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ASU HST 109 - HST 109 Syllabus Spring 2021

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1 HST 109: United States to 1865 Arizona State University School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies Spring Session C 2021 Class Meeting: Tempe LIB C5 and via ASU Sync Instructor James F. Hrdlicka, Ph.D. Office: Coor Hall 4507 Email: [email protected] (preferred contact) Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:30-11am (Outside seating area, east end of Coor Hall), and by appointment online via Zoom: Course Overview This course will survey American history through the conclusion of the American Civil War in 1865. An independent “United States” was never destined to exist at all, let alone in the specific form it ultimately took. That’s the main theme we’ll explore throughout the semester—and one reason why this is such a worthwhile class. Many of our assumptions about American history are just that: assumptions that grow out of our perspective as twenty-first-century observers. We know that there is something called the United States, that it was created at a certain time, that it still exists today, that it has certain features (constitutional, political, demographic, geographic, etc.), and that its history includes particular events, trends, and figures. In short, we take many things for granted and assume that it all had to play out the way it did. But what if we try to set those assumptions aside and see things as people in the past saw them: without knowing what was going to happen next? If we approach early American history with fresh eyes, we’ll gain a deeper and more expansive understanding of that story, one that can inform our view of contemporary issues. Here are just some of the questions we’ll explore: • How did the diverse peoples who inhabited what became the United States (and parts adjacent) interact and shape a shared history? Traditionally, “American” history was written from the perspective of Europeans and their descendants. Yet this history is so much richer and more accurate when we recognize the active roles many, many more people—including Native Americans, African Americans, and women—played in creating the United States. • What has “freedom” meant to different people at different times? Who enjoyed which types of liberty? Just as important, who was denied liberty? Examining these questions will add crucial layers of complexity to the story of America’s past, present, and future.2 The history of American slavery, for instance, is inseparable from the history of American freedom. • Why does the United States have the distinctive political system that it does? After all, government in the United States is pretty complicated when you look at it: a federal union made up of irregularly shaped states of unequal sizes and populations, all under a Constitution written in 1787. • Why does the United States have the borders that it does? North America is a big place. Why and how did the United States expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with its boundaries fixed at particular northern and southern points? What were the consequences of that geography for the people living inside the United States, and for the country’s place in the larger world? Learning Outcomes At the completion of this course, students will be able to: 1. Identify and explain how the United States’ colonial and Revolutionary origins influenced its subsequent development. 2. Explain how “freedom” was defined—and re-defined—in different ways in early America. 3. Provide examples of key developments (political, economic, technological, cultural, ideological, etc.) that helped transform the United States between its creation and the Civil War. 4. Identify and explain the diverse viewpoints and experiences of Americans of different backgrounds. 5. Analyze primary texts and use them as evidence in historical arguments. Required Reading Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! 6th Ed. (W.W. Norton, 2019). The required materials for this course are provisioned as a RedShelf e-book through Canvas and made available at a discounted rate significantly cheaper than if purchased directly from the publisher. If you wish to take advantage of this discounted group rate, no additional action is needed. Following the drop/add period, a charge of $30.00, plus tax, will post to your student account under the header “Bkstr Publisher Negotiated Rate” and your access will continue uninterrupted. If you would rather purchase the material directly from the vendor or from an alternate source, you may choose to opt out of the program by using this link: Enter your ASU e-mail address AS IT APPEARS IN THE ASU DIRECTORY (, then follow the instructions provided. Be aware that if you do opt-out, your access to the required material in Canvas will be turned off after drop/add. To access the e-book, log into Canvas and click on the RedShelf e-book link. If3 prompted to create an account, please use your ASU e-mail address EXACTLY AS IT APPEARS IN THE DIRECTORY. You'll also receive an e-mail directly from Brytewave/Redshelf with more info. All other readings will be available in e-book form via the ASU Library or will be provided electronically via the course Canvas site. Assignments Quizzes: 300 points Exam 1: 150 points Exam 2: 250 points Paper 1: 100 points Paper 2: 200 points Total: 1000 points Grade Percentage Points Range A+ 97-100 970-1000 A 94-97 940-969 A- 90-93 900-939 B+ 87-89 870-899 B 84-86 840-869 B- 80-83 800-839 C+ 77-79 770-799 C 70-76 700-769 D 60-69 600-699 Attendance Per ASU policy for the Spring 2021 semester, students will attend every other class session in person. You will be assigned to either the Tuesday or Thursday group. Check which group you’re in by visiting the Course Canvas site. On the homepage, scroll down to “Note Attendance Details” and click the square green button. On days when you’re not attending in person, you’re expected to watch live via ASU Sync. More than five unexcused absences from in person class or live Zoom classes over the course of the semester may result in a deduction of at least 3 percentage points from your final grade. The policy is meant to encourage attendance (which is crucial for success in the class) while also providing plenty of flexibility as we

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