American Civilizations

  • 0/5 Stars
Course Level:
Course Length:
Fifteen Weeks
  • none

Course Description:

This fifteen-week, three-credit course will introduce students to the rich history of the North American continent through a comparative survey of the development of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. The course will also address the question of what culture is, and what role a common culture should play in a pluralist society.


By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

·       identify the major periods of North American history

·       read and write more effectively

·       appreciate the value of history for further understanding our contemporary world

Teaching Methods:

This course will be a combination of lectures, discussions, and written assignments. Attendance and participation in class, the reading of assigned texts, and the timely fulfillment of written assignments are essential for successful completion of the course.


Class Requirements



·         Allen Wenstein and David Rubel, The Story of America: Freedom and Crisis from Settlement to Superpower

·         Russell Kirk, America’s British Culture

·         Michael Meyer, et al., The Course of Mexican History, 7th ed.

·          Kenneth McNaught, The Penguin History of Canada


                   Quizes  .           .           .           .           .           .         25%

Writing:           .           .           .           .           .          35%

Presentation and Class Participation:  .             15%

Final Exam             .              .            .               .      25%

Class Conduct

Attendance: All students must attend class; only one unexcused absence will be tolerated per semester for this class. Each unexcused absence after this will penalize the student’s final grade by 3%.


Dress: Respect is due to learning, to oneself, and to others; therefore, students are required to dress semi-formally and modestly for every class-period. No old jeans or tank-tops. The instructor will speak with any student in private concerning any infraction of this rule. Further infractions will threaten the student’s final grade.


Comportment: Good manners and polite language should lubricate all human activity, especially in a place of leisure and learning. The instructor will speak with any student in private concerning any infraction of this rule. Further infractions will threaten the student’s final grade.


Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the appropriation of another person’s writing as one’s own. This is a serious affront against morality and scholarship. All quotations, paraphrases, and ideas taken from another writer must be properly cited as discussed elsewhere in these class guidelines. If the instructor suspects any student of plagiarism, he or she must prove innocence by producing the sources (books, articles, etc.) for the piece of writing in question. If plagiarism is proved against a student, he or she will receive a 0% on the assignment; a subsequent offence will automatically result in failure of the course.


Citations: For the discipline of history, footnotes or endnotes are the preferred method of citation. In this class, all students will learn to footnote material that is not their own. Guidelines for including footnotes in written assignments will be handed out in class.


Assignment Due Dates: All assignments are due on the due-date. Three percentage points will be deducted from the final grade of the assignment per day that it is late (including weekends and holidays). However, special arrangements can be made with the instructor in private before the due date of an assignment if a particular student is having difficulty making a deadline.


Cautionary Note: The instructor reserves the right to make any changes necessary to the class readings, syllabus, or assignments for the successful completion of the course.


 Class Schedule (15 weeks)


Week #

1.    Introduction. Spanish Conquest and Colonialism. Readings: Kirk chap. 1; Meyer sections II, III.

2.    The Plantation Colonies and Puritan New England. Canadian Colonial History to 1781. Readings: Weinstein chaps. 2 and 3; McNaught chaps. 1-4.

3.    Canada Act (1791). The American Revolution. Readings: McNaught chaps. 5-6; Weinstein chap. 4; Kirk chap. 3.

4.    The New Republic. Mexican Independence 1759-1824. Readings: Weinstein chap. 5; Kirk chap. 4; Meyer section IV.

5.    Jeffersonian and Jacksonian America. Canada 1830-1850. Readings: Weinstein chaps. 6-7; McNaught chaps. 7-8.

6.    Slavery and the Road to Civil War in the United States. Readings: Weinstein chaps. 8-11.

7.    Mexican Civil Wars 1824-1867. Canadian Confederation. Readings: Meyer sections V-VI; McNaught chaps. 9-10.

8.    Civil War and Reconstruction in the United States. Canada 1867-1914. Readings: Weinstein chap. 12; McNaught chaps. 11-13.

9.    Mexican Strongmen 1867-1911. The American West and the Gilded Age. Readings: Meyer sections VI-VII; Weinstein chaps. 13-14.

10.     The United States becomes a World Power. Mexican Revolution and Single Party Rule 1911-1994. Readings: Weinstein chaps. 15-16; Meyer sections VIII-X.

11.     The Progressive Era and the 1920s in the United States. The New Deal and World War II. Readings: Weinstein chaps. 17-20.

12.     Canada: Great War to Cold War. Readings: McNaught chaps. 14-18.

13.     United States after World War II. Readings: Weinstein chaps. 21-24.

14.     Contemporary History of Canada and the United States. Readings: McNaught chaps. 19-23; Weinstein chaps. 25-26.

15.     Review and Final Exam.