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AMST 210: American Culture, 1493 - 1860 - Corman

Course Of Study

AMST 210: American Culture to 1860

T 6:00 - 9:00 PM  Copley Campus

   L-R: William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Susan B. Anthony




We’ll be thinking about the ways all people made and used a variety of popular political and cultural forms through 1860.

The course has three broad units: colonialism/revolution, material culture/consumer culture, labor/road to the Civil War. 

We’ll cover topics including the experiences of native peoples; European colonial expansion; indentured, slave, and wage labor; social and cultural history of British colonists; the American Revolution; global trade; the birth of a mass consumer culture; race, class, and gender and the industrial revolution; Indian removal; the California Gold Rush; Manifest Destiny; and violent/non-violent approaches to ending slavery.  Our course begins in 1493 and ends in 1860, on the eve of the Civil War.

This course uses one major secondary source (Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States) as well as a handful of scholarly essays to help students become familiar with events and characters in American history up to 1860.  The course relies on many primary sources (newspapers, magazines, speeches, ads, furnishings, and fiction) to engage students with the experiences of Americans living before the Civil War.

PURPOSE: Many students in AmSt 210 won't be majoring in the humanities.  The course helps students practice crafting well-reasoned spoken and written arguments based on evidence.  Students will hone skills in taking notes, creating thesis statements and topic sentences, organizing supporting details, and documenting evidence.  While practicing all these skills, students will be learning about events and experiences in early American history.  No student should graduate from college unable to use these skills, regardless of the field of study they're pursuing.

You can download the class map and course policies by clicking on links under "course documents" beneath this box or on our class Blackboard page.



This is a very long syllabus. Please do not be intimidated.  It serves as students’ course bible.  It also contains live links to readings and collections.  Students who follow the syllabus closely will increase their odds of earning high marks for the semester.

Healey Library | University of Massachusetts Boston | 100 Morrissey Blvd | Boston, MA | 02125-3393 | 617-287-5900