Syllabus

“Facts are stubborn things.”  –John Adams, December 4, 1770

Required Books (College Bookstore or Library Reserve)

  • Masur, Louis P. The Civil War: A Concise History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • Wood, Gordon S. The American Revolution. New York: Modern Library, 2002.

Articles

  • Cornell, Saul. “Aristocracy Assailed: The Ideology of Backcountry Anti-Federalism.” Journal of American History 76 (March 1990): 1148-1172. [JSTOR]
  • Crosby, Alfred W. “The Columbian Exchange.” National Humanities Center. [WEB]
  • Gallagher, Gary. “Union Proud.” New York Times: Disunion. April 23, 2011. [WEB]
  • Gorn, Elliott J. “Gouge and Bite, Pull Hair and Scratch”: The Social Significance of Fighting in the Southern Backcountry.” American Historical Review 90 (Feb. 1985): 18-43. [JSTOR]
  • Mann, Charles C. “Unnatural Abundance.” New York Times. 25, 2004. [WEB]
  • Oakes, James. “Forever Free.” New York Times: Disunion. 7, 2013. [WEB]
  • O’Donnell, Edward T. Of Plagues and Pilgrims.” In the Past Lane. [WEB]
  • Onion, Rebecca. “Susan’s B. Anthony’s Indictment.” The Vault: Slate (2014) [WEB]
  • Pinsker, Matthew. “Did the End of the Civil War Mean the End of Slavery?” Smithsonian: What It Means To Be An American (2015) [WEB]
  • Ulrich, Laurel Thatcher. “The Living Mother of a Living Child”: Midwifery and Mortality in Post-Revolutionary New England.” William & Mary Quarterly 46 (Jan. 1989): 27-48. [JSTOR]

Digital Resources

Midterm Exam

On Tuesday, October 11, students will take an essay exam on the American Revolution (1765-1788). Possible questions will be distributed in advance. The best exam answers will demonstrate an ability to support a thoughtful interpretation with references to specific historical figures, events and statistics that we have featured in our class readings and discussions.

Slave Narrative Map

By SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, students are required to post a Google map, which they’ve designed to help illustrate the story of a published American slave narrative. Each map should be embedded within a short blog post (about 600-800 words) at the course website that describes the biography of the enslaved subject using citations to multiple secondary sources. The maps themselves should contain about 8-10 place marks that each includes brief excerpted text from the published narrative (properly cited) along with supporting images or video clips (properly credited). The place marks should be positioned in correct geographical position and should be arranged in chronological order on the left-hand navigation column. Material for this project should come from North American Slave Narratives at the Documenting the American South website. Late maps will be penalized 5 points per day.

Battle Map (or revised Slave Narrative Map)

By Friday, December 9, students are required to post either a Google map or a Storymap, which they have designed to illustrate the story of American sectional violence in the mid-nineteenth-century (1846-1877). Students may also revise and resubmit their slave narrative map instead of creating a new map.  Each battle map should be embedded within a short blog post (about 600 – 800 words) at the course website that describes the battle or violent episode using citations to multiple secondary sources. The maps themselves should contain about 8-10 place marks (or entries) that each includes brief excerpted text from published primary sources such as eyewitness accounts (properly cited) along with supported images or video clips (properly credited). The place marks should be positioned in correct geographical position and should be arranged in chronological order on the left-hand navigation column (for Google Maps only). Good topics for this project might include Civil War battles, conflicts between the US military and American Indians, or episodes of racial violence, such as the Hamburg Massacre (1876). Students who wish to submit revised slave narrative maps should revise their Google maps to include 12 -15 placemarks and to incorporate a stronger array of secondary source research in addition to making any corrections or improvements in prose and design.  Late maps will be penalized 5 points per day.

 

Final Exam

On Thursday, December 15, students will take a final essay exam that covers the broad Civil War & Reconstruction era (1840s through 1870s). Possible questions will be distributed in advance. The best answers will demonstrate an ability to support a thoughtful interpretation with an array of evidence, including short quotations, striking statistics and specific dates, people and places.

Grade Distribution

Class Participation                   15 percent

Midterm exam                          20 percent

Slave narrative map                  20 percent

Battle map (or revised map)     20 percent

Final exam                                25 percent

Day Date Discussion Topic Reading Assignment
Tuesday 8/29 Methods & Expectations
Thursday 9/1 Columbian Exchange Crosby essay
Tuesday 9/6 Original Myths: Pocahontas PBS exhibit & Yawp chapter
Tuesday 9/6 Lecture: Barry Lynn (Constitution Day) ATS, 7pm (optional)
Thursday 9/8 Original Myths: Thanksgiving O’Donnell and Mann essays
Tuesday 9/13 British Empire in North America Wood, 3-24
Thursday 9/15 No Taxation Without Representation Wood, 27-44
Tuesday 9/20 American Independence Wood, 47-62
Thursday 9/22 Continental Army Wood, 65-88
Tuesday 9/27 Republicanism Wood, 91-109
Thursday 9/29 American Enlightenment Wood, 113-135
Tuesday 10/4 NO CLASS
Wednesday 10/5 Lecture: Jennifer Lawless (Women on the Run) Stern, 7pm (optional)
Thursday 10/6 Federal Constitution Wood, 139-166
Tuesday 10/11 Midterm Exam
Thursday 10/13 Anti-Federalism Cornell article
 
Tuesday 10/18 FALL PAUSE
Thursday 10/20 Midwifery Ulrich article
Tuesday 10/25 Backcountry Gorn article & Yawp chapter
Thursday 10/27 American Slavery Andrews intro, Yawp chapter
Tuesday 11/1  Underground Railroad Pinsker articles: A and B
Thursday 11/3 Origins of Civil War Masur, chapter 1
Tuesday 11/8 Secession Masur, chap. 2 // Gallagher
Thursday 11/10 Emancipation Masur, chap. 3-4 // Oakes
Sunday 11/13 Slave Narrative Maps due By 5pm
Tuesday 11/15 Hard War Masur, chapter 5
Tuesday 11/15 Lecture: James McBride (Slavery & Faith) ATS, 7pm (optional)
Thursday 11/17 Appomattox (and Beyond) Masur, chap. 6 // Pinsker
Tuesday 11/22 Reconstruction Prince Rivers exhibit
Thursday 11/24 THANKSGIVING
Tuesday 11/29 Second Founding Rosen and Onion articles
Thursday 12/1 Manifest Destiny Yawp chapter
 
Tuesday 12/6 Closing Frontiers Yawp chapter
Thursday 12/8 Lessons & Legacies
 Friday  12/9  Battle maps (or revised maps)  Due by 5pm
Thursday 12/15 Final Exam 2pm – 5pm