top of page

History Honors


Course Outline

United States History Beginnings to 1877 Honors:

Course Description:

This class surveys American history beginning with its Pre-Columbian origins. It extends to the colonial period and then to the Atlantic World forces that created revolution. The course continues with the tensions inherent in a nation divided by region and vision for the future. It ends with the climax of conflict that was the Civil War, and the Reconstruction in its wake that left unsettled the issue of civil rights.

This course places US history in the context of global events. In doing so, it examines the complex ways in which the contours of the American experience have been both shaped by global forces and conversely how the United States has influenced the world. Moreover, the course investigates the expansion and contraction of democracy as part of the longer-term process of global revolutionary movements demanding freedom that began, but not fully realized, with its own revolution.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Student will be able to:

1. compare, contrast, and apply the basic theoretical paradigms as relevant to topic of seminar

2. synthesize primary and secondary texts

3. demonstrate basic knowledge of historical, socioeconomic, and political issues regarding the topic

4. analyze texts as a basis for original thinking and writing.

Course Outline:

  1. America before America: Pre-Columbian civilizations and cultures

  2. Spain in America

  3. England, France, and the Netherlands in America

  4. British colonial America

  5. Colonial America’s place in the Atlantic World

  6. Sectional differences: religious, economic, etc.

  7. American (and Atlantic World) Revolution

  8. Articles of Confederation vs. The Constitution: the ‘crisis’ of democracy

  9. Federalist Era

  10. Anti-Federalism and peaceful transference of power

  11. Expansion, Indians, and foreign relations

  12. Jacksonian America: a democracy of frontiersman

  13. Immigrants and loss of Indian sovereignty

  14. Manifest Destiny from Mexico to Pacific

  15. Free trade vs. Protectionism: Slavery, and the Civil War

  16. Reconstruction to the Hayes/Tilden election


History of the United States Since 1865 Honors:

Course Description:

This is an Honors introductory survey covering the history of the United States of America from the end of the Civil War to the 21st century. We will study social, political, and cultural interactions among different groups of Americans during this period, and we will examine the ways that different groups of Americans have struggled to reconcile the founding ideals of the American republic with the realities of an expanding industrial capitalist economy. In this course I will emphasize the major social and political trends that have led to the development of the modern United States, but we will also explore the ways that struggles over race, gender, and culture have helped to shape the modern American republic.

In this section we will also take special care to examine how history is made, how it is recorded, and how it is used by utilizing oral histories—recorded interviews with men and women who have participated in historic events—and by creating a few of our own. Each student will record two oral history interviews that will be archived at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and made available to other scholars.

I hope that the course will help you develop a deeper understanding of the major events and themes in this period of U.S. history, but my ultimate goal is to help you improve your critical thinking and persuasive writing skills.

Course Outline:

  1. Meanings of the Civil War

  2. From “Restoration” to Radical Reconstruction

  3. The “New South” and the “New North”: America at the end of Reconstruction

  4. Western Expansion, 1870-1900

  5. Urbanization, Industrialization, and Immigration, 1870-1900

  6. The Labor Movement and the Populist Challenge

  7. The Road to American Imperialism

  8. The Roots of Progressivism

  9. Progressivism and Social Reform

  10. World War I and American Society

  11. The “Roaring Twenties”: creating the modern economy

  12. Cultural clashes in the 1920s

  13. The Boom/The Crash

  14. The Great Depression

  15. The New Deal

  16. The “Second” New Deal: creating welfare-state capitalism

  17. Roots of the Second World War

  18. The U.S. at War

  19. The Home Front

  20. The Cold War: International Implications

  21. The Cold War: A War at Home

  22. Origins of the Civil Rights Movement

  23. The Civil Rights Movement, cont.

  24. The Great Society

  25. Vietnam and the Failure of Containment

  26. The Modern Women’s Movement

  27. Looking for answers in the Watergate affair

  28. The Conservative Resurgence

bottom of page