Am Civ II Spring 2012 Syllabus



                                                                  IDS 2143 American Civ II

                                                                               Spring 2012

                                                                        MWF 11:15-12:15



Dr. James Finck

Dr. Jennifer Long



Troutt 317





Office Hours


MWF: 8:30-10:30; TTh: 1:2:30


Course Description

 American Civ II explores the backgrounds of American peoples by considering the government; values; religious, social and political concerns; and creative expressions experienced by the inhabitants of this continent from the time of Reconstruction to the modern day. While this may look like a history class, it's really much more.  We'll certainly discuss wars, presidents, the Constitution, who did what when, and why the Senate is different from the House of Representatives, but there's so much more to understanding the character of a nation and the people who live there. We'll read and discuss poetry; examine fine art; talk about how Vanderbilt and Rockefeller got so rich; consider the ongoing importance of race and class in the American story; debate the use of the atomic bomb to end Word War II, and so much more.  And no matter what issue we're discussing, we'll challenge you to relate it to the America of today.

 The IDS Core Curriculum and American Civ

 American Civ is part of USAO’s unique interdisciplinary Core Curriculum, and thus has a larger purpose apart from disseminating information about the United States from 1865 to the present day. Indeed, the specific content itself will change from semester to semester and from section to section depending on the faculty who are part of the teaching team. The objectives of this—and all IDS courses—are larger, more complex, and much more significant. We aim to produce students who will learn and use the skills of critical thinking, enabling them to become good consumers, questioners, and analyzers of information; develop a life-long love of learning; and appreciate the value of multiple perspectives in understanding and analyzing complex issues.

Because each IDS course shares these common goals, the Core Curriculum is an integrated whole. We encourage students to move through the Core in its prescribed order, from courses that deal with the Individual, and then broaden into the Natural World, the Community and the Nation, and finally the World of Ideas. The Skills Courses (including Writing, Rhetoric and Mathematics) should be completed before the student begins the sophomore-level IDS courses, as these skills are imperative to success there and beyond. (For more information about the IDS Core Curriculum, see the IDS webpage at  /usao-ids).

American Civ has more specific goals as well. We aim to produce students who will think critically about American culture; understand the myriad ways that history informs the present; make connections between the social, cultural, political, and economic realms of the American system; and understand how culture affects individual Americans, and how individual Americans have contributed to and changed American history.


Reading the assignments carefully and thoroughly is essential for success in this course. You are expected to have read the day’s assignment before coming to class, or lecture will not be productive for you. But once won't be enough for full understanding—you should be prepared to reread the assignments after we discuss them in class, and to return previously discussed readings as new ideas present themselves. Reading assignments are listed on the class schedule below. And remember that while you do not have to agree with every idea you read, it is your job to understand them.

 * One textbook, available in the USAO bookstore: The Unfinished Nation, 6thed. by Alan Brinkley

 * Outside readings and articles linked through the syllabus


 Weekly Writing Assignments

 Each Monday, a response question will be posted on the Am Civ II account. Due the next Friday, responses should be approximately 2 pages in length, and must demonstrate an understanding of the assigned reading to receive full credit. The highest 10 grades out of the weekly responses will count toward the final grade. Class ID: 4693123

Class password: bigbusiness


  You will be tested on your knowledge of American Civ with a midterm and a final exam, on the dates listed below. The exams will be a mixture of short answer and essay questions, and will cover topics addressed in class as well as the assigned readings.




•             Exams: 100 points each, for a total of 200 points

•             Writing assignments: 10 points each, for a total of 100 points

•             Final grades will be calculated out of a possible 300 points                     

•             A grade of Incomplete will be given only in the direst of circumstances.  A grade of Withdraw Passing may be given at any time, however. 

Class Policies


It is your decision whether to attend class or not. You will not be penalized directly for missing class, but no make-up quizzes or exams will be given

 Cell Phones and Other Electronic Devices

Cell phones and other beeping, chirping, singing, game-playing, text-messaging and noise-making electronic things must be turned OFF during class and kept out of sight.  Because of the potential for distraction (for you and those sitting around you), use of laptops is not allowed in class. (Exceptions can be made only in the case of a documented accommodation need. Please inform the instructors if this is the case).

 We know you think that you can listen to lecture, check your Facebook, take notes, text your friends about where to meet for lunch, formulate intelligent questions, read your email, participate in class discussion and listen to your iPod all at the same time, but you can't. Lots of good research tells us that multitasking detracts from the learning experience and can actually make you dumber (see, for example, "The Myth of Multi-Tasking" at

Be fully present in the classroom; treat class as a one hour refuge from all the other electronic demands in your life. You might find that all those pressing demands on your time—all those incoming texts, all the new Facebook statuses, all the waiting messages—really aren’t all that urgent. You might even find that the electronic silence gives you a calm space in which to really think and learn.

 That said, if your cell phone or other beeping, chirping, singing, game-playing, text-messaging or noise-making electronic thing goes off in class, you will be asked to leave. If you're texting or emailing or checking your Facebook in class, you'll be asked to leave.

 Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this or any other class on campus. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: Plagiarism (see page 22 of student handbook for definition); Fabrication (page 23); Cheating (page 23); Forgery and Altering Documents (page 23). All instances of dishonesty will be result in penalty without exception. The maximum penalty for the first offense is a grade of "F" for the course (page 23) and the incident will be reported to the Academic Vice President for inclusion in the studen0'st permanent university file. A second and all subsequent offenses (in any course across the university) may result in the student's expulsion from the university. We're really not kidding about this. Don't cheat. We mean it.

 ADA Statement

According to the ADA, each student with a disability is responsible for notifying the University of his/her disability and requesting accommodations. If you think you have a qualified disability and need classroom accommodations, contact the office of Student Services located on the third floor of the Student Center.  Please advise the professor of your disability as soon as possible, to ensure timely implementation of appropriate accommodations. Faculty have an obligation to respond when they receive official notice of a disability from Student Services but are under no obligation to provide retroactive accommodations.  To receive services, you must submit appropriate documentation and complete an intake process during which the existence of a qualified disability is verified and reasonable accommodations are identified.  Call 405-574-1278 for more information.


Tentative Course Schedule





Week I: Fri Jan 5


Intro to the Course


Week 2: Mon Jan 9-Fri Jan 13



Week 3: Mon Jan 16-Fri  Jan 20


Westward Movement

Week 4: Mon Jan 23- Fri Jan 27


The Rise of Big Business

Week 5: Mon Jan 30- Fri Feb 3


Urbanization and Political Machines


Week 6: Mon Feb 6 - Fri Feb 10


New Nationalism


Week 7: Mon Feb 13- Fri Feb 17


The Progressive Era and WWI




Week 8: Mon Feb 20- Fri Feb 24


Race (migration, Riots, and Renaissance)

•   DuBois's Talented Tenth at



Week 9: Mon Feb 27- Fri March 2


The Great Depression

Week 10: Mon March 5- Fri March 9


World War II


Week 11: Mon March 12- Fri March 16




March 19-March 23 Spring Break




Week 12: Mon March 26- Fri March 30




Week 13: Mon April 2- Fri April 6




Week 14: Mon April 9- Fri April 13




Week 14: Mon April 16


1990s and 2000s


Final Exam