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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 370
Course Title: American Military History
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of the military history of the United States from the colonial period to the present. This course considers the role and use of armed forces in relation to the social, cultural, political, economic, and technological development of the United States. It will not only address such themes as wartime strategy, operational tactics, and combat technology, but also the impact of warfare on society and on the remembrances of ordinary men and women in uniform. Significant attention will be given to the evolution of civil-military relations, the advent of professionalism in the military, the non-military uses of the military, and the military's role as a tool for global power. Prerequisite: Junior standing or instructor's permission. Offered odd Fall.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Junior standing.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered odd Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

One of the primary source texts must be assigned and supplemented with at least two secondary source texts.  Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well. 

Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.

Major Problems in American Military History
By Chambers II, John W. & G. Kurt Peihler (Houghton Mifflin)
Category/Comments - Primary Source
American Military History: A Documentary Reader
By Lookingbill, Brad (Wiley-Blackwell)
Category/Comments - Primary Source
American Military History: A Survey From Colonial Times to the Present
By William T. Allison, Jeffrey Grey, and Janet G. Valentine (Prentice Hall)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
The American Military: A Narrative History
By Brad Lookingbill (Wiley-Blackwell)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
America's Army: The Making of the All Volunteer Force
By Beth Bailey (Harvard)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America
By Allen R. Millett, Peter Maslowski (Simon and Schuster)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
Ways of War, American Military History from the Colonial Era to the Twenty-First Century
By Matthew S. Muehlbauer and David J. Ulbrich (Routledge)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
The American Culture of War: The History of U.S. Military Force from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom, Second Edition
By Adrian R. Lewis (Routledge)
Category/Comments - Secondary Source
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the structure and deployment of armed forces in each major period of American history.

  2. Analyze the factors contributing to American military successes and failures in combat operations.

  3. Analyze American strategic thought within the context of domestic and global events.

  4. Explain the influence of American society on military affairs and the role of the military as a national institution.

  5. Evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and trends in the historiography of the American military.


Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

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., exams, quizzes, papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge.

  • The Colonial Militia Tradition
  • The American Revolution
  • Establishing the military in the early republic
  • War of 1812
  • U.S.-Mexico War
  • The Civil War
  • Indian Wars in the West
  • Spanish-American War
  • The Great War
  • Modernizing the forces for a new era
  • The Second World War
  • The Cold War
  • Korea and Vietnam
  • The Gulf War
  • Global War on Terror
  • Revolution in Military Affairs
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: 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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