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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 121
Course Title: American History to 1877
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: A survey of institutions, politics, culture, and society in America from colonization to reconstruction. G.E.
Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered Fall.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Text 1 is a Columbia College Custom Edition (the two texts are combined into one customized textbook)
Additional monographs or readers may be assigned as appropriate.

Give Me Liberty and Voices of Freedom. Volume 1. Columbia College Custom Edition.
By Foner, Eric (W.W. Norton)
A Pocket Guide to Writing in History
By Rampolla, Mary Lynn (Bedford/St. Martin's)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyze and interpret primary sources about America from colonization to reconstruction and use them as evidence to support historical arguments.
  2. Identify and describe the context and significance of major figures, institutions, and events in America from colonization to reconstruction.
  3. Construct a historical essay based on documents.
  4. Analyze the concept of citizenship in America from colonization to reconstruction.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

Because the course has been designated as one of the introductory studies for general education, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching foundational knowledge.  At least one formal writing assignment must center on analysis of primary sources and total c2000 words of composition.  Overall, the course provides a chronological study of the following topics:

  • A New World
  • Beginnings of English America
  • Struggle for Empire
  • The American Revolution
  • The Constitution and Bill of Rights
  • Founding a Nation
  • Securing the Republic
  • The Market Revolution
  • Democracy in America
  • The Peculiar Institution
  • An Age of Reform
  • Manifest Destiny
  • The Impending Crisis
  • Civil War
  • Reconstruction
Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Brad Lookingbill Date: September 1, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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