AMERICAN CIVILIZATION BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR, 1000-1865
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Associate Professor of History
Loyola University Chicago
HIST 201, Sect. 024, Spring 2003
Tues., Thurs. 11:30-12:45 p.m.
Office hours: Tues. 8-11 a.m., 2-3 p.m.
511 Crown Center
"Democratic nations care but little for what has been, but they are haunted by visions of what will be. . . . Thus not only does democracy make every man forget his ancestors, but it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart."
The course requirements and their percentage of the final grade are: 1) a midterm exam (35%), 2) a final exam (35%), 3) participation and class discussion (30%). The exams will be based primarily on the readings below and secondarily on lectures and class discussions. Students will receive study sheets one week before each exam which will outline questions and issues that will be included in each exam. Midterm exams and grades will be returned before 13 March 2003.
A primary responsibility of students is to complete the reading before the date of the scheduled class and contribute their thoughtful, reflective opinions in class discussion. Students should allocate enough time to complete the required reading, approximately 90 pages per week. The readings can be interpreted in a variety of ways and students should formulate some initial positions and questions to offer in the class discussion. For every article or book, students should be prepared to answer all of the questions found in the "Critical Reading" section of the syllabus below. All required readings may be purchased at Beck's Bookstore on Sheridan Road.
Students who are disabled or impaired should meet with the professor within
the first two weeks of the semester to discuss the need for any special arrangements.
The required readings are:
David J. Weber, What Caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680? (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's Press, 1999).
Joseph J. Ellis, What Did the Declaration Declare? (New York: Bedford/St.
Martin's Press, 1999).
Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
and Harriet Jacobs (Linda Brent), Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
(1861), both in Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (ed.), The Classic Slave Narratives
(New York: Mentor, 1987).
Henry David Thoreau, "On Civil Disobedience" (1849), any edition.
W.J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1979).
Richard Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows (New York: Hill and Wang, 1958).
Students who attend class will receive lecture notes via GroupWise electronic mail at the end of every class. The notes serve as the "textbook" for class and eliminate the need to engage in frantic note-taking. Students can more carefully listen and contemplate the arguments and ideas discussed in each lecture. Students are encouraged to take some notes during class, especially if note-taking helps them to remain active and alert. Upon accessing the notes, students should transfer the notes to a disk and print a "hard" copy. To receive the notes, students must attend the class. No attendance, no notes.
COURSE MEETING DATES AND ASSIGNMENTS
14 & 16 Jan.: Indians and Europeans: Civilization or Invasion?
21, 23, 28 Jan.: Puritans, Quakers and Cavaliers
30 Jan.: Discussion of Weber, What Caused the Pueblo Revolt of 1680?,
pp. 1-80, 115-132.
4, 6 Feb.: The American Revolution
11 Feb.: Discussion of Ellis, What Did the Declaration Declare?.
13 Feb.: The Constitution and a New Republic
18 Feb.: Challenge to Republicanism: The War of 1812
20 Feb.: The Age of Jackson
25 Feb.: Discussion of Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic
27 Feb.: MIDTERM EXAMINATION
3-9 March: Midsemester Break - NO CLASS
11 March: American Slavery
13 March: Discussion of Douglass, Narrative of the Life ; and Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
18 March: The Mexican-American War
20 March: Discussion of Thoreau,
"On Civil Disobedience."
25 March: The Urbanization of America
27 March: The Abolitionists: Fanatics or Saints?
2 April: Another Invasion: Immigration and Nativism
3 & 8 April: Slavery, John Brown and "Bloody Kansas"
10-24 April: The American Civil War (5 classes)
15 April: Discussion of Current, The Lincoln Nobody Knows.
17 April (Thursday): Midnight Bike Ride (optional); rain date, Thursday, April 24.
FINAL EXAMINATION: Tuesday, 6 May 2003, 8 a.m., 606 Skyscraper.
DISCUSSIONS AND CRITICAL READING
Discussion and class participation are very important parts of your grade (30 percent). Incisive, imaginative and thoughtful comments that generate and facilitate discussion are weighed heavily in final grades. Asking questions, responding to student questions and contributing to an ongoing discussion are a necessary part of the learning experience. Failure to speak in class will only lower a student's final grade. Discussions are scheduled for 6 class periods, each worth 5 "points." Students will receive 1 point for attendance, 2 points for minimal participation, and 3 to 5 points for active participation. Students who raise questions that generate discussion in other classes will earn extra points.
The best ways to prepare for and contribute to class discussion are: 1) complete the reading on time, and 2) critically analyze the reading. The primary goal of critical reading is to find the author's interpretation and what evidence and influences led to that conclusion. Never assume a "passive" position when reading a text. If students ask and attempt to answer the following questions, they will more fully comprehend and understand any reading.
1. What is the thesis of the author?
2. Does the author have a particular stated or unstated point of view? How does the author construct their argument? Are the author's goals, viewpoints, or agendas revealed in the introduction or preface? Does the author provide evidence to support the argument? Is it the right evidence? In the final analysis, do you think the author proves the argument or does the author rely on preconceived views or personal ideology? Why do you think that?
3. Does the author have a moral or political posture? Is it made explicit or implicit in the way the story is told? What is the author's view of human nature? Does change come from human agency and "free will" or broad socio-economic forces?
4. What assumptions does the author hold about society? Does the author see society as hierarchical, pluralistic, democratic or elitist? Does the author present convincing evidence to support this view?
5. How is the narrative constructed or organized? Does the author present the story from the viewpoint of a certain character or group? Why does the author begin and end at certain points? Is the story one of progress or decline? Why does the author write this way?
6. What issues and events does the author ignore? Why? Can you think of alternative interpretations or stories that might present a different interpretation? Why does the author ignore certain events or facts?
Students who wish to improve their grade enjoy the option of writing a 5 to 7 page critical review of one or more of the texts listed below. Each one represents the book from which the various reading were excerpted, or the most important work of the relevant historian. The essay should summarize the main thesis or hypothesis of the author in one page and critique or analyze the text in the remaining 4 to 6 pages. Students should ask questions similar to those found in the critical reading section above. Assume that I have read the text; I am interested in learning what you think and how you defend your thinking and criticism. Most importantly, the critical review is NOT a book report, so students should avoid a simple summary of a text.
Carl Becker, The Declaration of Independence: A Study in the History of Political Ideas (New York, 1922; Vintage reprint, 1958).
Ray Billington and Martin Ridge, Westward Expansion: A History of the American Frontier, 5th edition (New York: Macmillan, 1982).
Joseph J. Ellis, American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson
(New York: Knopf, 1997).
Ramon A. Gutierrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality and Power in Colonial New Mexico, 1500-1846 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1991).
Winthrop D. Jordan, White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812 (Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1968).
Andrew L. Knaut, The Pueblo Revolt of 1680: Conquest and Resistance in Seventeenth-Century New Mexico (Norman: Univ. of Oklahoma Press, 1995).
Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York: Knopf, 1997).
Dumas Malone, Jefferson the Virginian (Boston: Little Brown, 1948).
Edmund S. Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (New York: Norton, 1975).
David J. Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1992).
Garry Wills, Inventing America: Jefferson's Declaration of Independence (New York: Doubleday, 1978).
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