Required Texts

Most readings for this class will be distributed through the website. In addition, there are a few required texts for purchase. They should all be available inexpensively online new or used.

  • DuBois The Souls of Black Folk.

  • Bellamy Looking Backward.

  • Taylor The Principles of Scientific Management.

  • Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty, Fourth Edition Volume 2 (Seagull edition)
    • The third edition is a out of print, but only a few years old and available online used for only around $10-$15. If you wish to read it instead, you may: but you are responsible for figuring out which sections correspond to the page numbers. But be sure to buy a copy that includes both “Volume 2” and “Seagull” in the title.

Unit 1: Nation building. (1876-1896)

Week 1: Introductions and the Civil War

The Legacy of the Civil War.

  • Thursday discussion: James “The Moral Equivalent of War.”

Week 2: The North and Industrialization

Andrew Carnegie

  • Foner, 592-602 (“The Second Industrial Revolution”)
  • Foner, 616-626 (“Politics in a Gilded Age”)

Thursday Discussion:

  • Carnegie “Wealth.”
  • Spencer, “What Social Classes owe to each other”

Week 3: The West and the empire beyond

  • Foner, 602-615 (“Transformation of the West”); 664-678 (“Becoming a World Power”)

  • Thursday discussion: Turner “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.”

Week 4: The New South and the agricultural crisis

  • Foner, 648-658 (“The Segregated South”); 637 – 648 (“The Populist Challenge”)

Jim Crow

Wilmington Riots

The Agrarian Crisis

In class: Populist Party Platform, 1896

  • Thursday discussion: DuBois The Souls of Black Folk.
  • Read Introduction, the Forethought, and chapters
    • I (Of our Spriritual Strivings)
    • III (Of Mr. Booker T. Washington)
    • VI (Of the training of black men)
    • VII (Of the black belt)
    • VIII (Of the quest of the Golden Fleece)
    • IX (Of the Sons of Master and Man)
    • XIII (Of the coming of John)
    • The Afterthought.

Week 5: The crisis of the 1890s

Monday: The Labor Crisis

  • Foner, 626-634 (“Labor and the republic”)

Wednesday: The political crisis and the 1896 election

Thursday discussion: Hamlin Garland, “Under the Lion’s Paw”; Bellamy Looking Backward.

Midterm 1: Monday, October 6

Unit 2: Reconstitution (1896-1917)

Week 6: Mass Production and mass immigration

  • Foner: 681-706 (“The Progressive Era”: Beginning up to but not including “The politics of Progressivism”)
  • In class: Modern Times
  • Thursday Discussion: Taylor The Principles of Scientific Management.; The Lochner Decision

Week 7: The progressive impulse and the constitutional shift

  • No new Foner
  • Morality, Christianity, and gender
  • Thursday Discussion: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Solitude of Self; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics, chapter 4; Jane Addams, “The Subjective Necessity for Social Settlements” (from *Twenty Years at Hull House, 1910)

Week 8: Progressivism Triumphant

  • Foner: 706-724 (“The politics of Progressivism” through the chapter’s end).
  • Thursday discussion:
  • Roosevelt, speech at Osawatomie, Kansas, 1910
  • Wilson, “Monopoly or Opportunity,” from The New Freedom, 1912.
  • Lippman, Drift and Mastery, 1914, pp. 27-65.

Week 9: The War abroad and at home

  • Foner: 726-767 (“Safe for Democracy: The United States and World War I” full chapter)
  • Thursday Discussion: Randolph Bourne, Twilight of the Idols and Trans-national America

Midterm 2: Monday, November 3

Unit 3: Mass America

Week 10. Living Like Americans

  • Foner, 768-798 (“From Business Culture to Great Depression”, up to but not including “The Great Depression”)
  • Lynd, Middletown, intro and selections from “Using Leisure”
  • Pick, listen to, and describe for a reading response (if needed) one of the radio programs at the Internet Archive

Week 11. Reacting against Modernity

The Scopes trial, the 1924 Immigration restriction

Week 12: The Great Depression

  • Foner, 798-818. (End of the Great Depression chapter and beginning of the New Deal chapter through “The first New Deal,” not including “The grassroots revolt”).
  • Thursday reading: TBD

Week 13: The New Deal

  • Foner, 819-849 (Through the end of the new Chapter)

Roosevelt and the First New Deal

  • Thursday discussion: AA Berle and Herbert Hoover on the New Deal.

Week 14: The War

  • Foner, 850-892 (“Fighting for the Four Freedoms”)
  • Dorothea Lange, photographs.


At home

Final date TBD.

Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward. New York: Dover Publications, 1996.

Carnegie, Andrew. “Wealth.” North American Review 148, no. 391 (June 1889): 653–665.

DuBois, W. E. B. The Souls of Black Folk: Essays and Sketches. Chicago: A.C. McClurg & Co, 1903.

James, William. “The Moral Equivalent of War.” Popular Science, October 1910.

Taylor, Frederick Winslow. The Principles of Scientific Management. New York: Cosimo, 2006.

Turner, Frederick Jackson. “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” In Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1893, 197–228. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1894. http://archive.org/details/1893annualreport00ameruoft.

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