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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 350
Course Title: American Revolution
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Analysis of the American Revolution during the eighteenth century. The course considers the causes and the consequences of the colonial rebellion against the British Empire in North America. In particular, it focuses upon the cultural, economic, military, and constitutional issues shaping the struggle for independence. Significant attention will be given to the clash of values, interests, arms, and ambitions transforming the thirteen colonies into the United States in 1787. Prerequisite: HIST 121.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): HIST 121.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Spring.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a minimum of two recommended texts. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.

Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.

Major Problems in the Era of the American Revolution
By Brown, Richard, ed. (Houghton Mifflin)
The Glorious Cause: The American Revolution, 1763-1789
By Middlekauff, Robert (Oxford University Press)
Redcoats and Rebels: The American Revolution Through British Eyes
By Hibbert, Christopher (Norton)
The American Revolution: A History
By Wood, Gordon (Random House)
The American Revolution: Nationhood Achieved
By Ward, Harry (St. Martinís)
The American Revolution: A Concise History
By Robert J. Allison (Oxford)
A Respectable Army: The Military Origins of the Republic
By James Kirby Martin, Mark Edward Lender (Wiley-Blackwell)
American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence
By Pauline Maier (Vintage)
Course Objectives
  • To recognize the main currents of U.S. history during the era of the American Revolution.
  • To explore the interrelationships between civic republican discourse and the new secular order of the United States.
  • To compare and contrast various historiographical perspectives on the American Revolution.
    Measurable Learning
  • Describe the significant people, places, and events of the American Revolution.
  • Analyze the underlying factors that shaped colonial resistance movements in Massachusetts and in Virginia.
  • Explain the decision for independence made by the Continental Congress in 1776.
  • Differentiate the major objectives, campaigns, and tactics of the Continental Army and partisan militia.
  • Describe the impact of French support for the American independence movement after the battle of Saratoga.
  • Study the responses of natives, blacks, and women to the rebellion against the British Empire during wartime.
  • Analyze the factors contributing to the defeat of British forces at Yorktown and to the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
  • Describe the crisis of the Confederation leading to the Federal Constitution and to the Bill of Rights.
  • Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of the American Revolution.
    Topical Outline: Because the course represents an upper level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). It must demand a minimum of 1000 pages of required text reading, 1000 words of type-written work, and a consideration of the range and variance of historical scholarship. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge and organizing findings through synthesis.

  • Interpreting the American Revolution
  • Society and politics under salutary neglect
  • British reforms and colonial resistance
  • The imperial crisis
  • Continental Congress
  • Declaring independence
  • George Washington, commander in chief
  • Loyalists and partisans
  • Natives, Africans, and women
  • The international conflict
  • Toleration versus religious freedom
  • Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • Making the Constitution of 1787
  • Crafting the Bill of Rights
  • The American Republic
    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: 35

    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: January 1, 2013
    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 objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. 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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