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Prof. Alex Kocol's CampusGuides

These guides are meant to function concurrently with courses taught by Prof. Kocol.

Welcome to History 117: Survey of Early American History (1550-1877)


Declaration of Independence (1819), by John Trumbull

"I have been informed that one of greatest talents of a Painter, is a capacity to comprehend a large space, and to proportion all his figures to it.  Truth, Nature, Fact, should be your sole guide. Let not our Posterity be deluded by fictions under pretence of poetical or graphical Licenses."

                                                                                                      -From John Adams to John Trumbull, 18 March 1817



Course Summary

Our objective is to survey American history from the early colonial period through Reconstruction.  Students will examine the development of the English colonies in North America, through the Revolutionary War, and their independence from the British Empire.  An analysis of the critical period will explore the processes which led to the ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  As we turn to examine the early republic, an assessment of the forces which shaped the young nation—such as Jeffersonian and Jacksonian notions of democracy, westward expansion, as well as the proliferation of slavery—will follow.  The course will culminate in an analysis of the Civil War and Reconstruction periods.  Students will be expected to demonstrate a written understanding of the critical factors which contributed to the emergence of the United States and helped shape her national identity prior to the 20th Century.



"Upon the whole, if We allow two thirds of the People to have been with Us in the revolution, is not the Allowance ample? Are not too thirds of the Nation, now with the Administration? Divided We ever have been and ever must be. Two thirds always had and will have more difficulty to Struggle with the one third, than with all our foreign Enemies."

                                                                                                       - John Adams,1813

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