History 1430: History of the U.S. since 1877

                                                  Dr. David F. Krugler             Fall 2009


This course examines the major forces, events, and people which have made American history since the 1870s. The course has four primary goals:


1.      To provide each student with a basic knowledge of US history from the 1870s to the present.

2.      To show how historical events such as the Great Depression and World War II have had differing effects on Americans, and to be flexible in choosing the “major forces, events, and people” we study.

3.      To demonstrate why history is not an exact or objective science, but rather is a discipline dependent on interpretation, revision, and argument.  

4.      To regularly consider the ways in which contemporary Americans—not just historians—use history to understand their own lives and the world in which they live.


History 1430 is a General Education course. Accordingly, it is designed and taught to meet the competency standard as defined in the Undergraduate Catalog: “The purpose of the study of history is to challenge students to understand and assess our past, in order to form a clearer perception of the present and to deal more effectively with public issues.” Upon satisfactory completion of the course, students will be able to “demonstrate knowledge of the past; explore the multitude of circumstances and events that have helped to shape historical judgments, actions, and visions; [and] interpret the sources of historical change in a variety of contexts” (Undergraduate Catalog 2009-2011, p. 30).


Material is presented topically and chronologically. Students must complete weekly reading and discussion assignments, outlined in detail below. Additional assignments include two hourly exams, a five page paper, and a two hour final exam. Eligible students who require academic test or lecture accommodations should speak with me. Accommodations will also be made for religious holidays.


Course meeting times and locations:

History 143 has two separate meeting places:

·      On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-11:52 am, all students attend lecture in the Thomas Lundeen Lecture Hall (Room 103, Doudna Hall).

·      Each student must also be enrolled in one of the following discussion sections: B1, meeting on Tuesdays, 12-12:52 in Doudna 212; B2, Thursdays, 10-10:52 in Boebel 225; B3, Thursdays, 12-12:52 in Doudna 212.


Books:  The following texts are required; all are available at the textbook rental center.


·       James Henretta et al., America: A Concise History, vol. 2: Since 1865, 2nd ed.

·       James Marten, Childhood and Child Welfare in the Progressive Era

·       Victoria Bissell Brown and Timothy J. Shannon, Going to the Source: The Bedford Reader in American History vol. 2: Since 1865

·       Samuel T. McSeveney, Selected Historical Documents to Accompany America’s History vol. 2: Since 1865

·       Edward H. Judge and John W. Langdon, The Cold War: A History through Documents


Some reading assignments come from web sites or handouts, which will be distributed in advance of the discussion class. It is each student’s responsibility to get the handout if class is missed. If possible, links to the handouts will be placed online.



      Your grade is based on exams, a paper, and discussion section assignments.


Exams: You will take two hourly tests and a final exam. Each exam will be in an essay format; a study guide will be provided in advance (see below for exam dates).


Writing: You will write one paper of five pages. A detailed explanation of the topic and the assignment will be distributed well in advance of the due date. The paper is due on Thursday, October 29.  **Please know that late papers will not be accepted.**


Discussion Sections: Discussions of the weekly reading assignments are held either on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The reading assignment must be completed by the date and time of your discussion section. Your individual participation is mandatory, and you cannot make up work from skipped classes. Participation includes oral contribution to class discussion, quizzes, group work, homework, and in-class writing assignments. To help you prepare, I will distribute an assignment guide in advance of your discussion section.


Attendance: The undergraduate catalog states that students should attend classes regularly and that faculty are expected to record attendance in their classes. Accordingly, roll will be taken in both lecture and discussion. Repeated failure to attend class will result in a lower course grade. Except in case of emergencies, makeup tests will not be given without prior approval.


Grade Parts:  2 Tests @ 75 points = 150 points                             

                                              1 Final =  75 points                        

                      1 Paper = 75 points

    Disc. assignments = 100 points

                        Total = 400 possible points


Grade Scale: Your grade will be based on the number of total points you earn during the semester. Grades are based on a percentage scale that sets an A at 90% or more of the total possible points; B at 80 to 89%; C at 70 to 79%; D at 60 to 69%; F at 0 to 59%. The following scale tells you how many points must be earned to receive the grade indicated:


A: 360 – 400 points                 D: 240 – 279 points

B: 320 – 359 points                 F: below 240 points

C: 280 – 319 points


Lecture, reading, and assignment schedule. Please note: readings are subject to changes, which will be placed on the weekly assignment guide. When this syllabus and the guide differ, follow the guide.


Week 1: No reading

Tu 9/1   Introduction to the course

Th 9/3   State of the nation in the 1870s

Discussion: Understanding and using primary sources


Week 2: Read Going to the Source, ix-xiii, 51-72

Tu 9/8    Industrial economy and labor
Th 9/10  Immigration

Discussion: The 1894 Pullman Strike


Week 3: Read Going to the Source, 73-93

Tu 9/15  Late 19th century politics

Th 9/17  Separate spheres? The lives of American women

     Discussion: One immigrant’s life: memory vs. history


Week 4: Read Going to the Source, 28-48; America: A Concise History, 460-74

Tu 9/22  Expansion abroad

Th 9/24  The many forms of Progressivism

Discussion: American Indians and the challenges of assimilation


Week 5: Read Going to the Source, 115-23

Tu 9/29  Progressivism, cont.; outbreak of World War I

Th 10/1  TEST 1

Discussion: Army screening of recruits


Week 6: Read Childhood and Child Welfare, 1-25, 33-43, 79-93, 146-55

Tu 10/6  US and World War I

Th 10/8   A quest for “normalcy” after the war

Discussion: Progressivism and child welfare; paper assignment


Week 7: Read America: A Concise History, 691-702; Selected Historical Documents, 235-51

Tu 10/13  Culture and society during the “Jazz Age”
Th 10/15  The Great Depression: early years

Discussion: Causes and onset of the Depression


Week 8: Read America: A Concise History, 745-51; Selected Historical Documents, 283-91; handout

Tu 10/20  Combating the Depression

Th 10/22  The US and the world during the 1930s

Discussion: US neutrality, 1939-41


Week 9: No reading

Tu 10/27  US entry into World War II

Th 10/29  Fighting in Europe and the Pacific; PAPER DUE

Discussion: Wisconsin WWII stories


Week 10: Read America: A Concise History, 774-95; Cold War, 28-39, 65-69, 84-89

Tu 11/3   Victory and postwar changes 

Th 11/5   The early Cold War

Discussion: Origins of the Cold War


Week 11: Read America: A Concise History, 809-23; Selected Historical Documents, 351-61

Tu 11/10  Eisenhower Republicanism and the New Look

Th 11/12  The Civil Rights movements

Discussion: 1950s society and culture


Week 12: Read America: A Concise History, 824-25; Selected Historical Documents, 371-75

Tu 11/17  The Great Society and its critics

Th 11/19  The US and Vietnam

Discussion: The 1960 election


Week 13: No reading

Tu 11/24  TEST 2

Th 11/26  No class—Thanksgiving Day
Discussion: Film on the 1960s (Tues. section only)


Week 14: Read Going to the Source, 249-71

Tu 12/1  Social and economic upheaval

Th 12/3  Watergate and its aftermath

Discussion: Letters home from Vietnam


Week 15: Read America: A Concise History, 885-901; Selected Historical Documents, 428-440

Tu 12/8    America during the 1980s

Th 12/10  End of the Cold War

Discussion: Activism in the 1970s


FINAL EXAM: Monday, December 14, 5-7 pm. Please note: graduating seniors must take the exam.