KC Johnson

History 3401–Spring 2016

Early American history.

Tues/Thurs at 3.40-4.55pm

Office hrs: Boylan 1127a, Thurs., 12.30-1.30



  • Exams: 50%
  • Quizzes (based on reading, each class; bottom four dropped): 25%
  • Group Project, Participation: 25%
  • Office hours, Thursday, 12.30-1.30, Boylan 1127a


Peer mentor: John Sakelos (john.sakelos@aol.com)


February 2.  Introduction

I. Foundations

February 4. Initial Expansion: The Columbian Exchange, Colonialism, and Slavery

February 11: Road to Revolution

February 16: Revolution

February 18. The Constitution

  • Jack Rakove, “Thinking Like a Constitution,” Journal of the Early Republic (2004).
  • US Constitution (as written, 1787)

February  23: Debating the Constitution

February 25: Creating the New Government

March 1: Jeffersonian Agenda

II. Political Crisis

March 3: Jacksonian Democracy

March 8: War and Expansion

March 10: Political Crisis of the 1850s

  • American Yawp, “The Sectional Crisis
  • Justice Steven Breyer, “A Look Back at the Dred Scott Decision,” Journal of Supreme Court History (2010)
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
  • Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852)

March 15: Review

March 17: Midterm

March 22: The United States and the Wider World

  • Eugene Van Sickle, “Reluctant Imperialists,” Journal of the Early Republic, pp. 107-134.
  • Luis Martinez–Fernandez, “Caudillos, annexationism, and the rivalry between empires in the Dominican Republic, 1844-1874,” Diplomatic History 17, pp. 571-599.

March 24: No class

March 29: Civil War

March 31: Reconstruction

III. Looking Ahead

April 5: 1876 and Beyond

April 7. No class

April 12: Imperialism

April 14: Progressivism

April 19. World War I

April 21: Postwar World

May 3: Depression

May 5: World War II

May 10, 12: Group Presentations

May 10–US and the World, Presidential Power

May 12–Economy and Daily Life, Race in American Society

May 17: Review

Learning objectives for this course include: (1) ability to read and interpret key historical sources; (2) ability to determine how important themes in U.S. history change over time; (3) ability to present key historical arguments orally. Item (1) will occur throughout the course; item (2) will occur in the midterm and final examination; item (3) will occur in the group presentation.

The faculty and administration of Brooklyn College support an environment free from cheating and plagiarism. Each student is responsible for being aware of what constitutes cheating and plagiarism and for avoiding both. The complete text of the CUNY Academic Integrity Policy and the Brooklyn College procedure for implementing that policy can be found at this site: http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/policies. If a faculty member suspects a violation of academic integrity and, upon investigation, confirms that violation, or if the student admits the violation, the faculty member MUST report the violation.

In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services. Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the Center for Student Disability Services please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her.

State law regarding non-attendance because of religious beliefs can be found on p. 56 in the Bulletin.

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