Flaherty, David

American History to 1865

HIUS
2001
Undergraduate
Fall
2016

In this course, students will engage with several key themes in the history of North America and the United States from pre-Columbian times (the era before 1492) through the end of the American Civil War.  We will explore social, economic, religious, and political changes during the period in which North America became colonized by Europeans and, later, British America became the United States.  This era in American history was characterized by a series of transformative crises:  in England and Europe prompting the initial European settlement of the Americas, in the thirteen colonies along the Atlantic seaboard in the late eighteenth century, and over the extent and meaning of the new United States and its Constitution in subsequent decades.  This long period was characterized by meetings of different peoples from around the Atlantic World, a series of innovations and contests over how to govern the broad territory of North America, and the emergence of a new culture that, while primarily reflecting the European influence on the continent, nevertheless was distinctively “American” in important ways. 

A primary emphasis of this course will be learning and practicing how to identify, interpret, and create a historical argument.  Most of the readings for this course, rather that offering a textbook-style narrative, will allow us to dig deeper into the key themes of the course rather than focusing on memorization of dates and IDs.  (Standard exams based on this kind of memorization will only be a small portion of the final grade.)  An essential goal of the course will be helping students to become better thinkers and writers through weekly class discussion and several writing assignments.

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3

The Era of the American Revolution

HIUS
3031
Undergraduate
Fall
2015

This course examines the era of the American Revolution beginning with the conclusion of the French and Indian War in 1763 through the ratification of the US Constitution in 1789.  Prior knowledge of the period is not required, but the class is ideal for students who have taken courses on colonial American history, the early republic, or a broad survey of American history and who would like to learn more about this formative period in the nation's history.  The course will involve two lectures and one discussion section each week.  Expect to read 100 to 200 pages per week, including both primary and secondary sources.

Major assignments will include midterm and final exams, one long paper of 8-10 pages, along with a number of shorter writing assignments.

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Seminar in United States History

"Black Freedom in the Age of Slavery"
HIUS
4501
Undergraduate
Fall
2015

This course examines the experiences of free people of color in North America from the colonial era through the Civil War, a time during which most African Americans were enslaved.  These people include Africans and African Americans who freed themselves from slavery, were freed by slaveholders or abolition laws, or were never enslaved.  This is a research seminar and students will write a paper of approximately 25 pages, based largely on original research in primary sources, by the end of the semester.  During the first six weeks, we will read articles and chapter excerpts on a variety of themes relating to free people of color, such as the development of black culture, opposition to slavery and prejudice, and black political involvement.  These secondary sources are intended to provide background knowledge for the student's own research as well as models to follow, and we will discuss the authors' arguments, source base, and methodology.  During the middle of the course, students will research an approved topic and meet individually with the professor.  In the final weeks of the course, students will workshop their essay drafts in small groups and then present their finding to their classmates.

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Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904

  

Contact:
(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
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