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Journal of American History

2001 Syllabi
Teaching the American History Survey

Gary J. Kornblith & Carol Lasser
Editors' Introduction | Article

US History to 1865/1877

Douglas Egerton
Le Moyne College

Karl Jacoby
Brown University

Gary Kornblith
Oberlin College

Lewis Perry
St. Louis University

Joshua Piker
University of Oklahoma

Doug Sackman
University of Puget Sound

William Scott
Kenyon College

Virginia Scharff
University of New Mexico

Maris A. Vinovskis
University of Michigan

US History since 1865/1877

Douglas Egerton
Le Moyne College

Doug Sackman
Oberlin College

Virginia Scharff
University of New Mexico

William Scott
Kenyon College

United States History, 1492-1865

William Scott

Fall Semester 1999

History 21 Mr. Scott
Acland 22
PBX 5680

Course Reading:

Text: Boyer et al, Enduring Vision, Vol. I

Concise edition (Syllabus has pagination for 3d edition, but if you have a 2d edition it is fine. The pagination is roughly the same.)

Assigned Readings:

1) Columbus, Four Voyages Demos, Unredeemed Captive

2) Paine, Common Sense

McPherson, For Cause and Comrades

3) Dina, Erin's Daughters

Srebnick, Mysterious Death of Mary Rogers

4) Greenberg, Maters and Statesmen

Douglass, My Bondage: My Freedom

Film: Black Robe Sunday, September 12 at 7 p.m.

Higley Auditorium

Course Requirements:

1) Attendance is required for all lectures, film (Sunday September 12, 7:00 pm, Higley Aduitorum), and discussions. Students who fail to attend class will have their grades reduced accordingly (at least one letter grade. Students are excused only with a Dean's excuse or for College-recognized religious holidays or, for team members, away athletic or other collegiate sponsored activities. In the case of an "excused absence" students should inform me promptly. No one will miss class the day before or the day after the October Break or the Thanksgiving Vacation or the last day of class.

2) Choose three of the four pairs of Assigned Readings and write a typed, five-page (1200 word) comment, due in class on the day that the second of the pair of readings is scheduled for discussion in syllabus. These will be graded and represent one third of your final grade. Any late papers will be reduced at least a letter grade. I will not accept any papers more than one week late without a compelling excuse. Papers will be graded on the basis of content, argument, neatness, and writing. See writing guideline.

3) One hour-exam (October 15th); a map quiz (October 29); and a cumulative final exam to be taken during scheduled exam period. For the exams you will be responsible for lectures, map information, text, all assigned readings, film, and discussions.

Lecture and Discussion Schedule:

Aug. 30 "1492"

Sept. 1 Europe Before America

Sept. 3 Discussion: Columbus, Four Voyages, pp. 27-199 Boyer, pp. 1-38

Sep. 6 Virginia and the Chesapeake

Sept. 8 God, the Devil, and Massachusetts

Sept. 10 Conquest of Eastern North America

Boyer, pp. 39-59

Sept. 12 Black Robe Film: Hig. Aud.7:00 P.M.

Sept. 13 Discussion

Sept. 15 The Middle Way

Sept. 17 Discussion: Demos, Unredeemed Captive

(Pair # 1 due) Boyer, pp. 59-86

Sept. 20 Servitude: Black and White

22 The Great Awakening

24 On the Eve of Independence

Boyer, pp. 87-89

Sept. 27 Justifying the Revolution

29 The American Revolution

Oct. 1 Discussion: Paine, Common Sense, all Boyer, pp. 90-127

Oct. 4 E Pluribus Unum

6 One Nation

8 Federalists

Boyer, pp. 127-143

Oct. 11 October Break

13 Republicans

Boyer, pp. 144-183


Oct. 18 Liberty's Daughters

20 Marshall Court

22 Image-ing the Nation slide/discuss

Oct. 25 Economic Transformation

27 Ante-bellum City

29 Map Quiz

Boyer, pp. 184-197

Nov. 1 Painting America slide/discussion

3 Jacksonian America

5 Discussion: Dina, Erin's Daughters

Boyer, pp. 198-217

Nov. 8 Reformers and Transformers

10 Racial Politics

12 Discussion: Srebnick, Death of Mary Rogers

(Pair #2 due.) Boyer, pp. 218-248

Nov. 15 Old South

Nov. 17 Slavery

Nov. 19 Discussion: Greenberg, Masters and Statesmen

Boyer, pp. 249-270


Nov. 29 Cult of Domesticity

Dec. 1 Rise of the Republican Party

3 Discussion: Douglass, My Bondage: My Freedom, 3-334

(Pair # 4 due). Boyer, pp. 271-314, review chapter 11

Dec. 6 The War Against the States

Dec. 8 Discussion: McPherson, For Cause and Comrades

(Pair # 2 due).

Dec. 10 One Nation Indivisible

Boyer, pp. 315-339



History 21



Albemarle Sound

All states and state capitals


Appalachian Mountains



Bad Lands

Black Hills

Blue Ridge Mountains


Bunker Hill


Cape Cod

Cape Hatteras

Cape Kennedy

Cape May

Catskill Mountains

Cascade Mountains

Central Valley (California)

Charleston, S.C.


Chesapeake Bay




Colorado River

Columbia River

Connecticut River

Cumberland Gap


Delaware Bay



Dust Bowl

Eastern Shore

Erie Canal


Finger Lakes

Fort Worth

Front Range

Gadsden Purchase


Grand Canyon

Great Desert (Utah & Westward)

Great Salt Lake

Great Lakes

High Plains

Hudson River


James River


Key West

Lake Champlain

Las Vegas

Little Big Horn

Long-grass Prairie

Long Island

Long Island Sound

Los Angeles

Louisiana Purchase

Mason-Dixon Line

Massachusetts Bay

Mesa Verde

Mexican Cession



Mississippi River

Missouri River

Mobile Bay

Monongahela River

Mount Rushmore

Mount Mckinley

Mount Washington

Mount Whitney


New Orleans

Ozark Mountains

Newport, RI

Niagara Falls

Northwest Territory of 1787

Ohio River




Platte River


Proclamation line of 1763

Puget Sound

Quebec City

Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte


Rocky Mountains


Salt Lake City

San Antonio

San Francisco

San Francisco Bay

Sante Fe


Savannah, GA

Savannah River

Sierra Nevada Mountains

Snake River

South Pass

St. Augustine

St. Louis

St. Lawrence River

Short-grass Prairie

Sutter's Fort

Tennessee River


Trail of Tears

Upper Peninsular


West Point

Wheeling, W.V.

Williamette River

Wounded Knee



Yellow Stone


State Capitols

States of Northwest Territory


I Focus on verbs. Good writing begins with good verbs. This means 1) active voice, 2) simple past tense, 3) verbs of action, 4) no redundant, meaningless auxiliaries, and 5) establishing clear causal relationships between the agent of cause (subject), the causal act (verb), and the object of cause (direct object). Write with clarity, coherence, detail, and artfulness.

1) Always write in the ACTIVE VOICE. The passive voice drains the life out of your prose obscures the true subject of your sentence, the agent of causation.



a) Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel. p.v.
b) The woman was beaten. p.v.


a) Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton. a.v.
b) The woman's boy friend beat her. a.v.

2) Whenever possible use the simple past tense. The strongest of all verb forms, consistent use of the simple past avoids most tense confusions. The one acceptable exception is past perfect when you refer to an event that occurred prior to the one you are discussing.



a) Eleanor Roosevelt was going to vote. Past Participle
b) Eleanor Roosevelt would vote. Future Past Perfect


a) Eleanor Roosevelt voted. Simple Past
b) Eleanor Roosevelt had registered before she voted. Past perfect and simple past.

3) Except in rare instances never use verbs of being. Use verbs of action. Like the passive voice, verbs of being kill your prose. They also tell you nothing except that your subject exists or that it is present. Don't waste a verb. It is, by far, the most important element in writing. Make it say something. Use it to hold readers' interest. Only use verbs of being occasionally for dramatic emphasis (The history teacher was boring!) or to alter the tempo of your writing.


a) John was in the house.
b) Hillary Clinton was the President's wife.
c) Thurgood Marshall was in court.


a) John lay dead in house.
b) Hillary Clinton stood along side her husband, the President.
c) Thurgood Marshall confronted the Supreme Court with the fundamental inequity of racially segregated public schools.

4) Do not use unnecessary phrases or words.


a) I stood up in order to go.
b) I started to leave.
c) I began to look.


a) I stood to go.
b) I left.
c) I looked.

II Always have unifying theme. State your theme in the introduction (usually the first paragraph), use it to tie together everything in your essay, and in your conclusion, evaluate the theme and show its significance. All expository essays should have an introduction, an argument, and a conclusion.

III Transitions knit your essays together. Make sure that each sentence flows naturally from the preceding sentence, that you link each paragraph to the preceding paragraph, and that you relate each new topic in essay to the preceding topic. Make your transitions as artful as it.


This essay is about Geronimo. I will discuss his childhood and how he led the Apache people against the Mexican and American governments. My theme is ...


Geronimo, the great war-chief of the Apaches, resisted the conquest and taming of his people, first by the Mexican and then by the United States Government. Even as a young boy, born in the rugged, isolated Sierra Madre Mountains, Geronimo spurned the very idea of western civilization, fighting all efforts to destroy the wildness of his native people and land.