The United States from Civil War to Present

History 7B

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
MWF 11-12P
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • This course is an introduction to the history of the United States from the Civil War to the present. It is also an introduction to the ways historians look at the past and think about evidence. Rather than a matter of memorizing names and dates, history is about framing the truest and most complete stories we can to explain wide ranges of human experience. Although this course will touch on many subjects, it will track three main narrative lines. One, from the abolition of slavery to the election of Obama, will trace changing regulations of and ideas about race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and other cultural and political markers of identity. The second, the rise and fall of industrial society, will examine major economic transitions, as the fulcrum of U.S. economic life shifted from agriculture to industry and then to services. The third, from Sand Creek and Little Bighorn to 9-11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, will focus on the rise and uses of American power in the world. Lectures, readings, discussions, films, and writing assignments (and, yes, midterm and final exams) will stress various parts of these stories and also sharpen critical reading, interpretation, research, and writing skills.

    Course Books

    Out of This Furnace by Bell, Thomas University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN: 978-0-8229-5273-2 Required
    Dispatches by Herr, Michael Vintage. ISBN: 978-0-679-73525-0 Required
    Summer for the Gods by Larson, Edward Basic Books. ISBN: 978-0-465-07510-2 Required
    Coming Out Under Fire by Berube, Allen University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-0-8078-7177-5 Required
    Give Me Liberty: An American History, Seagull Edition, vol. 2 by Foner, Eric Norton. ISBN: 978-0393911916 Optional