United States

History 7A

Fall 2005
150 Wheeler (Wheeler Auditorium)
Day & Time: 
TuTh 12:30-2
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • This course is an introduction to the history of the United States from the beginning of European colonization to the end of the Civil War. It is also an introduction to the study of history: the ways historians look at the past and think about evidence. It has two major themes. One is to understand the process through which democratic political institutions emerged in the U.S. in this period. This task requires an assessment of what ";democracy"; actually meant, not only as a concrete series of practices among its participants, but also in the larger context of an economy that depended on slave labor and violent land acquisition. The other is to understand the process by which what we now call the ";cultures"; of European-Americans, Native-Americans, and African-Americans were created. Far from timeless categories, these ";identities"; did not exist before the period covered by this course. They were created through interactions among peoples from Europe, Africa, and North America in the place that became the United States in this period.

    There will be two lectures per week and two 1-hour discussion sections, two brief essays, a midterm, and a final exam.