History 212: History of the United States to 1865
The main purpose of this course is to understand the creation and development of a distinctively different American civilization, from its origins through the Civil War. The course seeks a balance between giving students knowledge of specific people, events, ideas and forces that were instrumental in the creation and development of American life, on the one hand; and examining how and why historical change occurred as it did in America, on the other. Students will read and reflect on some of the country’s most important original source documents, while using and testing the knowledge attained from secondary sources to survey the major political, cultural, economic, religious, and social themes in early American history.
Finkelman, Paul, ed. A Brief Narrative of the Case and Tryal of John Peter Zenger with
Related Documents. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.
Foner, Eric, ed. Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History. Second edition. New York:
W.W. Norton & Company, 2008. (ISBN: 978-0-393-93106-8)
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave,
Written by Himself. Edited with an introduction by David W. Blight. Second edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. (ISBN: 0-312-25737-6)
Quizzes (10) 20%
Papers (2) 40%
Final Examination 30%
Course Schedule & Readings:
Week 1: Introduction
Foner: Documents 7-9.
Week 2: Beginnings of an English America
Zenger: Introduction, pages 1-40
Foner: Documents 10-13.
Week 3: Creating an Anglo-America, 1660-1750
Foner: Documents 14-15, 20.
Foner: Documents 16-19.
Week 4: Slavery, Freedom and the Struggle for Empire, to 1763
Foner: Documents 21-23.
Foner: Documents 25-26.
Week 5: The American Revolution, 1763-1783
John Peter Zenger Paper Due.
(Answer the following prompt: Interpret/analyze the Zenger trial narrative as a primary source by employing P.A.C.T.S. (perspective-audience-context-thesis-significance).
Foner: Documents 27-32.
Week 6: The Revolution Within
Foner: Documents 33-36.
Foner: Documents 37-39.
Weel 7: Founding a Nation, 1783-1789
Foner: Documents 40-42.
The Conflict over the Constitution, 76-82 (Readings posted on Angel).
Week 8: Securing the Republic, 1790-1815
Foner: Documents 45, 46, 48.
Foner: Documents 47, 49-51.
Week 9: The Market Revolution, 1800-1840
Foner: Documents 52, 53, 57.
Foner: Documents 54-56.
Week 10: Democracy in America, 1815-1840
Foner: Documents 58-60.
Foner: Documents 61-63.
Week 11: The Peculiar Institution
Foner: Documents 65-67, 70.
Frederick Douglass Paper Due.
(Answer the following prompt: Critically discuss how Douglass's Narrative might be read as a meditation on the multiple meanings of freedom.)
Week 12: An Age of Reform: 1820-1840
Foner: Documents 75-77.
Politics, Morality and Race in the Abolitionist Crusade (Readings posted on Angel).
Week 13: A House Divided, 1840-1861
Foner: Documents 78-80.
Foner: Documents 83, 84 and Lincoln’s first inaugural: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=59
Week 14: A New Birth of Freedom: The Civil War, 1861-1865
Foner: Documents 85, 86, 88, 89, 91.
Foner: Documents 87, 90 and Lincoln’s second inaugural: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=35
Week 15: Final