History 231 is designed as an introduction to U.S. history from pre-contact through the Reconstruction era that followed the Civil War. It is not meant to be a comprehensive survey in which you are taught "all you need to know" but is designed to highlight several important themes loosely organized within a chronological framework. We will be dealing with broad issues: the interaction of diverse Native American, European, and African cultures in the "New World"; the development of the ideology of republicanism and its complex relationship with democracy; the history of labour, free and slave; the territorial expansion of the United States; the struggles of various out-groups to gain full participation in American life. But we will also try to bring history back down to the personal level. How did people create meaning in their own lives? How did they shape their world, and how, in turn, were they shaped by events, by social structure, and by other people? We will approach such questions through a mixture of lecture presentation, class discussion, reading, student research, slide shows, and video.



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