American History: An Introduction

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 1140
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 1140: American History: An Introduction is a survey of the broad political, economic, social, and cultural patterns that have shaped the United States from earliest times to the present day. Topics include: Indigenous peoples and early European settlements; the American Revolution and the Early Republic; westward expansion and “frontier” violence; slavery and the Civil War; industrialization and immigration; the New Deal; the Civil Rights movement; and the rise of America as a global power.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

1. Course Introduction

2. Indigenous Societies & European Colonization

3. The Evolution of Colonial America

4. The American Revolution

5. The Early Republic

6. Jeffersonian America

7. Jacksonian America

8. Sectionalism & the Civil War

9. Reconstruction

10. The Gilded Age & the Progressive Era

11. The American Empire & the First World War

12. Interwar Instability

13. The Second World War & the Cold War

14. Postwar Liberalism & the Conservative Reaction

Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills. Online instruction may occur synchronously or asynchronously, with a blend of learning activities similar to that offered in person.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Participation 10%
Quizzes and Map Tests 10%
Primary Document Analysis Essays 30%
Portfolio 20%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 15%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating (critically and analytically) a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and course readings may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned. Additional reading lists and links to specific resources also may be provided online or in the instructor’s course outline.

Nancy A. Hewitt and Steven F. Lawson. Exploring American Histories: A Survey with Sources, 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2019. 

Jill Lepore. These Truths: A History of the United States. New York: W.W. Norton, 2018.

George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi. America: A Narrative History, 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2019.



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 1140
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 2XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU HIST 1XX (3)
Coast Mountain College (CMTN) CMTN HIST 216 (3)
Columbia College (COLU) COLU HIST 1st (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 1145 (3)
North Island College (NIC) NIC HIS 1XX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 1XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 1XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 1XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 1XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 1st (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 237 (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 242 (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 1XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 1st (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023