American History: An Introduction

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 1140
American History: An Introduction
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hours per week / semester Seminar: 2 hours per week / semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Class sections will be divided between lectures and seminar discussions. The seminar discussion sessions will serve as a forum for the analysis and discussion of scholarly literature and as a testing ground for student hypotheses. The instructor will encourage students to elaborate, refine and revise ideas. Discussion sessions will also include tutorials in conducting historical research, the exploration of primary source documents, and practice in oral presentations. Participation in both lectures and seminar discussions is required for the successful completion of the course.

Course Description
American History: An Introduction is a survey of the broad political, economic, social, and cultural patterns that have shaped the United States from settlement through the present day. Events and issues include Aboriginal people and early European settlements; the American Revolution and the Early Republic; westward expansion and frontiers; slavery and the Civil War; industrialization and immigration; the New Deal; the Civil Rights movement; and the rise of American as a global power.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics:

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

  1. Introduction: Place, Governance, Canadian-American relations
  2. Aboriginal and Settler Societies
  3. The American Revolution
  4. Building the Republic
  5. Slavery and Civil War
  6. Civil War and Reconstruction
  7. America’s Gilded Age
  8. From Populism to Progressivism
  9. Crises and the New Deal
  10. Global Power: Hot and Cold Wars
  11. Civil Rights in the Vietnam Era
  12. Morning in America: The Conservative Turn
  13. Globalization’s Challenges
  14. Conclusion and Review
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Examine historical sources and interpretive literature critically and analytically (reading skills). These sources will include texts, scholarly articles, primary sources and short monographs.
  2. Create and communicate interpretation of historical problems (writing skills). This will include essays, comparative book reviews, primary source studies, and exams.
  3. Analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in both tutorials and seminars both independently and in cooperation with other students (communication skills).
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Specific components of evaluation will include some of the following: mid-term and final exams consisting of short answer questions and essay questions; in-class written work, quizzes, research paper; seminar presentations; short debate/position papers; participation in class discussions.


Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester and will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.


An example of one evaluation scheme:

Any combination of the following totalling 100%:

Short Essay


Mid Term Exam




Research Essay


Final Exam




Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:

An Instructor’s Course Reader may be required.

Boyer, P. et al. Enduring Vision: A History of the American People, concise 7th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Cobbs-Hoffman, Elizabeth, Edward J. Blum, and Jon Gjerde, Major Problems in American History, 3rd ed. 2 vols. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Douglass, Frederick. My Freedom and My Bondage, 1855 ed., with an introduction by P. S. Foner. New York: Random House, 2003.

Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History, brief 3rd ed. New York: Norton: 2006.

Foner, Eric. Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History, 3rd ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 2010.

Gillon, S.M. and Matson, C.D. The American Experiment: A History of the United States 3rd ed. 2 vols. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Norton, Mary Beth, et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, 9th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Tindall, George Brown, and David E. Shi. America: A Narrative History, brief 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2009.