History 495/713: Rebels and Revolutionaries in the Atlantic World, 1750-1850

Professor Terry Bouton

Phone: 410-455-2056

E-MAIL: bouton[at]umbc.edu

Office: 722 Administration Bldg.
Office Hours: Mon., 4:00pm-5:00pm, 6:00pm-7:00pm; Wed. by appointment

(It is always best to email before you plan to come to office hours so 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:

*I would advise bookmarking this page since it has links to all the documents and assignments*
Course Meeting Place:

Campus Map: http://www.umbc.edu/aboutumbc/campusmap/map_flash.html
Course Meeting Time:
Mon. 7:10PM - 9:40PM

Course Description:
History 713/495 will examine the revolutions that the spread across the Atlantic World from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century, a period some have called the “Age of Revolution.” The primary focus will be the “successful” revolutions in the American colonies, France, Saint-Domingue (Haiti), and Latin America. We’ll also examine unrest, rebellion, and “failed” revolutions in Europe and the Americas. Finally, we’ll try to understand the global implications of the revolutions in the Atlantic basin. Given the breadth of topics, the object is not to gain an exhaustive understanding of any one revolution, but rather to explore the connections between these diverse revolutions. In what ways were they similar? Did they share common causes, trajectories, ideals, and outcomes? How revolutionary was each revolution in terms opening up rights and freedoms and shifting power to “the people”? What changes did they bring politically, economically, socially, and in terms of class, race, and gender? Whose position improved? Whose did not? To what extent were these diverse revolutions independent events? How much did they inspire one another? How far did the waves from the Atlantic revolutions spread? What was a successful revolution? What made some revolutions more successful than others? Why did other revolutions fail or never get started?

Course Format:
The course will be run as a reading and discussion intensive seminar.  In general, we’ll begin each topic by reading a book in common from the list below.  Then for the second week (and sometimes third) on a particular topic, each of you will branch out in a different direction within that broad topic.  The choice of direction will be up to you.  For example, for the French Revolution, we’ll all read William Doyle’s, The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction.  The following week you can pick some aspect of the French Revolution to delve into more deeply: it might be questions of citizenship, it may be "The Terror," it may be Napoleon, it might be about the role of religion or how the revolution dealt with issues of race or gender. On these weeks, I’ll provide a list of books to choose from (you can also select books that are not on the list). For these classes, each of you will report on the aspect of the revolution covered by the book you read. The goal is to put all of these pieces together to see if we can fit them into a broader portrait.

The following books will be available for purchase at the campus bookstore:

1)        Wim Klooster, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History

2)        Edward Countryman, The American Revolution: Revised Edition (Hill and Wang) [Paperback] ISBN-10: 0809025620 | ISBN-13: 978-0809025626

3)        Ray Raphael (Author), Alfred F. Young (Editor), Gary Nash (Editor), Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation (Vintage) [Paperback] ISBN-10: 0307455998 | ISBN-13: 978-0307455994

4)        William Doyle (Author), The French Revolution: A Very Short Introduction [Paperback] Oxford University Press,  ISBN-10: 0192853961 | ISBN-13: 978-0192853967

5)        Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian

6)        Richard Graham, Independence In Latin America: A Comparative Approach (McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages) [Paperback]  ISBN-10: 0070240086 | ISBN-13: 978-0070240087

7)        John Lynch, Simon Bolivar: A Life (Paperback)

All of these books are (or will be) available at the campus bookstore (except perhaps the Graham book, of which there are plenty of used copies available through internet book sellers. When possible, I have also put a copy of the books 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.)

Participation:                100 points
Postings:                      275 points (11 postings, 25 points for each posting)
Final Reflection:            25 points
Total Points                 400 points

For those in HIST 495:  
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

For those in HIST 713:
372-400 points will be an A (93%-100%)
360-371 points will be an A- (90%-92%)
348-359 points will be a B+ (87%-89%)
332-347 points will be a B (83%-86%)
320-331 points will be a B- (80%-82%)
308-329 points will be a C+ (77%-79%)
292-307 points will be a C (73%-76%)
280-291 points will be a C- (70%-72%)
268-279 points will be a D+ (67%-69%)
252-267 points will be a D (63%-66%)
240-251 points will be a D- (60%-62%)
Below 240 points will be an F

The success of this class will require active participation by every student. Effective participation starts with preparation before you step into the classroom: reading the books, understanding them, and thinking through the issues they raise. Participation also means engaging in class discussion. On weeks when we’ll all be reading a common book, this doesn’t mean answering one question and sitting quietly for the rest of class. It means participating throughout the evening and speaking up when you have something to add to the discussion. I understand that some people are shy and feel awkward participating. But you’re going to need to work through your reticence and speak up if you want a good participation grade. I can’t read minds and won’t be able to give you credit for ideas you have while sitting in class if you don’t share them with the group. On “read around” weeks, it will be more difficult to hide, since we will go around the room and EVERYONE will be responsible for reporting on her or his book.

Finally, it should go without saying that participation means attendance. We only meet once a week, which means every class period is critical. If you’re not in class, you cannot participate and you will receive a zero as participation for that day. Start accumulating zeros and watch your grade plummet. You can also watch me get peeved at you.

The grade for postings on the reading assignments will depend on the quality of your written submissions to the Blackboard Discussion Board.  There will be THIRTEEN posting assignments throughout the semester. Each posting will be worth 25 points. At the end of the semester, your top ELEVEN postings will count (meaning I will drop your lowest two). Although this means that you can take two mulligans (that is, blow off two postings), I still expect you to do that week’s reading and report on it in class—even if you do not post. Your participation grade doesn’t get a mulligan.

Each posting will be a review of the book to be discussed for that week's class.  For each book, I want you to focus on what that book has to tell about one of all of the following broad topics: the origins of the Revolution, the revolution’s ideals, the internal conflicts within the revolution, the revolution’s outcome (how did it end up as far as winners and losers). These topics will be the analytical glue that holds together our comparisons of the various revolutions in question. Consequently, you should craft your analysis in your postings around THOSE TOPICS. Let me be very clear: I do not want a description of what the book said in a general sense; instead I want you to reflect on what the book contributes to our discussion about our key analytical topics (origins, ideals, internal conflicts, outcomes). I expect you to include a critique of the book’s argument and evidence. But I expect that critique to be focused on how well or poorly the author made the case for something related to THOSE TOPICS.

Your postings must include specific examples and quotes from the book to demonstrate your points. While I want to hear your thoughts about a book, I do not want you to simply your opinion without providing specific examples and quotes to dramatize your points. If you thought an argument was convincing, then prove to me why you thought it was convincing. If you thought an argument was weak and unpersuasive, then give me examples and quotes that highlight those weaknesses. You can’t just tell me. You need to show me using specific quotes and examples.

Writing matters. You need to organize your thoughts clearly and write with coherent paragraphs, strong topic sentences, and make effective use of evidence to demonstrate your points.

Postings are due by 6:00pm on the night that we are discussing the book.

Notes on Blackboard: Students enrolled in this course must have an active email account and access to the Internet. HIST 495/713 uses Blackboard On-line software. This means that you will have access to course materials 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the Internet.  Most assignments will be submitted on-line 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 495/713 will make you eligible to enroll in Blackboard. To gain entrance to discussion boards and course material, you MUST enroll in the on-line version of HIST 495/713 on the course Blackboard site in order to have full access.  BEFORE you do anything else, enroll in the course on-line by going to: http://blackboard.umbc.edu

IMPORTANT: I require everyone to save a personal copy of all of their discussion postings (as well as the final reflection paper) 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 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.

Final Reflection:
Each student will write a final discussion posting that compares and contrasts the different revolutions and rebellions that we studied this semester. The objective of this posting is to take a step back and reflect on the insights you have gained over the semester and the conclusions you have drawn about the revolutionary Atlantic World. I’m flexible about how you want to handle this assignment. You may want to focus on broad issues of comparison and contrast between the different revolutions. You might want to hone in on a particular aspect of the revolutions that caught your interest: origins, ideology, or outcome, questions of citizenship, the role of religion, the place of class, race, or gender—or some other topic. The only real requirement is that you offer conclusions based on analysis that runs across most of the revolutions we covered (you need not hit them all).

Final Reflection due by Monday, Dec. 17

Academic Integrity:
I expect students enrolled in this course to uphold the UMBC Policy on Academic Integrity http://www.umbc.edu/provost/integrity/acc_policy/. In the Spring of 2002, the UMBC Faculty and Student Senates adopted the following statement emphasizing the importance of academic integrity:

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.

Don’t cheat. Seriously. Don’t plagiarize. Don’t even think about it. I will catch you. And I will bust you. And I will laugh with glee about it as I fill out the mountain of paper work to get you expelled from the program. I’ve done it before—with a graduate student no less. I’d rather not do it again. Thank you.

Class Schedule:

Sept. 10: Introduction
Revolutionary Traditions Before the “Age of Revolution”
Creating a Framework for Studying Revolutions

Sept. 17: Comparing Revolutions: Refining Our Framework
Reading: Klooster, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History

Sept. 24: The American Revolution: Overview
Reading: Countryman, The American Revolution

Oct. 1: The American Revolution: Origins and Ideals
Reading: Read Around

Oct. 8: The American Revolution: A Revolution for Whom?
Reading: Raphael (Author), Alfred F. Young (Editor), Gary Nash (Editor), Revolutionary Founders: Rebels, Radicals, and Reformers in the Making of the Nation

Oct. 15: The French Revolution: Overview
Reading: Popkin, A Short History of the French Revolution

Oct. 22: The French Revolution: Origins and Ideals
Reading: TBA

Oct. 29: The French Revolution: A Revolution for Whom?
Reading: TBA

Nov. 5: The Haitian Revolution
Reading: Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution

Nov. 12:  Latin American Revolutions: Overview
Reading: Graham, Independence In Latin America: A Comparative Approach

Nov. 19: Latin America: The Ubiquitous Simon Bolivar
Reading: Lynch, Simon Bolivar: A Life

Nov. 26: Latin America: Compare and Contrast
Reading: TBA

Dec. 3: “Failed” Revolutions: European Upstarts, Slave Rebels, and a Pan-Indian Movement
Reading: TBA

Dec. 11: Connections and Reverberations
Reading: TBA