HIST 101D and AMST 101D, United States History to 1865
*No recording of lectures or laptops will be permitted in class.*
Seitz House 6,
As the title and preface of our core textbook suggests, this class will emphasize the
tensions between Liberty, Equality, and Power in the formation and development of the American
nation-state to 1865.
Students will be challenged to think about how one American’s liberty has
sometimes come at the expense of the rights of others.
We will examine the role of power in politics,
the workforce, families, and broader culture.
The class will analyze events and trends central to
America’s history, including the conquest of native peoples, the diversification of colonial economic and
social systems, slavery and servitude, the American Revolution and resulting federal republic, market
capitalism, urbanization, westward expansion, egalitarian and religious movements, and the Civil War.
The broader goals of this class parallel the stated mission of Kenyon College: “to be able
to speak and write clearly so as to advance thoughts and arguments cogently; to be able to discriminate
between the essential and the trivial; to arrive at well-informed value judgments; to be able to work
independently and with others; to be able to comprehend our culture as well as other cultures.”
class aims to help students develop these essential academic and life skills via practicing the Historian’s
Students will be encouraged to see the writing of history as an ongoing process and argument
instead of a fixed, factual narrative.
Students will build beginning proficiencies in analyzing primary
sources, formulating arguments, evaluating historical interpretations, recognizing multiple perspectives,
and oral and written expression.
Students will simultaneously develop understanding of important
themes, ideas, and events in American history through the Civil War.
This class uses a variety of methods to engage students in the joys of history and the
I believe that students learn well from each other and that I learn as much from
students as they learn from me.
In addition to traditional lecture, we will spend a significant portion of
class time in discussion and group activities.
We will practice analyzing primary sources such as
images, written documents, films, songs, and material culture in light of historical concepts from lecture
Students will be expected to participate in class activities such as historical debates, role-
playing, and peer evaluation of written and oral work.
Practicing history can touch on many sensitive