Sample Past Course Outline
|Department of History
Montclair State University Spring 2001
History of the United States Since 1876--
Required Text: Out of Many: A History of the American People, by John Mack Faragher and others, Latest Edition, Vol. 2.
COURSE OVERVIEW: Essentially, this course begins with the reordering of America following the Civil War and
Reconstruction. The course spans 1876 through the 1990s, but we'll chronologically cover as much of that period as
possible in a survey course. Our work will cover the phenomenal economic and military growth of the United States into
a world super power. Among topics of consideration will be railroad expansion, the Gilded Age, World Wars I and II, the
roaring 1920s, including the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the attendant national economic depression, the
controversial war in Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement.
OBGECTIVES/PARTICULARS: The primary course objectives are for students to know the broad outlines of the period
1876-1990 and to think critically about causal relationships and paradoxes that are inherent in the study of history.
Students will learn to think critically about various controversial aspects of this period and will gain an appreciation of
differing points of view through lectures, discussions, assigned readings and, when possible, historically based video
tapes. Students will be afforded the opportunity to examine primary sources for use in a recitation to the class or to read
a well-researched history book of their choosing. The overriding tenet of the course is that students will gain an
appreciation for history as a discipline that is open to interpretation rather than one to be approached with rote
Exams will not come solely from textbook readings. A significant portion of exam questions will also come from lecture
material, therefore regular class attendance and quality participation are imperative for those students seeking to earn a
superior grade in the course.
REQUIRED WORK/GRADING: Simply put, all of the work in the course counts equally. Your final grade will be average
of all of your work, witch includes 4 Tests, a minute-and-a-half memorized recitation (without notes) from a primary
source such as lines from a famous speech, document or poem which covers the period 1876-1990 OR, instead of the
recitation, you may complete a one-page (single spaced) typewritten book review of a book assigned by or approved by
If you elect to complete the book review, select only those history books that are based on clearly documented sources
and reference notes. The book review should be only one page typewritten, single-spaced with double spacing between
paragraphs. For maximum credit be sure to include 5 sections: (1) open with a bibliographic entry that includes the
author's name, publication title, publisher's name,date,etc.,(2)a three line bio-summary on the author of the
book,(3)summary of the main point or thesis of the book,(4)discussion of sources (primary and secondary) used to
make the main point and whether these were effective, (5) summary of two scholarly reviews on the book in contrast to
your well thought, substantiated opinion of the book. Again, this assignment is to be a concisely written evaluation of a
history book and only ONE PAGE. You should be prepared to highlight key points about your book in class.
If you select the recitation options, it may be less work for you, but the assignment requires prior thought, planning and
practice for a superior grade. It could be a great way to offset a low test score with an "A" for a recitation well done. The
recitation should be opened with a brief contextual introduction and should be lines from a famous speech, poem or
document from 1876-1990s.
Recitation lines must have prior approval of the professor. For full credit, all work must be submitted and completed
according to schedule and format. (NO recitations of songs permitted.)
Late work cannot receive full credit unless accompanied by an official excuse. Make-up exams are a tremendous
inconvenience to the flow of the course, to other students wishing to discuss a prior exam and to the professor. Make-up
exams will not be given, except in the most extraordinary circumstances and when accompanied by an OFFICIAL
medical or UNIVERSITY business excuse.
One-time class attendance is urged and expected. Failure to complete any one of 5 required assignments/tests will
result in a grade of "F" or zero for the item missed. Zeros tremendously hurt your average, so be sure not to miss any
course work, including the exams.
Approximate SESSION SCHEDULE:
DR. FRANKIE HUTTON
Orientation/Compromise of 1877
Trans-Mississippi West/South Politics
The Incorporation of America/Labor, etc.
The Grange, Tom Watson, Spanish-American War
Progressive Era, Women's Movement, etc.
WWI, Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, Red Scare
The Twenties, The Great Depression
WWII; WWII continued at home and abroad
The Cold War, 1945-1952, McCarthyism
Eisenhower/Truman/Mid-Century (See Film "Truman")
The Civil Rights Movement 1945-1966
Kennedy/The New Frontier, LBJ, Great Society
The Vietnam War, War on Poverty
Nixon/Watergate/New Conservatism, The Reagan
Gulf War/End of Cold War/Multicultural America
Jan. 16 & 19
Jan. 23 & 26
Jan. 30/Feb. 2
Feb. 6 & 9
Feb. 13 & 16
Feb. 20 & 23
Mar. 20 & 23
Mar. 27 & 30
Apr. 3 & 6
Apr. 13 Easter Break-no class
Apr. 17 & 20
Apr. 24 & 27
SCHEDULE OF WORK TO BE GRADED:
Recitation (1:30 memorized) or book review Tues., Jan. 30
Test #1 Tues., Feb. 6
Test #2 Tues., Feb. 23
Test #3 Frid., Mar. 30
Test #4 Final Exam TBA
Sleepwalking Through History: America in the Reagan Years, by Haynes Johnson (1991).
*The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, (latest edition) by Alan Brinkley.
*The American People: Creating A Nation and A Society, (latest edition) by Mark Jeffrey and others.
An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, by Neal Gabler (1988).
Bulletin: Cold War International History Project (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Winter 1999).
The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America, by Allen Wienstein and Alexander Vassiliev (Random House, 1999).
"One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy 1958-1964, by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali (W.W. Norton,
Venona: Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr (Yale University Press, 1999).
We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History, by John Lewis Gaddis (Oxford University Press, 1997).
The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, by Iris Chang (Penguin Books, 1997).
Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963, by Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1988).
(Please note: Your book review may come from one of these selections, except the two textbooks*.)