HIST 481
The American Revolution, 1763-1798: Meanings and Interpretations Spring 2010
Division II Writing Skills
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During the second half of the eighteenth century, the political, social, and demographic landscape of eastern North America underwent dramatic transformations. If many of the characters and events marking the transition of the region from a cluster of thirteen colonies to the first republic of the western hemisphere are quite familiar to most Americans, the movement to independence and the creation of the United States have been the subject of complex and sometimes contentious historical interpretations. This tutorial will explore the ideological, economic, political, and cultural causes and consequences of the American Revolution, from the emergence of increasing tensions between Great Britain and its North American colonies to the attempts of the United States government to limit political expression and immigration in the new nation. Through the close reading of some of the most significant scholarship of the period, we will seek to understand how a multitude of historical actors of varied social, economic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds made and shaped the famous political, military, and constitutional struggles of the Revolutionary Era. By the end of this tutorial, students will have engaged and debated some of the most important historiographical assessments of the Revolutionary Era. In their final assignment, students will be equipped to provide an erudite and personal answer to the most important question of all: How revolutionary was the Revolution?
The Class: Format: tutorial; once a week for about an hour, student will meet with the instructor in pairs
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3195
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: students will alternatively present orally or critique a written essay of 7 double-spaced pages on a topic assigned by the instructor; students will be asked to write a final paper assessing the revolutionary nature of the American Revolution
Prerequisites: none; open to all
Enrollment Preferences: History majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada
HIST Group G Electives - Global History

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