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American History Since 1877:
 the technological century


History 102   Section 0201 [3117]
Spring, 2005
T-Th  1:00-2:15 ITE Building Room 229
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Dr. Joseph N. Tatarewicz
Associate Professor
Department of History
Administration Building #702
Phone: (410) 455-2312 (Messages)
            (410) 455-2036 (Direct)
Office Hours: 12:00-12:50 Tue.-Thurs., 5:00-6:00 pm Mon., and by appointment.

Course Description

This course is designed to provide the student with a basic account of the history of the United States from the aftermath of the Civil War to the present. Topics include: industrialization; progressivism, First World War; the twenties; depression and the New Deal; Second World War; post-war America and the Cold War; the turbulent sixties; new conservatism; baby boomers become leaders and seniors; beyond the Cold War and the "war on terrorism."

The transformation of America from a small, homogeneous, dispersed, agrarian society into a large, diverse, interconnected, and economically vigorous world power is a central theme in the traditional "US Survey."  While preserving the many traditionally emphasized themes (urbanization, business, immigration, political evolution, war, etc.), this course adds the growth and diversification of technology and science as essential and interacting factors in the making of modern America.  The course uses Pauline Maier, Merritt Roe Smith, Alexander Keyssar, and Daniel J. Kevles' new Inventing America: A History of the United States, which provides one of the best accounts of the role of science and technology within the total context of the development of the United States during this period.

Required books:


Pauline Maier, Merritt Roe Smith, Alexander Keyssar, Daniel J. Kevles.  Inventing America: A History of the United States. Volume 2.  W.W. Norton, 2003.  ISBN 0-393-97762-5 (paper)


Kenneth Winkle, Wendy Wall, Inventing America Study Guide, Volume Two. W.W. Norton, 2003.  ISBN 0-393-97828-1

Grading and Evaluation (see schedule dates)

bullet First, Second, and Third (Final) Exams 50-minutes:  "objective" or "factual" questions (multiple choice, etc.) plus a short essay question.
bullet Final Exam:  "objective" or "factual" part covers only material since Second Exam; essay question covers all of course.

Makeup exams will be administered ONLY if you arrange to do so at least one week before the scheduled exam and present a reasonable excuse. Unavoidable emergency absences are decided on a case-by-case basis.

bulletPaper: a brief paper examining some topic that you find interesting.  Some examples are:
bulletFilm Review (compare a film or video with historians' criticisms)
bulletBook Report (compare textbooks with one of the sources listed in their bibliographies)
bulletTopical Paper (examine some subject or issue and discuss the interaction of technology, science, politics, and social factors)

Papers should be 1500 words in length, not including the required scholarly apparatus (footnotes, bibliography, etc.) They should conform to the Department of History Style Sheet. Please do not use any binders, folders, etc.--simply use 8.5x11" paper, stapled, with a cover page. Students should first submit a proposed title, 25-word abstract, and list of sources to be used. If approved, this proposal will be returned with suggestions for development. If you need additional guidance in selecting a topic, let us know the areas in which you are interested. A list of sample topics is available.

Grade Calculation

First Exam


Second Exam


Final Exam   





Attendance, Participation, and other Expectations

Regular and engaged attendance is important. Quality of participation in class discussions and other activities will be noted and incorporated into the final grade evaluation. Students are responsible for any material covered in class, as well as any announcements, handouts, or other information, whether or not they are present. The dates and topics listed on the schedule that follows below are subject to change, and any such changes will be announced in class and posted on the Web Page.

Reading the text book chapters and the associated assignments on schedule is essential. It is most effective if you complete your first reading of the texts in advance of the classes for which they are scheduled, and your second reading during that week, followed by review.   Steven Kreis'  A Student's Guide to the Study of History  has many helpful techniques and suggestions.   Helpful printed guides include Jules R. Benjamin,  A Student's Guide to History  (New York: St. Martin's, 2000) and Neil R. Stout, Getting the most out of your U.S. history course: the history student's vade mecum  (Lexington, Mass.:  D.C. Heath, 1996).

Office Hours are your time for personalized discussion of any material or other concerns. Please feel free to drop in, or to make an appointment if the hours are not convenient. The few moments right before or after class are too hectic for anything but a casual chat. Bear in mind that there is likely to be a rush on office hours immediately before exams, so plan ahead. We are also available by phone and e-mail.

A World Wide Web page is available at http://userpages.umbc.edu/~tatarewi/h102e/index.htm , containing the syllabus and other information.  Breaking news, supplemental information, and other material subject to change is posted on the Blackboard course site.

We are in this course a Community of Scholars, and as such any contributions that advance the cause of learning this subject are welcome. We are also responsible for respecting our colleagues' (within and outside the course) dignity and work. Cheating, plagiarism, and other similar activities are not just punishable offenses, but are harmful to us all. The University has a number of policies and rules designed to foster a creative, enjoyable, atmosphere conducive to learning and growth. We are all bound to those policies and principles. Please feel free to approach the instructors (or communicate anonymously if you wish) about anything we can do to make this course as fair, informative, and enjoyable as possible.  This course incorporates the  UMBC Academic Conduct Policy.

Classroom decorum is expected. In a large class such as this, loud conversing, eating, and other such activities are not just discourteous but harmful to our common cause as well. Class will begin and end promptly--please be in your seats and ready to participate at the beginning, and do not loudly make preparations to bolt out of the room until the end. Occasional and unavoidable arriving late and leaving early is allowed, but excesses will not be tolerated.

This course operates fully at a college level. This means that the instructors and the University make available a wide range of information and assistance, but the student is responsible for taking the initiative. Our aim is to "teach you to fish, not serve up a fish dinner." Waste no time in getting to know the library, the internet resources, and the many other services outlined in the UMBC Student Handbook. We are always happy to help you find whatever assistance you need, even if we cannot engage personally in extensive hand-holding and spoon-feeding. Services available include, among others: individual tutoring, training in study and writing skills, and counseling for personal and professional difficulties.

Finally, we have chosen this profession because history is valuable, exciting, and downright entertaining. Our most important goal is to help you to share in our enthusiasm and develop the base of knowledge, critical appraisal, and self-reliance to appreciate how we got here as a people and a nation.


Schedule of Classes & Topics

 Week Topic Chap. AV Materials Used / Suggested Viewing Notes
1 Feb. Reconstruction
(covered in HIST 101)
17 Ken Burns, The West; Mel Brooks, Blazing Saddles; The Frontier House Be sure to read the Introduction and front matter of the textbook; read Chapter 17 for background.
8 Feb. Rise of Big Business and the Triumph of Industry (1870-1900) 18 Who Built America (CD-ROM, Voyager Multimedia)  
15  Feb. An Industrial Society (1870-1910) 19 Empires of Industry; 
The 1900 House; Mr. Sears Catalog
22 Feb. Politics and the State (1876-1900)
A New Place in the World (1865-1914)
1 Mar. The Progressive Era (1900-1916) 22 Frontline: The Drug War  EXAM ONE (CHAPS. 18-21)
8 Mar. War, Prosperity, and the Metropolis (1914-1929) 23 Horse Feathers (The Marx Brothers)  
15 Mar. The Great Depression and the New Deal (1929-1940) 24 The Great Depression (PBS); Maryland in the Great Depression (WMPT)  
29 Mar. Whirlpool of War (1932-1941)
Fighting for Freedom (1942-1945)
25-26 America in the Forties; Saving Private Ryan; Fat Man and Little Boy (1988) PAPER TOPICS APPROVED
5 Apr. From Hot War to Cold War (1945-1950) 27 The Cold War (CNN) EXAM TWO (CHAPS. 22-26)
12 Apr. Korea, Eisenhower, and Affluence (1950-1956) 28 David Halberstam, The Fifties
19 Apr. Renewal of Reform (1956-1968) 29

26 Apr. Years of Rage (1964-1974)
Conservative Revival (1974-1980)
30-31 Eyes on the Prize; LBJ; Woodstock; All the Presidents Men (1976)
3 May Reagan Revolution (1980-1988) 32 Ronald Reagan: A Biography (1998)

10 May.

Triumphant and Troubled Nation (1989-2000)
Epilogue: A State of Shock (2000-2001)
33 The Clinton Years (PBS) TERM PAPERS  due Thursday, May 12, 2005
in class (one hard-copy)
17 May (last day of classes) Conclusion     FINAL EXAM Thur. 19 May
 1:00-3:00 pm

Final Grades:  may be obtained from the Blackboard course site.   Exams and papers will be available for review in late May (by appointment) or during Fall 2004 Office Hours.

Last updated 03/14/05
Expiration date: Current