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United States History to 1877

By Professor Maureen Melvin Sowa

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This course is a survey of the American past from the Age of Exploration to the end of Reconstruction. It examines the major forces, personalities, events, and institutions that shaped the American experience through 1877. Topics include the development of colonial society, the American Revolution, the Constitution (Federal and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), the growth of the new nation, westward expansion, the rise of sectionalism, and the Civil War and Reconstruction era. Students develop the ability to think, read, and write critically and analytically and to understand the various forms of human interaction through a study of the creation and growth of the United States through 1877. The course aids students in their efforts to understand the principles of group behavior and social organizations and how power is wielded in society.

Customer Reviews

Broad Brush Creating False Impressions

I listened to the lecture "Different Worlds" describing the differences between Europeans and native Americans, e.g. how each conceived of land ownership. I was disappointed to find that the professor presented the material as though there were just one European and one native American viewpoint. She did a good job of conveying that native Americans did not believe in land ownership. But she did not draw distinctions among the Europeans. It was primarily the British conception of land ownership that was fundamentally incompatible with the native American conception. The French were more interested in fur trapping and trading, pursuits that were consistent with American indian life. She drew on the narrowest stereotypes from christianity and used that to present a purportedly universal view among Europeans that native Americans were less than human. I doubt the Jesuit missionaries who came to North America in the 1600s would agree. She seemed to go out of her way to portray the native Americans as universally open minded in terms of tolerance for homosexuality and mental disabilities. While I am sure there are examples of this, to imply these views were generally held creates, in my view, a false impression.