HIST-181 The U.S. since the Civil War
Spring for 2014-2015
This course traces a few themes in American history from the end of the Civil War through somewhere close to the present day. We will discuss the history of American politics, economy, society, and culture. It is designed as an introductory course, so no prerequisite knowledge about American history (except in the broadest sense) is required. However, historians frequently complain that there is too much history for the brief time we are allotted in each semester, and this course is no exception. Thus, in an attempt to give the course focus, we will be paying special attention to the word “American.” Who did it apply to? Who did it not? What characteristics qualified a person or an idea for the label? What did Americans believe made their community and nation unique?
These are, of course, still relevant questions today. I hope that you will leave this course with a greater understanding of your own experience in the United States.
As in all (good) history courses, this course will not merely present students with timelines to memorize and famous people to identify. Rather, history courses should primarily teach you a way of thinking, and this one will present you with information in lecture and readings, and encourage you to analyze that information in discussions and written assignments. After your time in this course, you will hopefully be equipped to examine evidence critically, to place claims about American history in context, and to understand the ways in which your world is the product of the past.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: