Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course explores the American Revolutionary era, a period stretching from the 1760s through the early 1800s. Great Britain's North American empire largely collapsed during this period and Britain's former North American colonists attempted to create a new society as citizens of the United States. This process was highly complex, frequently contested, and, for its participants, almost entirely unpredictable. A central assumption of this course is that the United States emerged from a world of European colonies but that its departure was not automatic or total. In nearly every way, from politics and poetry to slavery and even the country's physical shape, Americans in the Revolutionary era attempted to reconcile their colonial past with a new constellation of political ideals, social realities, and cultural tensions unleashed in the American Revolution. We will approach the history of the American Revolution by canvassing the interplay of ideas, politics, social developments, culture, and warfare between roughly 1760 and 1810. Specific themes will include the Constitution and its origins, Native Americans as participants in the Revolution, slavery, religion, and economic development. Course readings include some books by historians and an even larger amount of primary source texts, images, and artifacts produced during this period that historians use as evidence in their writing. This course is thus an introduction to main themes in the history of the American Revolution, but also an introduction to history as an interpretive discipline.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria: