Survey of American History II
Syllabus and Course Information
Assistant Professor of English, History, and Political Science
Office Hours (Upstairs): M 10:00-3:00/T 12:30-1:00/
W 10:00-4:00/R 4:30-6:00/F 10:00-12:00
“The life of the future is predicated upon the implication of the past. The historian is the
memory of civilization. A civilization without memory ceases to be civilized. A
civilization without history ceases to have identity. Without identity there is no purpose;
without purpose; civilization will wither.”
“History is not the past, nor is it events; it is a shaped conception of the past
existing in the present.”
Description and Goals
History 2020 is a survey of the political, economic, social, cultural, and diplomatic
phases of American life in its regional, national, and international aspects since 1877.
The general goal of this course is to develop in students an understanding of the present
that is informed by an awareness of the past heritages, including the complex and interdependent
relationships between cultures and societies.
This course also provides opportunities for students to identify problems and assess
values in relation to historical and contemporary issues in American history from Reconstruction
to the present and to improve oral and written communication skills. The development of critical
thinking and historical interpretation skills are also goals of HIST 2020.
Roark, James. L., Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, Alan
Lawson, and Susan H. Hartmann. The American Promise: A History of
the United States. Second Compact Edition. Volume II: From 1865.
Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.
Students will demonstrate the ability to:
1. analyze historical facts and interpretations;
2. analyze and compare political, geographical, economic, social, cultural, religious, and
3. recognize and articulate the diversity of the human experience across a range of
historical periods and the complexities of a global culture and society;
4. draw on historical perspectives to evaluate contemporary problems and issues;
5. analyze the contributions of past cultures and societies to the contemporary world.
I expect you to attend each class! Most of the material on tests will come from class
lectures, presentations, and discussions, so regular attendance is very important. If you know
you are going to miss a class, please try to let me know in advance. If you miss more than two
classes without a valid reason, I will lower your final grade by a letter grade. Missing six or
more classes will result in an automatic F for the course.
Students who are receiving Title IV financial assistance (Pell Grant, Student Loan, or
SEOG Grant) must regularly attend class or be subject to repaying part or all of the Federal
Financial Aid received for the semester.
You will have a total of four grades (Portfolio/2 Tests/Homework) during the semester.
Portfolio—Each student will prepare one portfolio consisting of class notes, reading
notes, and individually designed outline/study guide.
Two tests will be given during the semester with both tests counting equally. Each test
will be in an all-essay format. If you miss a test, you can request a makeup, which may or may
not be given at my discretion.
Two homework assignments will also be distributed during the semester. Each
assignment will count 50 points and the total points received on these three assignments will
equal the portfolio grade and two test grades.
Each student also has the option of writing a short research paper (5-8 pages) on an
approved topic in American history for “extra credit.” This paper will count the same as a test
grade but can give you five grades instead of four. See me for details about this project if you
The portfolio, tests, homework, and papers will be graded on the following scale: A=90-
100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D=60-69; F=59 and below.
All writing for this class must be your own work! ! Plagiarism is using other people’s
ideas as your own, copying all or part of someone else’s work, having another person write the
assignment, getting too much assistance in writing, or failing to accurately document the use of
source material. Plagiarism is punishable by possible failure on the assignment or in the course
and is to be judged by the instructor. Students are responsible for seeking help if they are unsure
about how or when to cite sources. Ignorance of the rules is not justification for plagiarism.
Cellular telephones are not to be used during class for any purpose, including making
and/or receiving class, sending and/or receiving photographs or text messages, or playing games.
If this policy is not followed during class, cell phones will be subject to confiscation.
Student conduct is bound by the conditions set forth in the VSCC Student Handbook
available at www.volstate.edu/StudentHandbook/conduct.html.
VSCC Non-Discrimination Policy Statement
It is the intent of Volunteer State Community College to fully comply with Executive
Order 11246, as amended, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and the Vietnam Era
Veterans Readjustment Act of 1974, as amended, and all regulations implementing those laws
and orders, for the promotion and ensuring of equal opportunity, for all persons without regard to
race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation,
or status as a qualified veteran or veteran of the Vietnam era. It is the intent of VSCC to be free
of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, age,
disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, veteran status, or physical appearance. It is the
intent of VSCC to fully comply with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
amended, and the CRA of 1991, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended,
the Equal Pay Act of 1963, as amended, the Age discrimination provision in the Employment
Act of 1976, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the
American with Disabilities Act of 1990, applicable state status and all regulations promulgated
VSCC Title IX Statement
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation
in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or
activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
VSCC ADA Statement
It is the student’s responsibility to self-identify with the Office of Disability Services in
order to receive accommodations. Only those students with appropriate documentation will
receive services. Disability Services is located in the Office of Student Services.
“We remain a land of great promise, but we need to move America towards the fulfillment of the
promises that she has made: economic justice, civil rights, protection of the environment, a
living wage, respect for others, and humility in exercising our power at home and around the
world. These are not impossible ideals; they are achievable goals with strong leadership and the
will of a vigilant and informed American people….America is not always right, but America
should always be true and it is in seeking her truths, both the good and the bad, that we find a
deeper patriotism, a more authentic experience as citizens, and we find the power that is
embedded only in truth to change our world for the better. That is how our soul as a nation and
as a people is revealed….Remember the country we carry in our hearts is waiting.”
Notes: All dates listed are tentative and may change as the semester progresses.
Jan. 19 & 26 Introduction
“Tyranny of Change”: Birth of Modern America
Reading: Chap. 17 (pp.429-441)
Feb. 2 “The Search for Order”: The Progressive Era
Reading: Chap. 21
Feb. 9 “Over There”: America and World War I
Reading: Chap. 22
Feb. 16 Portfolio Due
Feb. 23 “The Jazz Age”: The 1920s
Reading: Chap. 23 (pp. 575-594)
March 2 Homework #1 Due
“Freedom from Fear”: The Depression and the
Reading: Chap. 23 (pp. 594-603)
March 9 No Class/Spring Break
March 16 World War II—“A War to be Won”
Reading: Chap. 25 (pp. 637-649; 659-668)
March 23 World War II—The Home Front
Reading: Chap. 25 (pp. 659-668)
“We’ve got to stop the SOBs!”: The Cold War
Reading: Chap. 26
March 30 Test 1
April 6 “That’s All Right”: The 1950s
Reading: Chap. 27
April 13 & 20 “The Times They Are A’Changin’”: The 1960s
Reading: Chap. 28 (1960s)
Chap. 29 (Vietnam)
April 27 Homework #2 Due
“We’re Not That Young Anymore”: The 1970s
Reading: Chap. 30 (through p. 784)
May 4 Test 2
“To be an American (unlike being English or French or whatever) is precisely to imagine a
destiny rather than to inherit one; since we have always been, insofar, as we are Americans at
all, inhabitants of myth rather than history. . . .”
“Story-writing becomes history-writing, and history quickly sets itself apart, consigning story to
the realm of the tale, legend, myth, fiction, literature. Then, since fictional and factual have
come to a point where they may mutually exclude each other, fiction, not infrequently, means
lies, and fact, truth. DID IT REALLY HAPPEN? IS IT A TRUE STORY?
“The past—or,…,history—exists only in our minds...History, then, never was; it only is.”