History 342
The American Revolution
Fall 2012

Professor Terry Bouton
Phone: 410-455-2056
Email: bouton[at]umbc.edu
Office: 722 Administration Bldg.
Office Hours: Mon., 4:00pm-5:00pm, 6pm-7pm; Wednesday by appointment

NOTE: It is always best to email before you plan to come to office hours so that I can block out time for you. (I typically schedule meetings with students and advisees during office hours, so it's best to contact me before you plan to arrive to make certain I'm available).

Course Webpage: http://userpages.umbc.edu/~bouton/HIST342/342Syllabus2012.htm
Course Meeting Place: Sondheim 409
Campus Map: http://www.umbc.edu/aboutumbc/campusmap/map_flash.html
Course Meeting Time: Mon./Wed. 2:30pm-3:45pm

Course Description:
History 342 will explore the era of the American Revolution. We will examine what many historians call the “long Revolution,” which covers roughly the period from the 1760s until about 1815. The course will emphasize the internal revolution within American society which was sparked by the conflict with Britain. This internal revolution saw different groups of peoples trying to enact various and often conflicting visions of freedom and democracy. We’ll view the Revolution through the lens of class, race, gender, religion, and region as well as from multiple historical perspectives, including social, economic, political, intellectual, military, cultural, and diplomatic. As part of this project, we’ll try to understand what the Revolution meant to prominent “founding fathers” such as Thomas Jefferson and John Adams as well as what it meant to ordinary people: farmers, artisans, women, slaves, and Indians. Students will examine such topics as the causes of the American Revolution, the wrenching experiences of the War for Independence, the tensions surrounding the creation of a new government, and the struggles to define citizenship and rights during the first twenty-five years under the federal Constitution. By the end of class, students will have a better understanding of the Revolution’s causes, accomplishments, limitations, and the ironies of democracy as it emerged in the early American republic.

Learning Objectives:

1) Marjoleine Kars, Breaking Loose Together The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina (Paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0807849996
) Woody Holton, Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford Series in History and Culture) (Paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0312413590 (publication date, January 23, 2009)

3) Alfred F. Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution (Paperback), ISBN-13: 978-0807054055

All of these books are (or will be) available at the campus bookstore.
I have also put a copy of each book on 3-day reserve at the library.

IMPORTANT: The campus bookstore usually only keeps books in stock for the first half of the semester. Consequently, you need to purchase your books early in the semester and, preferably, at the start of the course.  I will not accept “the bookstore ran out” as an excuse for missed reading assignments.

(I reserve the right to make changes to the requirements or to the schedule.)

For undergraduates, the final grade breaks down as follows:


100 pts.


100 pts.


100 pts.


100 pts.


400 pts.

At the end of the semester:  
360-400 points will be an A

320-359 points will be a B
280-319 points will be a C
240-279 points will be a D
Below 240 points will be an F

1) Examinations:
Both the midterm and the final exams will be composed of an essay section and a series of identifications (define and explain the significance of various names, events, places, ideas, etc., drawn from lectures and readings). For the final examination, the identification portion will NOT be cumulative; the essay portion will be somewhat cumulative, but will emphasize material from the second half of the course. Both exams are closed books, closed notes.

The Midterm Examination will be held in class on: Wednesday, Oct. 24.
The Final Examination will be held in class on: Friday, Dec. 14 from 1:00pm-3:00pm

2) Paper:
Students will write a 7 page paper on a Document from the Revolutionary Era. Your paper must be typed and double-spaced with normal margins and in a normal font. The paper will be based on a little-known primary source document of your choosing that reveals some larger point about the American Revolution. The paper will involve describing the document and then explaining how it helps us understand some aspect of the Revolution. Students will be expected to consult secondary sources (academic sources: not encyclopedias or .com websites) to help them put their document in historical perspective and demonstrate its significance. You can find specific guidelines for the paper and a link to sources on Blackboard. Due in class on Monday, Dec. 10.

3) Blackboard Reading
The grade for reading discussion will depend on the quality of your posts to the Blackboard Discussion Board. There will be TWELVE posting assignments throughout the semester; at the end of the semester I will count your highest TEN postings (meaning I will drop the lowest two grades). Each posting will answer a specific question based on the material being read for that particular assignment. I have listed the questions below in the schedule and I will also post them on Blackboard. For each posting, students will make an argument that they will support using SPECIFIC EXAMPLES and QUOTATIONS from the reading. To receive a high grade, you must use quotations and direct citations from the book (when appropriate) AND include the page number where you got the example or quote (you can put the page numbers after the quote or citation).  I will be looking to make sure that you use quotations and examples from THROUGHOUT the reading and not just from a few pages at the beginning or end of the book. Think of the postings as mini-papers of about a page of single-spaced text. Each posting will be worth ten points.  

Remember to ANSWER the QUESTION rather than just reporting what the reading said. These are analytical essays designed to prove an argument; they are NOT "book reports." If you simply recount what the chapters of the book said or summarize the book’s narrative, you will not get a good grade. You need to make an argument that answers the question. I do not care what argument you make. There are numerous ways to answer the questions and many different arguments that will earn you an A essay. But to earn that A (or even a B), you’ll need to MAKE AN ARGUMENT that ANSWERS THE QUESTION.

I grade these postings based on the quality of your reading (as evidenced by the examples and quotes you use) and your writing. One of my main goals in these assignments is to improve your skill in writing analytical essays. I take the postings VERY seriously, as should you. The best answers will be clearly written and logically structured. They will begin with a brief introductory paragraph that briefly reveals your answer to the question (i.e. spells out your thesis) and lets me know what to expect from the subsequent paragraphs. I will grade your essay based on the how well it succeeds in the elements of writing: making a clear thesis statement; organizing ideas into coherent paragraphs that each make a SINGLE argument; stating each paragraph’s argument in a STRONG TOPIC SENTENCE that BEGINS the paragraph; developing the paragraph’s argument with explanation and evidence; making effective use of evidence by ensuring that specific examples and quotations work to prove the argument the paragraph is trying to make—and, when the evidence is not entirely clear, explaining how the quotes and examples make your point.

    NOTE: To receive full credit, you must make your posting by 2:00pm on the days listed below (class begins at 2:30pm).  If you do not finish your posting by class time, do not cut class to submit a posting; simply submit it after class. I will deduct DOUBLE the number of late points for any posting submitted during the time that the class meets (all your submissions to Blackboard are date and time stamped, so I will know when you wrote and submitted them). 

    IMPORTANT: I require everyone to save a personal copy of all of their discussion postings (as well as the papers) on their home computer, thumb drive, cd, or whatever storage device they choose. 

    IMPORTANT: Blackboard is occasionally buggy. I HIGHLY suggest that you type out your response with a word processing program and then cut and paste it into Blackboard rather than the other way around. If you have a problem with Blackboard, it is your responsibility to ensure that I receive a copy of your posting by the deadline. DO NOT automatically email me a copy of every posting. ONLY email postings in the event of a Blackboard emergency.

    Students enrolled in this course must have an active email account and access to the internet. HIST 342 uses Blackboard online software. This means that you will have online access to course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most assignments will be submitted online at the Blackboard course website. As a UMBC student, you have a personal email account and access to the internet and through the many on-campus computer labs (locations, hours, etc.).  You can also access Blackboard off campus through a personal account or from the UMBC dial-up.

Getting started on Blackboard: Your registration with the UMBC Registrar for HIST 342 will make you eligible to enroll in Blackboard. To gain entrance to discussion boards and course material, you MUST enroll in the online version of HIST 342 on the course Blackboard site in order to have full access.  BEFORE you do anything else, enroll in the course online at: http://blackboard.umbc.edu.

Academic Integrity:
I expect students enrolled in this course to abide by the UMBC Code of Student Conduct for Academic Integrity (http://www.umbc.edu/sjp/articles/code.html). If you are unclear about what plagiarism is, take a look at the Indiana University website: Plagiarism: What It Is and How to Recognize and Avoid It (http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/pamphlets/plagiarism.shtml)

By enrolling in this course, each student assumes the responsibilities of an active participant in UMBC's scholarly community in which everyone's academic work and behavior are held to the highest standards of honesty. Cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, and helping others to commit these acts are all forms of academic dishonesty, and they are wrong.  Academic misconduct could result in disciplinary action that may include, but is not limited to, suspension or dismissal.  To read the full Student Academic Conduct Policy, consult the UMBC Student Handbook, the Faculty Handbook, or the UMBC Policies section of the UMBC Directory.

I show no mercy toward cheaters.  If you are caught cheating on any test or assignment, you will receive a zero for that grade and I will submit your name to the proper disciplinary authority.  Rest assured that I will do all I can to see that those disciplinary bodies take the strongest possible action against anyone who cheats.  At the very least, you will probably fail the course.  Egregious cases of plagiarism will result in dismissal from the University.  Potential cheaters: you have been warned.

To ensure authenticity of assignments, students will submit their paper to SafeAssign through the course Blackboard site. SafeAssign checks papers against everything on the internet as well as published journal articles and the papers in their databanks.  Unfortunately, every semester SafeAssign catches at least one student who plagiarized some or all of a paper they submitted to one of my courses.  That said, I see SafeAssign less as a punitive device than as a measure to ensure that those who complete assignments honestly do not have their hard work debased by lowlife cheaters.   

Administrative Issues:
I will send all email messages to your UMBC email account
(yourusername@umbc.edu). If you do not usually check this account, have messages forwarded to your preferred email address (such as aol, hotmail, etc.).  There are several ways to have your email forwarded.  The best way is to use the forwarding function in myUMBC, this will ensure that users receive ALL UMBC related email—not just email sent from within Blackboard. Here's how to do it: After logging into myUMBC, move the cursor over your name and, when the drop down menu appears, click on “Profile.” When you do, one of the options will be “Create a Mail Forwarding Address.” For help with this procedure, or if you have other questions about email, contact UMBC's Office of Information Technology services or visit the OIT helpsite at http://www.umbc.edu/oit/. Helpdesk personnel in the on-campus computer labs can usually answer most questions. The helpdesk phone number is 410-455-3838.

Random Rules:
1) TURN OFF CELL PHONES, BEEPERS, WATCH ALARMS, or any other device that might disturb the class.  I will make examples of those who violate this rule (for example, if your phone rings, I will take the call). 
2) On test days, students will not wear hats of any kind.  If you come to class wearing a hat, you will be asked to remove it.
3) On test days, if you leave the room for any reason, I will consider your test to be completed.  In other words, make your trip to the restroom before the test begins. If you need a drink, bring one; if you have a cold, bring Kleenex.
4) Laptops in the Classroom: I’m fine with people using their laptops to take notes in class. But it is both rude and disruptive for you to be emailing, surfing the web, playing World of Warcraft, IMing in Google chat, visiting your Second Life, watching SNL clips on Youtube, or updating your Facebook profile while you’re sitting in my class. If you don’t think I can tell, you’re wrong. (Hint: you staring at your laptop screen, smiling and laughing when we’re talking about, oh say, slaves being tortured is something of a giveaway). If I have to speak to you about this, you’re not going to be happy. So try to curb your net addiction for the 75 minutes we’re in class. Thanks!
5) Coming to class late. Everyone is occasionally late for reasons beyond their control. I understand that. But when you start making a habit of coming to class late, you’re disrupting me and your fellow students who have their acts together and can actually get to class on time. If you’re perpetually late, I will stop lecture and yell at you. In class. In front of everyone. And then I will talk to you after class and yell at you some more. So don’t do it. Thanks!


Schedule of Lectures, Exams, and Assignments
(You will be informed of changes to lecture topics, assignments, and due dates)

Part I: Making the Revolution

Week 1:

Wed., Aug. 29:       Introduction
Outpost of Empire:
How did the thirteen colonies fit into the British empire on the eve of the American Revolution?


Week 2:

Mon., Sept. 3:       LABOR DAY: NO CLASS


Wed., Sept. 5:         Democracy and Power in the Thirteen Colonies: Who held power in America before 1776? How democratic was life under British rule? How did ordinary people express their grievances?    


Week 3:

Mon., Sept. 10:      Gender in Colonial America: What social roles were men and women supposed to play during the colonial period? How much power did women have?


                     Post 1: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Documents on Power in Colonial America: 1) The Power of the Gentry; 2) Rough Music; 3) William Byrd’s Diary. Question: What do these documents reveal about the power relations underlying class and gender relations in colonial America?


Wed., Sept. 12:       Race in Colonial America: What was life like for African Americans and Indians in British North America? How were race relations governed?


                     Reading: Breaking Loose Together, 1-76


Week 4:

Mon., Sept. 17:      Great Awakening and the French and Indian War: How did religious revivals help to spark the American Revolution? a serve as a catalyst for the American Revolution?


Wed., Sept. 19:       Class and the Internal Revolution: How did the crisis with Britain trigger conflict between Americans along class lines?


                     Reading: Breaking Loose Together, 77-130


                     Post 2: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Breaking Loose Together, 1-130. Question: What was the main factor driving the uprising of farmers in North Carolina?



Week 5:

Mon., Sept. 24:      Race and the Internal Revolution: How did slaves and Indians pushing for their own notions of freedom deepen the conflict between Britain and the colonies?  


Wed., Sept. 26:       The Imperial Crisis: What events led the colonies to war with Great Britain?


                     Reading: Breaking Loose Together, 131-218


                     Post 3: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Breaking Loose Together, 131-218. Question: Why did the Regulation fall short? Did the Regulators make mistakes? Could their plans have succeeded?


Week 6:

Mon., Oct. 1:         Organizing a Revolution: How was the Revolution organized? What was the relationship between the founding elite and “the people”? How was resistance mobilized at the local, colony, and “continental” levels and coordinated between those levels?


Wed., Oct. 3:          The Revolutionary War: When war broke out, who chose which sides and why? What was the militia and what were its strengths and weaknesses? Why did the colonies do well at the beginning of the war?


                     Post 4: Post Discussion by 2:00pm: Search three different websites that address the origins of the American Revolution. What factors do these websites cite as being responsible for causing the Revolution? How do these websites portray different possible causes (economic, political, constitutional, ideological, etc)? What was you impression of how the sites presented the Revolution’s causes? You MUST include the URL address for the websites you viewed and specific examples from the text of the sites to demonstrate your points.



Week 7:

Mon., Oct. 8:         The Many Meanings of Freedom: What were the keywords of the Revolution? How did different Americans define terms like “liberty,” “equality,” and “independence”?  How were those ideals reflected in the Revolutionary governments of 1776?


Wed., Oct. 10:        The Revolutionary War: When war broke out, who chose which sides and why? What was the militia and what were its strengths and weaknesses? Why did the colonies do well at the beginning of the war?


                     Post 5: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Documents on Democracy in 1776 (click here). Question: How “revolutionary” were the changes many people were calling for by 1776?     


Week 8:

Mon., Oct. 15:       Wartime Troubles: Why did the colonies start losing in 1776? Why did they have such a difficult time waging war?


Wed., Oct. 17:        The Changes Wrought by War: How did war transform the home front? How did it change politics and society?


                     Post 6: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Revolutionary War Pension Applications: http://www.usgwarchives.org/pensions/revwar/. Question: This link takes you to a website filled with transcribed pension applications from Revolutionary War veterans and their widows. Most of the applications were filed under 1818 and 1832 pension laws that sought to address the issue of poverty among veterans of the War for Independence. As part of the application process the veteran or widow had to describe the veteran’s service during the war. The applications also served as a window into the postwar lives of the soldiers and their families. Use a minimum of FIVE pension files to draw some conclusions about the wartime and postwar experiences of the men who fought the Revolutionary War and their families. Bear in mind that not every file is a good one to use: many are incomplete and provide little detail about wartime or postwar service. Choose carefully! (Keep in mind the Maryland ones are among least complete of the lot).


Week 9:

Mon., Oct. 22:       Victory: Why did the tide of war turn in the colonies favor? How and why did the colonies ultimately win the war?


Wed., Oct. 24:        MIDTERM EXAM (Click here for Midterm Exam Study Guide)


Part II: Tying Up the Revolution


Week 10:

Mon., Oct. 29:       Origins of the Counter-Revolution: Why did many of the founding elite think the Revolution had gone too far and how did they think it should be scaled back? What were the results of those efforts?


Wed., Oct. 31:        Defending Democracy: How did ordinary Americans respond to the economic crisis and the narrowing of democracy?  Why did they have such a hard time getting the political reforms they wanted?


                    Post 7: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era, introduction-Chapter 2. Question: In what ways did African Americans participate in the events of the 1760s and 70s and the War for Independence? (You must support your answer with evidence from the primary documents themselves, not from the book introduction or paragraphs introducing the documents!!)


Week 11:

Mon., Nov. 5:        Rings of Protection: How did ordinary Americans respond when political reforms fell short? How did these efforts threaten the founding elite?


Wed., Nov. 7:         The Constitution: How did the framers intend for the Constitution to create barriers against democracy? Why did the states ratify a document that promised to scale back democracy?

Post 8: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Documents on the Federal Constitution and the Bill of RightsQuestion:
Placing these documents in context, how revolutionary were the federal Constitution and the Bill of Rights?


Week 12:

Mon., Nov. 12:      The Bill of Rights: How was the Bill of Rights created?  How did James Madison who had opposed a bill of rights during the writing of the Constitution emerge as its so-called "father"?  How did Americans differ over their understanding of their "rights"?


Wed., Nov. 14:       The Federalist Era: How did the Federalists try to reshape the social, political, and economic landscape of the new republic?  How successful were their efforts?


                    Web Assignment on Democracy and the creation of Constitution


                    Post 9: Post Discussion by 2:00pm: Examine at least three websites that deal in some way with the creation of the Federal Constitution. How do the sites portray the factors leading to the Constitutional Convention in 1787? According to the sites, what were the founders’ motivations in creating a new form of government? Do the sites address the question of democracy? If so, how do they handle it?    

Week 13:

Mon., Nov. 19:      Revolution of 1800: Who were the Jeffersonians and how revolutionary was their “Revolution of 1800”?


Wed., Nov. 21:       The Revolution of Work: How did the Revolution help to transform how things were made in America? What did these changes mean for different groups of Americans? How did workers respond to the new workplace?


                     Post 10: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Black Americans in the Revolutionary Era, Chapters 3-4. Question: How did the Revolution challenge the institution of slavery and what was the legacy of that challenge in the decades that followed? (You must support your answer with evidence from the primary documents themselves, not from the book introduction or paragraphs introducing the documents!!)


Week 14:

Mon., Nov. 26:      Was there a Revolution for Slaves?: What difference did the Revolution make for slaves in the North and South?


Wed., Nov. 28:       Was There a Revolution for Women?: In what ways was life the same for women before and after the Revolution? What changes did the Revolution bring for women?


                     Post 11: Post Discussion by 2:00pm: Shoemaker and the Tea Party, 1-84. Question: What did the Revolution mean for Robert Twelve Hughes?


Week 15:

Mon., Dec. 3:         Was There a Revolution for Women?: In what ways was life the same for women before and after the Revolution? What changes did the Revolution bring for women?


Wed., Dec. 5:          Was there a Revolution for Indians?: How and why did the Seneca accommodate the new order the US was trying to impose on them? What were the results? How and why did other Indian peoples resist? What were the results?


                       Post 12: Post Discussion by 2:00pm for Shoemaker and the Tea Party, 85-207.  Question: How and why did public memory of the Boston Tea Party (and the Revolution) change over time?


Week 16:

Mon., Dec. 10:       Making an American Culture: How did the new middle class try to fashion an American culture? What messages did this new culture promote?



                     Remember to submit your paper to SafeAssign on Blackboard