HIST 2301.165

U.S. History Since 1877

Fall 2009 — MWF 1:00–1:50 — HH150

Prof. Mark Stoll

135 Holden Hall

Telephone: 742-3744

Office hours: Monday 10:30-12:30 & by appointment

Course Website: http://courses.ttu.edu/mstoll/           E-mail: mark.stoll@ttu.edu


This course surveys the history of the United States from Reconstruction to the present. It focuses on the major social, intellectual, political, cultural, and religious trends and events that shaped the American nation.


Exams: There will be three in-class midterm exams and a cumulative final. These tests will consist of short-answer, objective, and essay questions that will require a firm and accurate knowledge of the facts and the ability to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information. Exam questions will be drawn from assigned reading, lectures, and other class materials.


Reading: The required books for the course are:

·         Hugh Brogan, The Penguin History of the USA, 2nd ed.

·         Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America

·         Adam Cohen, Nothing to Fear: FDR's Inner Circle and the Hundred Days That Created Modern America

·         Robert Stone, Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties

·         Jim Mann, The Rebellion of Ronald Reagan: A History of the End of the Cold War


Grading: In the calculation of students’ final grades, the three midterm exams count 22% each, and the final 34% of the final grade


Attendance and make-up policy: Class attendance is required. Roll will be taken each class. Each absence over two causes the final grade to drop 1 point. Students with a perfect attendance record receive a bonus of 3 points on their final grade average. Students who miss exams may make them up. Students must take any make-up work on the last day of classes. It is the students’ responsibility to arrange their schedules to accommodate this, since there will be no exceptions. It is undoubtedly in students’ interest to take exams on the date they are scheduled.


Map quiz: As Peter Heylyn noted in 1652, “Historie without Geographie like a dead carkasse hath neither life nor motion at all.” Nineteenth-century historian Jules Michelet agreed: “Without a geographical basis, the people, the makers of history, seem to be walking on air, as in those Chinese pictures where the ground is wanting.” Because geography shapes and influences history, students must know the basic facts of U.S. geography.  All students will be required to pass a map quiz.  This test will require students to locate, on an outline map of the U.S., 20 of the features named on the following list.  A passing score is 80%.  The test will be taken on an outline map on Monday, September 14. Students will have opportunities to retake the map quiz if they fail, but must pass by October 9. Students must be able to locate the following on an outline map:

All 50 states by name

Appalachian Mountains

Washington, D.C.


Rocky Mountains

New York City


Sierra Nevada


Pacific Ocean

Cascade Range


Gulf of Mexico

All 5 Great Lakes by name


Atlantic Ocean

Great Salt Lake


St. Lawrence River

Puget Sound

New Orleans

Hudson River

Great Basin

St. Louis

Ohio River

Great Plains


Mississippi River

Chesapeake Bay

Santa Fe

Missouri River

Florida Keys

Salt Lake City

Columbia River

Cape Cod

Los Angeles

Colorado River (AZ, etc.)

Cape Canaveral

San Francisco

Rio Grande

Long Island


For purposes of study and convenience, a blank map like the one used for the test is attached to the syllabus and is also available online if you wish to print out more copies. CLICK HERE FOR A BLANK MAP.

Note: These geographical features can be found on most maps and atlases. The political and physical maps of the United States in the on-line Encyclopaedia Britannica (available from the Texas Tech Library Website [select “Databases”]) contain almost all of them. Search for “United States” and click on “Maps.” You might also try Google Maps and similar sites for any you have trouble finding.


Reading: By the first exam, read Brogan, chapters 17–18, and all of Larson.

8/28     Introduction

8/31     1876: State of the Union

9/2       Indians, Ranchers, and Farmers

9/4       Indians, Ranchers, and Farmers, cont.

9/7       Labor Day—No Class

9/9       Rise of American industrial power

9/11     American workers and the challenge of the working class

9/14     Map Quiz! Immigrants arrive in huge numbers

9/16     America becomes an urban nation

9/18     America becomes an urban nation, cont.

9/21     Victorian America

9/23     EXAM 1

Reading: By the second exam, read Brogan, chapters 19–22, and all of Cohen.

9/25     The election of 1896

9/28     War and empire

9/30     Progressivism, and Theodore Roosevelt

10/2     Taft, and the Election of 1912

10/5     Wilson's Progressivism (cont.), and The Great War

10/7     Red Scare and the Politics of “Normalcy”

10/9     The “Roaring Twenties”

10/12   Fall Break—No Class

10/14   Herbert Hoover and the Crash

10/16   Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal

10/19   EXAM 2

Reading: By the third exam, read Brogan, chapters 23–25, and all of Stone.

10/21   The Waning of the New Deal

10/23   Depression-era America

10/26   Road to war

10/28   World War II

10/30   World War II

11/2     The 1940s and the Cold War

11/4     America in the 1950s

11/6     Suburbia and its Discontents (cont.)

11/9     The Civil Rights movement

11/11   EXAM 3

Reading: By the final exam, read Brogan, chapters 26–27, and all of Mann.

11/13   Kennedy

11/16   The early Sixties

11/18   Johnson and the Great Society

11/20   The late Sixties

11/23   Dreams of a better world

11/25–27         Thanksgiving Break—No class

11/30   Vietnam, Violence, and Assassinations

12/2     The rise and fall of Nixon

12/4     Ford and the early 1970s

12/7     Carter and the late 1970s

12/9     The “Reagan Revolution”

12/15   Tuesday, 1:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m. FINAL EXAM