College of Arts and Sciences 
Department of History, Geography and Political Science

Dr. Theron Corse

Course Description 
Outline & Readings 

COURSE SYLLABUS HIST 2010-22 (Dr. Corse's Section), American History I  

Semester/Year: Fall 2008 Office Location: Crouch (GRD) Hall, 220
Semester Hours of Credit: 3 Office Phone: 963-7457
Instructor: Dr. Theron Corse Alternate Phone: 963-5471
Class Meeting Location: Crouch (GRD) 219 E-Mail: tcorse@tnstate.edu
Day and Time: TR: 2:40-4:05 Office Hours: TR 9:00-9:40; TR 2:00-2:40; MW 1:00-3:00; W 9:00-12:00
Final Study Guide

Midterm Study Guide

TSU American History Webpage

Assignments:  1. Primary Source Essays  2. Reading Reaction Assignments 3. ID Quizzes

COURSE DESCRIPTION Course Description: HIST 2010 is a study of the development of cultural, economic, and political institutions in America from pre-Columbian times to 1877.

Course Rationale: HIST 2010 is part of the General Education Core.  The History component of the Core consists of six semester hours and is normally completed by taking HIST 2010 and HIST 2020.  These courses provide an overview of American history and promote the development of a historical perspective.  Although HIST 2010 and HIST 2020 may provide a foundation for further studies in history, they are primarily designed to build on and connect with other General Education courses.

Course Audience:  HIST 2010 is a sophomore-level course and should normally be taken during the first semester of a student's second year.  Students attempting the course must have completed all remedial and developmental requirements in reading and writing.  The course is open to undergraduate students in all major programs.  No prior courses in history are required.

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The goal of HIST 2010, as indicated above, is to produce students who are informed about the essential events of their past and equipped with some of the basic analytical skills and methods applied by historians.  The course is intended not only to present "history" as a body of knowledge but also to provide students with basic tools for assessing the historical claims of others and formulating arguments of their own.

Course Goals:


to work together with other General Education courses in realizing the University's Philosophy of General Education;


to foster a historical perspective, including chronology, continuity and change over time, and an understanding of the present in its relationship to the past;


to provide historical context for important topics and issues, including the other disciplines represented in the General Education Core;


to promote citizenship through an understanding of U.S. political institutions and their history;


to promote global responsibility through an understanding of American history in an international context;


to foster an understanding of history as interpretation; and


to equip students to evaluate claims about the past critically.

Learning Outcomes:

Students completing HIST 2010 should be able to:


recognize and correctly identify persons, institutions, and events of importance in American history through the end of Reconstruction in 1877;


discuss major themes in the development of American politics, society, and culture during this period;


demonstrate an understanding of the global context of American history;


apply historical perspective to contemporary issues;


recognize and critically evaluate historical interpretations;


analyze documents in their historical context; and


construct well-written essays using basic academic writing conventions.


Instructional Methodology


(1) Guided Reading:

The regular reading of the textbook according to the course schedule (see below) is essential to learning in HIST 2010.  The textbook provides foundational knowledge for lectures and class discussion, and familiarity with the information in the textbook is tested on examinations.  Students are responsible for preparing for class by reading the textbook thoroughly and attentively.


(2) Lectures:

Lectures in HIST 2010 build on the content of the textbook by exploring issues of significance and interpretation.  History is not merely information about the past but rather a way of thinking about what is important and how it should be understood.  Lectures address this aspect of history by asking interpretive questions and presenting the alternative perspectives of historians.


(3) Class Discussion:

Class discussion is a vital part of learning in HIST 2010.  In some sections, entire class periods may be set aside for class discussion.  In others, times for discussion may be incorporated into lectures.  In either case, students are encouraged to participate actively in class, introducing their own questions, expressing their own viewpoints, and interacting constructively with other students.


(4) Document Analysis:

HIST 2010 provides a basic introduction to the analysis of historical documents (i.e., primary sources).  For this purpose, some sections use the collection of documents on the textbook web site, and others use sources selected by individual instructors.  By reading and analyzing these sources, students learn some of the basic methods used by historians in considering evidence.


(5) Essay Writing:

Students in HIST 2010 develop writing skills through essay writing both in and outside of class.  Instruction in grammar, organization, clarity, and effectiveness is provided by written feedback on these essays and, if requested, conferences outside of class. 


  • Gary Nash and Clayborne Carson, et. al., The American People and The Struggle for Freedom: Custom Edition for Tennessee State University Vol. 1 (Pearson Custom Publishing, 2008)  

  • Links listed in the "Readings" section in the course calendar are required readings.

  • The textbooks are available at the bookstores on both university campuses.  The companion website for Nash provides a number of helpful study aids, including flash cards and test exercises that accompany each chapter. The website for Carson provides similar study aids.

  • You might also want to investigate some Internet Resources on U.S. history

The mastery of learning outcomes in HIST 2010 is evaluated on the basis of:  (1) midterm and final examinations common for all sections of the course, (2) writing assignments, (3) quizzes, and (4) participation, which includes attendance.

(1) Examinations:

The midterm and final examinations in HIST 2010 each include twenty-five multiple-choice questions (50%) and two essay questions (50%).  In responding correctly to multiple-choice questions students demonstrate familiarity with historical persons, institutions, and events (learning outcome #1).  Essay questions assess learning outcomes #2-5 in the context of specific topics.  Responses to essay questions are graded on the basis of factual accuracy, relevance to the topic, clarity, presentation, and organization.

(2) Writing Assignments:

Writing assignments, based on texts chosen by the instructor, assess students' proficiency in using historical documents (learning outcome #6) and constructing well-written essays (learning outcome #7).   These writing assignments assess the ability of students to think and reason clearly, to organize an essay according to accepted academic conventions, and to communicate their ideas effectively in their own words.


Grade Distribution
Two  Exams 2x25% each=50%
Primary Source Essays 3x10=30%
Reading Reaction Pieces 10%
Participation/Quizzes 10%
Total 100%


  Grades and their numerical equivalents are as follows:
Grading Scale
90 or above A
80-89 B
70-79 C
60-69 D
59 or below F


Office Hours: Students who seek help with instructors during office hours get better grades. Do not wait until you have major problems! Students should speak to me any time they find themselves confused about material, directions, or grades. I am always ready to help any student who needs help with any of the material or any assignment. That's my job.

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READINGS AND ASSIGNMENTS Readings are taken from the textbook and this website. The chapter numbers in the schedule are from your textbook (Nash, The American People). The textbook readings are required, as are all of the Internet linked primary sources.
Weeks Dates Lecture Topic  Reading


Aug 25-29 Ancient America and Africa


Carson, Chapter 1; Nash Chapter 1

Thomas Morton: Manners and Customs of the Indians (of New England), 1637


Sep 1-5 Africa and the Atlantic World


Nash, Chapter 2; Carson Chapter 2

 Thomas Morton: Manners and Customs of the Indians (of New England), 1637



Sep 8-12 Colonization in Early America

Reading Reaction #1 Due Sep 11

Essays #1, 2, and 3 Due Sep 11

Nash, Chapter 3; Carson Chapter 3

William Bradford: History of Plymouth Plantation, c. 1650


Sep 15-19 Eighteenth Century Colonial Society: Slavery and Empire


Essay #4 Due Sep 18

Nash, Chapter 4-5; Carson Chapter 4

Olaudah Equiano, The Middle Passage, 1788
Gottlieb Mittelberger, On the Misfortune of indentured Servants, 1754


Sep 22-26 The Revolutionary Era

ID Quiz #1 Sep 23

Reading Reaction #2 Due Sep 25

Essay #5 Due Sep 25

Nash, Chapters 6; Carson 5

Patrick Henry: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, March 23, 1775 
Benjamin Franklin, Testimony Against the Stamp Act (1766)
Michel-Guillaume-Jean de Crèvecoeur, from Letters from an American Farmer ("What is an American?") 1782


Sep 29-Oct 3 A Post-Revolutionary People

Id Quiz #2 Sep 30

Essay #6 Due Oct 1

Nash, Chapter 7; Carson Chapter 6

George Washington The Farewell Address



Oct 6-10 Creating a Nation for Whom?  

Id Quiz # 3 Oct 7

Essay #7 Due Oct 9

Nash, Chapter 8

John L. O'Sullivan: On Manifest Destiny, 1839
Black Hawk's Surrender Speech, 1832
Harriet Robinson: Lowell Mill Girls, 1834-1848
8 Oct 13-17 Society and Politics in the Early Republic


Nash Chapter 9
9 Oct 20-24 Economic Transformations in the Northeast 

Midterm Examination Oct 23

Nash Chapter 10
10 Oct 27-31 Slavery in the Old South

Essay #8 Due Oct 30

Nash, Chapter 11; Carson Chapter 7

 George Fitzhugh, "The Blessings of Slavery" 1857
 Benjamin Drew (ed): The Refugee: Narratives of Fugitive Slaves in Canada Related by Themselves (selections)
11 Nov 3-7 Era of Reform


Essay #9 Due Nov 6

Nash, Chapter 13

Thomas Corwin, Against the Mexican War (1847)
John L. O’Sullivan, "The Great Nation of Futurity" (1845)
12 Nov 10-14 Manifest Destiny and Territorial Expansion

Essay #10 Due Nov 13

Nash, chapter 14; Carson, chapter 9

John C. Calhoun, The Southern Address, 1849;
Abraham Lincoln: "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand," June 1858
13 Nov 17-21 The Impending Crisis - Territorial Expansion and The Sectional Crisis ID Quiz #4 Nov 18

Reading Reaction #3 Due Nov 18

Essays #11, 12 Due Nov 20

Nash  Chapter 15; Carson, Chapter 15

14 Nov 24-28 Crucible of Freedom: The American Civil War

ID Quiz #5 Nov 25

Reading Reaction #4 Due Nov 25

Essays #13, 14 Due Nov 25

Nash, Chapter 16; Carson. Chapter 11

Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address, 1865
 The Christian Recorder, 1864
15 Dec 1-4 Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution

D Quiz #6 Dec 2


Nash, Chapter 16; Carson. Chapter 11
Finals Dec 5-12 Final Study Guide - Thursday, May 1, 12-30-2:30 pm  



Reference Materials


Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


Dictionary of American Biography, E 176 .D56

Dictionary of American History, E 174 .D52

Encyclopedia of American History, E 174.5 .E52

The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, F 436 .T525


Online Databases (available on the University Library web site)


America: History and Life (citations and abstracts only)

EBSCO Host Academic Search Premier (some full text)

Infotrac Expanded Academic ASAP (some full text)

JSTOR (full text for a more limited number of journals)


Historical Journals


American Historical Review, E 171 .A57 (articles on various fields of history)

Journal of American History, E 171 .J87 (articles on American history)

Journal of Southern History, F 206 .J68 (articles on the history of the South)

Tennessee Historical Quarterly, F431 .T285 (articles on the Tennessee history)


Writing Resources


Hult, Christine A., and Thomas N. Huckin. The New Century Handbook. New York: Longman, 2001.  (This is the writing guide used for freshman-level English composition courses at Tennessee State University.)

Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. New York: Macmillan, 1999.


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REQUIREMENTS Assignments Assignments for this class will include reading, writing, and special projects. Readings maybe assigned not only from the text, but also from photocopied materials, library books, and Internet sources. Students are responsible for all work assigned in this class, whether or not they are present. Assignments must be completed on time. Late work will be penalized unless you have a good excuse, and no assignments will be accepted more than one week late. All students are expected to participate regularly in class discussions.  

Attendance and Punctuality

All students are expected to attend class punctually and regularly.  Students arriving after the beginning of class may, at the instructor's discretion, be counted absent and/or asked to remain outside the classroom until the end of the lecture.

Excessive absence or tardiness may result in a significant reduction in a student's grade, and instructors are under no obligation to allow make-up work in cases of tests and assignments missed as a result of unexcused absence or tardiness.  The professor reserves the right to deduct from the student's participation grade for more than three unexcused absences and to deduct up to a letter grade from the final grade for excessive unexcused absences (10% of class hours). The professor reserves the right to fail students who miss more that 20% of class hours. Those students who know that they will have a consistent problem due to scheduling conflicts should discuss this with the professor at the beginning of the semester. Students are also responsible for obtaining information presented in class during their absence.

In the event of an illness or emergency requiring absence from class, students should contact the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs in order to obtain the documentation necessary to have the absence excused.  Instructors may require such documentation as a condition for allowing the completion of missed tests or assignments.

Tennessee State University's policy on absences may be found in the Student Handbook, Chapter VII, pp. 100-101.

The last day to withdraw is Marsh 17.


Special Note on Academic Honesty

Students should be aware that a university is a community of scholars committed to the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and truth. Without freedom to investigate all materials, scrupulous honesty in reporting findings, and proper acknowledgment of credit, such a community can not survive. Students are expected to adhere to the highest traditions of scholarship. Infractions of these traditions, such as plagiarism (cheating), are not tolerated. Misrepresenting someone else's words or ideas as one's own constitutes plagiarism. In cases where plagiarism occurs, the instructor has the right to penalize the student(s) as he or she thinks appropriate. 

Except in cases of group projects so designated by the instructor, all tests and assignments submitted in the course must be the original work of the student.  In cases of plagiarism or cheating, the instructor may assign an F on the assignment or an F in the course and is also advised to report such cases immediately to both the Vice President for Student Affairs and the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Students in HIST 2010 are warned particularly against the following forms of academic dishonesty:

(1) copying the work of other students on tests or assignments;
(2) any copying without quotation marks from books, newspapers, journals, internet sources, etc.
(3) any use of facts or ideas paraphrased from another author without appropriate citation;
(4) consultation of notes or books during in-class examinations (unless expressly permitted by the instructor;
(5) attempting to discover unpublished examination questions in advance.

Tennessee State University's policies on academic conduct may be found in the Student Handbook, Chapter III, p. 18.

Class Participation

Class Participation: Preparation: since students are expected to participate in class discussion, it is important to complete all the assigned readings before coming to class. Students are expected to understand the material, or at least have identified what they do not yet understand in order to ask questions in class. All students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss the assigned material.

Students are expected to observe normal courtesy in class. They are expected to pay attention to the instructor, to take detailed notes, to refrain from personal conversation, and to avoid any other behavior that disturbs others. A student who does not observe these courtesies maybe asked to leave the room. 

Accommodation for Disabilities
The Department of History, Geography, and Political Science, in conjunction with the Office of Disabled Student Services, makes reasonable accommodation for qualified students with medically documented disabilities.  If you need an accommodation, please contact Dan Steely of TSU's Disabled Student Services Office at 963-7400 (phone) or 963-5051 (fax).

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