Course Syllabus

History 205: U.S. History Since 1877

May Term 2014

Dr. Chris Schutz

Durham 203C

Phone: 746-5321


Professor’s New Website:

Course Website:

Required Textbook:

• Goldfield, David, et al. The American Journey: A History of the United States, vol. 2. 7th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2014.

Required Reader:

• Belmonte, Laura, ed. Speaking of America, volume 2: Since 1865. 2nd edition. Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

Required Supplemental Book:

• O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. Mariner Books, 2009.

Course Themes:

In a public statement following the shattering events of 9/11, President George W. Bush took stock of the life-altering event by contending that “America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.” Since then, American leaders have engaged in a prolonged discussion of how American values contrast with those of the terrorists. Indeed, by calling the United States “the brightest beacon,” Bush hearkened back to a centuries-old idea that America has a unique role to play in the world. Such a national conversation only further provokes the vital question of American identity: Who are we as Americans? Has the U.S. had a unique national identity, and— if so— has that identity remained the same or altered over the years? Is there a fundamental generational and philosophical shift underway after the September 11 attacks, and how might it take shape? We will address these issues as we look at America’s past this semester, and examine critically whether American identity is undergoing a vital turning point as we approach the 21st century.

Course Requirements:

Readings: I will give assigned readings from your course reader (America Through the Eyes of Its People) in class as we move throughout the semester, so keep abreast of those announcements. The readings and books (The Things They Carried and the textbook) may be discussed in class, and students will certainly be graded on their mastery of these materials. We may discuss many (if not all) of those materials in class, and that will be a substantial basis of determining your class participation 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 discussed in class. These quizzes, added together at the semester’s end, will total 10% of your final grade. Attendance for the discussion date of The Things They Carried (Thursday 5/22) is mandatory.

Exams: There will be three written exams in the class. The first two midterm exams will be held in class approximately one-third and two-thirds, 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.

Student Scholarly Integrity: Any student cheating on exams, 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, it (together with attendance) 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. In a short mini-session course, I do not recommend you miss any classes because of the rapid nature of the term’s progress. Should you do so, two points will be awarded to your final course average. 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,” which, of course, may result in penalties in the 15% portion of your class participation grade. 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. Be aware also that, since discussion is a critical part of your grade, missing class may also gradually damage your grade in that area as well. 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.


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

Pop Quizzes: 10%                                                      F: 0-59

Course Schedule

NOTE: All dates are subject to change as course needs dictate, and will be announced in class by instructor. 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 New America: Reshaping the economy and society to a “Modern” World (5/5–5/6)

► Industrialization and its Commitments: corporate capitalism, “Captains of Industry,” Social Darwinism, labor unions and labor unrest, urban life

► From the Old West to the New West: commercializing the West, dealing with Native Americans

Tuesday, 5/6: Reader Assignment: pp.445-453

Expanding Frontiers and Markets and the Struggle for Power at Home and Abroad: Foreign Lands, Foreign Immigrants, and War, 1898— 1920 (5/7– 5/9)

► Frederick Jackson Turner, William Cody, and the Impact of the Frontier on the American Psyche

► Theodore Roosevelt and American Foreign Policy

► The Progressive Movement

► The Great War at home and abroad

Thursday, 5/8: Textbook Assignment: pp.632-645; Reader Reading: 502-509, 512-514, 518-520, 523-528, 550-552

Friday, May 9: Midterm Exam #1

The “Jazz Age” & the Lost Generation: 1920-1929 (5/12–5/13)

► Taylorism, Fordism, Consumer Culture and the American worker

► An American artistic Renaissance

► 1920s morals scandals & conservative reaction

Monday, 5/12: Textbook Assignment: pp.705-707; Reader: 568-572, 574-577

Tuesday, 5/13: Reader Reading: pp.579-581, 584-592

Crisis at Home and Abroad: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II (5/14)

► Onset of the Great Depression and Herbert Hoover

► Farming and the Dust Bowl phenomenon

► Family & social decay in the Depression

► Franklin Roosevelt and the First New Deal

► Roosevelt’s political challengers and the Second New Deal

► “The Good War” at home and abroad

Wednesday, 5/14: Reader Reading: pp.620-638

The Dawning of an “American Century”: Economic Prosperity and Toeing the Line of Social Consensus In Cold War America, 1945-1960 (5/15)

► A Postwar Economic Boom

► Early Development of the Cold War

► Korean War

► Domestic Cold War: the “Second Red Scare”

► “Consensus” America and its dissenters: the Beat Generation, men’s and women’s concerns

Thursday, 5/15: Textbook Assignment: 783-788; Reader Assignment: 670-685, 689-694, 712-718

Friday, May 16: Midterm Exam #2

A Society which can Afford to Reform: American Prosperity brings Reform at Home and Abroad— Social Change Movements and the Vietnam War (5/16– 5/24)

► The Second Reconstruction: Civil Rights in the 1960s

► Camelot: the Kennedy Administration

► Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society

► Other Movements for Social Change: Students, Hippies, Women, Anti-war, Black Power

► The Vietnam War

Tuesday, 5/20: Reader Assignment: pp.729-734, 777-780

Wednesday, 5/21: Reader Assignment: pp.734-740, 748-754, 758-764, 769-777

Mandatory Book Discussion Date: Thursday, 5/22: Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (1991) [Please note: Read the entire book— not just the chapter entitled “The Things They Carried”]

Quelling the Fires of Dissent and Disruption: A Beleaguered America and her Conservative Critics Seek A Return to “Law and Order”-- the late 1960s and 1970s (5/23–5/27)

► 1968: An American Melodrama

► Richard Nixon: an Imperial Presidency or a state of siege?

► The Watergate Crisis

► The 1970s: a Turn Inward

► America in the late 1970s: a “Crisis of Confidence”

Friday, 5/23: Reader Assignment: pp.790-792; Textbook Assignment: pp.874-879

The Reagan Era?: Shifting from Communal to Individual Responsibility (5/29–5/30)

► 1980 Election and the Emergence of Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, 5/27: Reader Assignment: pp.812-818

Wednesday, 5/28: Textbook Assignment: 884-896; Reader Assignment: 801-807, 833-836

Thursday, May 29: Final Exam