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University of Texas at Dallas

College of Arts and Humanities

Spring 2006
HIST 1302.001: “United States History Since 1865”
MWF, 9:00-9:50pm JO 4.614

Instructor: Professor Robert Desrochers Office: JO 5.408

(972) 883-2005 e-mail: robert.desrochers@utdallas.edu

Office Hours: Monday & Wednesday, 1:00-2:00pm, and by appointment.

Course Description and Objectives: This course introduces students to the social, cultural, and
political history of the United States since the end of the Civil War. By semester’s end you
should have:
• A basic factual knowledge and understanding of central themes, issues, events, and
problems in the history of the United States since 1865.
• An understanding of how those themes, issues, events, and problems fit into THE BIG
PICTURE of American history and life.
• Formed some thoughts of your own about the significance of this period of United States
• Developed skills that enable you to think critically and analytically about United States
history, and more broadly about the practice of history as an interpretive endeavor.

Readings: The following books are required (available at the UTD Bookstore and Off-Campus
Our main textbook is:
• George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi, America: A Narrative History (6th ed., volume
2, 2004).
We will also read:

• Melba Pattillo Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate
Little Rock’s Central High (1994).

• Joe Klein, Woody Guthrie: A Life (1999).

• David M. Oshinsky, “Worse Than Slavery”: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow
Justice (1996).

• Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2001).

Course Structure and Requirements:

Lectures: Our class meetings will combine lectures with materials such as popular music,
political cartoons, historical documentaries, and films. Regular attendance is crucial for a
number of reasons. First of all, lectures will reinforce, expand upon, and at times diverge from
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the assigned readings. Second, come test time you will be responsible for information delivered
in these lectures. And third, if you miss class you are apt to miss out on important
announcements, supplemental materials, and the instructor’s good cheer.

Exams: We will have four exams, each of which counts toward 20% of your final grade.
The first three exams will take place during normal class meeting times. The fourth will take
place during the final exam period, but will not be cumulative. For each exam you will be
responsible for material presented in lectures, as well as assigned readings. Exams will consist
of a combination of matching, multiple choice and other objective questions, chronologies, and
short essays.

Quizzes: There will be weekly quizzes on lectures and the readings throughout the semester.
These quizzes will constitute 20% of your grade. There will be no make-ups on quizzes – no
exceptions. I will drop your lowest two quiz grades.

Course Policies:

Civility: Rules of common courtesy and classroom etiquette apply, including but not
limited to: turning off cell phones and beepers; refraining from sleeping, web-surfing, or reading
the newspaper; and arriving on time and staying until the end of class (if you really have to leave
early, please let me know ahead of time).
Academic Integrity: Students who violate university policies regarding academic
integrity may incur penalties ranging from course failure to dismissal from the university. I take
cheating and plagiarism seriously, and will refer possible infractions to the Office of the Dean of
Students. Students should consult the UTD student handbook for more information.
Make-up Exams: Will be granted at the instructor’s discretion, and only for special
circumstances such as serious illness (with a doctor’s note) or official campus business (note
from a coach or professor).
Incompletes: As per university policy, incompletes will be given only to students who
have completed 70% of the course work.
E-mail policy: Students should send e-mail to me via their UTD e-mail account. I will
send electronic correspondence only to a student’s UTD e-mail address.
Special Needs: I will do my best to provide appropriate academic accommodations for
qualified students with special needs. Contact the Office of Disabilities if you think you need

Notes and Suggestions:

• Keep this syllabus. You will need to refer to it throughout the semester.
• My job is to help you learn. If you do not understand a course requirement or any of the
course material, please do not hesitate to talk with me.
• To aid your understanding of lectures, and get the most out of the course, it is vital that
you keep up with weekly reading assignments.
• Finally, please note that dates and deadlines are subject to change. Be alert to in-class
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Week 1: January 9-13 Reconstruction: Radicalism, Reform, and Rights

Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapter 18.

Week 2: January 18 & 20 Spikedriver’s Blues: Business & Labor in the

Late 19 th Century
Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 19-20.

Week 3: January 23-27 “Stay Off the Parchman Farm”:

Race, Justice, and Jim Crow
Reading: “Worse Than Slavery”.

Week 4: Jan. 30- Feb. 3 Urban Growth & Agrarian Revolt in the “Gilded Age”
Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 21-22.

Week 5: February 6-10 “New Imperialism” & Progressivism

Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapter 23-24
***** February 6, First Exam *****

Week 6: February 13-17 Over There (and Back): World War I & the Roaring
Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 25-26.

Week 7: February 20-24 Brother Can You Spare A Dime?: The Great
Depression & The New Deal
Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 27-28.

Week 8: Feb. 27- Mar. 3 Hard Travelin’

Reading: Woody Guthrie: A Life, 1-141.
***** March 3, Second Exam *****

Week 9: March 6-11 No class – Spring Break

Week 10: March 13-17 World War II

Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 29-30.

Week 11: March 20-24 This Land Is Your Land

Reading: Woody Guthrie: A Life, 142-318.

Week 12: March 27-31 The Cold War and the 1950s
Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 31-33.

Week 13: April 3-7 We Shall Overcome: The Civil Rights Movement
Reading: Warriors Don’t Cry.
***** April 3, Third Exam *****
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Week 14: April 10-14 Times A Changing: The Vietnam Era

Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapters 34-35.

Week 15: April 17-21 Life in Modern America: Bigger, Better, Faster?
Reading: Fast Food Nation.

Week 16: April 24 Long Strange Trip: Where Have We Been, Where Are
We Going?
Reading: Tindall & Shi, Chapter 36.
***** Fourth Exam Wednesday, April 26, at 8am *****