What is American history?  Can there be an “American” history before the formation of the United States?  What are the principal developments that occurred within the Americas to create the United States?  How did society and the nation evolve from its earliest beginnings into a larger and modern nation?  What moral questions afflicted the American people?  Moreover, what groups of people comprise an “American”?  Have their stories traditionally been told as part of American history?  Finally, how did Americans in the past record their thoughts and experiences?


This course proceeds under the assumption that American history can help to illuminate modern concerns about the politics, environment, corporations, and human rights.  This course seeks to integrate perspectives from a diverse array of peoples, including women, African-Americans, and Native Americans.  By rethinking the assumptions about the founding of America and the United States, this course will help students to understand not only the history of this nation, but also the particular place American society and culture have assumed in the contemporary world.