Class Participation (150 points)
Participation is vital to your success in this course. You are expected to attend all course meetings (including CASA workshops; see below for more) and to come to class prepared. That is, you should have completed the assigned reading, have it with you in class, and be prepared to participate actively in class discussion through comments and questions. You will lose credit for participation after five absences, except in documented cases for extended family or medical emergencies. NOTE: Absence from more than 30% of class meetings without documentation will be grounds for failure of the course.
Online Skills Modules (50 points)
Each student is required to complete five skills modules developed by the History Department to improve student preparation in introductory history courses. The modules, which are available through the course Blackboard site, include a video tutorial and a brief quiz. The course schedule includes a listing of when each module is due.
Commonplace Book (100 points)
During the semester you will compile a commonplace book of quotations from course readings along with your annotations. Full details will be distributed during the first week of classes. The completed book will be due on Tuesday, May 2.
Midterm Examination (150 points)
An in-class examination on Thursday, February 23 will cover material from the first six weeks of the course. Details on the format and other information will be distributed approximately two weeks in advance.
Constitution Paper (350 points)
As part of reading David Waldstreicher’s Slavery’s Constitution, there will be a paper assignment on the United States Constitution. The paper will be due on Thursday, April 6 (150 points), with a revision of the paper that includes additional work due on Thursday, April 27 (200 points). Full details will be made available after spring break.
Literature Review (200 points)
Each student will be required to research and write a literature review on a topic of his/her choosing within the field of early American history. Each student will work on the project during the course of the semester, reading at least four scholarly articles on the topic and writing a review essay of 1,500-2,000 words. Students will be required to hold a meeting with the course instructor and present findings to the class. A sign-up sheet for topics and due dates will be distributed in Week 2 of the course. The last possible due date for the review is Tuesday, May 2.
Final Exam (200 points)
The final examination will cover material from the entire course. It will comprise a range of question formats that ask you to use the skills developed in the course. A review sheet will be distributed during the last week of classes.
Massachusetts and New England are ideal locations to study the history of early America because of the rich tradition of preservation and commemoration at sites throughout the region. If you choose to visit such a site during the semester, you may write a brief paper about your experiences and the history you found there for up to thirty points of credit on your final grade. See the link above for full details on the assignment and a map of sites.
Michael Johnson, ed., Reading the American Past, 5th ed., vol. I (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012).
David Waldstreicher, Slavery’s Constitution (New York: Hill and Wang, 2010).
Students enrolled in honors courses are held to high expectations for classroom participation and the evaluation of written work. In addition to the literature review, students will also be required to do additional work on the Constitution paper. Details will be distributed with the assignment.