American Civ II Syl



IDS 2143 American Civ II

Summer 2011

MTWT 12:20-1:20


   Dr. Aleisha Karjala                                                                           

Office               Davis 221                                    

Phone               574-1286                                     


Course Description

American Civ explores the background of the American people 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 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 World War II, and so much more. And no matter what issue we’re discussing, we’ll challenge you to relate it to 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 large 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 object 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 of 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 courses as these skills are imperative to success there and beyond.

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 change American history.

Textbook and Readings

Reading the assignments carefully and thoroughly is essential for success in this course. You are expected to have read the day’s assignments 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 reread 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 that you read, it is you job to understand them.

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

*Outside readings and articles linked through the syllabus.



Weekly Writing Assignments

Each week a response question will be on the attached tentative course outline. Responses are due on Friday and must be turned in through the Am Civ II account. Responses should be 200 words, and must demonstrate an understanding of the assigned material to receive full credit. During the course of the trimester there will be 8 assignment worth 10 possible points each. Class ID: 4057694

Class password: flappers


You will be tested on your knowledge og 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 reading assignments.



  • Exams: 100 points each, for a total of 200 points
  • Writing assignments: 10 points each, for a total of 80 points
  • Final grades will be calculated out of a possible 280 points


250-280 points                      90%-100%                   A

220-249 points                      80%-89%                     B

190-219 points                      70%-79%                     C

160-189 points                      60%-69%                     D

159 points and below             59% and below              F


  • A grade of Incomplete will be given in the direst of curcumstances. 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), laptop use 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 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 makeyou 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 electronic demands inyour life. You might find that all those pressing demands on you 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 this campus. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to: Plagarism (see page 22 of the student handbook for definition); Fabrication (page 23); Cheating (page 23); Forgery and Altering Documents (page 23). All instances of dishonesty will 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 reportedto the Academic Vice President for inclusion in the student's permanent university file. A second and all subsequent offenses (in any course across the university) may result in the student's explulsion from the university. We're really not kidding about this. Don't cheat. We mean it.

ADA Statement

Accoding to the ADA, each student with a disability is responsible for notifying the University of his/her disability and requesting accomodation. If you think you have a qualified disability and need classroom accomodations, 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 accomodations. Faculty have an obligation to respond when they receive official notice of a disability from Student Services, but are under no obligation to provide retroactice accomodations. 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 accomodation are identified. Call 405-574-1278 for more information.


Tentative Outline

Tues, May 31            Introduction of Course and Syllabus

Wed, June 1             Reconstruction--Radical Republicans and the Plans (Chapter 15)

Thur, June 2            Reconstruction--Impeachment of Johnson ( Chapter 15)

Weekly Response Paper:  Read  The Way We Weren't,8599,2063679,00.html from Time. Was the Civil about slavery or about states' rights? Does the debate matter in today's world?


Mon, June 6             Frederick Jackson Turner and the Frontier Thesis (Chapter 16)

Tue, June 7             Indians (Chapter 16)

Wed, June 8            Creation of the Modern Business Enterprise, Government Response to Monopolies (Chapter 17)

Thur, June 9           Carnegie's Gospel of Wealth and the Labor Movement (Chapter 17)

Weekly Response Paper: Read  Gospel of Wealth speech by Andrew Carnegie. Does the message from Carnegie still have importance in today's economic environment?


Mon, June 13          Urbanization and Political Party Machines(Chapter 18)

Tue, June 14          Spanish-American War (Chapter 19)

Wed, June 15         Populism--Cross of Gold Speech (Chapter 19)

Thur, June 16        Progressivism--Women's Suffrage, 19th Amendment, Political Reform (Chapter 20)

Weekly Response Paper: Read Cross of Gold speech by Williams Jennings Bryan which lays out what becomes the ideology of the Democratic Party. Does this ideology still exist today? Find some evidence in current political rhetoric, using the internet.


Mon, June 20         Progressivism and TR (Chapter 20)

Tue, June 21         World War I and It's Aftermath (Chapter 21)

Wed, June 22        Race Riots of the 1920's (Chapter 22)

Thur, June 23       What Caused the Great Depression (Chapter 23)


Weekly Response Paper: Carefully read Margaret Sanger’s speech The Morality of Birth Control from 1921 (  Then consider the following two questions.  First, according to your reading of Chapter 22, what was going on in this period of American history that would move Sanger to advocate for birth control at that time?  Second, Sanger argued that procreation among certain parts of the population should be stopped and that that position is moral.  Does this controversial position detract from her title as the pioneer of the birth control movement?


Mon, June 27        Great Depression (Chapter 23)(

Tue, June 28        The New Deal-- (Chapter 24) FDR's Fireside Chat Assignment

Wed, June 29       The New Deal (Chapter 24)

Thur, June 30       MIDTERM


Mon, July 4           Holiday

Tue, July 5           World War II--Pearl Harbor (Chapter 25)

Wed, July 6          World War II--Two Theaters (Chapter 26)

Thur, July 7         World War II--Propaganda and the End of the War (Chapter 26)

Weekly Response Paper:Watch the following u-tube videos

 How do you think American's would respond to such requests for a war effort today? 


Mon, July 11        Post WW II World--Marshall Plan, Truman Doctrine, UN, Bretton Woods (Chapter 27)

Tue, July 12        Korea (Chapter 27)

Wed, July 13       1950's Affluence (Chapter 27)

Thur, July 14       Background of the Civil Rights Era (Chapter 28)

Weekly Response Paper:Read Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail at

and Malcolm X's The Ballot or the Bullet Speech at

Considering the civil rights movement, does the path espoused by MLK on nonviolent civil action or Malcolm X's "whatever means necessary" make more sense to you? Take a position, using your informed opinion and the readings.


Mon, July 18        Civil Rights Movement (Chapter 28)

Tue, July 19        Kennedy and LBJ (Chapter 29)

Wed, July 20       (Chapter 29)

Thur, July 21      (Chapter 29)

Weekly Response Reading: Read Timothy Leary's Declaration of Evolution at

What does Leary propose to support? Select and discuss an example or two from the 40's, 50's and 60's that support Leary's arguments against the "old white men. 


Mon, July 25       Nixon and Watergate (Chapter 30)

Tue, July 26        Reagan and the 1980's (Chapter 31)

Wed, July 27       Cold War (Chapter 31)

Thur, July 28      Clinton and Economic Expansion (Chapter 32)

Weekly Response Reading:Read or watch

From your reading of Reagan’s 1987 speech (you may either read the text of the speech or watch the speech), talk about what the Cold War represented and why “tear down these walls” is such powerful imagery.


Mon, Aug 1         Election of 2000 (Chapter 32)

Tue, Aug 2         War on Terrorism (Chapter 32)

Thur, Aug 4        FINAL EXAM: 8:00--9:30AM