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

Dr. Theron Corse

Course Description 
Outline & Readings 

COURSE SYLLABUS HIST 2020 (Dr. Corse's Section), American History II 

Semester/Year: Spring 2006 Office Location: Crouch Hall, 220
Semester Hours of Credit: 3 Office Phone: 963-7457
Instructor: Dr. Theron Corse Alternate Phone: 963-5471
Class Meeting Location: Crouch Hall, 107 (GRD 107) E-Mail: tcorse@tnstate.edu

Please do not use the Mytsu account.

Day and Time: MR 3:00-4:25 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


TSU American History Homepage

Assignments:  1. Primary Source Essays  2. Secondary Source Analysis 3. Reading Reaction Pieces 4. ID Quizzes

COURSE DESCRIPTION Course Description: HIST 2020 is a study of the development of cultural, economic, and political institutions in America from 1877 to the present.

Course Rationale: HIST 2020 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 2020 is a sophomore-level course and should normally be taken during the second 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 2020, 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.

Content Objectives:

Students completing HIST 2020 should be able to:


recognize and correctly identify persons, institutions, and events of importance in American history from 1877 to the present;


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 2020.  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 2020 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 2020.  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 2020 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 2020 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.  Instructors may choose to review and correct preliminary drafts of essays at their discretion.


  • Textbook 

    Nash, Gary, et al. The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society, vol. 2, 6th ed.

  • Links listed in the "Readings" section in the course calendar are required readings.
  •  Students may additionally wish to purchase the accompanying study guide, Studying America, Past and Present by Donald L. Smith, et al., or to make use of the textbook's companion web site.
  • You might also want to investigate some Internet Resources on U.S. history

The mastery of learning outcomes in HIST 2020 is evaluated on the basis of:  (1) midterm and final examinations common for all sections of the course, (2) writing assignments constructed by instructors for specific sections of the course, and (3) quizzes designed to test mastery of skills and materials, as well as prepare students for examinations.

(1) Examinations:

The midterm and final examinations in HIST 2020 comprise 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. There will be three main writing assignments -- two primary source essays and one secondary source analysis. See instructions below:

  1. Primary Source Essays

  2. Secondary Source Analysis

  3. Reading Reaction Pieces


Grade Distribution
Two  Exams 2x25% each=50%
Primary Source Essays 2x10=20%
Secondary Source Analysis 10%
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 - Vol. II). The textbook readings are required, as are the web readings. Underlined readings are links to web sites.
Weeks Dates (Monday) Lecture Topic  Reading
Part I. Colonial and Revolutionary America
1 Jan 17-20 Rural America: The West and the New South Nash, Chapter 17

Red Cloud, "Tragedy at Wounded Knee," 1890
2 Jan 23-27 Smokestack America


Nash, Chapter 18

Address by George Engel, Condemned Haymarket Anarchist (1886)
Andrew Carnegie, from "The Gospel of Wealth" (1889)

3 Jan 30-Feb 3 Politics and Reform

Reading Reaction #1 Due Jan 30

Nash, Chapter 19

Upton Sinclair, excerpt from The Jungle (1905)
4 Feb 6-10 Becoming a World Power

ID QUIZ # 1- Feb 6

Nash, Chapters 20

Josiah Strong, Our Country (1885)
5 Feb 13-17 Progressivism and the Great War

Reading Reaction #2 Due Feb 15

Nash, Chapters 21-22

Report of the Vice Commission, Louisville, Kentucky (1915)
6 Feb 20-24

Affluence and Anxiety

Primary Source Essay #1 Due Feb 22

Nash, Chapter 23

Edward Earle Purinton, "Big Ideas from Big Business" (1921)
 Advertisements (1925, 1927)
7 Feb 27-Mar 3 The Great Depression and the New Deal

ID QUIZ #2 Feb 27

Nash, Chapters 24

Father Charles E. Coughlin, "A Third Party" (1936)
8 Mar 6-12 SPRING BREAK  

9 Mar 13-19 Midterm Examination - Mar 15



Mar 17- Last day to withdraw

10 Mar 20-24 World War II


Nash, Chapter 25

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Annual Message to Congress (1941)
11 Mar 27-31 Post War America and the Cold War Nash, Chapters 26-27

Senator Joseph McCarthy, Speech at Wheeling, West Virginia, 1950

12 Apr 3-7

Reform and Rebellion in the 1960s

Primary Source Essay #2 Due Apr 3 (NEW DATE)

ID Quiz #3 - April 5, Wednesday

Nash, Chapter 28

Charles Sherrod, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Memorandum (1961)
Donald Wheeldin, "The Situation in Watts Today" (1967)
13 April 10-14 Disorder and Discontent, 1969-1980


Nash, Chapter 29

National Organization for Women, Statement of Purpose (1966)
Documents Related to the  Stonewall Riots

AIM, "The Trail of Broken Treaties," 1972
14 April 17-21

Conservatism in a Post Col War World

Nash, Chapters 30-31

Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address (1981)
T. Boone Pickens, "My Case for Reagan" (1984)
Patricia Morrisroe, "The New Class" (1985)
15 April 24-26 Review

April 24 - Secondary Source Analysis Due

16 Apr 27-May 5

Final Exam:   Monday May 1, 2:40-4:40

Final Study Guide




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







Makeup Examinations


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 March 17.

Make-Up Examinations: Students who are officially excused from absence (see above) on the date of the midterm examination may complete a make-up midterm examination on a date scheduled by the Department of History, Geography, and Political Science.  The date for make-up examinations -- normally immediately prior to the final examination period -- is published on the department's web site (http://www.tnstate.edu/hgps) each semester.


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 2020 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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