American History I

American History I


HIS 103-02, FALL 2017

Mon. – Wed. – Fri. 10:55 – 11:50 a.m.

VAN 113

Hans P. Vought, Ph.D.

TEXTBOOKS: You should purchase the following books at the college bookstore or retailer of your choice. In addition, they are available on reserve or as an e-book in the MacDonald Dewitt Library. Readings should be done before class, as they will be discussed in class. You will be responsible for all material in the books in addition to the lectures. In college, you should develop the ability to read critically - that is, to determine what the author’s thesis or argument is, and evaluate the evidence which he or she uses to support it. You will probably find it useful to take notes on the reading, both for the threaded discussion and in preparing for the papers and exams. In addition, there will be shorter documents to read on the website, which will be discussed in class.

  • George B. Tindall & David E. Shi, America: A Narrative History, Volume One, 10th ed. (W.W. Norton & Co., 2016). ISBN: 978-0-393-26594-1. This is a basic textbook, which will give you a general overview to provide context as we examine specific topics in-depth. The textbook website, has videos, self-quizzes, flashcards, and many other features and study materials.
  • James H. Merrell, The Lancaster Treaty of 1744, with Related Documents (Bedford, 2008). ISBN: 978-0-312-45414-2. This collection of historical documents sheds light on the Iroquois Confederacy and the complicated diplomacy and intercultural exchange between Native Americans and European colonists.
  • Jack N. Rakove, Declaring Rights: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford, 1998). ISBN: 978-0-312-13734-2. We celebrate and defend our constitutional rights, but where do our “rights” come from? What is a “right,” anyway? When people have conflicting rights, how do we determine whose rights prevail? These are all important questions analyzed in this collection of historical documents.
  • Lois E. Horton, Harriet Tubman and the Fight for Freedom: A Brief History with Documents (Bedford, 2013). ISBN: 978-0-312-46451-6. A fascinating look into the life of the legendary “conductor” on the Underground Railroad who led U.S. troops in the Civil War.

CONTACT INFORMATION: My office is in Vanderlyn 239H. My Office Hours are Mon.-Wed.-Fri. 9:45 -10:45, Tues.-Thur. 11:40 - 1:00, and by appointment. My office telephone number is 688-1594. My e-mail address is . Website:

COURSE OBJECTIVES: This course is designed to give an overview of the “first half” of United States history. It traces the history of American life from the initial European settlement to the end of Reconstruction in 1877. Key themes will include the interaction between different racial and ethnic groups (Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans), the creation of the republic and its political and social institutions, the economic growth and industrialization of the nation, territorial expansion, and the growing sectional differences which led to the Civil War. The course will consist of both lectures and discussions based on the readings. You are expected to develop analytical skills as you assess historical evidence and arguments, and explain your conclusions orally or in essays.



Mon. 8/28 – Fri. 9/1: Introduction; Pre-contact Native Americans & Europeans (America, ch. 1, pp. 4-19)


Wed. 9/6 – Fri. 9/8: Exploration & Conquest: The Spanish Example (America, ch. 1, pp. 19-45)

Mon. 9/11: The French and Dutch Colonies (America,ch. 1, pp. 46-48;ch. 4, pp. 148-51)

Wed. 9/13– Fri. 9/15: Chesapeake Colonies (America, ch. 1, pp. 48-51; ch. 2, pp. 54-71; “Instructions for the Virginia Colony” & “Two Different European Perspectives on Tobacco,” HIS 103 Documents)

Fri. 9/15 – Mon. 9/18: New England Colonies (America, ch. 2, pp. 71-78; “Mayflower Compact,” “John Winthrop’s City on a Hill” & “John Winthrop on Arbitrary Government,” HIS 103 Docs)

Wed. 9/20 – Fri. 9/22: English Civil War & Restoration Colonies (America, ch. 2, pp. 78-95)

Mon. 9/25 – Wed. 9/27:Colonial Life & Development (America, ch. 2, pp. 96-107;ch. 3; “Olaudah Equiano’s Autobiography” & “Venture Smith’s Narrative,” HIS 103 Docs)

**1st PAPER DUE 9/25 on Merrell,The Lancaster Treaty of 1744**

Fri. 9/29: Imperial Relations (America, ch. 4, pp. 151-63)

Mon. 10/2: FIRST EXAM

Wed. 10/4 – Fri. 10/6:Imperial Crisis (America, ch. 4, pp. 163-95; Appendix, pp. D1-D4; “George Hewes’ Account of the Boston Tea Party,”“Paine: Common Sense” & “Candidus: Plain Truth,” HIS 103 Docs)


Tues. 10/10 (Mon. schedule) – Wed. 10/11: The Revolutionary War (America, ch. 5)

Fri. 10/13 – Mon. 10/16: Creating the Constitution (America, ch. 6, pp. 244-69; Appendix, pp. D5-D21; “Hamilton’s Federalist 15,” “Madison’s Federalist 51,” “Patrick Henry Opposes the Constitution” & “James Madison Defends the Constitution,” HIS 103 Docs)

Wed. 10/18 – Fri. 10/20: The Federalists and the Emergence of Political Parties (America, ch. 6, pp. 269-301; “Hamilton Argues for the Constitutionality of a National Bank” & “Jefferson Argues Against the Constitutionality of a National Bank,” HIS 103 Docs)

Mon. 10/23 – Wed. 10/25: The Republicans and the War of 1812 (America, ch. 7; “Dolley Madison on the Burning of Washington,” HIS 103 Docs)

**2nd PAPER DUE 10/23 onRakove, Declaring Rights**

Fri. 10/27: Early National Society & Culture (America, ch. 8, pp. 377-91)

Mon. 10/30 – Wed. 11/1:The Second Great Awakening & Antebellum Reform Movements (America, ch.12; “Neal Dow on Temperance,” HIS 103 Docs)

Fri. 11/3: SECOND EXAM

Mon. 11/6 – Wed. 11/8:The Second Party System: Democrats and Whigs (America, ch. 9-10; “John Quincy Adams’ Inaugural Address,” “Webster’s Second Reply to Hayne,” & “Jackson’s Nullification Proclamation,” HIS 103 Docs)

Fri. 11/10 – Mon. 11/13:Northern Industrialization (America, ch. 8)

Wed. 11/15 – Fri. 11/17:Southern Slavery (America, ch. 11; “Rev. Furman’s Defense of Slavery,” HIS 103 Docs)

Mon. 11/20, Mon. 11/27: Westward Expansion & the Mexican War (America, ch. 13; “John O’Sullivan on Manifest Destiny” & “Texas Declaration of Independence,” HIS 103 Docs)

Wed. 11/22 – Fri. 11/24: NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING BREAK

Wed. 11/29 – Fri. 12/1:1850s: Sectional Conflict (America, ch. 14; “William Seward’s Higher Law Speech,” “John Calhoun’s ‘Southern Address’,” & “Lincoln-Douglas Debate,” HIS 103 Docs)

**3rd PAPER DUE 12/1 on Horton, Harriet Tubman and the Fight for Freedom**

Mon. 12/4 – Wed. 12/6: The Civil War (America, ch. 15; “Alexander Stephen’s Cornerstone Address,” “Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address,” “Sullivan Ballou’s Letter,” “The Emancipation Proclamation,” HIS 103 Docs)

Fri. 12/8: Reconstruction (America, ch. 16; “Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address,” “Alexandria Petition” & “The Reconstruction Amendments to the Constitution,” HIS 103 Docs

Mon. 12/11, Tues. 12/12:MAKE-UP DAY (if necessary due to snow or other cancellations)


STUDENT REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPLETION OF THE COURSE: You will write three short papers and three essay exams over the course of the semester. The three exams will include a choice of short answer and essay questions, covering material discussed in the readings as well as material discussed in class. They are closed-book and non-cumulative. No talking is permitted during the exam, and you will not be allowed to leave the room until you have completed and turned in the exam. Your essays should articulate a clear thesis (that is, an argument supported by evidence) in response to the questions. You are free to express any opinion; however, you must present historical evidence to support it.

The papers will be 3-5 pages each (typed, double-spaced, 1-inch margins and 12-point type). You will write in response to questions about the three shorter books. You will submit your papers to, a website which checks student papers for evidence of plagiarism. Print out the Originality Report from and attach it to the back of your paper before submitting it to me.

LATE PAPER POLICY: The papers are due at the beginning of class on the days noted in the schedule above. Papers handed in later that day will lose a partial letter grade. Papers lose one whole letter grade for each calendar day that they are late. Therefore, it is in your best interest to hand in assignments on time.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is mandatory and will be taken each class. You will be allowed 3 “personal days;” beyond that, each absence will lower your grade. Coming in late or leaving early counts as a half absence. Make-ups are allowed only for valid medical or other emergencies. Missing two weeks (6 classes) or more may lead to your being removed from the course with cause by me.

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. Please note the withdrawal deadlines set by the college.

ASSESSMENT: Grades will be based upon participation in class discussions, the three papers and the three exams. The papers will make up 10% each of your final grade. The first two exams will make up 20% each of your final grade. The final exam will make up 30% of your final grade. There will be no “extra credit” - in college, you are judged by the quality rather than the quantity of your work. Both participation in classroom discussion and improvement will be taken into consideration in determining the final course grade. The following grading scale is used:

93-100 = A

90-92 = A-

87-89 = B+

83-86 = B

80-82 = B-

77-79 = C+

73-76 = C

70-72 = C-

67-69 = D+

63-66 = D

60-62 = D-

< 59 = F

Please retain all graded papers from this course until you see your final grade posted on your College transcript. If I suspect you of plagiarism or cheating, you will receive a 0 for that particular paper or exam. You will have an opportunity to meet with me and demonstrate that you are innocent. If a second offense should occur, you will receive a 0 for the course, and face possible expulsion from the college.

FINAL EXAM: The final exam will be given during the regularly scheduled examination period at the end of the semester. It will not be cumulative – it will simply be the third exam.

STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES FOR ACADEMIC HONESTY: Academic honesty means that students are expected to do their own work and follow therules regarding acts such as cheating and plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain academic honesty. That is, ignorance of the standards of academic honesty is not an acceptable excuse for breaking these standards. Academic dishonesty - breaking the standards of academic honesty - is taken very seriously by the College. Breaking the rules of academic honesty will result in immediate disciplinary consequences.

Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, the following actions:

1. Cheating on examinations or quizzes. Examples include (a) referring to materials that the instructor has not allowed to be used during the test, such as textbooks or notes or websites; (b) using devices the instructor has not allowed to be used during the test, such as cell phones, text messages, or calculators; and(c) copying from another student’s paper or asking another student for an answer.

2. Plagiarism. Plagiarism means the use of words or ideas that are obtained from other sources without giving credit to those sources. Not only do quotations have to be referenced, but also any use of the ideas of others, even if expressed in the student’s own words, must be referenced. The College has a service to check for plagiarism. Any student paper can be submitted for this plagiarism check.

3. Submission of work that is not entirely the student’s own work. Having another person write a paper or parts of a paper is one example of this offense; allowing another student to copy test answers is another example.

4. Theft or sale of examinations, falsification of academic records, and similar offenses.

5. Submitting work to more than one class without the permission of the second instructor. For example, a student who submits to a class a paper previously turned in to another class is in violation of academic honesty, unless the second instructor has given permission.

6. Unauthorized duplication of computer software or print materials. For example, turning in a term paper downloaded from a website is a violation of academic honesty.

7. Influence. A student should not attempt to get an instructor to change a grade or record for any reason except achievement. For example, trying to get an instructor to change a grade because of personal hardship - or because of a bribe - is a violation of academic honesty.

8. Practice of any other form of academic dishonesty not included in this list.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: To learn more about any of the topics covered in this course, please see the list of recommended books at the end of each chapter in the textbook.

N.B.: This syllabus is not a legal contract. Assignments and policies (other than college rules) are subject to revision at any time throughout the course.

DR. VOUGHT’S RULES OF CLASSROOM ETIQUETTE: The essence of courtesy is showing respect and consideration for other people around you. In the classroom, this means both the professor and your fellow students. Anything that distracts you and those around you from your mutual goal (i.e., learning) is rude and disrespectful. To further clarify this, I offer the following rules, which I expect everyone to follow:

1. Class begins and ends on time. Therefore, you should be in your seat, ready to go when class begins, and stay in your seat until class ends. Walking in late or leaving early will be counted as a half absence, and two halves make a whole.

2. If, for some unavoidable reason, you must miss a class or leave early, please inform the professor ahead of time.

3. Never get up in the middle of class and walk around, unless it is a dire emergency. Go to the bathroom before or after class, not during it. Throw out any trash at the end of class as you’re leaving the room.

4. Stay awake. If you fall asleep, I will ask you to leave, and it will be counted as a half absence.

5. No personal grooming during class.

6. Do not read or study for another class, or read for pleasure, during my class.

7. Cell phones and other portable electronic devices should be turned off and remain out of sight (yours and mine).