Nothing about the remainder of the semester will approach what we could describe as “normal.” Our revised schedule and assignments reflect the reality that every one of us is dealing with an unprecedented and rapidly changing situation. The primary goal of the course is to consider the early American republic as both an era and a field of study within history. I have tried to distill the course down to that essence.
Over the next weeks many of us will face challenges to our schedules, workloads, and health (though I hope as few as possible for that last). I would therefore like to revise the syllabus to offer a modified version of something called contract grading. What that looks like in this course is that you will earn at least a B in the course if you make a good-faith effort to complete all assignments for the course. (This includes completion of any assignments due prior to spring break.) Please note that I may revise this offer to reflect updates from the university administration about school-wide policies about grading for this semester.
If you have not turned in any assignments from the first half of the course, please contact me and we can discuss the best course of action.
Should you become ill or your circumstances otherwise make it impossible for you to complete course requirements, please contact me and the Dean of Students when you are able.
Most of the remaining work of the course can be done asynchronously, that is, without us having to meet at the same time. I have planned a few live sessions (noted on the schedule below) when I would like us to gather on Blackboard Collaborate for a discussion at the regularly scheduled course time. These sessions will be recorded so that you can view them at a later time if you cannot log on at that time.
For all other dates I will post video lectures and other materials that accompany your reading and writing, which you may review at whatever pace works best with your schedule.
Mar. 31 LIVE SESSION: Course Check-In
Apr. 2 The War of 1812
- [H] Caitlin A. Fitz, “The Hemispheric Dimensions of Early U.S. Nationalism: The War of 1812, Its Aftermath, and Spanish American Independence,” Journal of American History 102, no. 2 (September 2015): 356–79.
Apr. 7 A Slaveholders’ Republic?
- Jones, Birthright Citizens, introduction, chs. 1-4
Apr. 9 Religion in America
- [H] Emily Conroy-Krutz, “’Engaged in the Same Glorious Cause:’ Anglo-American Connections in the American Missionary Entrance into India, 1790-1815,” Journal of the Early Republic 34, No. 1 (Spring 2014): 21-44.
Apr. 14 Citizenship and Race
- LIVE SESSION
- Jones, Birthright Citizens, chs. 5-8, conclusion, epilogue
Apr. 16 Native Americans and Americanness
- [H] Michael Witgen, “Seeing Red: Race, Citizenship, and Indigeneity in the Old Northwest,” Journal of the Early Republic 38, no. 4 (2018): 581–611.
Apr. 21 Masters and Slaves
- [H] Caitlin Rosenthal, “Slavery’s Scientific Management: Masters and Managers,” in Slavery’s Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development, ed. Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), 62–86.
- Essay on Jones, Birthright Citizens due via Dropbox
Apr. 28 Andrew Jackson’s America
Apr. 30 Manifest Destiny
- Texas Declaration of Independence (1836)
- John L. O’Sullivan, “The Great Nation of Futurity” (1839)
- James K. Polk, “Special Message to Congress on Mexican Relations” (May 11, 1846)
- Abraham Lincoln, Spot Resolutions, December 1847
May 5 A Dividing Nation
- John C. Calhoun, “Speech on the Introduction of His Resolutions on the Slave Question,” Feb. 19, 1847, in Ross M. Lence, ed., Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1992).
- Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” July 5, 1852.
May 7 Conclusion
Jones, Birthright Citizens
Complete a reflection based on our reading of Birthright Citizens. Details will be posted to Blackboard by Friday, April 10.
Complete reports for 2 of the remaining 4 articles (marked with [H]), and submit via Dropbox.
Details about the final essay are now posted.