Course Syllabus (word document)
Taylor's Office Hours: MWF, 11:00 to Noon
The history of United States has been a paradox
of triumph and tragedy as Americans over three centuries have
continuously confronted each other over the meaning of democracy,
opportunity, justice and equality. Due to its ten week duration,
this course cannot possibly present a detailed examination of
the American historical experience. It will, however, identify
and examine critical periods such as the revolutionary era,
the 1830s, the Civil War and Reconstr¬uction, the era of
industrialization, World War II and the 1960s, when those themes
have been challenged and tested. The challenges continue through
today. However we can take full advantage of our current vantage
point to examine how this nation's past has prepared all of
us in varied ways for our contemporary world. Is the battle
for democracy, justice and equality over? Using a variety of
historians and history sources, we shall try to answer that
question during this quarter.
John M. Murrin, Paul E. Johnson, James M.
McPherson, Gary Gerstle, Emily S. Rosenberg and Norman Rosenberg,
Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American
People (Boston: Thomson/Wadsworth, 2008)
Quintard Taylor, UNITED STATES HISTORY
from 1775 to 2000: A Manual for Students in HSTAA 101
This manual is online at Manual Index
Your course grade is based on a midterm exam (20%), a final
examination (30%) and short papers of 4-5 pages (30% total)
describing and assessing a crucial period in United States history
and the evaluation of your performance in your discussion section
by your teaching assistant (20%). The due date for the papers
will also be determined by your teaching assistant.
Some students will
be unable to take the midterm exam with the rest of the class.
In that case I ask them to take a makeup exam scheduled for
5:00 6:00 p.m. on the last Friday of instruction during the
quarter. The room will be announced later. Since the makeup
exam will be penalized 10 points on a 100 point exercise, all
students should make every effort to take the exam at its scheduled
Those students who
perform poorly on the midterm exam (69 or below) have the option
of writing a book review to offset that grade. Should you choose
to write the review, it can be handed in no later than the Friday
of the tenth week of the term. Please read the page titled Optional
Book Review Assignment in the manual before initiating your
The course grading
procedures are simple. You will be assigned a proportionate
numerical score for your exams, your discussion participation
and your short papers. Your numerical scores will then be averaged
to determine your course grade. Thus if your overall average
is 76, your course grade will be the numerical equivalent of
a "C" in the UW grading system.
I do not issue "incompletes"
to students who by the end of the quarter have not taken an
exam, handed in an assigned paper or otherwise met the course
requirements. If you have not completed all of the course requirements
by the end of exam week, and you have not, by that point, explained
why, your grade will be lowered accordingly.
Week 1: Establishing these United States
Murrin, Chapters 5-6
Taylor, Chapter 1
Week 2: Democracy Expanded, Democracy Tested
Murrin, Chapter 11
Taylor, Chapter 2
Week 3: American Slavery
Murrin, Chapters 9, 13
Taylor, Chapter 3
Week 4: The Civil War and Reconstruction
Murrin, Chapters 15-17
Taylor, Chapter 4
Week 5: Industrializing America
Murrin, Chapter 19
Taylor, Chapter 5
Week 6: Industrialization's Critics
Murrin, Chapter 21
Taylor, Chapter 6
Week 7: The Great Depression and the New Deal
Murrin, Chapter 25
Taylor, Chapter 7
Week 8: World War II and the Cold War World
Murrin, Chapters 26-27
Taylor, Chapter 8
Week 9: The Rise and Decline of Liberalism,
Murrin, Chapters 28-30
Taylor, Chapter 9
Week 10: The United States into the 21st Century
No reading assignment, prepare for the final exam.
Required Short Papers
United States History, 1775-2000
As indicated above each student in HISTAA
101 will write short papers describing and assessing episodes
or events in United States history that reflected one of the
themes of the course, democracy, opportunity, justice and equality.
For example a brief paper comparing 19th Century Irish immigration
and 20th Century Filipino immigration to the United States could
analyze the changing nature of the theme of opportunity for
new Americans. Your paper should not simply "celebrate"
the concept of the United States as a land of opportunity, but
instead critically analyze its meaning for the newcomers and
whether and how the historical experiences of the these immigrants
in the U.S. actually illustrated the opportunity they sought.
Similarly one could take the examples of the 19th Century debates
over women's suffrage or business monopoly or the 20th Century
conflict over affirmative action or federal subsidies to agriculture
(or business) to explore themes of justice or equality. A paper
on Reconstruction or the New Deal could explore the meaning
of democracy in America.
The arguments you advance in your short papers
must be supported by evidence from the textbook, manual and
other scholarly sources in United States history. The due date
for your papers will be determined by your teaching assistant.
Optional Book Review Assignment
United States History, 1775 2000
You have the option of writing a book review
to offset a low midterm exam grade. As with most standard book
"reviews," you will describe the book's major thesis
or argument. But I also request that you follow these guidelines
in your assignment. Remember, collectively they are as important
to your overall review grade as the report on the contents of
- Assess whether you were convinced by the
- Discuss the most important new information
you learned about American history from the book.
- Describe how the book reinforced or challenged
ideas about American history that you have learned from the
assigned readings, my lectures, and the discussions.
- State whether you would recommend the book
to others, and include specific reasons for your decision.
- Your review should be approximately five
typewritten pages, 1,500 words for those of you who use computers.
I recommend that you devote the first three pages to a review
of the book itself and the remaining two pages to respond
to the four guidelines. Please number your pages.
The first page of each review should have
information on the book which appears as follows:
Quintard Taylor, The Forging of a Black Community:
Seattle's Central District from 1870 through the Civil Rights
Era (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1994)
You may choose almost any book on United
States history except the ones that are primarily U.S. history
textbooks. Also not eligible are regularly assigned textbooks
for any other history courses you are currently taking.
You should present your choice either via
email or on a sheet of paper to your teaching assistants by
the eighth Friday of the term. The completed book review should
be handed in 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 1. Unless prior permission
has been granted, no book review will be accepted after the