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Review Session

There will be a review session for the exam in the conference room in Meserve Hall at 5:30pm on Monday, December 11th. If you wish to attend this review session but this time does not work, please let me know.


The format will be largely the same as the midterms; half devoted to IDs, and half to essays. The test is cumulative, including information from all portions of the course; but the IDs will overdraw from the last third of the course.

Section 1: IDs (about 60 minutes)

The general rules for IDs discussed in the earlier study guides still apply.

  1. Section 1a: choose 8 of 13 person, place, or concept ids. Of the 13 IDs, about 8 will be drawn from the last third of the course, and about 5 from the first two-thirds.

  2. Section 1b: choose 4 from a list of eight passage or image IDs. About five will be from the last third of the course, and about three from the first two-thirds. There will be no images from the first two-thirds of the course. See below for a list of readings that may appear on the final.

Section 2: Essay (about 60 minutes)

There will be a two essay questions on the test; you will choose to write one. Succesful answers will span multiple periods of the course, including the last 60 years, and go into detail with individual cases and/or references to readings. See below for a list of questions.

Course Outline

I will be reviewing the course outlines in compiling the questions for the test, and recommend you do so in conjunction with your notes. Note that the outlines handed out in class have been edited to remove most things not covered in lecture. For your convenience, I’ve put an outline of the entire course online at

Essay Questions

  1. Changing Political Systems. Donald Trump has a picture of Andrew Jackson hanging in the Oval Office. That’s a little odd, since Trump is a member of the Republican party, and Jackson was a Democrat. Democrat Barack Obama, by contrast, had not one but two images of Republican Abraham Lincoln. So: what happened? To what extent is the split between Republicans and Democrats today the exact opposite of the split between Federalists and Democrats in 1800? Are there, by contrast, continuities that last for decades? Or are the issues of the late-20th and early-21st centuries so different as to make comparison foolish? Be sure to describe the most important figures in changing what the major political parties stood for, and what groups they appealed to.

  2. Economy. When the government intervenes in the American economy, sometimes things go right and sometimes things go wrong. Give some rules of thumb for what kinds of government interventions are necessary, and what kinds produce bad effects, based on a comparison of events from multiple periods in American history. Some things to think about include: who were the most succesful advocates of increased government control of the economy? Who were the most succesful advocates of free markets or deregulation? Are there particular industries, types of businesses, or ways that businesses treated people that especially demand that the government intervene?

  3. Rights and Citizenship. On Friday, December 8 the banner headline at News at Northeastern was on the topic “should robots have rights?” Let’s take for granted that they should. Write a description for the pro-robot lobby explaining, with specific examples across American history, how other groups in American history have expanded their rights over time. What strategies have helped other groups expand their rights? How do those who want to limit rights or citizenship manage to keep other groups down? What lessons should the pro-robot activists–or anyone else looking to expand the rights of a marginalized group–draw from history?

Abbreviated list of readings

We’ve read a number of different sources in this class. This is an abbreviated list that we’ll be using to pull any readings for the final. Things not on this list (for instance, the New Yorker article about the founders) are guaranteed not to

  • Richard Hakluyt, “Reasons for Colonization,” (1585)
  • John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity.” (1620)
  • J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, “What is an American?” (1782)
  • Declaration of Independence (not on Blackboard, but you can find this).
  • Federalist Papers, Numbers 10, 14, 51
  • Washington Irving, “Rip Van Winkle” (1820)
  • Thomas Jefferson, “The Agrarian Ideal” (1787)
  • William Lloyd Garrison, articles from the Liberator, 1831
  • Autobiography of Frederick Douglass (Note: this is long!)
  • Lincoln, Second Inagural Address
  • Andrew Carnegie, “The Gospel of Wealth”
  • William Jennings Bryan, “Cross of Gold” Speech.
  • Hamlin Garland, “Under the Lion’s Paw”
  • Roosevelt on the New Nationalism, Osawatomie speech (1910)
  • Wilson, “Monopoly or Opportunity,” from The New Freedom, 1912.
  • Randolph Bourne, Trans-national America
  • Studs Terkel, Hard Times
  • Adolf Berle on the New Deal
  • Martin Luther King, Letter from Birmingham Jail
  • (Hayden et al), Port Huron Statement (1961)
  • Steve Jobs, Commencement address (2005)
  • Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Excerpt and letters
  • Phyllis Schlafly, The Power of the Positive Woman, Excerpt.
  • Milton Friedman, “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” (1970)
  • George Packer, The Unwinding: an Inner History of the New America, selections (on Tampa).