History of the United States to 1840

Course Number: HST 201
Transcript Title: History of the US to 1840
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 6, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Examines cause and effect, and significant trends and movements related to political, social and economic ideas and events from Colonial times to 1840. History courses are non-sequential and may be taken in any term and in any order. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

  1. Articulate an understanding of key events in the history of early and colonial United States and use critical thinking in order to evaluate historical changes and their impact on current U.S. society.
  2. Recognize the historical contributions of different groups (national, ethnic, racial, religious, sexual and gendered) that interacted in the United States in order to appreciate and evaluate current U.S. diversity.
  3. Identify culturally grounded assumptions which have influenced the perceptions and behaviors of people in the past in order to assess how culture continues to affect human behavior.
  4. Communicate effectively using historical analysis.
  5. Connect the past with the present to enhance citizenship skills.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources.
  • Evaluate different interpretations of past events and construct your own interpretation.
  • Think critically about the relationships between past and present events and issues.
  • Compare and contrast the experience of diverse groups in American society.
  • Demonstrate college-level communications skills which may include listening, speaking, and writing.

Course Activities and Design

  • Lecture
  • Small group discussion
  • Class discussion
  • Oral presentations
  • Essay exams
  • Research paper

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Competencies and Skills

  • Connect evidence to its relevant historical context.
  • Analyze and evaluate written, artistic, or other evidence.
  • Assess the motivation and purpose of evidence.

Evaluate different interpretations of past events and construct your own interpretation:

  • Identify a historian’s thesis and supporting evidence.
  • Evaluate the arguments used to support different interpretations of historical issues.
  • Develop your own thesis and historical interpretation and use evidence to support it.

Think critically about the relationship between past and present events and issues:

  • Recognize and identify historical roots and parallels to current issues.

Compare and contrast the experience of diverse groups in American society.

  • Listen to and appreciate the experience of students from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Assess the contributions and experiences of various groups in American society.

Communicate effectively in writing about a historical topic.

  • Communicate in writing an understanding of historical process and an evaluation of how concepts or values change over time.

Clearly articulate thoughts and ideas to a particular audience which may include:

  • Working collaboratively with other students to evaluate and understand historical events.
  • Working collaboratively with others in discussions, debate, or role plays.
  • Presenting information in oral presentations.

Themes, Concepts, Issues

  • Indigenous cultures prior to European contact
  • Relationships between Europeans and indigenous Americans
  • Exploration and expansion
  • Colonization and imperial conflict
  • Development of political, economic and labor systems
  • Slavery
  • African Diaspora
  • Atlantic world
  • American Revolution and Independence
  • Other wars, conflicts and diplomacy
  • Constitutional development
  • Early Republic and nation building
  • Market Revolution
  • Gender
  • Class
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Sexuality
  • Racism and other systems of discrimination
  • Liberty and equality
  • Demography
  • United States in international context
  • Geography and the natural environment
  • Technology
  • Social, political and economic reform movements
  • Historiography