Online Course Syllabus:
U.S. History to 1870

Course Links: 


Lectures & Readings
Emayzine Home


US HISTORY 117 Section 41710
Professor: Dr. Eric Mayer,
Online Office hours…Monday-Sat

Skype:  dr.eric.mayer

All lecture notes can be downloaded for free from the site. Prerequisite: None—But there is an intensive amount of analytical writing in this course as well as critical thinking. However, it is assumed that most of you do not have college level or academic writing skills and there will be online help available.

Course Objectives: The student will be able to: Understand historical causality Analyze historical events Explain historical events and processes Think critically about historical events Write analytically to explain the course of history *Note: Syllabus subject to possible revision

Requirements: Stay up with all assignments. I do accept late assignments up until the last day of class, but the highest grade possible on late assignments is a C. The key for doing well in this course and understanding the history that we cover is that you be informed as to what is happening about you. History is not "dead", it is constantly affecting your reality, and if it is dead, then we all are affected by the ghosts of the past. History is the analysis and understanding of processes that have created our present reality.

Course Description: A survey of United States history from pre-Columbian period to 1869.  The course will stress social, political and economic history in order to understand the defining events in this time period.

Instructional Objectives

Upon completion of the course the student should be able to:

The student will be able to summarize the Pre-Columbian cultures

and civilizations and the factors that led to exploration and European

colonization of the 'New World'. The student can then: A. Identify key

events in the exploration of the 'New World'. Name the

leading players in exploration and colonization.


The student will be able to summarize the major features of social

and economic life in the American colonies and be able to

differentiate between conditions in New England and The

Chesapeake. The student can then: A. Describe the demographic

and ecological changes involved in the settlement of the 'New World'

in terms of the English colonies. B. Identify the leading people

and institutions instrumental in the development colonial America

and their role in shaping the direction of the English colonies.


The student will be able to assess the varying viewpoints and

perspectives regarding causes and results of the American

Revolution and the formation of a new nation. The student can then:

A. Identify the gradual and immediate elements that lead to the

American Revolution  B. Evaluate the Revolution as part of the

larger world picture. C. The student will be able to differentiate

between the rival political ideologies which emerged just prior to and

after 1800 and the impact on future political development in the

United States


The student will be able to account for economic growth, political

development, geographical expansion, the emergence of ‘American

intellectual and social identity in the first half of the 19th century, and

how these factors led to secession and the Civil War. The student

can then: A. Explain the development and growth of new economic

systems and its impact on both the North and the South  B. The

student will be able to identify the various historical and geographical

viewpoints leading to secession and the Civil War.

The student will be able to analyze and explain the key events and

people involved on both sides of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

 The student will then be able to: A. Identify the leaders and

strategies used by the North and South during the war  B.

Identify the issues resolved by the war and Reconstruction, as well

as those not resolved.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student can:

Develop analytical skills in relation to historical time period, cause

and effect

Identify and discuss transformational people, institutions and events

that have been the basis for the political, economic, social,

intellectual and diplomatic development of the United States from

Pre-colonization to 1876.

Analyze how issues of race and gender impacted the political, social

and economic development of the United States.


Required Course Textbooks  (2)

1.  American Horizons: US History in a Global Context, Volume 1 to 1877
By Michael Schaller, et al. Oxford University Press
Language: English

2.  Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Broadview Editions, 2009
Language: English
ISBN 978-1-55111-806-2

No books are on reserve in the Library

Attendance: Students must visit the web site regularly, if not daily. Weekly It is the students’ responsibility to make sure that they have been dropped, reinstated, or is currently enrolled in the course. I will not do any grade changes that are related to attendance policy. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE BEEN DROPPED. DO NOT ASSUME THAT I WILL DROP YOU AS A MATTER OF COURSE DUE TO YOUR LACK OF ATTENDANCE...I DO NOT DROP STUDENTS, I DO NOT GIVE INCOMPLETES OR ACCEPT LATE WORK AFTER THE LAST DAY OF CLASS....I DO ACCEPT LATE WORK UP UNTIL THE LAST DAY OF CLASS, BUT THE HIGHEST GRADE POSSIBLE ON LATE WORK IS A "C".

Grading: The grade breakdown is as follows: Exam 1 = 25% of final grade; Exam 2 = 25% of final grade; Final Exam = 25% of final grade; Book Review = 25% of final grade.   In order to pass the course all outstanding assignments or exams must be turned in by the day of the final examination. Grade Splits are as follows: 90%-100% A 80% -89% B 70% -79% C 60% -69% D 0% -59% F. I do not round up grade percentages. I do not give incompletes.

Course Mechanics: The course is internet driven. Therefore it is essential to surf the net regularly. I encourage on line class participation in the forms of comments, questions, and drafts of your exams. I will help you on one draft per assignment. so be sure to send me your best effort. A ultimate goal in the course besides teaching history is to create students who will be able to argue logically, and back up their assertions with evidence. An objective of this course is to teach students the skills that they need to educate themselves. This course will not be a passive learning experience, it will be highly interactive in terms of how you explain historical causality and outcome. The hours/week arranged listed for online classes must be fulfilled through an arrangement established between the instructor and the student. They do not represent an increase in the total number of hours for an online course. Hours/week arranged do not have to be fulfilled by in-person class attendance, you do the readings,  write essay drafts and finished essays and email me drafts, questions, etc.…