This is your syllabus for History 1377.  Check your class schedule to figure out the time and room where we will meet.  

The three themes that we will focus on in the course of studying the following topics are: the creation of an American identity; the establishment of a distinctive American governance; and, the struggle over slavery in midst of territorial expansion.

The topics that we will study are listed below.

Strangers in a Strange Land: The Age of Discovery and the first European settlements in the Americas;

A multicultural meeting: Indians, Europeans, and Africans;

From colonies to communities: growth and diversity in the British North American colonies;

Empire: the colonies as part of the British Empire, hints about the nature of the dissent to come;

The American Revolution, new concepts of people’s power;

Crafting a blueprint for enduring national governance: the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution;

A new government, a new nation, and a new politics: Hamilton’s Financial Plan and the creation of the Two Party System;

Nationalism and the emerging sectional controversy: the War of 1812 and the Compromise of 1820;

One among the next generation: Andrew Jackson and the Age of Jackson;

Early reform movements: Social and intellectual developments in the early nineteenth century including abolitionism;

Manifest Destiny and the growing sectional divide; Tyler and Polk;

Preservation or secession: the Old South, southern nationalism, and the Civil War.

Possibilities denied: Reconstruction.  



You will be assigned two four page papers.  Each paper will focus on one of the major themes of the class.  The two papers will constitute 40% of the student’s grade.   A typical paper assignment will require the student to evaluate an argument or make one of their own.  All papers must be completely free of punctuation and spelling errors.  They must be on regular 8.5 by 11 inch paper, double-spaced, with standard one inch margins all around, and in 12 point font.  Papers will be turned in through  You will need a course number and enrollment key that are unique to your class in order to submit your papers for review.  

The students will also take two examinations which will be worth 40% of the student’s grade.  All questions will be either short answer or essay questions.  The final will be a comprehensive exam but it will emphasize material in the latter half of the course.  Major portions of both exams will be written outside of class. 

You will also have a series of in-class assignments, group exercises, short essays, and quizzes that will test your knowledge of the extra reading material and the lectures.  These assignments will constitute 10% of the grade.  You will have one quiz each week on Friday.    

You must also enroll and participate in a conversation about the material.  10% of your grade will be determined by the quality of submissions in the on-line packback conversations.  You will receive specific login information for packback for your class.  

Your final numeric grade will be translated to a letter grade in keeping with standard UH policy. 


I will hold office hours each week at a time yet to be determined.  I also invite you to call, text, or email me.  My phone number is 832.466.4201; my email address is  


At the beginning of each class I will offer you a brief outline of that day's material, guide the class through a discussion, and then lecture.  

I do not allow the use of computers in class.  (If you are curious about the justification for such a policy take a look at some of the literature on computer use in the classroom.  Computers actually diminish students' ability to learn the material and their use distracts other students.)  


I will not tolerate academic dishonesty in this class.  If you have questions about what constitutes academic dishonesty please consult the University of Houston Academic Honesty Policy which appears in each edition of the Student Handbook and online at . Each student is responsible for knowing the Academic Honesty Policy.  In particular, know what constitutes plagiarism. 


We will read the following books this semester:

Martin et al., America and Its Peoples, Volume 1, fifth edition.   America and Its Peoples is your textbook.  Be careful and only buy the version of the text that includes the first half of U.S. history unless your interest in U.S. history runs past 1877.  

Quinn, A New World: An Epic of Colonial America from the Founding of Jamestown to the Fall of Quebec.  We will read the first nine chapters.  You will find a reading guide for this book on the Extra Readings tab.  

Wright, God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State. You will find a reading guide for this book on the Extra Readings tab. 

Goodheart, 1861: The Civil War Awakening.  You will find a reading guide for 1861 on the Extra Readings tab.  

You will also have a reading selection for about half of the classes.  Almost all of these reading selections that will be covered in class can be found under the Extra Readings tab on the home page of this website but some will be emailed to you.   



Here is a schedule that shows the topics, readings, paper assignments, and exams.  Be advised that I reserve the right to change this schedule as needed.  Changes will be announced only in class.    

January 14: Introduction to the professor and the class; the Age of Discovery part 1; read America and Its Peoples, Chapter 1. Start reading A New World.  

January 16: the Age of Discovery part 2; exploring the concept of history. Read “Causation”

January 18: the Columbian Exchange part 1. Read  "The World the Indians Made in North America and Mesoamerica"

January 21: We will not have class this day in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

January 23: the Columbian Exchange part 2; the English arrive in the New World. read America and Its Peoples, Chapter 2.  Read “The Spanish in the North”

January 25: the Chesapeake Bay Colonies part 1: Jamestown, a toehold in the New World.  Read “The Lost Colony”

January 28: the Chesapeake Bay Colonies part 2: religious conflict in the Mother Country, Maryland, and Montezuma's revenge. Read “The First Representative Assembly in the British North American Colonies”

January 30: Puritanism and settling New England as a City upon a Hill.

February 1: the Chesapeake Bay Colonies, 1650-1750 part 1. America and Its Peoples, Chapter 3. First paper, having to do with comparing and contrasting the New England and Chesapeake Bay colonies, assigned.  

February 4: the Chesapeake Bay Colonies, 1650-1750 part 2.  

February 6: slavery and the Carolinas. 

February 8: the economies, class structures, and social structures in the New England and Chesapeake Bay colonies. 

February 11: revolutions in trade, travel, and news.   

February 13: Awakenings: intellectual and spiritual.  

February 15: flex day. 

February 18: the British Empire: salutory neglect; the concept of contingency.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 4.  

February 20: the Seven Years War and challenges ruling a swollen empire.  first paper due.  finish A New World.  

February 22: the Revolutionary War part 1. America and Its Peoples Chapters 5 and 6.  Assign the take home portion of the midterm exam.  

February 25: the Declaration of Independence and governments of inherent authority, the radicalism of the American Revolution. take the in-class portion of the midterm exam.  Start reading God Save Texas.  

February 27: More on governments of inherent authority.  

March 1: flex day. 

March 4: the Articles of Confederation and the problems of the era.  

March 6: the Constitution of 1787 part 1: its structure and as a product of compromises.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 7. take-home portion of the midterm exam due.  

March 8: the Constitution of 1787, part 2: federalism and the furtherance of republicanism.  

March 11, 13, and 15: We will not have class. Spring Break!

March 18: the struggle for Ratification.  

March 20: a new nation: the Federalists and new institutions and the emergence of parties.  

March 22: Jefferson and the Democrat-Republicans.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 8. 

March 25. the War of 1812: the Second American Revolution and the blossoming of nationalism. 

March 27: the Panic of 1819, the presidency of Monroe, and the emergence of sectionalism.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 9. 

March 29. flex day. 

April 1: the Age of Jackson. America and Its Peoples, Chapter 10.    

April 3: reform in antebellum America: abolitionism and much more.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 11.  finish God Save Texas.  Begin reading 1861. Second paper, having to do with American governance, is assigned.

April 5: the Lone Star Nation: Texas. America and Its Peoples, Chapter 13. 

April 8: Polk and Manifest Destiny; war with Mexico. 

April 10: the West. 

April 12: crisis and compromise in 1850.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 14.  

April 15: the evolving North in 1850.  America and Its Peoples, Chapter 12. 

April 17: the Old South in 1850. Your second paper is due in class.

April 19: the tragedy of Douglas and the election of 1852.    

April 22: the bonds of union fray: the scorpion's sting and Southern nationalism. 

April 24: the Rail-splitter: Lincoln. 

Aprl 26: the eve of war and the election of 1860: irreconcilable differences and the emergence of the Republican Party and Lincoln. America and Its Peoples, Chapter 15.  finish 1861.  

April 29: the irrepressible conflict: the Civil War.  

FINAL EXAM.  Your final exam is on either May 6th or May 8th depending upon when your class meets.    

If your class meets MWF 9 a.m.-10 a.m. then your final exam is on  Monday, May 6th, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in our classroom.

If your class meets MWF 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. then your final exam period is on Wednesday, May 8th, from 11 a.m - 2 p.m. in our classroom.  

Be advised that a major portion of the final exam will be assigned on the last day of class and the students will email their answers to the professor but a portion of the exam will be taken in class during the normal final exam period scheduled for your class.  


Counseling and psychological services are readily available for you at the University of Houston.  The Counseling and Psychological Services Program, CAPS, can help you if you are having difficulties managing stress, adjusting to college, or feeling sad and hopeless. You can reach CAPS by calling 713.743.5454 at any time to arrange routine appointments for yourself or anyone you know who is in crisis.  There is also a less formal, walk-in process that is called the Let's Talk program for which there are drop-in consultation services at convenient locations and hours around campus with little or no wait.   You can learn more about CAPS by visiting the website at   More about the Let's Talk program can be found at

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