The United States to 1877

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 2240
The United States to 1877
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week / semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

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
This course deals with the main themes in American History from the establishment of the colonies through the Civil War and Reconstruction. As well as political history, the course considers economic and social foundations of the United States and some of the cultural achievements of the nation.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

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


  1. Review of Historical Methods. Amerindians, Explorers, Colonists and the construction of American History.
  2. Beginning Colonies. Captivity Narratives.
  3. Colonial Society and Politics. The Road to Revolution.
  4. The Revolution. Document Study: The Declaration of Independence.
  5. Founding a New Republic. Document Study: The Constitution.
  6. The Jeffersonian Republic.
  7. The Age of Jackson. Continental Expansion.
  8. Industry and American Culture.
  9. Immigration, Migration and American Culture.
  10. The Plantation South
  11. North and South at Midcentury. Reform and Conflict.
  12. The Civil War.
  13. Reconstruction
  14. Concluding Themes
Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Examine historical sources critically and analytically (reading history). These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources.
  2. Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems (writing history). Forms for communication of personal interpretations include medium-length essays (from 1500-3000 words), comparative book reviews, short interpretive essays, primary source studies, and final examinations.
  3. Independently analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in class in both tutorials and seminars (discussing history).
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%:

Document analysis essay  15%
Research proposal  10%
Research essay  25%
Class/seminar participation       15%
Midterm exam  15%
Final exam  20%
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


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


Boyer, P. et al. Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. Vol. 1, 6th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008.


Douglass, Frederick, My Freedom and My Bondage, 1855 ed., with an introduction by P.S. Foner. New York: Dover, 1969. (or New York: Random House, 2003).


Foner, Eric. Voices of History: A Documentary History. Vol. 1, 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2008.


Gillon, S.M. and Matson, C.D. The American Experiment: A History of the United States. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2009.


Hoffman, E.C. and Gjerde, J., eds., Major Problems in American History, Vol. 1. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.