American Thought to 1865 (3 Introduction to, scholarly commentary on, major documents of American Intellectual history, early colonial period to end of the Civil War.
HIST 463 American Thought to 1865 (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
To offer such a course without some treatment of race, class, and gender diversity would be undesirable indeed, irresponsible. The movements for the abolition of slavery, for women's rights, and for the rights of workers will receive prominent and necessary attention. The history department does not, however, seek to invade the territories of programs and/or departments that are primarily concerned with women and racial or ethnic minorities. This course will cover such material in ways specifically appropriate to the contacts with American-Indian, Asian-American, African-American and Spanish-speaking populations.
This course will focus on documents produced by men and women of various class and ethnic backgrounds who are assumed to have participated actively in the American intellectual tradition. Discussions of the ideas and publications of well-educated individuals will to some extent dominate the content of the proposed course. Thus, for obvious reasons, it must address the historical importance of documents such as Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, and Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. These documents are of unquestionable importance to American intellectual history, but due to constraints of time, it is not always possible to discuss their historical importance as cultural documents in the existing American history courses. A highly literate African-American essayist like Francis Ellen Watkins Harper is also an obvious candidate for inclusion in this course. A less educated person like Anna Murray Douglass, although she was an important and interesting figure, whose life and values merit serious reflection, could hardly have left behind a body of writings. Francis Harper, on the other hand, commented significantly on the ideological movements of her times. The course is admittedly biased in favor of highly literate historical figures, who interacted with the traditions of American thought and writing.
An example of evaluation methods would be: Students will be expected to write a mid-semester and a final examination, and to prepare a written paper outside of class. Graduate students will be expected to draft a potentially publishable article, which may be archival, historiographical, or interpretive.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.