The American History sequence is a full-year course comprised of two, three-credit courses—HST 101: American History to 1865 will be offered in the fall semester and HST 102: American History Since 1865 will be offered in the spring semester.
American History 102 is intended to be an introduction to US history from the end of the Civil War until the present. While such a course cannot be fully comprehensive, it will focus on many of the important developments and major trends that have shaped modern American life. These include:
- The impact of the end of slavery upon African Americans, the South, and the nation as a whole.
- The effects of immigration, ethnicity, and religious diversity.
- The rise of modern culture, technology, consumerism, and communications.
- US expansionism and growing involvement in world affairs.
- Struggles for equal rights and justice.
- Protest movements and resistance to change.
- The upheavals of the 1960s and the impact of Vietnam and Watergate.
- The “Reagan Revolution.”
- The end of the Cold War.
- The presidency of Bill Clinton.
- The beginnings of the third “American century” and the consequences of globalism.
Although much of this inevitably will center on public events and persons in national leadership, we also shall explore the lives, experiences, contributions, and insights of ordinary people.
In the various readings—from textbook, primary sources, and “coming of age” accounts, as well as multimedia resources—students will see how others have experienced, written about, and interpreted history. More importantly, through discussions and various types of assignments, students will have a chance to do history, and not just to read about it. In the process, they will begin to learn something of how historians think about and investigate the past, and they will start to develop their own critical, historical perspectives.
It is hoped that by the end of the semester students will not only know more about the American experience, they will have learned how to construct persuasive arguments, to use evidence effectively, and to hone a variety of analytical skills that will be of value to them during their undergraduate experience and in their future.