Course Syllabus

History 204: U.S. History To 1877

Fall 2012

Dr. Chris Schutz

Office: Durham 203C

Phone: 746-5321


Professor's Website:

Backup 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. Brief 6th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2011.

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 Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl on Monday, October 15 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). Should you have difficulty locating the course reading on the standard website, go to my older, backup website ( and find it there (that backup website can no longer be updated, but still contains many valuable links).

Exams: There will be three written exams in the class. The first two midterm exams will be held in class approximately one-third (Friday, September 14) and two-thirds (Monday, October 22), 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. 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. Since missing class also reduces opportunities to participate, absences may also gradually damage your grade in that area as well.

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.

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 (8/17)

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

The Columbian Exchange and Early European Settlement (8/20-8/28)

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"

Monday, 8/20: Reader Reading > pp.2-8

Wednesday, 8/22: Textbook Reading > pp.36-42

Friday, 8/24: Textbook Reading > pp.33-36; 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" (8/27-9/4)

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

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

Wednesday, 8/29: Textbook Reading > pp.67-76, 82-83; Reader Reading > pp.29-31, 57-62

Friday, 8/31: Textbook Reading > pp.95-98; Reader Reading > pp.68-70

Awakening a New Republic (9/4-9/11)

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

Monday, 9/10: Reader Reading > pp.70-92

Friday, September 14: Midterm Exam #1

Revolution and Uncertainty (9/11-9/19)

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

Wednesday, 9/19: Reader Reading > pp.112-114

The New Republic (9/19-9/26)

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

Wednesday, 9/26: Reader Reading > pp.141-145

Social Revolutions (9/27-10/5)

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

Monday, 10/1: Textbook Reading: pp.229-235; Reader Reading: pp.170-178

Wednesday, 10/3: Textbook Reading > 305-317

Jacksonian America (10/8-10/23)

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

Monday, 10/8: Reader Reading > pp.188-190

Wednesday, 10/10: Textbook Reading > pp.276-299; Reader Reading > pp.151-153; 261-263, 265-271; 287-291

Monday, 10/15: Mandatory Discussion Date: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Wednesday, 10/17: Textbook Reading > pp.255-257; Reader Reading > 204-207

Friday 10/19: Textbook Reading > pp.249-250, 254-255; Reader Reading > pp.198-200, 202-203

Monday, October 22: Midterm Exam #2

The "Benevolent Empire" (10/24-11/2)

Lecture Topics: Reform Movments, Abolitionism, Romanticism

Wednesday, 10/24: Textbook Reading > pp.250-253; Reader Reading > pp.237-239, 315-317

Friday, 10/26: Textbook Reading > pp.317-325; Reader Reading > pp.213-219, 249-252

Wednesday, 10/31: Textbook Reading > pp.325-331; Reader Reading > pp.221-225, 282-283

The Secession Crisis (11/5-11/15)

Lecture Topics: Sectional Friction, "Bleeding Kansas," 1860 Election

Monday, 11/5: Textbook Reading > pp.355-359; Reader Reading > pp.308-310, 331-333

Friday, 11/9: Textbook Reading > pp.379-383; Reader Reading > pp.271-277, 345-352

War Between the States and Reconstruction (11/16-11/29)

Lecture Topics: Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction

Friday, 11/16: Reader Reading > pp.367-372

Monday, 11/19: Reader Reading > pp.373-375, 378-379

Monday, 11/26: Textbook Reading > pp.436-452; Reader Reading > pp.362-364, 392-398

Wednesday, 11/28: Textbook Reading > pp.452-461; Reader Reading > pp.398-402, 407-412, 417-421



I. History 204

History of the United States I 3 hours credit

II. Term/Year: Fall Semester, 2012

Instructor: Chris Schutz

Office Location: Durham Hall, 203 C

Phone: 746--5321

III. COURSE DESCRIPTION: A broad survey of the United States from colonial times to the present, including aspects of American political, economic, social and cultural development. Familiarity with and understanding of the major and conflicting interpretations of American history is also expected. (H 204, Fall; H 205, Spring.)

IV. COURSE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES History 204 is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of American history from its colonial background through Reconstruction. The course will familiarize students with significant historical themes and trends as well as important personalities, events and philosophies. A constant effort is made to show how important past decisions continue to affect the lives of all Americans today. The ethnic and cultural background of America will also be explored. Students will be expected to analyze and conceptualize ideas and information and learn to communicate their views both verbally and in written form. In the process of studying American history, the relativity of ideas once held by Americans to be absolute--ideas about race, agrarian superiority, and the inferiority of Native Americans--will illustrate the danger of knowing only one's own time, place, and immediate social and cultural environment. The basic skill to be derived from this course is the ability to judge critically but fairly and with some compassion part of our common past, and to determine how, and to what extent, ideas of American exceptionalism are valid.


History 204 is one of the options in the All College Requirements to fulfill the six hours required in survey history. It is also required for the major in history for both the B.S. and B.A. It definitely fulfills goals of the Department of History to enable each student to develop an understanding of the past through historical perspective, and through that perspective, a better understanding of his own time and place; to enable each student to express himself clearly and concisely in writing, to sustain a logical and persuasive argument, to examine the facts on both sides of any particular issue, and to present conclusions effectively; and to awaken in students a deeper sense of the moral and ethnical questions surrounding choices they must make throughout their lives.


Social Studies Education Matrix:

A. General Social Studies. The teacher of Social Studies will demonstrate the following knowledge and skills: an understanding of the influence of geographic characteristics, including climate, physical features and natural resources on the world's major societies and cultures; the ability to demonstrate the interrelationships between the social studies and humanities; and the ability to integrate into the curriculum skills related to the use of maps, graphs, and charts.

B. History. The teacher of history will demonstrate the knowledge and skills in general social studies and will demonstrate the following knowledge and skills also: an understanding of the concept of change over time with the ability to relate past to present; an understanding of the major events and movements in history (American, Western and non--Western ), the turning points of historical development, and their relationship to the present; an understanding of the techniques of historical interpretation that includes cause and effect, major trends, and quantitative and non--quantitative analysis; and knowledge of non--Western and third world countries that includes the ability to study and evaluate events from a global perspective.

General Education Matrix:

A. Knowledge and skills pertaining to all areas: A conscientious student should emerge from this course with an awareness of information sources, and the ability to integrate knowledge acquired from a wide variety of sources, an ability to use basic problem--solving skills such as identifying, defining, postulating and evaluating, planning and acting, and assessing results; an ability to analyze and synthesize ideas, information and data; an awareness and understanding of cultural and individual diversity and of humankind's shared environment, heritage, and responsibility as well as an awareness of the interdependence among fields of study; an ability to understand and respect other points of view, both personal and cultural; and an understanding of one'' own and others' ethics and values.

B. Communication: A conscientious student should also acquire the ability to send and receive written and oral messages in standard English; to communicate verbally and non--verbally; to identify his/her intended audience and to communicate efffectively within it when speaking and writing; and to be come aware of diverse communication styles, abilities, and cultural differences.

C. Humanities and the Arts: A conscientious student should become aware of various means of creative expression, both within a given culture and across cultures and languages; should understand how human ideas, values, and ethics can be examined and illuminated figuratively; should become aware of the past and current relationships between creative expression and the societies from which they grow; should be able to open himself/herself to creative expressions, to understand their basic premises, and to understand how creators and critics make informed qualitative judgements about them; and should be able to formulate such judgements himself/herself.

D. Social Science and Culture: A conscientious student should understand how social scientists create, describe, disseminate, and refine new knowledge within their disciplines; be able to apply social science methods in appropriate situations; should have an informed historical perspective, including an understanding of how his/her own society developed as well as an awareness of how other societies developed.

VII. TEXTS: The American Journey: A History of the United States, Volume I, by David Goldfield, Carl Abbott, Virginia DeJohn Anderson, JoAnn E. Argersinger, Peter H. Argersinger, William L. Barney, and Robert M. Weir; Laura Belmonte ed. Speaking of America, volume 1: To 1877. 2nd edition. Thomson Wadsworth, 2007; Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.

VIII. TOPICS OR UNITS OF INSTRUCTION: The Atlantic World Before Columbus' Arrival; The Columbian Exchange and Early European Settlement; Making a Go of It: Peopling and Struggling in the "New World"; Awakening a New Republic; The "First Great Awakening," Ideological Impact of European ideas, the Seven Years War, Colonial Agitation, the Boston Massacre, the First Continental Congress; American Revolution, Articles of Confederation, Shay's Rebellion; Constitutional Convention, President George Washington, election of 1800; Social Change in Agriculture and Transportation, Industrial Revolution, the War of 1812, the "Era of Good Feelings," Missouri Compromise; Andrew Jackson, Nullification Crisis, the Slave South, Indian Removal, Slave Society, Jacksonian Period and party politics; Reform Movements, Abolitionism, Romanticism; Sectional Friction, "Bleeding Kansas," 1860 Election; Civil War; Reconstruction


At the end of each of the chapters in The American Journey: A History of the United States is an excellent bibliography containing titles of books related to the chapter for students who wish to explore further.

X. METHODS OF INSTRUCTION AND LEARNING: This course is based on lecture and reading assignments in the text. I hope, however, that this information can stimulate discussion which I believe to be a valuable aspect of any history course. I realize that class participation can be intimidating, but students should be active learners even while taking lecture notes. In addition, I frequently use various programs, which greatly add to the dimension of historical learning. While I do not demand a strict code of conduct in class, I expect students to recognize the rights of others and show their fellow students the courtesy they expect for themselves.


XII. COURSE SCHEDULE OR CALENDAR: See Attached assignment sheet.

XIII. Most Recent Date of Revision of Course and Syllabus: August 13, 2012