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HISTORY 1301: U.S.

Section 008, T Th 9:30-10:45am.
Room: JO 4.614

Instructor: Teaching Assistant:

Dr. Evelyn Montgomery Jack Potwarka
Office: JO 5.608A Office: JO 5.410D
Email: evelyn@utdallas.edu Email:
Office Hours: Mon. 10-11, Tues. Office Hours: Thursday 8:30-9:30, 10:45-
10:45- 11:45, and by appointment 11:45, and by appointment
Phone: 972-883-2186

This course will examine American history from the period prior to the arrival of
Europeans through the end of the Civil War in 1865. The focus of this examination will
be the repeated collisions of peoples and ideas in the ongoing struggle to build a unified
nation based on the vital but complex principles of freedom and equality. This Course
fulfills one half of the Texas legislative requirements for six hours in American history.

The next section explains more fully the thing you most need to know about this course:
To get a good grade, you must READ the assigned readings, LISTEN to my lectures,
THINK about what you hear and read, and develop the ability to EVALUATE the
If you don’t read, don’t come to class, won’t think and insist on forming absolutely no
opinion about the material…..you can guess the rest.

Course Goals

1. Learn about the main historical events important to the development of the United
States up to the year 1865.

2. Gain insight into how historians create a thesis, a narrative, which explains the events
of the past, as documented in historical evidence. In other words, create a “big picture”
explaining the meaning of events in history that may seem like “one damned thing after

3. Improve reading and writing skills to understand the arguments and key information
when reading and to be able to accurately convey your own knowledge and ideas in

The criteria for evaluating all writing assignments in this course will be based on these
three goals. When reading your work and deciding what grade it deserves, the instructor
and teaching assistants will ask ourselves the following questions:
1. Does the student demonstrate knowledge of the historic events relative to the subject
under discussion?
How to get a good grade-mention the events that affected the subject of your
writing, and make it clear you know what happened, when it happened, and why
it is important.
2. Can the student offer a good explanation of what these events tell us about what was
going on in the past?
How to get a good grade -Interpret the historic events. Identify connections
between them. Offer a thesis that explains them. This is where you bring your
own ideas forward, expanding upon what you have learned. Here is a small
example. If you write about three violent slave rebellion taking place in the
location and time period you are discussing, your interpretation might be that the
slaves were unhappy with their situation, they had a growing desire to be free, and
they had become willing to commit violence and risk death to gain freedom.
3. Does this written work make it clear that the student has read the assigned readings,
listened in class, and gained knowledge?
How to get a good grade - Aside from the obvious tactic of reading and coming to
class and listening to me, demonstrate what you know by writing about it. Discuss
important details of what you read as well as the general idea addressed by the
writing or class lecture.
4. Does the student’s writing effectively communicate all of the above?
How to get a good grade - Follow all instructions given in the assignments. Take
the time to write carefully and clearly. Revise. Proofread. Seek help from the
instructor, the teaching assistant, or the writing center. The instructor and the
teaching assistant are available to review rough drafts and tell you how to
improve them, either in our offices during office hours or via email.

My general advise for How to get a good grade is to come to class, listen, read all
assignments, take exams and turn in papers on time, and take advantage of the available

Course Rules

Instructor reserves the right to alter any part of this syllabus as needed. Students will
receive written notice of any changes.

Required Texts: The following texts are required and are available at the university
bookstore as well as Off Campus Books.
Documents to Accompany America’s History, 5th ed. Vol. 1: to 1877, edited by Melvin
The Cartoon History of the United States by Larry Gonick
The Autobiography, by Benjamin Franklin
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs

Grade Structure: The final grade will be determined by the following assignments.
Exam One 20%
Exam Two 25%
Writing Assignment 1 20%
Writing Assignment 2 25%
Quiz average 10%

Exams: Exams will be given at midterm and during the final exam period. Each will
count for 20% of the final grade. Exams will not be cumulative, though the student
should be aware that some ideas might carry over from the first half of the course to the
second. Exams will include short answer questions (answered with one to three
sentences) and longer essay questions. Exams should be taken on the day they are
scheduled. Make-up exams will only be given if the exam was missed for a very good
reason as determined by the instructor. Make-up exams are administered by the teaching
assistant and the student must arrange a mutually agreeable time for that. It should be
within one week of the original exam except by permission of the instructor.

Writing Assignments: These papers are to be 5 pages (typed, double-spaced) in length

and will be based on the texts on Benjamin Franklin and Harriet Jacobs. They will be
graded according to the criteria listed above. Papers are due on the due date, unless the
instructor allows an extension due to serious extenuating circumstances for the student.
Without such an extension, late papers will lose one full grade per day late. The
instructions for each paper will be distributed two weeks before the due date.
For each writing assignment, you are required to submit a list of ideas you will discuss in
the paper, as specified in the writing assignment. These will be submitted by email and
we will respond with comments. You receive 5 free points on the paper for doing this,
you lose 5 for not doing it.

Quizzes: Will be given randomly in class and will cover recent and lectures. They will
ask questions about what happened in the reading, about the lectures, about the two
together, because frankly, their purpose is to make students keep up with the reading,
listening and thinking. Ten quizzes will be counted toward the final grade, but at least
twelve quizzes will be given, so only the top ten are counted. For this reason, you may
not make up for a missed quiz in any way. Quizzes may be given at the beginning or end
of class. Any student who arrives late or leaves early and therefore misses a quiz, misses
the quiz.

All assignments must be completed in order to pass the course. This means that a student
with an average of 66 or higher who did not turn in one of the papers, or failed to take an
exam, or took less than eight quizzes, will fail the course.

Attendance: Will be taken and recorded. Three unexcused absences reduce the final grade
by one full grade. Excused absences should be for serious, documented reasons, and the
instructor decides what qualifies as serious. It is also required that you be on time and
stay until the end of class, and repeated failure to do so (more than three times) will be
counted as an absence.

Returned Assignments: Keep all of the graded assignments returned to you. Mistakes do
happen, even in important activities like recording grades. If you ever need to dispute my
records of your grades, you must have the original graded assignment as proof or the
grade I have will stand. No exceptions.

Plagiarism and cheating: Don’t!

Cheating includes acts such as copying from another student’s paper, submitting a paper
you did not write yourself, or using notes during an exam. Plagiarism is the use of other
people’s words or ideas in your own writing without giving them credit. We will discuss
how to avoid doing this when the first paper is assigned.
Any instances of such behavior will be dealt with according to university procedures.
Please understand that your instructor has no tolerance for such behavior.

Blue books for exams: Answers for the exams will be written in blue books, which are
available at the university book store and Off Campus Books. Each student must,
therefore, purchase two blue books since we have two exams. These blue books will be
collected ahead of time and distributed on the exam day. In order to insure that each
student contributes two blue books to my collection, each student must donate their two
blue books in exchange for their graded first writing assignment.

Email communications: Email addresses have been provided for both the instructor and
the teaching assistant, and students are encouraged to use them when needed. University
regulations now state that all communication must use the student’s UTD email account.
If you send us questions from another account, we are not allowed to answer them, so use
your UTD account. The Department of Information Resources at U.T. Dallas provides a
method for students to forward email from other accounts to their U.T. Dallas address
and have their U.T. Dallas mail sent on to other accounts. Students may go to the
following URL to establish or maintain their official U.T. Dallas computer

Grievances: Any student who has a concern or dispute regarding grading, lectures, fair
treatment of students, the rules in this syllabus or any other issue related to the class
should speak to the instructor first (or the teaching assistant about his or her grading). If
we cannot resolve the grievance this way, there are official policies established for doing
so. Students should refer to the catalogue regarding these policies.

Physically disabled students: If any student has a disability that will affect their
performance in class or requires special accommodation, they should follow the
procedures stated in the UTD catalog. Please call the Office of Disability Services at 972-
883-6104 for assistance.

School closings: If class will be cancelled due to an official university closing, that
information will be posted on the university web page.

Schedule of Lectures and Readings

Page numbers of readings refer to Cartoon History of the United States and Documents to
Accompany America’s History.

Date Lecture Topic Cartoon Documents

Aug.18(Th) Introduction to Course none none

Beginning American History

Aug. 23(T) Southwestern Indians none 1-2,11-12

Aug. 25(Th) Columbus’ Voyages 1-5 3-4, 14-15

Aug.30(T) The Spanish in the Southwest none 23-28

Sept. 1(Th) Virginia and New England 7-31 16-22, 28-31, 36-50

Sept. 6(T) Slavery in a Society with Slaves 41-51 32-34,56-68

Sept. 8(Th) The Regions of Colonial America 32-40 75-79

By Sept. 13, read pp. 15-104 in The Autobiography, by Benjamin Franklin

Sept. 13(T) The Changing Colonies and International 52-61 80-94
Sept. 15(Th) War, "Intolerable Acts" and the 62-67 95-107, 114-115
Revolutionary Spirit

By Sept. 20, read pp. 104-180 in The Autobiography, by Benjamin Franklin

Sept. 20(T) The Founding Fathers and the Creation 68-81 108-113, 122-125, 149-151
of the Declaration of Independence
Sept. 22(Th) Benjamin Franklin none none
Sept.27(T) The Revolution and Shay's Rebellion 82-99 126-144, 152-154
Sept. 29(Th) Constitution and Federalists 100-108 155-157

Oct. 4(T) Arts and Culture in the Young Nation none none
Oct. 6(Th) MIDTERM EXAM none none

Oct. 11(T) Jefferson, Madison, the War of 1812 117-128 171-172, 184-195,255-260
Oct. 13(Th) Jackson, His Friends, His Enemies 129-142 260-266

Oct. 18(T) The Cherokee and the Trail of Tears none none
Oct. 20(Th) Slavery in a Slave Society-Plantation Life 143-145 206-219

By Oct. 25, read pp. 1-117 in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs
Oct. 25(T) Industrialization, the World Economy none 229-240
and American Cities
Oct. 27(Th) The Changing American Family none none

By Nov. 1, read pp. 117-228 in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs
Nov. 1(T) Labor and Urban Politics, Abolitionism 146-158 220-255, 266-273, 279-284
Nov 3(Th) The Beecher Sisters: Reforming the none none
Home and the Nation

Nov. 8(T) The Early Women’s Rights Movement none 275-279, 285-287
Nov.10(Th) The Frontier none 289-293

Nov. 15(T) Compromise of 1850 and the Whigs 159-165 293-300

Nov. 17(Th) Republicans, Lincoln, the South Seceedes 300-307

Nov. 20(T) The Civil War 171-187 315-339

Nov. 24(Th) Thanksgiving-No Class none none

Dec. 1(Th) Final Exam-8:00 am