Development of the United States, The End of Reconstruction (1877) to the Present (2006)

Summer 2006

Note: Professor Clemens' office is Van Dyck 217B. He can be reached by e-mail at and by phone at 732-932-6750;

Web Page Location: ummer1877to2005.html.

History Department Statement on Classroom Responsibilities:

History Department Statement on Plagiarism:

This course covers American history from the end of "Reconstruction" of the South to the administration of George W. Bush. The central themes are (1) the emergence of America as an international power; (2) the growth in the power of government and the creation of the "welfare state;" and (3) the struggle for individual rights, especially those of women and black Americans. 

Each student will be required to:

1. Complete the weekly reading assignments according to the schedule below.   Participate in discussion.   There will be short quizzes on identification terms and the maps.  Discussion, quizzes and the timeline project count for 20% of the grade. 

2. Write a short paper on  Great Expectations and do short responses to the film, Thirteen Days.  40% of grade.

3. Take the mid-term and the final examination.  Together 40% of grade. 

4.  Attend class.  You are expected to sign-in before class and attend the entire class. More than three unexcused absences will lower your grade one letter grade. Five unexcused absences will result in failure.  Two late arrivals count as an absence.  Excused absences (for medical or family emergencies with written documentation; or religious observances) do not count in this total.  Two late arrivals will count as an absence.   STUDENTS WHO ATTEND EVERY CLASS (except for excused absences) WILL GET A THREE POINT BONUS ON THEIR FINAL EXAM.

The reading and paper assignments are drawn from the following four (or five) books, all of which can be purchased at the University Bookstore.  You are encouraged to buy books on-line if there are substantial savings involved.

Mary Beth Norton, et al., People and a Nation, Brief Edition, Vol 2, and Discovering the American Past, Volume 2, 6th edition, with free atlas.  Shrink wrapped together at bookstore.  

Elaine Tyler May, Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America (University of Chicago Press, 1980, 1983). lists the 1980 edition at $13.15.  ISBN: 0226511707.

Philip Caputo, A Rumor of War  (Henry Holt, 1977, 1996). price $10.50.

There is a $2.00 fee due at the time of the mid-term for the photocopying that will be distributed during the semester. 


Materials Below Under Construction: Ignore Dates, Assignments, in fact, Everything.

Schedule of Assignments: Reading Assignments are listed immediately after the class by which they must be completed. Students are responsible on quizzes for any material listed on or before the date of the quiz.

1. May 31st  (Tuesday): Introduction

2. June 1st (Wednesday): The West
People and a Nation, Chapter 17 ("Development of the West")

3. June 2nd (Thursday): Immigration and the New Industrial Order
1877: Year of Violence, Part I, pp. 1-73.
People and a Nation, Chapter 18 ("Machine Age")
Atlas, Section 6
4. June 6th (Monday): Origins of American Imperialism
1877: Year of Violence: Part II, pp. 74-158.
People and a Nation, Chapter 19 ("....Urban Life"), Chapter 22 ("Quest for Empire")
5. June 7th:  Populism to Progressivism  

People and a Nation, Chapter 20 ("Gilded Age Politics")
1877: Year of Violence, Part II, pp. 159-260.

6. June 8th: Black Americans in a Racist Age
1877: Year of Violence, Part III, pp. 261-321.
7. June 9th: The Progressive Movement, 1900-1914
People and a Nation, Chapter 21 ("Progressive Era")
Paper Due: 1877: Year of Violence (and, optional, Gore Vidal's 1876)
8. June 13th (Monday):  World War I and the Shaping of the Modern World

          People and a Nation, Chapter 23 ("Americans in the Great War")

9. June 14th: Popular Culture to Mass Culture


10. June 15th: The 1920s

People and a Nation, Chapter 24 ("New Era...1920s")
Atlas, Section 7
11. June 16th:  New Deal for Whom?    
People and a Nation, Chapter 25 ("Great Depression and New Deal")

12. June 20th (Monday):  World War II    

People and a Nation, Chapters  26 ("Peaceseekers....") and 27 ("Second World War")
13. June 21st (Tuesday): Mid-term Examination

14. June 22nd: 1950s: Baby Boomers in the Age of the Bomb

People and a Nation, Chapter 28 ("Cold War Politics....")
White, Missiles in Cuba, Chapter 1
15. June 23rd:  The Cold War
PAPER DUE: Warriors Don't Cry
White, Missiles in Cuba, Chapters 2 and 3
People & a Nation, Chapter 29 ("American Globalism")

16. June 27th (Monday): Civil Rights Movement
People and a Nation, Chapter 30 ("Reform and Conflict")
White, Missiles in Cuba, Chapters 4, 5, 6

17. June 28th: Vietnam

        People and a Nation,  Chapter 31 ("Disaster and Detente")
        Power, Problem from Hell, Chapter 6, "Cambodia"     

18. June 29th:  Movie: Thirteen Days (2000)
Give Me Liberty!, Chapter 25
Power, Problem from Hell, Chapter 9 "Bosnia"
19. June 30th:  Coming Apart: Johnson to Nixon

          Give Me Liberty!, Chapter 32 ("Postwar Boom")

20  July 5th (Tuesday): Movie: Hotel Rwanda (2004)

          Power, Problem from Hell, Chapter 10, "Rwanda"

21. July  6th:  Reagan and the 1980s
          Atlas, Section 8

22. July 7th: Final Examination (Sample Only)

Updated: 05-25-2005