Aug. 29: What Do You Want to Learn from this Course?

Welcome! I hope you all had enjoyable summers and made it through the hurricane without any trouble. I wanted to let you know about a few items before we meet on Wednesday at 4:00 pm in Namm 1022.

1) Please download a PDF of the course syllabus here and review it before class on Wednesday. We will go over it together, but it would be good to look it over beforehand in case you have any questions.

2) There are two books required for this class, and they should be available now at the NYCCT bookstore:

  • Alan Brinkley, The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People, Volume I: To 1877, Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
  • Frederick Douglass and David W. Blight, ed. Narrative of the Life Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, with Related Documents, Second Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003.

3) Lastly, you also have a very brief assignment for class on Wednesday. (No worries–it doesn’t require any reading!) Using the “Leave a Comment” function below, name one issue, theme, or event in American history (up through the Civil War) that you hope to learn more about in this course. Explain why you find this issue/theme/event important, troublesome, or hard to understand. Everyone in the course is required to provide an answer of at least three sentences. Ideally, you should follow the guidelines for posting on the course website on pages 3 and 4 of the syllabus.

Published in: on August 19, 2011 at 1:28 am  Comments (38)  

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  1. A topic I am interested in learning more about this semester is the role of the Spanish and Native American’s in the development of our country. It is a topic that is really discussed and general credit goes to Columbus for “discovering” the Americas, but there was already an existing culture and discovery of this culture before Columbus. I am interested in learning more about how these people played a role in the creation of our country.

  2. A topic I am interested in learning more about during the semester is about the Fugitive Slave Act and Dred Scott Decision . These topics are very controversial and in order to understand it more you have to get into details more and see each point of views that everybody has.

  3. I heard that there was some law that forced the government to take away anything that seems like a threat to them, it was an idea to take away the slaves from the south so they could be free, implying that the slaves were a threat. but Abraham Lincoln did not approve. I want to know why didnt Abraham Lincoln just take the suggestion in order to free so many slaves that were suffering, even though it was cheating the law in some way.

  4. A topic I am interested in learning more about during the semester would be the rejection of the Lecompton Constitution as well as the Fugitive Slave Act. Since Im not very familiar with these topics, I have heard of them and I am very interested in learning about it and having deep conversations and decisions to see everyones perspective.

  5. The Emancipation Proclamation is the topic that i would love to learn more about. I know as much as Abraham lincoln issued this during the 1800’s under his reign of power during the civil war. I have heard about this topic before in other classes but never really discussed it. Going a little deeper in this topic, knowing what caused Abraham lincoln to want to issue this order and when it actually went into effect would really give me insight on how America through time became the nation that it is today.

  6. One particular topic that I look forward to learning about in this course is the tension between the newly settled colonists and the American Indians. Specifically, I would like to learn more about the effects the Europeans had on the indigenous people as well as on the flora and fauna of the American continents at that particular time. Studying both accounts would be a great way to piece together what really happened during the American Indian Wars and first years of settlement. Also, I want to know more about how and why Thanksgiving was almost in a way romanticized, while in reality there was a serious slaughter of both the colonists and the Indians.

  7. I am interested to learn more about the colonies and the forming of New England in America. Some queries that come to mind, include that of the history behind new york as far as the indigenous people of the Americas go, all the way to how New york was established. Any wars that took place involving the colonies and what happened to the indigenous people that were already settled. My interest was drawn because of my recent trip to buffalo,NY and I noticed the difference in architecture and many historical sites in the area. I would definitely like to learn more.

  8. I always figured slavery was a major part of American history, and after our first day of class i grew more interested. It was clear that you were troubled by how this country based on freedom could allow such a system to stay in place for so long, and I am curious to find the answer. Though i am more than positive it is directly related to money, there may be other reasons why America could justify it for so long. Also, i have always been drawn to mayan culture. If there is anything that keeps my interest in history, its tons of human sacrifice and doomsday predictions.

  9. I am personally interested in learning more about the War of 1812. I would like to know what were the exact, if not the closet, events that lead up to the beginning of the war. I know because of the war the white house was burned down. Was the white house built up right afterwards, or did it take time to rebuild the massive building? Also why were the rest of the monuments built in Washington,D.C?

  10. Jorge Morales

    I would honestly like to cover the civil war more in depth like the true origins from it and hear both sides on why and how we made to be one unified country. Also to learn more about the amendments that were ratified during this time in our history.

  11. Something that has always bothered me is how Columbus discovered American. I keep asking myself “How can someone discover something that has been there way before that particular person came along to clam it?”. Another topic I would like to go in detail is the Fugitive Slave Act, having these controversial rules and regulation has always been interesting to me and seeing the POV of others.

  12. What i want to learn about is the War of 1812,why it happened and what were the causes of it? – Mohammed Zaman-

  13. One thing i’d like to learn about if it is only briefly mentioned, is the social and psychological impact of the native americans. From living a pretty sustainable life in tranquility with there environment to Europeans conquering them in a fashion where they did not have a chance. Then the generations following watching the unsustainable methods of the American.

  14. The topic i would like to focus on is early settlement in the America’s and a bit amount the movement to the west coast.

  15. Francisco Cabreja

    I would like to learn, if the rumors about that the native Americans met with extraterritorial beings before the arrival of Columbus is true? and if it was possible that after the independence were Hispanic slaves beside the African Americans?

  16. An event in American history that I hope to learn more about in this course is the Civil War and what were some of the main cause of it. Many people believe that the main cause of the Civil War was to free the slaves but what I have come to learn is that it was more so about the economic differences between the North and South. The North was becoming more industrialized, with the invention of machines, while the south depended on agriculture.

  17. My question is- Was Columbus the first one to discover America? Because i have heard from other sources say he just “finished the work” meaning he got the credit for discovering the new world without being the first person. I would like to know if their have been another person that discover America before Columbus.

    Jenniffer Bonilla

  18. the topic that i want to know more about is the USA government and how it functions. i know that the government is consisted of executive, legislate and judicious. i want to know what power does each branch have and how they check each other from abusing power.
    i am interested in learning more about that.

  19. I don’t know if my topic of interest will be in scope of this course but it is of the construction of pyramids. There has been many civilization which created mega monuments but what interest me most about pyramids are the manner which they were constructed. Also, equally fascinating, is knowing how or, by what, these early civilization were inspired to create these structures.

    • Amaurys, do you mean the Mesoamerican pyramids built by the Maya and Aztecs? It is pretty amazing that they constructed these without the help of wheels or animal power. But know that the Egyptian pyramids are outside of the scope of this course.

  20. Not to long ago I sat down with some elderly people and they were having a conversation about the current generation. They felt that the young African-American youth of today are so caught up in the price of what they are wearing that they forget the price that was paid for them to have the freedom own what they have. During this course I would like to take a deeper look at African-American slavery. I want to be able to understand exactly what I am made of; and learn more about the blood that runs through my veins.

    • Ruby, i totally agree with that comment. unfotunately people also feel they have to generalize races when in reality every race has their way that they fought for freedom. i think its essential for everyone to know where their roots came from.

  21. one topic that would be interesting to cover would be the native americans culture, i know that english settlers thought them to be barbarians but how could they be so bad when the english settlers were the one who brought bunch of diseases that killed many natives.

  22. As a career and Technical educador I would lime to learn how technolgy could have been influanced by Indians in the americas. This will be a great topic for me to cover in my class. I would like to see if the uncivilized Indians did play a roll in the development of this country.

  23. In this semester I would like to learn, what were the benefits that the European culture brought to the Native Americans. So far I know for sure that the European brought diseases and war. Did the Europeans only brought destruction to the Native?

  24. A topic which i really looking forward to dig more is about Native American. Eventhough they are the first want who started living in America before any one started living. Through out the school there is little detailed and written about them in text book. People have little limited information about their culture and their history. i am curious to know more about Native American and their culture

  25. i’d like to learn about The Pennsylvania Abolition Society in which people came together to protect slaves. What race did these people consist of? did they suceed? Or perhaps it took more societies to come together to help. What was the outcome in the Penn. Abolition Society. It amazes me how we live in a free country, and how it was before.

  26. One topic that I am interested in is the Columbian Exchange. The exchange plants and animals of the Old World & the “new” found land at the time, America. I’ve read that its may be considered one of the most important events in American history but Im not sure as to why exactly that is. A website that I’ve read about this explains that this exchange may be the reason pasta marinara has tomato sauce. As you explained on the first day, history is a set of events happening all over the world at the same time, but textbooks only choose the most significant to be published. The Columbian Exchange isn’t part of many of my textbooks.

  27. I honestly dont know as much as i should know about american history, but i would like to find out more about its laws that still apply to us today such as the bill of rights. Why exactly was it made?

  28. From this course I plan to take knowledge about all previous events that occcured in the United States that help shape our country into what it is today. In addition i plan to build up my strength in U.S. History in order to have a more profound background of my country.

  29. Something that I would like to know about on this class is about what kind of encounter did the Europeans have with the Native Americans. Do did the Europeans try to make agreements with the Native Americans or did they just start to conquer then without any discussions or agreements that would had benefit both cultures.

  30. I want to learn how Native American’s helped developed our country, and how the Europeans helped “civilized” the Native American’s. Also how African-American’s played a big part in the development of America.

  31. As you said during our first class session, I’m interested in the irony of how this country is based on the whole idea of “freedom” yet we still managed to enslave human beings for such a long period of time, and how it managed to even lead to that. I just wonder what their thought process was. Its also very interesting to me that as time passed, native americans barely exist anymore, and that they are still until this day treated horribly in our country, for no reason.

  32. In this course I am expecting to learn what attracted the Europeans to the a Americas? After Americas had been discovered, what convinced the Europeans to permanently settle in America detaching from their home countries? And when westward expansion was in progress, why didn’t any of the European nation have any mercy brutally killing Indians and destroying their properties?

  33. I am interested in learning about what aspects of Native American cultural impacted European culture today? Also I am interested in knowing the real reason behind why the so many Europeans moved to the Americas once it was discovered. And also why did they find it necessary to kill the Native Americans instead of living in peace with them?

  34. During this semester we learned about many rebellions. Some are Bacon’s Rebellion, Pontiac Rebellion, and the Whiskey Rebellion. I would like to know which rebellions lead to the participants getting what they want. Was it the ones that had a great amount of violence? Or was it the ones that had little or no violence?

  35. A topic that I would like to expand on is the death of Abraham Lincoln. The reason why i choose that topic is because even though the assination of Lincoln was so simple i still feel that there is something more behind the story. I have not heard of too many president assinations where there was no protection at all

  36. One topic i really wanted to cover this semester was more on the Californian gold rush like how it started and the continental railroad were the Chinese could built a ten-mile long railroad within a day with very little pay. I also wanted to learn about how the Asian Americans came to America to live with the new colonies in the west. And also how they suffered sailing across the pacific where they were lied about the amount of gold they were about to see when they had reached to the new world.

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