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127Syllabusfall2007-2

127Syllabusfall2007-2 - History 127 U.S to 1865 Montgomery...

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Village of Pomeiooc, North Carolina coastal plain, watercolor by John White, 1585 History 127 U.S. to 1865 Montgomery Wolf MW 3:00-4:15 Office hours: HM 503 Mon 4:30-5:30 and Tu 3:30-4:45 [email protected] Engineers of the 8 th N.Y. State Militia, 1861 Making History: The American People to 1865 This course is designed around two central concepts : 1) the experiences and ideas of everyday Americans matter in history; 2) students learn about history best when they have a chance to “do” history themselves. Central questions? Course Goals : Keeping these two motifs in mind, we will: 1. Learn History: By acquiring knowledge of the basic facts and events of U.S. history to 1865, we will be able to identify the significant questions about the period: Why did Europeans settle North America? What happened when European, African, and Native American worlds collided? How did Americans define and understand the role of government? How did the American political system develop over time? How did economic development affect religion, culture, and politics? How was that the United States entered Civil War? 2. Think Historically: By learning to ask how and why as well as who, what, where, and when, we will gain an understanding of historical change, of how historians think and interpret the past through the lens of the present.
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3. Retrieve/Recover History : Through an exposure to a wide variety of historical sources and practices, we will learn how historians go about "recovering” (interpreting) the past. We will analyze a variety of secondary sources (writings by historians, including the textbook) and primary sources (autobiography, cartoons, advertisements, political documents, speeches, etc.), learn to assess their reliability, and produce our own interpretation of them. 4. Do history: After learning some of the historian’s tools, we will employ these tools in producing history ourselves by writing essays with interpretive arguments based on historical evidence. Required Reading : Alan Brinkley, The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, Vol 1 , 5th Ed. Neal Salisbury, ed., Mary Rowlandson’s The Sovereignty and Goodness of God (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003) Louis P. Masur, ed., The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003). James Fenimore Cooper, The Last of the Mohicans (Penguin Classics, 1986).
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