Survey of American History
(offered in 2019-20)
- Covering the period from the Colonial Era through the Civil War and Reconstruction, to the end of the Cold War
Primary sources used throughout
Several short research essays (and other research-based projects) will be assigned throughout the year.
Time may be linear, but History is a circular thing. Composed of past events, it also formed and recorded by the people who lived through them. In this course, we will explore American History in a broad survey approach, with a special eye toward examining the political and societal effects of historical events on our culture, and how those, in turn, affect our perception of that very history.
History best comes alive through the lens of the people who lived it. This personal approach allows students to develop a deeper understanding of what it was like to live in each era as well as understanding the flow of change in the culture, politics, society, and intellectual life of Americans over time. Lively discussion alongside seminar presentations will encourage students to delve into these eras on a deeper level. Students will do the work of historians by decoding primary sources, developing substantiated arguments, and writing solid historical essays. Civics, alongside the structure and history of the U.S. Constitution, will be an important part of the curriculum.
Tindall and Shi's America (the brief one-volume edition). Any edition subsequent to the 5th (1999) will be considered adequate for the purposes of this course. Please email Mr. Boisvert directly for more information on this text.