Antebellum America: The Advent of Mass Society

History 122AC

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 330-5P
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • Though the Civil War is often regarded as the second American Revolution, many of the institutions, ideologies, and practices that make up modern society and culture in the U.S. emerged more gradually during the decades that preceded the War.To understand the origins of such contemporary phenomena as the mass media, corporate capitalism, wage labor, the two-party system, “family values,” and racism, we need to trace their evolution in the first half of the nineteenth century.This course examines half a century of life in the United States (roughly from 1800 until the secession of the South), focusing on everyday life, popular culture, race relations, westward expansion, urbanization, class formation, participatory politics, religion, sexuality, print culture, and competing claims to wealth and power.Assigned readings will emphasize first-person narratives in which women and men of a range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds try to make sense of their own experiences against the backdrop of major social change.

    Course requirements include two short papers on assigned readings, two in-class exams,and a standard, cumulative examination during finals week.

    Course Books

    12 years a slave by northup Dover. ISBN: 978-0486411439 Required
    Narrative of the Life of David Crockett by Crockett, David Bison Books. ISBN: 978-0803263253 Required
    History of My Own Times by Otter, Wiiliam Cornell. ISBN: 978-0801499616 Required
    Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb by Bibb, Henry Dover. ISBN: 978-0486441276 Required
    Female Marine and Other Works by Cohen, Daniel U. of Massachusetts. ISBN: 978-1558491243 Required
    Journals of Charlotte Forten Grimke by Grimke, Charlotte Forten Oxford. ISBN: 978-0195060867 Required
    Becoming America by Henkin, David and McLennan, Rebecca McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780077275600 Required