Antebellum America: The Advent of Mass Society

History 122AC

Fall 2012
Day & Time: 
TuTh 330-5P
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • Though the Civil War is often regarded as the Second American Revolution, a decisive rupture in American history, 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 mass media, corporate capitalism, wage labor, the two-party system, the Bible Belt, family values, and racism, we need to trace their evolution in the nineteenth century. This course examines half a century of life in the United States (roughly from the end of the War of 1812 until the secession of the South), focusing on everyday life, popular culture, race relations, westward expansion, urbanization, class formation, religion, democratic political participation, sexuality, print culture, and competing claims to wealth and power. Assigned readings will consist largely of first-person narratives in which women and men of a range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds try to negotiate and interpret a period of bewildering social change. Course requirements include short papers, midterms, participation in section, and a final exam.

    Course Books

    Our Nig by Wilson, Harriet Addison Wesley/Penguin. ISBN: 978-0143105763 Required
    Democracy in America by de Tocqueville, Alexis Bedford/St. Martin's. ISBN: 978-0312463304 Required
    Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta by Ridge, John Rollin University of Oklahoma. ISBN: 978-0806114293 Required
    History of My Own Times by Otter, William Cornell. ISBN: 978-0801499616 Required
    Narrative of the Life of David Crockett by Crockett, David Bison Books. ISBN: 978-0803263253 Required
    Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb by Bibb, Henry wisconsin. ISBN: 978-0299168940 Required
    Life of P.T. Barnum by Barnum, P.T. Illinois. ISBN: 978-0252069024 Required
    Female Marine and Related Works by Cohen, Daniel University of Massachusetts. ISBN: 978-1558491243 Required