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COURSE NUMBER: HIST 351
COURSE TITLE: The United States to 1865
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Dr. William Van Arragon
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course offers an introductory survey of the history of the United States from before European contact to the Civil War. Topics include Indigenous histories; European and African migration during the colonial period; the development of religious and political institutions; the American Revolution and the Early Republic; westward expansion, war, and Manifest Destiny; and slavery and sectionalism.

Prerequisites: HIST 204
REQUIRED TEXTS: In lieu of a print (and expensive) textbook, we will use the following online open-source survey text.  I will indicate the sections you should read for each class; these will be listed in the lecture powerpoints. http://www.americanyawp.com

In addition, please purchase and read the following required texts:
  • Solomon Northup, 12 Years a Slave (Penguin, 2013)
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Penguin, 2000)
  • Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (Doubleday, 2016)
  • Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Vintage, 2008)
MARK DISTRIBUTION IN PERCENT:
Assignment One: Response to The Underground Railroad (1500 words)20%
Assignment  Two: Comparative Analysis of 12 Years a Slave and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (2500-3000 words) 30%
Assignment Three: Book Review of This Republic of Suffering (1500 words) 20%
Final Exam 30%
100%
COURSE OBJECTIVES:The main purpose of this course is to answer the question: why did Americans fight the Civil War (1861-1865)? Understanding the origins of this most destructive of American conflicts requires a long view of American history. Topics include: European and African migrations during the colonial period; contact, cooperation, and conflict with Indigenous peoples; development of religious and political institutions; the American Revolution; slavery, racism,  and sectionalism; westward expansion and "Manifest Destiny."  We shall also be attentive to historiography, how scholars have interpreted these topics and how historical interpretations have changed over time.  This course will proceed by way of lectures, in-class discussions, and other activities and will use a range of media (primary documents, art, films, music).
COURSE OUTLINE:
  • Why did Americans fight the Civil War? 
  • Peopling: Americas 
  • Peopling: Europe 
  • Peopling: Africa 
  • Colonies: Virginia 
  • Colonies: New England 
  • The Middle Colonies 
  • Religion in the 18th Century 
  • Race and Slavery  
  • French and Indian War 
  • Revolutionary Crises 
  • American Revolution 
  • Making the Constitution 
  • Revolution of 1800 
  • Manifest Destiny 
  • Removal 
  • Westward Expansion 
  • Market Revolution 
  • Slavery in the South 
  • The Second Great Awakening 
  • Reforming Society 
  • The Benevolent Empire 
  • Utopias 
  • Abolitionism 
  • Feminism 
  • Apologists for Slavery 
  • Political Compromises 
  • The Civil War 
  • Emancipation 
  • End of the Civil War


Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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