Course Syllabus

History 205: U.S. History Since 1877

Spring 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. 2, Teaching and Learning edition. 6th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2009.

Required Course Reader:

• Belmonte, Laura. Speaking of America: Readings in U.S. History, vol. II. 2nd Edition. Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.

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: Regularly assigned readings from your course reader (Speaking of America: Readings in U.S. History, vol. II) and textbook (The American Journey) are listed below in the course schedule. There will also be a supplemental book (The Things They Carried) discussed in class. You should follow that schedule, and be sure to arrive in class on those dates having covered those readings carefully. The readings may be discussed in class, and students will be graded on their mastery of these materials in two important ways. 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). All readings (including the supplemental book) will also 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 extended discussion date (Monday, April 8) on the supplemental book is mandatory.

Internet Readings: When “Internet Readings” is listed in the course schedule, you should go to my web page, 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 one-third (Friday, 2/8) and two-thirds (Friday, 3/15), 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 should be taken within one week of the original scheduled exam, or that exam grade will become 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 averages. 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.

Mandatory Attendance Date: Attendance is mandatory on Monday, 4/8 to discuss the supplemental book, The Things They Carried.


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, you should presume that whatever was to occur on that cancelled date will be held on the next available class meeting.

Course Introduction (1/9–1/11)

► Course Requirements

► American Identity Discussion: Friday, January 11

Discussion Assignment:

(For Friday, 1/11)

Discussion topic: Your view of the nature of American identity. To what extent has America had (and continues to have) a unique identity? What would you define as its characteristics? Are there unique traits which characterize a citizen of the United States? What, historically, are the values that Americans hold dear? (Identify three to four that you feel are the most central characteristics of American character.) What do they espouse? Are these values lived out or is there a discrepancy between rhetoric and practice? (If you perceive a discrepancy, how great is the discrepancy.)

Coming to Class: You will be expected to come to class with at least three well-thought-out ideas jotted down on a piece of paper (you needn’t turn that sheet in to me). You should be prepared to be called on and defend those ideas with supporting detail/examples in class discussion.

The New America: Reshaping the economy and society to a “Modern” World (1/14–1/25)

► 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

Monday, 1/14: Textbook Assignment: pp.497-503; Reader Assignment: pp.428-437

Wednesday, 1/16: Reader Assignment: pp.440-443, 469-473; Textbook Assignment: pp.505-513

Wednesday, 1/23: Reader Assignment: pp.445-453

Friday, 1/25: Textbook Assignment: pp.562-565

Expanding Frontiers and Markets and the Struggle for Power at Home and Abroad: Foreign Lands, Foreign Immigrants, and War, 1898— 1920 (1/25– 2/6)

► 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

Monday, 1/28: Reader Reading: pp.502-509

Wednesday, 1/30: Textbook Assignment: pp.610-622

Friday, 2/1: Reader Reading: 512-514, 518-520, 523-528

Monday, 2/4: Textbook Assignment: pp.642-647; Reader Reading: 542-546

Wednesday, 2/6: Textbook Assignment: pp.667-671; Reader Assignment: pp.477-482, 550-552, 561-564

Friday, February 8: Midterm Exam #1

The “Jazz Age” & the Lost Generation: 1920-1929 (2/6–2/13)

► Taylorism, Fordism, Consumer Culture and the American worker

► An American artistic Renaissance

► 1920s morals scandals & conservative reaction

Monday, 2/11: Reader Reading: 572-574; Textbook Assignment: 675-677

Wednesday, 2/13: Reader Reading: 568-572, 574-577; Textbook Assignment: 677-680

Crisis at Home and Abroad: The Great Depression, the New Deal, and World War II (2/13–2/22)

► 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

Friday, 2/15: Reader Reading: pp.579-581, 584-592

Monday, 2/18: Reader Reading: pp.592-595, 599-606, 609-615; Textbook Assignment: 700-708

Wednesday, 2/20: Reader Reading: pp.620-638; Textbook Reading: pp.738-748; Internet Reading: “Famous Pyle column on the shore remains from the D-Day landing” [located at the “WWII War Front” subsection of the “U.S. History 1914-45" web links page]

The Dawning of an “American Century”: Economic Prosperity and Toeing the Line of Social Consensus In Cold War America, 1945-1960 (2/22– 3/11)

► 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

Friday, 2/22: Textbook Assignment: pp.752-757; Reader Assignment: pp.638-647

Monday, 2/25: Textbook Assignment: 768-775; Reader Assignment: pp.659-662, 666-685

Wednesday, 2/27: Reader Assignment: pp.689-694

Friday, 3/1: Reader Assignment: pp.712-718

Monday, 3/11: Reader Assignment: pp.695-702, 708-11

A Society which can Afford to Reform: American Prosperity brings Reform at Home and Abroad— Social Change Movements and the Vietnam War (3/13– 4/8)

► 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

Wednesday, 3/13: Reader Assignment: pp.702-708

Friday, March 15: Midterm Exam #2

Monday, 3/18: Reader Assignment: pp.724-727

Wednesday, 3/20: Reader Assignment: pp.729-734

Friday, 3/22: Reader Assignment: pp.777-780

Monday, 3/25: Reader Assignment: pp.748-754

Wednesday, 3/27: Reader Assignment: pp.734-740

Friday, 4/3: Reader Assignment: pp.758-764

Friday, 4/5: Reader Assignment: pp.764-777

Mandatory Book Discussion Date: Monday, 4/8: 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 (4/8– 4/22)

► 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, 4/12: Reader Assignment: pp.780-784

Monday, 4/15: Reader Assignment: pp.790-792

Wednesday, 4/17: Reader Assignment: pp.796-800

Friday, 4/19: Textbook Assignment: pp.833-838

Monday, 4/22: Reader Assignment: pp.812-818

The Reagan Era?: Shifting from Communal to Individual Responsibility (4/24)

► 1980 Election and the Emergence of Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, 4/24: Textbook Assignment: 846-854, 882-888; Reader Assignment: 801-807, 833-836




I. History 205

History of the United States II 3 hours credit

II. Term/Year: Spring Semester, 2013

 Instructor: Chris Schutz

Office Location: Durham Hall, 203 C

Phone: 746—5321

III. COURSE DESCRIPTION: A broad survey of the United States from Reconstruction 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 205 is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge of American history from Reconstruction through the present. 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 205 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 II, 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 Itim I: To 1877. 2nd edition. Thomson Wadsworth, 2007; Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried. 1990.

VIII. TOPICS OR UNITS OF INSTRUCTION: 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); Expanding the Frontier at Home and Abroad (Frederick Jackson Turner, William Cody, and the Impact of the Frontier on the American Psyche); Progressive Movement; World War I; The Jazz Age; Taylorism, Fordism, Consumer Culture and the American worker; The Great Depression; Family & social decay in the Depression; Roosevelt and the New Deal; World War II; Postwar Economic Boom; Cold War Abroad and Domestically; Korean War; “Consensus” America and its dissenters (the Beat Generation, men’s and women’s concerns); The Second Reconstruction: Civil Rights in the 1960s; the Kennedy Administration; Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society; Movements for Social Change (Students, Hippies, Women, Anti-war, Black Power); The Vietnam War; Nixon administration; The Watergate Crisis; the 1970s, a Turn Inward; America in the late 1970s, a “Crisis of Confidence”; 1980 Election; Reagan Revolution; A New Gilded Age; 9/11 and a New Millennium.


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: January 2013.