This course is designed to provide a survey of the political, social, economic, and cultural development of the United States from pre-European contact through reconstruction. Specific attention will be directed to the colonial era, establishment of the new nation, sectional problems, national growth, disunion and reconstruction. Particular attention will be placed on the interaction between Europeans, Americans, and the Native Peoples of the "New World."
Suggestions texts: Robert A. Divine, et al. America: Past and Present. Volume One to 1877. Fourth edition.
Nash, Jeffrey, et. al. American People: Creating a Nation and a Society: Volume One, 4th edition.
Early U.S. History
Upon completion of this course of study students will understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and be able to relate their significance to the development of American constitutional democracy.
Students will understand the political principles underlying the U. S. Constitution and compare the enumerated and implied powers of the federal government.
Students will be able to understand the foundation of the American political system and the ways in which citizens participate in it.
Students will analyze and understand U. S. foreign policy in the Early Republic
Students will understand the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced in the North, South, and West.
Students will analyze and identify the early and steady attempts to protect and to abolish slavery and realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.
Students will analyze and understand the causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War.
Students will analyze and understand the character and lasting consequences of Reconstruction.
Students will understand that concepts such as race, class, gender, freedom, and rights are historical and cultural constructs that change over time.
Students will recognize and understand the concept of "agency." People of African descent, Mexican descent, American Indians, or women were not simply "acted upon," but exercised historical agency themselves by the choices they made and the actions they took individually or collectively.
Students will be able to identify, understand, and explore the connections between religious, social, economic, and political developments from the time of European contact in the New World through the Reconstruction Era.
This site is a complete course on U.S. History from the Pre-Columbian era up until Reconstruction. The site consists of 16 modules, each outlining the material to be covered as well as outside resources and of course, some MERLOT resources. Each module is a pdf file and provides suggested activities as well as assignments.
This site has been developed from funding by the National Endownment for the Humanities, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. It is a project of the American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning at City University of New York and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.
The material is historically accurate, clearly written, and presented in such a way that it engages the student in the thinking/learning process. The
presentation of information represents best practices and is a departure from
the traditional lecture associated with history courses. The material is straight forward and easily understood. The site includes clear and concise descriptions of the features. The site is extremely useful as a teaching tool for undergraduate and graduate college classes.
This tutorial does a very good job of conveying the basic story of early
Iberian maritime expansion to students at an introductory level. For students unfamiliar with the history of Spain and Portugal, background information is provided about the economy, social class system, geography, and history. Genealogical charts on the Avis dynasty of Portugal and the Kings of Aragon offer material not usually available in a survey text on United States history or Western Civilization. Motivation for exploration is linked to the impact of the Crusades conducted over several centuries. Each section introduces words and phrases common in the history of Spain and Portugal but not as familiar to many students. These words and phrases are defined in an easy to understand format.
Some sections pose questions, which the instructor can easily use in the classroom. Site information easily answers each question asked. The variety of material offered enables the site user to focus on one or more facets of the founding of colonial Jamestown and its first settlers. Learning objects could be created from the information provided. One of the great assets of this site is the direct link to the archaeologists who will answer questions. The extensive use of pictures and graphics make excellent teaching tools for an in-class tour of colonial Jamestown. Instructors could focus on lifestyle including food, weaponry and armor, fort and house construction, and settler survivability. The material offers learning object potential. The photographs and interactive maps are quite effective in conveying a sense of the Jamestown site directly into the classroom.
This is not a huge site but it provides decent background information on Salem
in 1690, brief biographis of some of the characters, and theories regarding the
reason for the epidemic of witchcraft. The site also contains a few primary documents including Ann Putnam's confession. Good background information about Puritan New England includes a comparative discussion about religion and witchcraft in 17th century Massachusetts Bay Colony, economic and social divisions affecting the colony's population, and information about the role of children in the Puritan family structure.
The site offers an excellent range of materials including interactive maps and images, court records (in progress), labor contracts, public records, first-hand accounts and letters, newspapers, a walking tour, and teaching materials about the Jamestown Colony's English settlers, the Virginia Indians, and slaves and indentured servants. Each new page provides the user with an overview of the site and a brief summary of what each link contains. The primary sources offered provide faculty with an excellent opportunity to teach the difference between primary and secondary sources. Equally important is the link "What's New."
This site offers a detailed study about the battles of Lexington and Concord.
The site also deals with the battles of Breed's and Bunker Hills, Saratoga, and
Monmouth. The web site is designed for students of military history and
provides a detailed examination of the events leading to the American
Revolution. Nine Principles of War are offered as basic information along with
narrative, events leading to, key events prior to the start of the action,
defintion of subject matter, map of the battle, leaders for both sides, and the
units involved. Each battle site has a preliminary study phase package, field
study phase, and integration package. The assignment for this site uses the
information very successfully.
This site contains a variety of primary sources to help students understand Harriet Beecher Stowe's book, Uncle Tom's Cabin, the context from which it emerged, and the book's impact on United States culture and politics. The author teaches literature at the University of Virginia and continues to revise the site. The site includes the complete text of Uncle Tom's Cabin, copies of illustrations, and and covers from different editions of the book, text references to the Bible, and words and recordings of songs mentioned in the book. The author offers an abundance of material for history and literature students seeking the political context inwhich Stowe wrote and its impact on American culture. The site materials include: speeches, pamphlets, articles supporting and attacking slavery; information about blackface minstrel shows; religious documents from the era; an interactive timeline on political events; reviews of and articles about the books; adaptations of the book in songs, children's books, and plays; pictures of porcelain figures; and videos of segments from films based on the book. Still under construction is the section containing documents recording the reactioin of African Americans to Stow's work. The quality of the reproductions is excellent. The author's decision to hire professional singers to record songs for this project, rather than rely on existing recordings, ensures clear, clean audio.
This excellent website appeals to the history buff and the serious
student/teacher of history. The use of primary sources is exhaustive and
reflects the level of scholarship represented in the web project. The
supplemental learning aids provided to teachers is an excellent resource for
using the source in a United States history classroom for the secondary and
college level either as a supplement to a unit covering the Civil War or as a
source for researching and writing about history. The two communities and the
materials associated with each one are now accessed via three time periods: The
Eve of the War, The War Years, and Aftermath. Each of these includes the old
graphic representation of different archive rooms or data bases for diaries,
newspapers, military records, etc, but links in each area now lead to clear
menus and annotated lists of the specific documents and data included, making it
much easier both to browse the collection as a whole and to locate specific
The background information in each section that sets up the problem for
students and the explanations about what Lincoln did are straightforward,
accurate, and well-documented. The commentaries do a good job of introducing
students to historical debates or at least the debates among David Potter,
Richard Current, and Kenneth Stampp, the three historians upon whom the site
author relies the most in this part of the site. To make things even better, the author includes historiographical information at the end to provide input into what historians over tiime believed was the correct answer.
Jefferson's Blood is a well written site incorporating links to primary sources
from oral history, slave narratives, Jefferson's writings, interviews, and
diaries. The site explores the perception and identity of race from the time of
Jefferson to the present day. The Teacher's Guide provides the website with a
resource for viewing the documentary videotape within the classroom or by
individual students. The site incorporates student projects associated with the
Jefferson-Hemings debate. Lesson plans and activities clearly define learning
You are the Historian, - the First Thanksgiving, is a WebQuest that allow students to use the skills of historians to peel away the layers of myth and misconception surrounding The First Thanksgiving and discover what might really have happened during the fall of 1621. Students and teachers can explore the differences between history and the past, and challenge conventional ideas about history. The site provides a comprehensive teachers guide with Learning Objectives, skill development objectives and understanding objectives for students. Resources such as links to primary sources, KWL charts, suggested activities, guided inquiry and assessments, to name a few.
This site is a six-unit online tutorial to start a beginning history student in topic selection, topic survey, and basic research strategies. Information literacy standards are used in the teaching of selection, use, and evaluation of resources. Each unit is accompanied by a quiz to reinforce learning.