This course will address the social, political, cultural, and economic changes in North America from before Columbus’s arrival in the Americas in 1492 through the Civil War. The course will consider prominent people, issues, events, and debates that led to the nation’s founding as well as its near fracture. While attention will be paid to well-known individuals and events, we will also look to more obscure forces that have influenced American history. Such an extensive scope will provide a more complete sense of the pre-colonial and colonial periods, the building of the nation, trials during the early 1800s, and ultimately the rift that led to the Civil War. The readings, writings, and discussions are meant to sharpen your ability to: think, read, and write critically; analyze and evaluate data to form opinions; engage in discussion and debate; and understand American history.
This course meets the All-University Core Curriculum (AUCC) requirements for Historical Perspectives (Category 3D) and is approved under gtPathways in the content area of History (GT-HI1).
I earned my PhD at the University of Colorado at Boulder where I studied American history with an emphasis on environmental history and the history of the American West. My approach to teaching is pretty straightforward. Historians study the past so that we can achieve some sort of “leverage on the moment.” History does not repeat itself, but there are certainly echoes, and as we look at the past we try to identify key moments that can help us understand the present. That observation informs my approach in both the residential and virtual classroom.