The United States since 1776 (HIST*2300) | College of Arts

The United States since 1776 (HIST*2300)

Code and section: HIST*2300*01

Term: Winter 2023

Instructor: Deirdre McCorkindale


Course Synopsis:

This is a survey course that serves as an introduction to American history since 1776. After the American revolution, the new republic was left with many questions about the meaning of the conflict. Two of the central questions were: what was freedom, and who would be granted it? These questions—and various people’s answers to them—became driving forces for change (both positive and negative) from the late 18th century to the 20th. Beginning in 1776, this course will delve into the history of the United States, keeping that central theme of freedom in mind—to whom it was granted, to whom it was denied, and how the definition of freedom changed over time. The course will proceed chronologically with attention paid to political, social, and intellectual history, and their interplay with the ever-shifting constructs of race and gender.

Method of Delivery:

The course will meet three times per week in person. Two thirds of the course will be lecture-based and one third will be spent discussing weekly readings. 

Course Learning Objectives:

Assignments tailored to meet each objective are noted in parentheses. 
By the end of the course, a conscientious student will have learned to:

  1. Identify and interpret themes and patterns throughout American history.(discussion, book review, primary source analysis and final exam)
  2. Find and analyze primary sources. (book review, primary source analysis)
  3. Develop their writing skills such as forming an argument and supporting it with historical evidence. (book review, primary source analysis and final exam)
  4. Question and evaluate historiographical debates among U.S. historians and how these interpretations shape cultural narratives. (discussion, book review, primary source analysis, final exam)
  5. Engage in the larger questions about the relevance of this history to the contemporaryworld and how this history shapes our own understanding. (discussion, book review, final exam) 

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Participation: 20%
Critical Book Review: 20%
Primary Source Analysis: 25%
Take Home Exam: 35%

Required Texts:

The American Yawp 

Fabian, Ann. The Skull Collectors: Race, Science, and America's Unburied Dead. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010.

(Note: The vast majority of the class readings will be available online through provided links or PDFs on Courselink.)

**Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**