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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, 1866 to the Present

William Scott

1866 to the Present

Spring 2000
History 22
Mr. Scott

Course Reading:

Text: Boyer et al, Enduring Vision, concise edition*

Reading: Riis, How the Other Half Lives

Calloway, ed., Our Hearts Fell to the Ground

Yezierska, Bread Givers

Ogren, Jazz Revolution

Adams, Best War Ever

Kerouac, On the Road

Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas

Zook, Color By Fox

Films: Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter

Eyes on the Prize

Course Requirements:

1) ATTENDANCE is required for all lectures, film, and discussions. Students who fail to attend class will have their grades reduced accordingly. Students are excused only with a Dean's excuse or for College-recognized religious holidays. In the case of an "excused absence" students should inform me. Students who miss classes the day before and after Spring Break will receive double absences. Be sure that your travel arrangements do not require you to miss any classes.

2) Three, six-page, typed (1500 words) BOOK COMMENTS on three of the four pair of assigned readings: a) Riis, How the Other Half Lives & Yezierska, Bread Givers (due February 4 or February 25); b) Callowway, ed., Our Hearts Fell to the Ground & Adams, Best War Ever (due February 11 or March 29); c) Ogren, Jazz Revolution & Kerousac, On the Road (due March 1 or April 7); d) Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas and Zook, Color by Fox (due April 21 or April 28). These writing assignments will be a graded and, together, will comprise 1/3 of your final grade. Late assignments, not turned in at the beginning of the class in which they are due, will be reduced by one letter grade. If an assignment is turned in more than one week late, it will be reduced two letter grades. Your grade will be based both on content and writing. See WRITING INSTRUCTION.

3) Responsible for material in Enduring Vision and the other eight assigned readings. Exam questions will come from this material.

4) An HOUR EXAM ( March 1) and a cumulative FINAL EXAM to be taken during the scheduled exam period (1:30 to 4:30 am May 13).

Lecture and Discussion Schedule:

January 17 Introduction

January 19 Reconstruction

January 21 Black Reconstruction

Text: Enduring Vision, chpt. 16

January 24 Gilded Age Politics

January 26 New American City

January 28 American Renaissance

Text: Enduring Vision, chpt 19 & pp. 445-451

January 31 American System

February 2 Industrial Workers

February 4 Discussion: Riis, How the Other Half Lives

Text: Enduring Vision, chpts. 20 & 18

February 7 Agrarian Revolt

February 9 Conquest of the West

February 11 Discussion: Calloway, Our Hearts Fell to the Ground

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 452-459 & chpt. 17

February 14 Imperial Democracy

February 16 Progressivism

February 18 Woodrow Wilson & World War I

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 460-468 & chpt. 22

February 21 Return to Normalcy

February 23 Greenwich Village Rebellion

February 25 Discussion: Yezierska, Bread Givers

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 524-535

February 28 The Jazz Age

March 1 Discussion: Ogren, Jazz Revolution

Text: Enduring Vision, chpt. 23 & pp. 517-523

March 3 ***MID-TERM EXAM***


March 20 Herbert Hoover and the Depression

March 22 The New Deal

March 24 World War II

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 535-572

March 27 Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter (In Class)

March 29 Discussion: Adams, The Best War Ever

March 31 The Cold War

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 572-580 & chpts. 27 & 28

April 3 Crabgrass Frontier

April 5 Haunted Fifties

April 7 Discussion: Kerouac, On the Road

Text: Enduring Vision, chpt. 29

April 10 The Playing Fields

April 12 The Civil Rights Revolution

April 14 Eyes on the Prize: (Film to be shown in class)

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 644-647, 654-656, 662- 667

April 17 The War on Poverty

April 19 The Vietnam War

April 21 Discussion: Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas

Text: Enduring Vision, 660-663, 668-672, 679-680, 682-686

April 24 The Women's Movement

April 26 Gay Rights

April 28 Discussion: Zook, Color by Fox

Text: Enduring Vision, pp. 673-679, 688-696 & chpt. 32

May 1 The Seventies

May 3 The New Conservatism

May 5 The American Crossroads

Text: Enduring Vision, chpt. 33

May 13 ***FINAL EXAM*** 1:30-4:30 pm in Olin Auditorium


I Write thematically. Always organize your writing around a theme, an argument, or a thesis. Make sure that your introductory paragraph 1) identifies your subject, 2) places it in context, and 3) states the theme of your essay. Your theme not only gives your essay direction and interest, it should unify everything contained in the essay. The introductory paragraph is the most important paragraph in your essay. Make sure that it is truly introductory.

A good expository essay will contain a) an introductory paragraph, b) the body of the essay in which the theme is explicated and convincingly argued, and c) a conclusion that explains the significance of the theme, that answers the question "So what?"

II Focus on verbs. GOOD WRITING begins and ends 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, economy, detail, and artfulness.

1) Always write in the ACTIVE VOICE. The passive voice drains the life out of your prose and 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 verb tense confusions. The one acceptable exception is past perfect when you refer to an event that occurred prior to the one that 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.

III Write concisely and free of all jargon.

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.

IV 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 possible. Don't tell your readers what you are doing, do 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 Apache war-chief, resisted the conquest 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 idea of western civilization, fighting all efforts to destroy the wildness of his native people and land.