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Program

  • Introduction: “What’s American about America” by John Kouwenhoven
Readings: “What’s American about America”
  • 1- Geographical sketch.
Mountains, rivers, main regions in the country
  • 2- The Colonial Period.
The contact between Europeans-Indians; The literary antecedent: Shakespeare's The Tempest. The discourse of the noble savage versus wild man; Colón and the description of paradise; John Smith; William Bradford.
Readings:
  • Christopher Columbus, Journals (extracts)
  • “The Mayflower Compact”
  • John Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation (extracts).
  • 3- The Creation of the New Nation.
The initial colonies: From the salutary neglect to heavy taxation. The Seven Years’ War. The effects of the war: The different Acts. Inequality in the colonies. New England and the resistance to Britain. Paine’s Common Sense. The idea of independence. Revolution and democracy. “We the People”: the different parts of the document. The shape of the new nation. The American Constitution. The territorial growth. The Louisiana Purchase.
Reading:
Thomas Jefferson, “The Declaration of Independence”
  • 4- Westward Expansion. The Frontier West
The vision of the land (Kolodny). Characters, life, habits . The meaning of manifest destiny. The railroad and its effects. The gold rush. The treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.
The Homestead Act. Turner’s thesis.
The Dawes Act and the Indian question. Sitting Bull, Tecumseh. The vision of the Indians. Andrew Jackson. The removal Act. The Trail of Tears. The Ghost Dance. The Wounded knee Massacre. The reservation system.
Reading:
  • Tecumseh, “Sell a Country? Why not Sell the Air?” (Breidlid)
  • Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Significance of the Frontier in American History”
  • 5- Slavery and the Civil War. The Era of the Reconstruction
Origins of the concept of slavery. Indentured servitude/slavery. The Underground Railroad. Abolitionism. Walker’s Appeal. Women’s Rights and the Seneca Falls Declaration.
The old south. The Mason-Dixon line. “A house divided”. Lincoln and the Civil War. Secession and he declarations of causes. The emancipation proclamation.What changed, what remained the same. Frederick Douglass. Civil codes. Jim Crow laws and segregation. Miscegenation. Madison Grant.
Readings:
  • Joseph Ingraham,”A Peek into a Slave-Mart
  • W.E.B. DuBois, “This Double Consciousness”
  • Madison Grant, “The Mixture of Two Races”
  • Sojourner Truth, “Ain’t I a Woman?”
  • “The Seneca Falls Declaration”
  • 6- The US in the Jazz Age
Life in the 20’s.. The flapper. The Volstead Act 1919. The red scare. The standard of living. The automobile culture. Carnegie. Wealth.
Rural America in the 20’s. The great depression. The dust bowl. The stock market crash. The consequences. Hoovervilles. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Reading:
  • Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus” (Boorstin)
  • Carnegie. Wealth.
  • 7- The sixties and the Civil Rights Era
JFK and the election of 1960. LB Johnson. “The great society”. Vietnam and the theory of containment. Student activism. Segregation and Plessy vs. Ferguson. The civil rights act 1964. Brown vs. Board of education. Rosa Parks and the bus boycott. Martin Luther King and passive  resistance. The balance between activism and non-violence. King/Malcolm X.
Readings:
  • Martin Luther King, “I have a Dream”
  • 18-- Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet” (Breidlid)
  • 8- September 11th (readings to be handed out)
The impact of the collective trauma. The new vocabulary: Ground Zero, Axis of Evil, Guantánamo Bay. Responses to September 11th. The “We-are-all-suspects-now syndrome.” Its impact on movies such as The Terminal, The Visitor, and Babel.
Copyright 2008, de los Autores de los Cursos. Cite/attribute Resource. Program. (2011, February 07). Retrieved September 20, 2017, from OCW-USAL Web site: http://ocw.usal.es/humanidades/cultural-history-of-the-u-s-group-b/program. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons License