Introduction to American History

The Course
Course Readings
Course Assignments
Attendance Policy
Course Supplements
Course Schedule

HIS 223: Introduction to American History, 1492-1877

HIS 223: Introduction to American History, 1877-Present

History 225: 1877 to the Present


Exams: Exams will be composed of objective and essay questions. Three exams will be given during the course of the semester. Each of these exams will cover about one-third of the course material and each will count for 25 percent of the student's final grade. The first two exams have been tentatively scheduled for February 15 and March 27. The third exam will be given during the final exam period. The third exam will be given during the final exam period on Tuesday, May 8, at 9:00-11:00.

Family History: Each student will write a brief history on some aspect of their own family's history since 1877. Topics for the family history must be approved by the professor on or before January 30. A list of several topics chosen by students in previous classes can be found at the end of the syllabus. In the event that students are unable to find a suitable topic for a family history paper, they may elect (with the professor's permission) to do a longer, more conventional term paper.

While there is no maximum or minimum required length for the papers, most students will need 8-10 pages to cover their subjects adequately. Students should be advised to write a paper which is long enough to cover their topics adequately but short enough to prevent their theses and arguments from being obscured by irrelevant details. Students will be graded on content and style.

The family history paper is due by the beginning of class on February 27. The family history paper will count for 10 percent of the student's final grade. The professor will provide additional instructions about writing and researching the family history paper.

Family History Topics: The following are some of the titles of Family History Papers completed by students in previous sections of American History survey :

  • "Germans Against Germans: The Effect of World War II on a German-American Family"
  • "The Life of An Immigrant: The Economic Promise of America and the Migration of My Family from Canada"
  • "The Adjustment Problems of a Swedish-American Family"
  • "My Father, the Vietnam War Draft Resister"
  • "The Home Front: The Effect of World War II on Civilians as Seen in the Experience of the Hughes Family"
  • "My Father's Experience in the Battle of the Bulge"
  • "The Life of a G.I. in World War II: Perspectives From My Grandfather"
  • "How Military Service in the Vietnam War Changed My Father's Life"
Women in America
  • "My Great-Grandmother in the Woman Suffrage Movement of the Early Twentieth Century"
  • "The Changing Role of Women in Twentieth-Century America: Perspectives from my Grandmother's Life"
  • "How World War II Changed the Lives of Women: My Grandmother's Experience"
The Sixties
  • "Philip Travis and the Cuban Missile Crisis: My Father's Military Experience"
  • "'My Father, the Hippie': The American Counterculture of the 1960s and the Life of Daniel M. Sheets"
  • "My Father's Experience in the Detroit Race Riot of 1967"
  • "The March on Washington Movement of 1963, as Remembered by the Groves Family"
  • "White Terrorism: The Experience of the Mississippi Freedom Riders as Related by Joe Cook"
Economics and Community Histories
  • "The Great Depression of 1929-39 and its Effect on My Family"
  • "The Economic Impact of the Closing of the Studebaker Car Plant on South Bend, Indiana: One Family's Experience"
  • "The Rise of the Environmental Protection Agency and Its Effect on My Family's Business"
  • "Coal Miners in the Early Twentieth Century: The Lives of William and James Oates"
  • "The Struggle for Unionization Among Coal Miners in Harlan County, Kentucky, and the Boyd Family"
  • "Prohibition-Era Bootlegging and Its Effect on the Growth of Organized Crime: My Family's Experience"
  • "The Decline of the Family Farm in the 1980s and its Effect on the Overton Family"
  • "The Rise and Fall of the American Steel Industry: A Chronicle of the Economic Fortunes of the Brubaker Family, 1919-83"
  • "The Development of Public Education in Sullivan County, Indiana, as Seen Through the Eyes of Carl M. Disher"
  • "The Growth of an American Suburb: Lake Forest, Illinois"

Critical Questions Exercise: To help students ask better questions about American history, each student will participate in a Critical Questions Exercise. Students will complete an 8-10 page written assignment which will encourage them to ask better questions about American history. This assignment will be based on Stoff et al., The Manhattan Project, and will be made later in the course. The Critical Questions Exercise will be due on April 10 and will count for 10 percent of the students' semester grade.

Quiz: A short quiz will be given to monitor students' reading and understanding of the book Kennedy and Nixon, by Christopher Matthews. The quiz has been tentatively scheduled for April 24 and will count for 5 percent of the student's final grade.

Make-Up Assignments: Students will be allowed to make up missed assignments only with the consent of the professor. Ordinarily, the professor will accept make-up assignments only in cases of unavoidable student absences, such as those caused by illness or by a death in the immediate family. Students may be required to document the causes of their absences before the make-up work will be accepted by the professor.

Other Departmental Courses in American History and Civilization:
| AMS 250 | HIS 223 | HIS 225 | HIS 227 | HIS 306 |
| HIS 308 | HIS 310 | HIS 312 | HIS 314 | HIS 318 | HIS 325 |
| HIS 338 | HIS 426 | HIS 430 | HIS 432 | HIS 470 | HIS 475 |

| This page was last updated on 1/17/01. | Return to Top of Page | Site Map |

Dr. Harold D. Tallant, Department of History, Georgetown College
400 East College Street, Georgetown, KY 40324, (502) 863-8075

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The American Studies Major
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