 30

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AMH 2010: The United States to 1877

Instructor: Allison Fredette

Fall 2012, Section: 8066

Meeting Times: Tuesday 10:40-11:30/Thursday 10:40-12:35

Room: Keene-Flint 113

Office Hours: Tuesday 11:30-12:30 (or by appointment)

Room: Keene-Flint 9


Course Description

This course explores American history from the period of European exploration and native contact through the final days of the post-Civil War Reconstruction. In doing so, the course addresses a few major themes: regional differences in both the colonies and the early United States; the development of slavery from its African origins to the American South; the formation and experimentation of the early American government; the impact of cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious diversity during both the colonial period and the antebellum era; the vast rate of change (politically, economically, and culturally) in the first half of the nineteenth century; and the legacy of the Civil War era.

Course Objectives

  • To expand students’ understanding of early American history

  • To help students understand the various scholarly perspectives on early American history

  • To improve students’ use of historians’ scholarly techniques, such as writing, critical thinking, reading, and primary document analysis

  • To analyze the collective development of our accepted historical narratives

  • To engage in an ongoing debate about the importance of history for today’s society

Important Dates

Slave Ship paper – due Thursday, September 20th

Midterm – Thursday, October 11th

Final Exam – Tuesday, December 11th

Required Books

All books are available for purchase at the UF bookstore and, of course, online.

Eric Foner. Give Me Liberty!: An American History (Brief Third Edition), Vol. 1 (W.W. Norton, Jan. 2012). ISBN: 0393935523

Elizabeth Cobbs-Hoffman, Edward J. Blum, Jon Gjerde, Major Problems in American History, Vol. 1 (Wadsworth Publishing, Jan. 2011). ISBN: 0495915130

Marcus Rediker, The Slave Ship: A Human History (Penguin: New York, 2008). ISBN: 0143114255

*** Have your readings done FOR class on the day listed (i.e. on Tuesday, August 28, I expect you to have read and be ready to discuss chapter 1 in Give Me Liberty!).

Course Requirements and Grades

Students are required to attend all classes, keep up with assigned readings and assignments, be prepared to participate in class, take a midterm and final examination, write seven short responses and one five to six-page paper. More information on the Slave Ship paper and the two exams will be given as the class progresses.

I will calculate your final grade as follows:

Attendance 10%

Class Participation 10%

Primary Document Analyses 10%

Midterm Exam 25%

Final Exam 25%

Slave Ship Paper 20%

Only course grades of C or better will satisfy Gordon Rule, general education, and college basic distribution credit.

Primary Document Analysis:

Throughout the semester, students will write a total of seven primary document analyses on documents found in Major Problems in American History. I have chosen ten possible weeks on which you can choose a document to write up, and you must do SEVEN of these. Each assignment must be turned in at the beginning of class on the Thursday of that week. NO late papers will be accepted. Variety in the types of documents you analyze is also important (i.e. do not do all seven on photographs but also analyze speeches, diary entries, etc.). I will give more information about this in class.

Students should write a short response (250-300 words) discussing the value of the document for understanding history. Why is the document historically significant? What can historians learn from the document? What does the document reveal about a particular time, place, or event that a textbook or secondary source cannot?

Grading Scale

Please note UF’s new grading scale with the addition of minuses:












































*Stopped attending or participating prior to end of class

Additional information on grades can be found at:

Class Schedule

Week 1: Introduction to the Study of American History

Thurs., Aug. 22: The Evolution or Devolution of American History

Reading (in class): Our First Gay President?

Video: Newsroom: Why is America the Greatest Country in the World?

Week 2: When Worlds Collide

Key Words: Hernán Cortés, Tenochtitlán, reconquista, encomienda system, Incans, Mayans, Anasazi, mestizos, “the Columbian Exchange,” mound builders, Christopher Columbus, the Pueblo Revolt, the middle ground, “Indians’ New World”

Tues., Aug. 28: European Exploration and Native Life

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 1

Thurs., Aug. 30: Responses to Contact

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 1 (primary doc analysis #1)

Week 3: The Southern Colonies

Key Words: St. Augustine, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, Castillo de San Marcos, Roanoke, Jamestown, the Virginia Company, indentured servitude, proprietary colonies, Bacon’s Rebellion, women in the colonial South, slave codes, dower rights, coverture

Tues., Sept. 4: The Founding of the South

Reading; Give Me Liberty!, pp. 38-52, 81-85

Thurs., Sept. 6: Early Slavery

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 2 (primary doc analysis #2)

Week 4: The Northern and Middle Colonies

Key Words: Protestant Reformation, Puritans, the Mayflower Compact, John Winthrop, predestination, the elect, Anne Hutchinson, the Quakers, William Penn, mourning wars, King Philip’s War, praying Indians, Salem Witch Trials, women in colonial New England, mercantilism, the Navigation Acts

Tues., Sept. 11: Life in Early New England and the Mid-Atlantic

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, pp. 53-67, 73-80, 86-102

Thurs., Sept. 13: What caused the Salem witch trials?

Reading: (for primacy docs) (an interactive “witchcraft” experience – just for fun)

John Demos, The Enemy Within: A Short History of Witch-Hunting (Penguin: New York, 2008), 189-212. (please check e-learning for a copy of this)

Week 5: The Roots of the “Peculiar Institution”

Key Words: the Middle Passage, Olaudah Equiano, the task system, gang labor, the Stono Rebellion, Ft. Mose, the middle ground

Tues., Sept. 18: Slavery’s Beginnings

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 4

Thurs., Sept. 20: The Atlantic Slave Trade

Reading: The Slave Ship, PAPER DUE IN CLASS

Week 6: Fighting for Independence

Key Words: the Seven Years’ War, Pontiac’s Rebellion, the Proclamation of 1763, the Enlightenment, the Great Awakening, John Peter Zenger, the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, virtual representation, nonimportation agreements, the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, Daughters of Liberty, Common Sense, the First & Second Continental Congresses, loyalists, freedom petitions, republican motherhood, Treaty of Paris

Tues., Sept. 25: Taxation, the Trouble with Boston, and Declaring Independence

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 5

Thurs., Sept. 27: The Framers and their Citizens

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 4 (primary doc analysis #3)

Week 7: Confederation to Constitution

Key Words: the Articles of Confederation, the Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, Shays’s Rebellion, the Northwest Ordinance, James Madison, the Federalist Papers, the Virginia Plan, separation of powers, checks and balances, three-fifths clause, the Bill of Rights, Treaty of Greenville

Tues., Oct. 2: The Formation of American Government

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 7

Thurs., Oct. 4: Whose Constitution was it?

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 5 (primary doc analysis #4)

Week 8: The Early Stages of Nationhood

Key Words: Whiskey Rebellion, Alexander Hamilton, the XYZ affair, the Alien & Sedition Acts, Virginia & Kentucky Resolutions, judicial review, Lewis & Clark, Embargo Act, Tecumseh, the War of 1812, the Hartford Convention

Tues., Oct. 9: The Virginia Presidents – and Adams, too!

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 8

Thurs., Oct. 11: MIDTERM EXAM

Reading: none

Week 9: The Market Revolution

Key Words: the National Road, the Erie Canal, internal improvements, Eli Whitney, self-made man, yeoman farmers, cult of domesticity, manifest destiny, transcendentalists, Lowell

Tues., Oct. 16: Railroads, Canals, and King Cotton

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 9

Thurs., Oct. 18: The Impact for Women and the Home

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 8 (primary doc analysis #5)

Week 10: “Jacksonian” Democracy

Key Words: National Republicans, Andrew Jackson, the “Corrupt Bargain,” the Election of 1828, the “spoils system,” the Eaton affair, the Indian Removal Act, the Nullification Crisis, the Bank War, Martin Van Buren, the Election of 1840

Tues., Oct. 23: King Jackson’s Reign

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 10

Thurs., Oct. 25: Voter Turnout – the Endless Debate

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 9 (primary doc analysis #6)

Week 11: The Reforming Impulse

Key Words: Dorothea Dix, temperance, utopian communities, the American Anti-Slavery Society, the American Colonization Society, Sojourner Truth, Sarah & Angelina Grimke, the Seneca Falls Convention, Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Tues., Oct. 30: Temperance, Feminism, and Abolition – oh my!

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 12

Thurs., Nov. 1: NO CLASS

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 10 (primary doc analysis #7)

Week 12: Slavery in the Antebellum South

Key Words: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Gabriel’s Rebellion, Denmark Vesey, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, patriarchy, paternalism, types of slave resistance

Tues., Nov. 6: The Defense of and Resistance to Slavery

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 11

Thurs., Nov. 8: Life in the Slave Markets and Neighborhoods

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 12 (be prepared to discuss Ch. 10, as well)

(primary doc analysis #8)

Week 13: A House Divided Against Itself

Key Words: the Missouri Compromise, 54°40’ or Bust!, the Mexican War, the Wilmot Proviso, “popular sovereignty,” the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Stephen Douglas, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, gag rule, “Bleeding Kansas,” the Know-Nothings, the Dred Scott decision, John Brown, the Election of 1860

Tues., Nov. 13: Western Expansion, Abolition Debates, & the Rise of the Republicans

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 13

Thurs., Nov. 15: What Caused the Civil War?

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 13 (primary doc analysis #9)

Week 14: The Civil War

Key Words: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Fort Sumter, “bushwhackers,” the border states, the Anaconda Plan, George B. McClellan, “contrabands,” Copperheads, Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, the NYC Draft Riot, U.S. Grant, Appomattox

Tues., Nov. 20: Four Years of War in One Hour

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 14

Thurs., Nov. 22: NO CLASS (Thanksgiving)

Week 15: America’s Unfinished Revolution

Key Words: Radical Republicans, the “Black Codes,” Presidential v. Congressional Reconstruction, the Freedmen’s Bureau, sharecropping, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, Andrew Johnson, the Ku Klux Klan, “scalawags” & “carpetbaggers,” Slaughterhouse cases, the Election of 1876

Tues., Nov. 27: Emancipation

Reading: Major Problems, Ch. 14 (primary doc analysis #10)

Thurs., Nov. 29: Rebuilding the Nation

Reading: Give Me Liberty!, Ch. 15

Week 16: Course Wrap-Up and Review

Tues., Dec. 4: Review Session

Final Exam Time: Tuesday, December 11th, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Class Policies

Assignments and Exams

All written assignments should be done in 12-point double-spaced print (Times New Roman or comparable font) with one-inch margins. Your Slave Ship paper must be turned in during class hours and will NOT be accepted via email. The midterm will be given during class time, and the final exam will be given during the schedule final time.

I will NOT accept ANY late papers and assignments. NO makeup exams will be given.

Attendance and In-Class Behavior

You are required to attend class, and your attendance forms a critical part (10%) of your final grade. If you attend every class, you earn an easy 10%; if you fail to do so, you jeopardize your grade in this class. Another 10% of your final grade will be assessed based upon your participation in class. A large part of this class will be discussion-based, which makes it imperative that you read, contribute, and engage with both your fellow students and me. You may take notes with a computer, but no facebooking, emailing, tweeting, skyping, tumblr-ing, blogging, etc., etc., etc. If you are found doing so, it will negatively impact your participation grade for that class.

Academic Honesty

I take my honor code obligations seriously and expect you to do the same.  Obviously cheating, whether digitally or the old-fashioned way, will not be tolerated. In this course, it is especially important that you do not commit PLAGIARISM, which consists of failing to use proper citations or give credit to your sources in all written assignments. When in doubt, use quotations and cite your sources. This is important whether you are using material from your textbook, an article, a primary source, or an internet source. Plagiarism constitutes intellectual theft and academic dishonesty.  Please ask me if you have any concerns about your citations or assignments. The University of Florida’s honesty policies regarding cheating and plagiarism and the consequences for violating those policies may be viewed at -- consequences range from getting a zero on the said assignment, failing the course entirely, or even expulsion from school.

Students with Disabilities

I am committed to accommodating students with disabilities. Please notify me early in the semester if you have a disability and require special accommodations. If you have questions about disability services, please consult the Disability Resource Center website at

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