Course Syllabus

American History 101: Colonial America
Semester Fall 2016                                                                                                                                                                                      
Course Syllabus                                                                                    
 Mr. Larry Parr                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
               The Autobiography and Other Writings: Edition 1961, L. Lemisch, editor, Penguin Group
               (USA) Incorporated. ISBN: 9780451528100
Prerequisites: Students must be English 101 ready. There are no other prerequisites for this
Course Level: Undergraduate
Department: History, Philosophy and Religious Studies
Current Session: Fall, 2016.
     This course considers major themes and topics in colonial America and the first decades of the United States including:
     The motives and nature of European colonization of the New World.
     The nature of, and debate about, African-American slavery.
     The cultural characteristics of the English colonies of the South, New England and the Middle
     Significant subcultures and religious ideologies: the Puritans, the Quakers, and the Great
     Gender issues.
     The origins and growth of Philadelphia.
     The role of Native Americans.
     The political and revolutionary ideologies pertinent to the American Revolution.
     The Declaration of Independence.
   The origins of a new nation: the Articles of Confederation and the United States Constitution.
     When considering the colonial regions I will use a thematic approach, rather than a strictly chronological format.
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
 1. Demonstrate understanding of the main events, topics and themes inherent in the cultural, socio-economic, political and ideological patterns of colonial America and develop some insight into the forces of historical change.
2.Define what is historically factual and to distinguish inference from opinion.
    1. Recognize the range of interpretation in the discipline (historical revisionism) and comprehend the varying arguments, voices, inferences, etc. within primary and secondary historical texts.
 3.Demonstrate understanding of the concept of historical revisionism.
  1. Recognize the “clues” in primary texts and materials for a more informed analysis: authorship; the purpose of authorship; intended audiences; the rhetorical devices employed; the “story line;” possible interpretations of a piece unintended by the author; connections with other texts; credibility, consistency and/or accuracy and to realize that varied interpretations of such texts is probable.
  1. Recognize the ethical commitment of the historian to alter an historical a priori or hypothesis in light of research and evidence.
  1. Recognize value in history for a greater understanding of the present and its importance for making choices for the future.
  1. Demonstrate ability and confidence in voicing curiosity, responding to questions of instructors or other students, being able to defend taken positions, and to apply the protocols of intellectual discussion and debate.
  1. Demonstrate an ability to write coherently and analytically; to think and write like historians.
  1. Recognize the ethnic, racial, gender and religious diversity inherent in colonial America.
  1. To demonstrate an ability to cipher historical maps pertinent to History 101.
     A student of history should become adept in critically analyzing writings reflective of a given cultural period. The aim here is not to merely accumulate facts via memorization, but to analyze evidence, to apply this to various conditions and possibilities, and to draw the possible conclusions. In order to fulfill this goal of critical analysis, you will read a blend of primary and secondary readings: the former being writings created during a given cultural time period by a product of that culture; while the latter are materials descriptive of a culture, although not contemporaneous with it. For example, one could distinguish the eyewitness accounts of the American Revolution from the present-day historians’ scholarship concerning that era.
     I will post a substantial number of primary and secondary readings on the web site. This is not a research course; thus, outside readings are not to be used for discussions or essays.
   This is an intensive reading and writing course, thus study questions will be provided with each reading assignment to give you a basis for analyzing the material. You should be able to answer these questions effectively (not in writing, but as you peruse the readings) before the discussion sessions.
       Finally, I will provide you with a weekly (usually) “Thoughts” segment to compliment the online readings. These are my input in content data, points to consider when reading the material and ways to tie the readings together; equivalent to class lectures. You should complete the readings sequentially as they are listed on the weekly assignment list (Module).
The main course activities include reading, writing and the discussions.
     Two essays: 4 typed pages (double spaced) 15% each or- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - = 30%
     Discussion Sessions- - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - = 50%
     Four short writing assignments: 2 typed pages (double spaced) 5% each or - -- - - - = 20%
     Essay writing is an ongoing process. With this in mind, students will have the opportunity to continue the writing process by revising the essay assignments (except for the second major essay – due during exam week). Once a student has completed a rewrite, the recorded grade for the essay will be the average of the grades of the original and revised versions.                                                                  
Be advised that an F grade carries credit for any assignment, although unsatisfactorily, while a zero does not; the grading system is A=100-90; B=89-80; C=79-70; D=69-60; F=59-0.
1). Essays involve the fulfillment of an assigned task requiring
     analyses of the assigned readings and instructor’s comments and observations. Completed    
     assignments must meet English standards in grammar, coherence and paragraphing, which
     are expected of students at the English 101 level, although English 101 is not a prerequisite  
     for this course.
2). You will have a specified time period to complete your essay assignments and these must be
     turned in on time. For a late paper, one grade will be deducted for each calendar day it is
3). You will be encouraged to write like historians in this course and will become
     familiar with the vocabulary normally used in historical discourse, the modes of
     interpretation usually applied, and the versions of rhetoric employed. Use the past tense,
     although the present tense may be used when discussing secondary readings.
     Use last names when referring to historical figures. Do not use pronouns, unless preceded by    
     clear antecedents. Avoid assertions such as “I believe” or “I think.” Such statements usually
     lead to opinion rather than historical inference. You want to analyze the texts and arrive at
     logical, coherent and defensible conclusions. Also, citation of sources is needed. See  
    paragraph 10 below for details.
4). Essays for this course must include the standard organizational characteristics expected at
       the college level. When you receive an assigned question, do not invent your own or create
       a different version from what has been given you. Stay within the parameters of the
       question; do not stray off the subject. Be certain to respond to all parts of the question.
Follow the process of writing.
  • Brainstorm
  • Develop an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, but be relatively brief. Technically, a thesis statement/paragraph can appear anywhere in a text, but for now it might be best to lead off with it in the beginning paragraph, which should keep you focused on the task at hand. For example, a question could be: “Compare and contrast the major values and institutions of the American Enlightenment with those of the Great Awakening.”
A sample task/thesis statement could be: “I will compare and contrast the major values and institutions of the American Enlightenment with those of the Great Awakening: the concept of individualism; the description of and role of God; and the concept of inclusion/exclusion.”The thesis describes the writer’s stated topics for analysis to be argued for, demonstrated and explained in the body of the paper. It is probable that other students have different interpretations about what would constitute the main areas emphasis and to what extent there are similarities and/or differences. Here is where inferences and arguments based on the data come into play. Also, note, that in discussing the three topics set forth, address them in turn as listed in the thesis. Formulate an outline based on your thesis statement.
  • You must use paragraphing, and each paragraph should focus on one idea or concept. Be certain that your paragraphs connect to the preceding and following ones by using transitions such as “moreover,” “also,” “furthermore,” etc. to indicate a continuum of ideas and argument. If you are changing your argument or direction of thought, apply transitions such as “however,” “but,” etc. You should develop at least one draft version for review and revision. You should include a concluding paragraph. I will ordinarily not deduct for spelling or minor grammatical errors (although I will point them out), but I will do so if such deficiencies impede the clarity or coherence of your essay. Thus, you should strive to perfect your paper as much as possible.
6). Selective quotations are effective for dramatic support to your argumentative position, or to
       reinforce a controversial stance you may take in interpreting the readings, or to clarify a
       complicated issue. However, your own words and sentences, not quotations, should
       dominate your paragraphs. Thus, quotations should be used in a timely fashion for
       reinforcement and impact. Also, when quoting, you must explain the quotation. Quotes are
     not self explanatory and should not stand alone. Quotations, as well as ideas from a source,
     must be documented.
7). PLAGIARISM MUST BE AVOIDED! You must use quotation marks and documentation for
     those portions of passages taken verbatim from the source readings. Also, paraphrased
     ideas and statistics, numbers, etc. from any source must be documented or referenced.
     Finally, do not copy from fellow students.
     More directly, according to the Student Handbook, “any written assignment presented by
     students in fulfillment of course requirements will reflect their own work unless credit is
     properly given to others.” (p. 159) Not giving such credit is plagiarism, “the act of
     appropriating all or part of a literary composition of another person or the ideas or
     language of another person and passing them off as one’s own.” (p. 159)
     The History Department considers plagiarism a very serious issue and its policy is that any
     student found to have plagiarized all or part of an assignment will fail the course. No
     exceptions will be made to this policy and students will not be given the option of re-
     writing the assignment.
9). Source documentation for this course is very simple. Since the assigned readings will be the
       sources used in formulating your essays and this is not a research course, the works-cited
       page will be a listing of the assigned texts for the particular assignment. Use a basic MLA
       (Modern Language Association) format by listing the author or part of the title with the
       specific page number in parentheses immediately following the sentence to be
       documented; for example, (Equiano 120) or (Memoirs 120). When documenting a reading
       from an anthology or reader (our textbook), you should use the author of the specific article
       and not the general editor of the textbook. Titles should be underlined if they are published
       works. If a title of a work is used (instead of the author’s name), select a few key words
       recognizable to the reader, as in the examples above. At the end of your essays (and
       Discussion Session posts) you need a works cited list. Examples of the format follow:          
           M. Hardy, “The Religion of the Visible Saints,” Readings in American
             Cultures,(Thomson, 2000).
             Alfred Young, “The Pressure of the People on the Framers of the Constitution,” Major  
             Problems in American History to 1877, 3rd ed., Hoffman, et al. Cengage.
       For more about the MLA format, see most composition textbooks or consult the MLA
10). Apply a sense of audience. You should have a sense of affecting your audience in some way
       to persuade, to inform, etc. It is usually best to assume your audience to be another student
       or peer, unfamiliar with the course content. With this in mind, you will tend to be more
       explicit and thorough in your explanations and descriptions. It is best not to assume the
       reader knows the details, facts, etc. Thus, do not imagine your professor to be your
     You will be expected to participate in our online discussions when held usually once and occasionally twice a week. This will involve answering questions posed by the instructor, asking pertinent questions and offering your analyses of other students’ posts. You should read many such students’ posts during the week and provide replies to other members of the class. You will be graded for the thoughtfulness of your input, thus you should not wait to the last minute in the week to participate. I recommend a daily log-on to stay abreast of the discussion activities. It should be noted that you will have to post your replies to the questions before you will have access to the posts of other students in the class. In addition, you must not post and then delete in order to post again. You will be informed of the deadline date for each discussion on the assignment page of the Discussion Session found in each Module. Please be advised that there is a cut-off date and time for each discussion in the CANVAS system, after which students will not have access to the Discussion Session and will be unable to post. Discussion sessions are the equivalent of on-campus class sessions; once the gathering is over, it cannot be retrieved or made up. After the deadline, I will post individual comments to each participating student, as well as an overall “assessment” provided via CANVAS email attachments to the class as a whole, which you should read carefully (these often provide content as well as dos and don’ts regarding the discussion being evaluated; content which supplements my weekly “Thoughts”). Your posts must follow the same rules as in writing essays: to be coherent, to apply the same sense of audience, and to make text references in the body of your posts so that others may be “on the same page” as you, thus fostering more in-depth academic conversations within the class. Finally, posts, although more informal than essays, should be in standard English with care regarding spelling and text organization. Do not employ “testing lingo.” The aim is to engage in a conversation using the protocols of academic interaction.
     Students with special needs should work through the College’s Center on Disabilities prior to the start of the course, or no later than the first week of the semester. I should be given or emailed the necessary explanatory forms from the Center, which I sign and return. I abide by the guidelines set forth.
     Your grade is based on your performance regarding the various requirements outlined previously.
     You should have a good college-level dictionary for reference while you study.
     Course attendance will be measured by the completion of essays and discussions. Students who have not fulfilled any of these assignments during the first three weeks of the course may be dropped.
   You must be involved with this course daily and follow the directions outlined by the syllabus and the weekly sessions.
     If you have a question or a problem with the course, contact me either through my college e-mail address or our internal Web Study e-mail. If you have a technical problem use the CANVAS “Help” button or call the Office of Distance Education at 215-751-8702 or 8415.


Course Summary:

Date Details Due