North Island College Winter 2014

Meeting Times:    M, W. 11:30 am - 12:50 pm

Meeting Place:    DIS 205 (CVC); CWG 211 (CR); CEN 210 (PA); PH 104 (PH); UCL

Instructor: Dan Hinman-Smith

Office:  Village G6

Office Hours:  Tues. 11:30 am -1:00 pm and 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm (or by appointment)

Office Phone: 334-5000, Extension 4024

Home Phone:   250-336-0238 (Do not hesitate to call with course-related questions).

Web-Sites: http://www.misterdann.com/contentspostcivilwarus.htm (for all the main course resources ) and also https://portal.nic.bc.ca/ (for the Blackboard site and its Discussion Forums)

E-Mail: dan.hinmansmith@nic.bc.ca

Course Description

This course addresses the political, economic and social development of the American republic from the end of Reconstruction to the present day.  Major themes will include urbanization, western settlement, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War and rise to Super Power Status, and Civil Rights.

Tentative Class Schedule

Week 1

Monday, January 6

a)  Course Introduction

b)  Statue Of Liberty

Wednesday, January 8

a)  Video: "Reconstruction: The Second Civil War" [2004]

Reading Assignment:

Week 2

Monday, January 13 

a)  Discussion: Gettysburg Address -- 150 Years Later

b)  Lecture: The South -- The Burdens Of History (1877-1917)

Reading Assignment:

Wednesday, January 15 

a)  Introduce Monuments Assignment

b)  Discussion: How The West Was Won Or Lost

c)  Lecture:  The West -- Visions Of Vanishing Frontiers And Vanishing Races (1865-1917)

Reading Assignment:

Week 3

Monday, January 20 

a)  Discussion: Erik Larson, Devil In The White City

b)  Finish Slides:  The West -- Visions Of Vanishing Frontiers And Vanishing Races (1865-1917)

c)  [If Time] Video Clips From "The West"

Reading Assignment:

Wednesday, January 22   

a)  Discussion: The Water Cure And The 1896 Presidential Campaign

b)  Slides:  Turn Of The Century Expositions

c)  Lecture: "You May Fire When Ready Gridley": America And The World (1890-1917)

Reading Assignment:

Optional Reading Assignment (If you have time):

Week 4

Monday, January 27 

a)  Discussion: Reforming Their World -- Women In The Progressive Era

b)  Lecture: "To Make The World Safe For Democracy": The Great War

Reading Assignment:

Wednesday, January 29

a)  Discussion: Bill Bryson's 1927

b)  Video:  "Demon Rum" [60 minutes]

Reading Assignment:

Week 5

Monday, February 3 

a)  Lecture: "Waitin' On Roosevelt": The New Deal

Reading Assignment:

Wednesday, February 5

a)  Video: "Riding The Rails" [72 mins., 2003]

Optional Viewing Assignment  [The superb 7-hour "Great Depression" series offers an overview of the 1930s through a series of well-chosen case studies.  If you have the time, watch at least one episode]

Week 6

Monday, February 10 

No Class: Family Day

Wednesday, February 12

a)  Discussion: Monuments

b)  [If Time]:  "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" -- Photography And The Great Depression

***Monuments Assignment Due

***Reading Break: February 17-21 


Week 7

Monday, February 24

No Class: Snow Day

Wednesday, February 26

a)  Course Check-In

b)  Video: "Time Of Fear" [ 60 minutes]

Week 8

Monday, March 3

a)  Discussion: Japanese-American Relocation

b)  Lecture: V Was For Victory -- World War II

Reading Assignment:

Wednesday, March 5

a)  Discussion: The Cuban Missile Crisis 50 Years Later

b)  Video: "Cuban Missile Crisis: Three Men Go To War" [2012, 60 mins.]

Reading Assignment:

Week 9

Monday, March 10 

a)  Lecture: Eyeball To Eyeball -- The Cold War (1945-1989)

b)  Lecture: Joseph McCarthy And Other Delinquents: Post-War Culture (1945-1960)

Wednesday, March 12

a)  Discussion:  Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-1956)

b)  Video:  "Awakenings" [Eyes On The Prize Series]

Reading Assignment:

Week 10

Monday, March 17 

a)  Lecture: "Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed On Freedom": The Civil Rights Movement (1954-1968)

Wednesday, March 19

a)  Discussion: Autobiography Of Malcolm X

b)  Discussion:  Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter From A Birmingham Jail"

c)  Introduce Vietnam War/Iraq War Comparative Grid

Reading Assignment:

Week 11

Monday, March 24

a)  Video:  "Two Days In October " [2005, 90 mins.]

Wednesday, March 26

a)  Lecture: Reflections On The Wall -- The United States And Vietnam (1954-1975)

Week 12

Monday, March 31

a)  Introduce Final Exam

b)  Finish Video:  "Two Days In October " [2005, 90 mins.]

c)  Discussion:  Vietnam/Iraq War Comparison Grid

Wednesday, April 2

a)  Lecture: "The Long National Nightmare": The 1970s And The Crisis Of American Confidence

b)  Lecture:  Morning In America, Again? -- The Reagan Revolution (1981-1989)

***Vietnam/Iraq War Comparison Grid Due

Week 13

Monday, April 7 

a)  Video:  "Bush's War" [2008]

Wednesday, April 9

a)  Discussion:  H. W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945

b)  Exam Review/Preview

Reading Assignment:

Final Exam Date: April 14, 1:00 pm (Tyee 202; CWG 228)


Erik Larson, Devil In The White City  (New York: Vintage, 2004).

Malcolm X, Autobiography Of Malcolm X  (New York: Ballantine, 1987).

H. W. Brands, American Dreams: The United States Since 1945 (New York: Penguin, 2011).






Letter of Introduction


Monuments Assignment


Vietnam War/Iraq War Comparison Grid


Class Participation


Final Exam







a)  Letter of Introduction (1%)

Who are you? Where are you from? What are your interests? Why are you taking this course? Do you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions as we start the course? Write two or three informal paragraphs for the second class of the semester to introduce yourself to me.

b)  Monuments Assignment (25%)

This first-half assignment will ask you to research assorted the history of various American monuments.

c) Vietnam War/Iraq War Comparison Grid (23%)

This second-half assignment will involve comparative analysis of American involvement in these two long wars.

d)  Class Participation (34%)

The class participation grade is a substantial one.   We are a small class and very significant informal discussion with the instructor and fellow students should be possible.  I hope that all face-to-face students will make thoughtful contributions both to in-class seminars and to the written discussion forums, though an excellent discussion grade will still be possible even if you excel in only one of these formats.  On-line students will be expected to make regular written contributions to the discussion forums.  The discussion forums will be located on the HIS 232 Blackboard Learn site.

e)  Final Exam (20%)

The Final exam will consist of a series of short mini-essays upon different significant historical terms from post-Civil War US History

A Note On Plagiarism

Everything that you hand in should be your original work unless otherwise indicated.  Violations of this policy may result in failing an assignment or the course in its entirety.  Please talk to me if you have any uncertainty about what s permitted here. 

Welcome To The Course


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