Early American History – Outcomes

Course Description: This course takes students from the Age of Exploration through the Reconstruction Era (1492 – 1877). Students will learn about America’s early history by using online AP and college courses. The information is presented in readings and videos; students will respond with written work including paragraphs, journals and a research paper in which students will give an analysis of how the Civil War changed America. A final exam will be given.

Reading List: Student readings pull from a variety of websites with a focus on primary sources. Christopher Columbus’ journal, Bradford’s History of the Plymouth Plantation, letters between Washington and Madison, treaties, court decisions, speeches (including Washington’s inaugural and farewell speeches and Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”), Federalist Papers, the Constitution, Sage American History by Henry Sage, First Across the Continent by Noah Brooks, and either Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr. or Oregon Trail: Sketches of Prairie and Rocky-Mountain life by Francis Parkman

Students will demonstrate the following abilities:

  • Identify and describe historical phenomena
  • Analyze and interpret historical phenomena
  • Compare and contrast historical phenomena

The following themes are reflected in a comprehensive introductory survey course:

  • The nature of indigenous societies in North America
  • The impact of European discovery and colonization upon indigenous societies. The focus is placed on the British colonies.
  • The origins and nature of slavery and resistance to it
  • Immigration and the history of ethnic minorities
  • The history of the women’s rights movement
  • The development and character of colonial societies
  • British relations with the Atlantic colonies of North America
  • The changing role of religion in American society
  • The causes, events, and consequences of the American Revolution
  • The content of the Constitution and its amendments, and their interpretation by the United States Supreme Court
  • The development and expansion of participatory democracy
  • The growth of and changes in political parties
  • The changing role of government in American life
  • The growth and impact of industry
  • Abolitionism and reform movements
  • Long term democratic trends (immigration and internal migration)
  • The motivations for and character of American expansionism
  • The process of economic growth and development
  • The causes and consequences of conflicts with Native Americans, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War and Reconstruction