US History to 1865

Syllabus for HIST 405W: US History to 1865
University of New Hampshire, Manchester
Fall 2015


Course Dates: 31 Aug. – 9 Dec.
Class Meetings: M & W, 3-4:30 p
Instructor: Prof. J. Parr

Course Description: This course covers American history from the early era of European discovery to the mid-19th century. Emphasizes the interactions of European, Native American, and African peoples; the separation of the English colonies from Great Britain; and the establishment and early history of the United States. Writing intensive.

How to Read for History: Reading for history involves understanding the arguments presented, the evidence, and how the readings fit into the greater context of what we are studying. You should have a grasp of key names, events, etc, but you are not expected to memorize fine details. The reading load is intense, but you can do it!

Required Readings: There are six required books for this course, along with occasional supplementary readings posted on Blackboard. We will read all of these books. They are all available through the bookstore or third-party sources. Late receipt of books will not be grounds for a waiver of the late work policy. Please plan accordingly.


Mark Schaller & Robert Schulzinger, Reading American Horizons: US History in a Global Context, Vol. 1 to 1877 (Oxford, 2012). 

Sheila L. Skemp, The Making of a Patriot Benjamin Franklin at the Cockpit (Oxford, 2013). 

James D. Rice, Bacon’s Rebellion and the Transformation of Early America (Oxford, 2013).

Stephanie Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery (Harvard, 2008). 

Susan Branson, Dangerous to Know (Pennsylvania, 2011). 

James Oakes, The Radical & the Republican (W.W. Norton, 2008). 

For students who want some additional background reading, there is an optional free textbook available at

Class Topics and Assignments

Follow this timetable and come to class, having completed the assigned reading indicated for that day. I strongly encourage bringing the books for the other assigned reading with you on the dates they are assigned, so that you can have them available for consultation during discussion. In addition to the readings from our assigned textbooks, we may have occasional supplementary readings posted to Blackboard.

Periodically, you will also need to listen to some episodes from The Ben Franklin’s World podcast. The episodes can be found at


Date Topic Assignments
31 Aug
2 Sept
Encounters in the Atlantic World Reading American Horizons, Ch. 1; Begin reading Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 1

7 Sept
9 Sept
European Settlement Reading American Horizons, Ch. 2; New Spain Primary Source Packet [on Bb – English versions only]

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 2

14 Sept
Servitude and Slavery Reading American Horizons, Ch. 3
16 Sept
Discussion: Saltwater Slavery Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery due today [entire]; Begin Reading Rice, Tales from a Revolution
21 Sept
The More Things Change… Reading American Horizons, Ch. 4

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 4

23 Sept
Witch Hysteria On UMKC’s Salem Witch Trials (link on Bb): Linder’s Overview, Mather’s Memorable Provinces, Examinations

Bonus Activity: Play “You’re Accused.”

Saltwater Slavery Paper Due: This is your first of 5 chances to write your three papers. It is due at the beginning of class.

28 Sept
Discussion: Tales from a Revolution Rice, Tales from a Revolution [entire]
30 Sept
The Great Awakening Reading: See Bb; Begin Reading The Making of a Patriot
5 Oct
Refinement Bushman essay, The Wilson Quarterly [on Bb]
7 Oct
Seven Years War Tales from a Revolution Paper Due: This is your second of 5 chances to write your three papers. It is due at the beginning of class. If you chose not to write this paper, you will have to write on the next three books.
12 Oct
14 Oct
Imperial Crisis Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 6


Please listen to Ben Franklin’s World Bonus Episode: The Stamp Act Riots

19 Oct
American Revolution Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 7

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 5

21 Oct
The British Perspective Guest Speaker: Dr. Chris Minty [via Skype]


Please prepare 2-3 thoughtful questions for him.

Please listen to Ben Franklin’s World, Episode 41: Canada and the American Revolution

26 Oct
Discussion: The Making of a Patriot Reading:

Skemp, The Making of a Patriot [entire] [start reading Dangerous to Know]

28 Oct
A New Nation Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Chs. 8 & 9

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 6


Primary Source Analysis 1 is due at the beginning of class.

2 Nov
Debating the Constitution Reading:

Articles of Confederation, Constitution, Excerpts from the Federalist Papers [on Bb]


Please listen to Ben Franklin’s World: Episode 18: Our Declaration

4 Nov
Discussion: Dangerous to Know Reading:

Branson, Dangerous to Know

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 7


The Making of a Patriot paper is due at the beginning of class. If you have not yet written a paper, you should plan to write this paper.

9 Nov

Please listen to Ben Franklin’s World, Episode 12: True Yankees

11 Nov
16 Nov
The New Economy Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 10; Begin reading Oakes, The Radical and the Republican

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 8

18 Nov
Growing Pains Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 11

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 9


Primary Source analysis 2 is due at the beginning of class.

23 Nov
Discussion: The Radical and the Republican Reading:

Oakes, The Radical and the Republican (entire)


The Dangerous to Know paper is due at the beginning of class. If you have not yet written 2 papers, you should write this paper.

25 Nov
30 Nov
Religion and Reform Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 12

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 10-12

Assignment: Please listen to Ben Franklin’s World Episode 43: Rum Maniacs

2 Dec
A House Dividing Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 13

Secession documents [on Blackboard]

7 Dec
The Civil War Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 14

Optional: American Yawp, Ch. 14


The Radical and the Republican paper is due at the beginning of class. If you have not yet written 3 papers, you should write this paper.

9 Dec
Reconstruction Reading:

Reading American Horizons, Ch. 15

Optional: American Horizons, Ch. 15


Primary Source Analysis 3 is due at the beginning of class.

Assignment Descriptions:

Participation: Classes are interactive and centered on discussion. You are expected to come prepared, with the reading done, and to participate in each class meeting, and to make at least a few meaningful contributions per course. Pleased bring the readings with you to class each day. Habitual tardiness, absence and/or disruptive behavior (including texting) will negatively affect this part of the grade.

Papers: You will have three 1000-word papers due over the course of the term, based on the books we are reading for class. You should write on three (your choice) of the five monographs. Only three will be accepted for credit. The prompts will be distributed in advance of the due date. Papers should include a clear thesis statement or argument, and avoid summarization or book reports. Deadlines appear in the topic and assignment schedule.

The papers should be double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font. (i.e. No comic sans) They should use specific examples from the reading to support your points. You may use APA, MLA, or Chicago formatting for this course, but citations must be applied correctly. Citation is required for any content that is quoted, paraphrased, or material that is not common knowledge. A general guideline for “common knowledge” is that it can be found in at least 3 other sources. You must use the assigned texts and only the assigned texts in  your response. No outside sources may be used.

Primary Source Analyses: You will have three primary source analyses. You should find a primary source related to a topic we have covered in class, beyond those assigned in our reader, and write a 500-word analysis that does the following: 1.) describes what the source is about, 2.) who the creator(s) is/are, and discusses (to the best of your ability what their motivation was for creating it 3.) How the source contributes to your understanding of the topic.  These analysis should follow the same formatting as papers.

On both the Primary Source Analyses and Response Papers, You should avoid using first person, or phrases like “I feel.” Focus on showing me your thought process.

Exams: There are no exams in this course.

Grades: The assignments will be weighted as follows:

Assignments Percentage
Participation 20%
Paper 1 15%
Paper 2 15%
Paper 3 20%
Primary Source Analyses 30% (10% each)

Class Expectations:

Please review the expectations and assignments carefully. Students are responsible for knowing and adhering to the conditions of the syllabus.

Academic Integrity: Students are expected to know and adhere with all UNHM policies concerning academic honesty. You should submit only your own work. Work may not be recycled from other courses. Students who are uncertain about citation practices should seek assistance from the Writing Center or Library Staff. Not knowing will not be considered a valid excuse for improper citation.

Checking email: You should get in the habit of  checking your email regularly, and ensuring that your Blackboard profile is linked to an email account you use. I sent announcements, assignments, and other course materials via email. Students are responsible for knowing the contents of those emails. Please note that due to federal privacy laws and institutional policies, I cannot discuss grades over email.

MyCourses: Please make sure that you access MyCourses regularly, to check for announcements.

Attendance: Attendance is required for this course. In the event you are unavoidably absent, it is your responsibility to get the notes from a classmate, then follow up with me if you have specific questions. Absent students are still responsible for timely submission of the work they missed. Absence will not be grounds for an automatic excusal of the late policy. Habitual absence and/or unpreparedness will negatively affect your grade.

Technology Use: Phone calls, texting, and web surfing are disruptive and disrespectful to your professors and fellow students, and are not permitted in class. Studies have also shown that students who use laptops in class tend to be distracted, miss important material, and earn lower grades. As such, I only permit the use of laptops and tablets for students who have a college-sanctioned accommodation, or who are serving as an official note taker. Phones should remain off and away during class, except in extenuating circumstances. If you are an emergency first responder or caretaker, you may have your cell on vibrate, but you must sit near the door and step outside to take the call. Students who violate this policy will lose credit for the day’s participation, and the instructor reserves the right to dock the final grades of repeated offenders by a half grade. Due to privacy concerns, no audio or video recordings can be made of the class. No exceptions.

Late Assignment Policy: Students are responsible for making sure they understand all expectations and keep track of deadlines. Each student is eligible for a one-time 24-hour, no questions asked grace period on one written assignment. You need to email me before the assignment is due to indicate that you are using your 1 late pass. After that, assignments will be accepted up to three days (including weekends) after the original due date for a 1/2 grade penalty for each day late. Waivers of the late penalty are only considered under extenuating circumstances, such as a hospitalization. I reserve the right to ask for documentation.

Incompletes: Incompletes are awarded only for extenuating circumstances that are beyond the student’s control. I reserve the right to ask for documentation.

Classroom Citizenship: The classroom is a professional environment. Uncivil conduct towards other students or the professor is a violation of the student code of conduct and will not be tolerated. Please refrain from texting, side conversations, and any other behaviors that may detract from the learning environment for your classmates. As a courtesy to all, please do your utmost to arrive to class on time. Repeated violation of this expectation will negatively affect your participation grade. Please note that the use of e-cigarettes during class is prohibited. Due to nut allergies, please refrain from eating snacks containing nuts.

Communication: Email is the fastest way to reach me. I respond to all messages within 24 hours of receipt, Monday through Friday. I check email occasionally on weekends, but may not respond quite as quickly. Please allow sufficient time for me to respond before emailing again. When emailing me, kindly use a subject heading that indicates which class you are email me about, and a salutation (i.e. Dear Professor Parr, not Hey). Emails should maintain a professional tone. If you’re feeling upset, or anxious, it’s often a good idea to hold off on email until you’re feeling better.

Grades: Most assignments will be graded within two weeks. As a general rule, grades are only changed in the event of a mathematical error. When graded assignments are returned, please take the time to read your feedback before coming to me with questions or concerns about grades. If you still have concerns about your grade after reading your feedback, please write me a memo, which includes a paragraph-length response that directly addresses each of your concerns raised by your feedback, using the assignment guidelines, and explaining why it merits a re-grade. I will take your concerns seriously, but there are no guarantees that your grade will be changed, and all decisions are final. Please note: I can only assign grades based on the quality of the final product, and cannot take effort, life circumstances or other factors into consideration. If you are unclear on the expectations for an assignment, it is your responsibility to ask for clarification in advance of the assignment’s deadline. You should bring any concerns about your grade to my attention within a week of receiving the graded paper back. Queries made thereafter will not be entertained.

Disability Support Services Statement: UHNM provides appropriate, reasonable accommodations to students who have documented learning, physical, cognitive, or psychiatric disabilities that may affect their ability to participate in course activities or to meet class requirements. Students with disabilities are encouraged to meet with the course instructor. All such conversations are confidential. To receive accommodations, students must contact UNHM’s disability services. Coordinator Jenessa Zurek may be reached at or (603) 641-4383. Please note that only students with faculty letters from the Disability Services are eligible to receive accommodations. Accommodations are not retroactive.