History 2111E: The United States to 1877
This course offers a basic introduction to U.S. history, from colonial beginnings to the end of Reconstruction. We will tell a fast-paced, winding story, slowing down to zoom in on two formative events: the Revolution and the Civil War. Throughout the story, but especially in analyzing these pivotal moments, we will be asking what the past can tell us about the present. Stories of beginnings, and of crisis moments, usually reveal a lot about the nature of something. What can the Revolution and the Civil War, set in the context of a longer story, tell us about the complexities, ironies, and limitations of the United States that we presently live and move in?
Class sessions are a mixture of discussion and lecture, with occasional viewing of relevant films. In the discussion portion of class (typically the first 20 minutes), you need to be ready to talk about the assigned reading for that day. During the lecture (typically the latter 30 minutes), you need to listen closely and attentively to an episode in the story, taking thorough notes and interacting with the professor. Class sessions are extremely important—your only work outside the classroom is to read for class and study for the three exams. Being “on” in class is the heart of doing well in the course.
Note: The telling of history is a subjective exercise, reflecting the beliefs, biases, interests, and background of the person doing the telling. What you will get in this course, therefore, is Dr. Hayes’ version of U.S. history. There is ample time in each class session to challenge or critique the version of the story that I am giving you: don’t hesitate to speak up for yourself and your point of view. I encourage it.
1. Syllabus: Bring this syllabus to class every day. We will consult it often.
2. Attendance: Simply showing up is the foundation for doing well in the class. In the course of the semester, you can miss 4 class sessions without penalty. Every absence after 4 automatically deducts 3 points from your final grade (7 total absences would subtract 9 points from your final grade, for example). I do not differentiate between “excused” and “unexcused” absences—except in extreme cases of a death in the family, a long-term illness, or something of similar magnitude, in which case you should notify me. This policy is not flexible, so make sure you understand it at the outset.
3. Make-Ups/Missed Class: If you miss class, it is up to you to find out what you missed, and how you can make it up. Talk to me, or to another student, so that you can get caught up.
4. Taking Attendance: I will call roll for the first few weeks of class. After that, an attendance sheet will be passed around at the beginning of each class session. Make sure that you sign the sheet, especially if you arrive late, or you will be counted as absent for the day.
6. Class Participation: You are expected to be an engaged, active member of the class. After each class period, I will make notes on who made good comments (speaking simply for the sake of speaking does not count as making good comments). I will also note who spent the period texting, staring into space, dozing off, etc. The sum total of these notes will determine your class participation grade: good comments 75% of the class periods or more (A), 50-75% (B), 25-50% (C), 1-25% (D), no participation (F).
7. Quizzes: I will give approximately 10 quizzes throughout the semester, based on the readings. They will typically consist of 5 questions and are designed to get at the basic points in what you have read. They are always given at the beginning of class.
8. Exams: There are three exams for the class, evenly spaced throughout the semester. They cover anything that is common property of the class: lecture, slide, reading, film, discussion point. They are all multiple-choice, with 75-100 questions. They are not cumulative.
9. Books and Reading: There is no overarching textbook for the class. Rather, we will read 4 more specific types of book: a memoir, a biography, a monograph, and an edited collection. All are available in the campus bookstore. You are expected to buy the 4 books, and to read them on the assigned schedule. You are welcome to buy the books through online merchants, but do not get caught empty-handed. The campus bookstore will not keep the books on its shelves after about a month into the semester. Read the assigned portions of the books closely and carefully, marking in the book and making notes in the margins. Come to class prepared to talk about what you read, and what you think of it. Bring the book to class if we are discussing it that day, and be ready to locate specific places in the book during the class discussion.
Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God ($18.25 new/$13.70 used)
10. Desire2Learn: All slides from class (arranged in PowerPoint presentations, matching the syllabus lecture titles) are on the course Desire2Learn site. Review them as you study for the exams. Nothing else—no grades, not even the syllabus—is on the site.
I. The Colonial Era
W 1/9: Introduction
M 1/14: 17th Century England; discuss Rowlandson, Sovereignty 7t-10m
W 1/23: Massachusetts and New England; discuss Rowlandson, Sovereignty 92-112
M 1/28: Native American Displacements; discuss Rowlandson, Sovereignty 1-5t, 10b-35m
M 2/4: The Beginnings of Race; discuss Alford, Prince 20-29t
M 2/11: Republicanism; discuss Martin and Lender, Respectable 5b-14m
II. The American Revolution and the Early National Era
M 2/18: Revolution Begins; discuss Martin and Lender, Respectable 3m-5b, 29-38
M 2/25: Revolutionary Surprises; discuss Martin and Lender, Respectable 100-104m, 111t-135
M 3/4: watch “A New Eden”
M 3/11: Democratic Expansion; discuss Alford, Prince 90m-111
M 3/18: Industrial and Commercial Transformations; discuss Alford, Prince 142-164
III. The Civil War and Reconstruction
M 3/25: National Expansion
M 4/1: War and Citizen-Soldier Armies; discuss Ash, Secessionists 39m-67m
M 4/15: watch “Glory” excerpt
M 4/22: watch “Little Big Man” excerpt
M 4/29: The Undoing of Reconstruction
Final Exam Wednesday, May 9 at 7am