Course Syllabus

History 204: U.S. History To 1877

Fall 2013

Dr. Chris Schutz

Office: Durham 203C

Phone: 746-5321


Professor’s Website:

Course Website:

Office Hours:  MWF, 9–9:50 AM

                                    10:55-11:45 AM

                        Or by appointment

Required Textbook:

• Goldfield, David, et al. The American Journey: A History of the United States, vol. 1. 7th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2013.

Required Course Reader:

• Belmonte, Laura, ed. Speaking of America, volume 1: To 1877. 2nd edition. Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.

Required Supplemental Book:

• Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Simon and Brown, 2012.

Course Themes:

In this course we will examine the beginnings and early trajectory of what was seen as an extraordinary experiment in 1789: the United States of America. While its high-minded rhetoric and ideals have left a legacy well beyond that year and even its own national borders, it has also proven to be a nation vexed by contradictions. A country which proudly recalls its Puritan predecessors’ determination to root the society in religious and moral principles has also been criticized as lauding the headlong pursuit of materialism. A nation which has prided itself on being a multiethnic melting pot has also been bedeviled with racism throughout its history. America is also peculiar in its newness. Lacking a lengthy cultural heritage, Americans were faced with the fascinating task of discovering who they were. Germans had a mythical Teutonic past which they heralded, the Iranians can pride themselves on their Persian past, the French harkened to their Gaulic ancestry, and so on. Besides covering the above topics, then, we will also review how Americans had to create their own identity in the land they came to fill.

Course Requirements:

Readings: I will give assigned readings from your course reader (Speaking of America, volume 1: To 1877) in class as we move through the semester, so keep abreast of those. Those readings from your reader, textbook (The American Journey: A History of the United States, vol. 1), and supplemental book (Incidents in the Life of Slave Girl) may be discussed in class, and that will be a substantial basis of determining your class participation and attendance grade for the course (discussed further below). The readings will be subject to the possibility of an unannounced “pop” quiz on the day in which they are assigned in class. These quizzes, added together at the semester’s end, will total 10% of your final grade. Attendance for the discussion of Comment Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl on Friday, October 18 is mandatory.

Internet Readings: When “Internet Readings” is listed in the course schedule, you should go to my web page at “,” click on “History Web Links,” and then follow the directions listed in the Course Schedule (i.e., look for the page listed in the Course Schedule, click on it, then find the subsection listed in the Course Schedule, locate the reading listed, and click on that reading).

Exams: There will be three written exams in the class. The first two midterm exams will be held in class approximately Comment one-third (Wednesday, September 18) and two-thirds (Friday, October 25), respectively, of the way through the semester. The third will be the cumulative final exam. Any makeups for those exams will require valid medical documentation or my approval prior to the date of the exam (please note: the burden of acquiring that approval falls on the student seeking it. That is, the student simply leaving a message without having an actual conversation with me will not suffice). All makeups must be taken within one week of the original scheduled exam, or risk that exam grade becoming a 0.

Student Scholarly Integrity: Any student cheating on exams or quizzes, plagiarizing on papers, or copying other students’ work on assigned papers will be subject to failure in the entire course.

Class Participation: This will be a important part of our class time together, and discussions will occur frequently throughout the semester. As such, that and your attendance combined (attendance policy is discussed below) will comprise 15% of your course grade. While I expect some students to be better suited than others to class participation (i.e., more vocal and assertive in public speaking), all students are expected to participate to some extent during the course, or suffer in this portion of their grade.

Attendance: I will take roll daily. Students are encouraged to attend every class, since your presence is the most reliable path to success. Should you do so, points will be awarded to your final course average in the following way: a student who is present for all classes or misses only one class will be awarded two bonus points to her/his final course average. A student missing two classes will be awarded one bonus point, and a student missing three or more classes will receive no bonus points. Please be aware, however, of the ways that your presence in class will be tracked and will contribute toward your overall attendance and participation grade. Absences may only be excused with written documentation or my approval prior to that absence. Roll will be taken at the beginning of class. It is the responsibility of any late students to inform me of your presence in class immediately after class is completed. After that time has passed, you will remain marked as “absent.” (Furthermore, while I will make an effort to repeat any announcements of upcoming assignments or exams, it remains the responsibility of anyone who misses class for catching up on any missed material— including the announcement of any dates– or date changes– in upcoming assignments.) Additionally, please note: Being present means just that– being present to what is going on in this class. Students asleep, doing work for another class, text messaging, or doing anything else other than what pertains to this class means being absent (and will count as such in my record), and will not be tolerated. Cell phones should be put carefully away during classtime.

Student Athletes: Because the purpose of limiting absences is to prevent the student from falling behind and suffering academically, student athletes who miss class due to athletic events will be limited in their allowed unexcused absences. All college-sanctioned athlethic absences are, of course, excused absences. But, should you miss one (or more) classes due to athletics, then you may not take any unexcused absences in addition to that if you want to earn additional points. Please note that it is the responsibility of the student athlete to keep the instructor aware of athletic absences– not the other way around. Thus, student athletes should notify me that an absence was due to an athletic event on the next class meeting, so I may properly note it. If the student athlete fails to do so, the absence will remain recorded as simply an unexcused absence. Student athletes should also be sure to supply an official athletic schedule from their coaches during the first week of class. Should an athletic event ever conflict with a mandatory discussion or exam date, you should come see me at least a week in advance to make alternate arrangements.

 Students with Disability: Any student who feels she/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a documented disability should contact the Academic Success Center to discuss specific needs. Please contact Dr. Patsy Ging, Director of Learning Support Service for Students with Disabilities at x5237, or via email at It is the students’ responsibility to make initial contact with one of the coordinators in the Academic Success Center. Coordinators: Dr. Patsy Ging/, Dr. Patti pjones/, or Mr. John Gaston at


Course Grade Distribution:                                Course Grade Scale:

Midterm Exam #1: 20%                                             A: 92-100/ A- : 90-91

Midterm Exam #2: 25%                                             B+: 88-89/ B: 82-87/ B- : 80-81

Final Exam: 30%                                                        C+: 78-79/ C: 72-77/ C-: 70-71

Class Attendance & Participation: 15%                     D+: 68-69/ D: 62-67/ D-: 60-61

Pop Quizzes: 10%                                                      F: 0-59

Course Schedule

NOTE: The following dates are given to highlight reading and other class assignments. However, classes will always meet regularly with or without an assignment scheduled. Dates are always subject to change as course needs dictate.

Important Note: Should inclement weather or other problems force the cancellation of class on a scheduled exam (or mandatory discussion) date, you should presume that that exam (or discussion) will be held on the next available class meeting.

The Atlantic World Before Columbus’ Arrival (8/21)

Lecture Topics: Native American Civilizations, Europe before Contact with the Western Hemisphere, Foundations for European Exploration


The Columbian Exchange and Early European Settlement (8/23–8/30)

Lecture Topics: Columbus and the Conquistadors, the Jamestown settlement and its dreams of wealth, the Puritans and their dream of a “city on a hill”

Friday, 8/23: Reader Reading > pp.2-8

Monday, 8/26: Textbook Reading > pp.35-42

Wednesday, 8/28: Textbook Reading > pp.31-35; Reader Reading > pp.11-14; Internet Site Reading > “John Winthrop’s 1630 ‘City on a Hill’ Sermon” [located at the “17th Century Colonial Life” subsection of the “Colonial America" web links page]


Making a Go of It: Peopling and Struggling in the “New World” (8/30–9/6)

Lecture Topics: demographics of Settlers and immigrants, Unfree Labor, Indentured Servants, Slaves, and Rebellion

Friday, 8/30: Reader Reading > pp.27-29

► ► Wednesday, 9/4: Textbook Reading > pp.48-50, 68-78; Reader Reading > pp.29-31, 57-62

Friday, 9/6: Textbook Reading > pp.96-99; Reader Reading > pp.68-70

Awakening a New Republic (9/6–9/13)

Lecture Topics: the “First Great Awakening,” Ideological Impact of European ideas, the Seven Years War, Colonial Agitation, the Boston Massacre, the First Continental Congress

Friday, 9/13: Reader Reading > pp.70-92

Wednesday, September 18: Comment Midterm Exam #1

Revolution and Uncertainty (9/16–9/23)

Lecture Topics: American Revolution, Articles of Confederation, Shay’s Rebellion

Monday, 9/23: Reader Reading > pp.112-114

The New Republic (9/23–9/30)

Lecture Topics: Constitutional Convention, President George Washington, election of 1800

Monday, 9/30: Reader Reading > pp.141-145

Social Revolutions (10/2–10/14)

Lecture Topics: Social Change in Agriculture and Transportation, Industrial Revolution, the War of 1812, the “Era of Good Feelings,” Missouri Compromise

Friday, 10/4: Textbook Reading: pp.232-240; Reader Reading: pp.170-178

Monday, 10/7: Textbook Reading > 307-321

Jacksonian America (10/14–10/23)

Lecture Topics: Andrew Jackson, Nullification Crisis, the Slave South, Indian Removal, Slave Society, Jacksonian Period and party politics

Monday, 10/14: Reader Reading > pp.188-190

Wednesday, 10/16: Textbook Reading > pp.279-304; Reader Reading > pp.151-153; 261-263, 265-271; 287-291

Friday, 10/18: Mandatory Discussion Date: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Monday, 10/21: Textbook Reading > pp.259-263; Reader Reading > 204-207

Wednesday 10/23: Textbook Reading > pp.251-254; Reader Reading > pp.198-200, 202-203

Friday, October 25: Comment Midterm Exam #2

The “Benevolent Empire” (10/28-11/6)

Lecture Topics: Reform Movments, Abolitionism, Romanticism

Monday, 10/28: Textbook Reading > pp.254-255; Reader Reading > pp.237-239, 315-317

Wednesday, 10/30: Textbook Reading > pp.321-330; Reader Reading > pp.213-219, 249-252

Wednesday, 11/6: Textbook Reading > pp.330-337; Reader Reading > pp.221-225, 282-283

The Secession Crisis (11/8–11/15)

Lecture Topics: Sectional Friction, “Bleeding Kansas,” 1860 Election

Friday, 11/8: Textbook Reading > pp.359-364; Reader Reading > pp.308-310, 331-333

Wednesday, 11/13: Textbook Reading > pp.389-394; Reader Reading > pp.271-277, 345-352

War Between the States and Reconstruction (11/18–11/25)

Lecture Topics: Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction

Monday, 11/18: Reader Reading > pp.367-372

Friday, 11/22: Reader Reading > pp.373-375, 378-379

Monday, 11/25: Textbook Reading > pp.449-468; Reader Reading > pp.362-364, 392-398

Monday, 12/2: Textbook Reading > pp.468-479; Reader Reading > pp.398-402, 407-412, 417-421