Goals and Objectives
Calendar and Requirements
GOALS: You are expected to form a firm grasp of the movements of American history and their significant details from 1850 through the 1990s. In forming this knowledge, you are expected to think analytically and critically, that is to say, it is not enough to remember facts but you should understand the facts and be able weigh their importance. Moreover, you are to display your understanding of the art of history, that is to say, the interconnectedness of events and circumstances, the way in which one set of circumstances leads to (indeed produces) another set of circumstances. You are expected to demonstrate your thinking in clear and comprehensible English prose.
OBJECTIVES: The demonstration of your knowledge shall be in the form of essay examinations and an essay review. (For details, see below.) The operative word here is your. The instructor is not able to help you achieve your best unless your work is submitted. Therefore:
HONOR POLICY: Cheating and plagiary, that is submitting another's words and thoughts as your own, cannot and will not be tolerated in an institution devoted to the truth. Cf. Fishtales. "A wise man never lies." -- Jesuit maxim.
TESTS: Use blue books for all tests.
First Month: concerning the two sectional agrarian cultures, the destruction of the Union, and Reconstruction.
March 11 Lectures; Divine, America: Past and Present, chapters 11, 13, 14, 15, 16
Second Month: A question of money; the shift from an agrarian society to an industrial and urban one; the government steps in.
April 22 Lectures since last test; Divine, chapters 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Third month: Trying to return to the past (1920s); the Depression; the New Deal; the shift from an urban-industrial society to a suburban-informational one (the 1950s); the 1960s; U.S. foreign policy in the Twentieth Century.
Final: May 22 8:30 a.m. All lectures; Divine, chapters 24 - 33 inclusive.
February 18 Answer three questions on Mencken’s “Veblen”.
March 4 Two lists of books on the subject of your choice in U.S. history after 1850. The lists are to be generated by a computer search of the RMC Library and one other library. Indicate you choice, but if the choice is not from the bibliography in the text book, get instructor’s approval.
April 12 Ten pages, typed, double spaced, 1.5 inch margins, in standard, correct, and clear English. Page references to a book reviewed may simply be put in parentheses after the quotation, and after the quotation marks, e.g. "Flynn ['s] own favorite political maxim, 'Never confuse wishes with facts.'" (p.639).
The review essay shall consist of your reviews of two (2) books ending with a conclusion on the agreement or lack of agreement between the two.� A review is not a summary of facts from the book nor is it a discussion of the subject of the book.� A book review is an analysis of a book which analysis describes and judges
the author's thesis (statement of explanation)
argument (logical case to prove the explanation),
and sources. The questions you should ask, when reading anything, are: is the thesis at least not intuitively wrong (i.e. can you think of any exceptions to it?). Is the logic correct and coherent? For instance, is the reasoning circular? as in the instance: Lee Harvey Oswald killed officer Tippett because he killed President Kennedy and he killed President Kennedy because he is a killer since he killed officer Tippett. Or is the reason flawed by assuming "some" equals "all"? Are there facts? What are the sources of those facts? Someone who was there? Someone who spoke to someone there? Someone who was not there and made assumptions? Similarly, the article should be analyzed. Your conclusion about the agreement or disagreement of the two is an exercise of your intellect. You must discuss the sources of the author's evidence. Your books should come from the bibliography of the text book for the period covered by the course (ante 1850 to present) or a book approved by the professor. Skim through the text book for a topic that interests you. Find two books on it. THEN read. It is unwise to read the book first and then struggle to find a second one.
The review shall consist of:
A general introduction to SUBJECT: one Paragraph, then
“The author’s thesis is ____________” followed by one paragraph of explanation
Three to four paragraphs on the author’s argument
One paragraph at least on sources.
The same for the second book, less the general introduction
You must turn in your rough draught with your paper.
NOTE A paper is due on the date it is due and the date expires at midnight. If you are going to use a word-processor, the paper should be printed 24 hours before the due date.
The semester's grade has five components: two tests, the review essay, and the two essay questions on the final.� These are weighed equally.
.Office Hours: Wash-Frank Hall #3: W 1:45-2:45; T Th, 10 – 11:45; F 2—4 Committee meetings and medical appointments excepted. Or by appointment. Generally, I am here most of the day, and if my door is open, come in and be welcomed.
CUTS: Students not on probation are permitted three hours of unexcused absence. I accepted level 1 and 2 medical excuses and athletic excuses. Unexcused absences above three hours and under nine hours will result in the loss of the benefit of the doubt in assessing the final grade. More than nine hours of absence (25 percent of the lectures) excused or unexcused will result in failure for the course.
ADD/Drop February 18/March 29
Scope of the course and my expectations
Your knowledge is to come from your synthesis of lectures and textbook. You are to combine principal events, names, dates, and ideas into coherent essays for the tests and examinations. Test answers should therefore show not only that you have memorized facts (a necessary condition) but that you understand their relationships and context.
The tests will be essays, in which you must have a thesis (i.e. a statement of explanation to be proved), evidence to support your thesis (i.e. specific individuals or events or ideas with appropriate dates), arranged in a logical manner (argument).
No universal exists without a particular.
Test answers are to be written in standard, competent English and logically organized. If the instructor cannot understand what you are driving at, the fault is yours and the grade will suffer accordingly. You are responsible for making yourself understood. The same applies to the review essay. The essay review's function is to get you to think about the formal expression of history: what goes in to it and how far is it to be trusted. "History is a bag of tricks played upon the dead." -- Voltaire. If the instructor has not made himself clear to you, ask questions -- in class, out of class.
Clarity, speed, humility, and courage, according to the English novelist Charles Williams, are the four virtues required for reading poetry aloud, and I believe they are required for the office of student as well.
NOTE: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other Federallaws require Randolph-Macon College to provide a “reasonable accommodation” to any individual who advises of a physical, psychological, or learning disability. If you have a physical, psychological, or learning disability that requires an accommodation, you must first register with the Office for Disability Support Services located in Mary Branch Dormitory. Please arrange a meeting with the course instructor to discuss your needs and how to register for support services.