History 693: The American Revolution

 

Fall 2009

Office: RT 1938

Dr. Tom Humphrey

tom.humphrey@csuohio.edu

216 523 7183

 

Course Goals:           

 

This course is designed to prepare students for historical analysis of a complex range of primary and secondary material. In doing so, students will develop intellectual skills that will prove helpful in almost any career. By investigating a wide range problems often associated with sources and historical interpretations, students will learn how professional historians work, analyze evidence, and develop their conclusions. Students who complete the course will be able to demonstrate thorough knowledge of the American Revolutionary era. They will be familiar with the ideological, political, and economic origins of the American Revolution, and how those themes shaped the emerging nation. Finally, they will be able to demonstrate an understanding the historiography of the American Revolution.

 

This course examines the various causes and results of the American Revolution. It starts with an overview of eighteenth-century society in British North America, and moves to an exploration of the role of both the Great Awakening and the Seven Years' War in the coming of the American Revolution; British attempts to reform imperial policy in the 1760s and 1770s; the forms of American resistance to these reforms and their social and political origins and significance; the ideology of rebellion and the forms of government that it inspired; the war for independence; the social and the political revolutions; and finishes with a study of the struggle toward a more powerful and centralized government that culminated in the ratification of the Federal Constitution. Issues of race, class, and gender will emerge throughout the course to, in the end, provide students with a more comprehensive view of the American Revolution from the ground up.

 

The American Revolution inspires hot historical debate, and those disputes have raged for nearly a century. Thus, you will read very controversial material. The literature on the American Revolution does far more than tell us about people such as Benedict Arnold and John Andr or events such as the Boston Massacre or the Federal Constitution of 1789. It influences how Americans view themselves, perceive the country in which they live, and see the world around them. The material you will read will sometimes support your assumptions, and will often challenge them. We will discuss the readings in this light. As a result, students need to attend class. Students success in class will depend on attendance and participation. Although there is no attendance policy, professors expect graduate students to come to class fully prepared.

 

Assignments: Each week students will hand in a 500-word synopsis of the reading for that week. In this, students should outline and compare the authors arguments. Students will read authors who disagree so please be careful to outline their disagreements as well as their points of agreement. Each assignment will be worth 10 points.

 

FINAL ASSIGNMENT:  Write a fifteen page, double-spaced paper that addresses this question:  How radical was the American Revolution? We will discuss this assignment throughout the semester. The final is worth 100 points, and failure to hand in a final paper will result in failure for the course.

 

Attendance: I expect graduate students to attend class, to be prepared, and to contribute to class discussion.

 

For the purposes of this course, plagiarism is:  Using someone else's ideas or phrasing and representing those ideas or phrasing as our own, either on purpose or through carelessness, is a serious offense known as plagiarism. "Ideas or phrasing" includes written or spoken material, of course — from whole papers and paragraphs to sentences, and, indeed, phrases — but it also includes statistics, lab results, art work, etc. "Someone else" can mean a professional source, such as a published writer or critic in a book, magazine, encyclopedia, or journal; an electronic resource such as material we discover on the World Wide Web; another student at our school or anywhere else; a paper-writing "service" (online or otherwise) which offers to sell written papers for a fee.

 

Source: Capitol Community College 's guide to plagiarism (based on the MLA style): http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/plagiarism.shtml

 

Readings:

 

Books:

 

Anderson, The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War.

Aron, How the West Was Lost.

Cogliano, Revolutionary America.

Egerton, Death or Liberty: African Americans and Revolutionary America.

Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution.

Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America.

Matthews, The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson.

Nash, The Unknown American Revolution.

Purcell, Sealed with Blood: War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America.

O'Shaughnessy, Empire Divided.

Taylor, The Divided Ground.

Turabian, et al., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.

Young, Liberty Tree: Ordinary People and the American Revolution.

 

Students will also be responsible for reading a number of articles throughout the course. They are highlighted on the syllabus, and are available through JSTOR at the CSU Library's website. If you are accessing this syllabus on line, you may click on the link for the relevant article. These are, however, links that must be accessed from the CSU server. If you wish, you may look up the JSTOR site on the CSU's library website. Then use the journal title, date, and page numbers to find the article. Students may also find these articles on http://www.historycooperative.org. Students should be prepared to discuss all readings at the beginning of each week.

 

WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION

      Nash, Introduction.

      Taylor, Introduction.

      Cogliano, Introduction.

      Young, Introduction.

 

WEEK 2: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

      Cogliano, Revolutionary America.

 

WEEK 3: COLONIAL AMERICA AND THE GREAT AWAKENING.

      Nash, ch. 1, 2.

      Taylor, ch. 1.

      Allan Kulikoff, "The Progress of Inequality in Revolutionary Boston," WMQ 28 (July 1971) 375-412.

      Billy G. Smith, "The Material Lives of Laboring Philadelphians, 1750 to 1800," WMQ 38 (April 1981), 163-202.

      Rhys Isaac, "Religion and Authority: Problems of the Anglican Establishment in Virginia in the Era of the Great Awakening and the Parsons' Cause." WMQ, 3rd. Ser., Vol. 30, No. 1, Chesapeake Society. (Jan., 1973), pp. 3-36.

      Jon Butler, "Enthusiasm Described and Decried: The Great Awakening as Interpretative Fiction." The Journal of American History, Vol. 69, No. 2. (Sep., 1982), pp. 305-325.

 

WEEK 4: THE SEVEN YEARS' WAR

      Taylor, ch. 1, 2.

      Anderson, The War That Made America.

 

WEEK 5: CROWD VIOLENCE AND POPULAR POLITICS

      Nash, ch. 3, 4.

      Pauline Maier, "Popular Uprisings and Civil Authority in Eighteenth-Century America," WMQ, 3rd ser., 27 (1970), 3-35.

      Young, part 1.

      Richard Beeman, "Deference, Republicanism, and the Emergence of Popular Politics in Eighteenth-Century America," WMQ, 3rd ser., 49 (July 1992), 401-430.

 

WEEK 6: DECLARING INDEPENDENCE

      Nash, ch.5.

      R. A. Ryerson, "Political Mobilization and the American Revolution: The Resistance Movement in Philadelphia, 1765 to 1776." WMQ, 3rd ser., 31(Oct., 1974), pp. 565-588.

      Jackson Turner Main, "Government by the People: The American Revolution and the Democratization of the Legislatures," WMQ, 3rd ser., (July 1966), 391-407.

      Matthews, The Radical Politics of Thomas Jefferson.

 

WEEK 8: THE WAR

      Taylor, ch. 3, 4.

      John Alexander, The Fort Wilson Incident of 1779, WMQ, 3d ser., 31 (1974).

      Michael A. McDonnell, Popular Mobilization and Political Culture in Revolutionary Virginia: The Failure of the Minutemen and the Revolution from Below, The Journal of American History 85 (December 1998).

      M. McDonnell and W. Holton, Patriot v. Patriot: Social Conflict in Virginia and the Origins of the American Revolution, Journal of American Studies 34 (2000), 231-56.

      Staughton Lynd, Who Should Rule at Home? Dutchess County, New York, in the American Revolution, WMQ 18 (1961).

      Sung Bok Kim, The Limits of Politicization in the American Revolution: The Experience of Westchester County, New York, The Journal of American History 80 (1993), 868-889.

 

WEEK 9: THE NEW COUNTRY

      Nash, ch. 6, 7.

      Aron, How the West Was Lost.

 

WEEK 10: INDIANS AND REVOLUTION

      Taylor, ch. 5-12.

 

WEEK 11: AFRICAN AMERICANS AND REVOLUTION

      Egerton, Death or Liberty.

 

WEEK 12: WOMEN AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

      Kerber, Women of the Republic.

 

WEEK 13: THE CONSTITUTIONAL SETTLEMENT

      Nash, ch. 8.

      Young, ch. 4.

      Holton, Unruly Americans.

 

WEEK 14: 13 OR 26

      O'Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided.

 

WEEK 15: THE MEANING OF THE REVOLUTION.

      Nash, Epilogue.

      Young, 5-8.

      Purcell, Sealed with Blood.