HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present

Course Syllabus for "HIST212: Introduction to United States History - Reconstruction to the Present"

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This course will introduce you to United States history from the end of the Civil War in 1865 through the first decade of the twenty-first century. You will learn about the major political, economic, and social changes that took place in America during this nearly 150-year period. The course will be structured chronologically, with each unit focusing on a significant historical subject. The units will include representative primary-source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as the growth and expansion of political representation and civil rights in America, industrial development and economic change, race and ethnicity in American society, and cultural change over time. These primary documents offer you insights into the thinking of people who directly witnessed and experienced these historical developments. By the end of the course, you will understand how the United States grew from a relatively weak and divided agricultural nation into a cohesive military and industrial superpower by the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • identify the objectives of presidential and congressional Reconstruction following the Civil War and assess the impact of Reconstruction on Caucasian and African-American residents of the American South;
  • identify the origins of industrialization in the United States and assess its impact on native-born Americans and immigrants in the post-Civil War era;
  • compare and contrast American settlement of the trans-Mississippi West in the post-Civil War era with American economic expansion into Latin America and the Pacific Ocean in the late nineteenth century;
  • identify the origins of political and social reform movements in the United States in the late nineteenth century and assess how these movements altered political, economic, and social life throughout the United States in the early twentieth century;
  • describe how and why America became involved in World War I and assess the impact of American involvement on the postwar peace settlement;
  • explain how the Great Depression and World War II reshaped American society and politics;
  • explain how the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement altered America’s standing in the global community and reshaped domestic political and social institutions;
  • identify the origins of American military involvement in Vietnam and assess how the war led to social, political, and economic turmoil throughout the United States in the 1960s and 1970s;
  • explain America’s place within the global community and evaluate how political and social trends in the 1980s and 1990s have shaped contemporary life in the United States; and
  • analyze and interpret primary source documents from the nineteenth through the twenty-first century using historical research methods.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    have competency in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook; and

√    have completed all courses listed in the Core Program of the History discipline. This requirement only applies to those students who are seeking the equivalency of a full History degree.

Course Information

Welcome to HIST212 Introduction to United States History: Reconstruction to the Present. Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements. 

Course Designers: Ben Schwantes and Angela Bowie

Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all its assigned materials. At the end of each unit, you will be responsible for completing a series of multiple-choice, true/false, and fill-in-the-blank quizzes to assess your understanding of the topics covered in each unit. You may take these assessments as many times as you like. 

In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again. 

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 142.5 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly. It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.

Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.