DC/US History Syllabus

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Division of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

History Department Syllabus


Instructor’s Information:

  1. Name of Instructor:  Mr. Isaac G. Pietrzak
  2. Office and Class Location:  Room 204 at Sharyland H.S. and SA3
  3. Telephone #: (956) 584-6467; Ext. 4414
  4. E-mail Address: Given in class

Course Information:

  1. Course Name:  U.S. History I
  2. Course #:    History 1301
  3. Sections and Meeting Times:
  4.  S70:MW 8:07am-9:37am,  S 82:TR 8:07am-9:37am,       S68:MW 9:43am-11:14am,  S69:TR 9:43am-11:14am, S 92:MW 11:21am-12:51pm, S97:TR 11:21am-12:51pm.

Course Description:

This course studies the political, economic, geographic, and social processes that shaped the United States from the pre-Columbian era to post-Civil War Reconstruction. Placing special interest on the impact social conditions exerted on political development in the United States allows for the evaluation of government policy in American expansion. As a result, territorial gains and political influence greatly affected development in the western hemisphere. The goal of the course is to analyze events for their contemporary impact and identify their antecedents and future outcomes on American history and its global influence. This course will include a hybrid format in assessment and material presentation where content will be delivered during standard class time and interactive use of Blackboard activities. Participation through online assessments and discussion boards, along with media presentations, and in-class open and small group discussions is required.


  1. This is a survey of the political, social, economic, military, cultural and intellectual history of the United States from the discovery of America to the Civil War.
  2. Prerequisites:  A passing score of 351 on the Reading TSI Exam and 363 and a 4 on the Writing TSI or equivalent; or completion of READ 0090 with a grade of “C” or better.
  3. Program Learning Outcomes:
    • Student will demonstrate a familiarity with the history of the Americas
  4.  Course Learning Outcomes: 
    • To understand the evolution of and role of the U.S. from the discovery of America to the Civil War
    • To differentiate and analyze historical evidence and different points of view regarding the U.S. form the discovery of America to the Civil War
    • To recognize and apply reasonable criteria for the acceptability of historical evidence and social research regarding the U.S. from the discovery of America to the Civil War
  5. Exemplary Educational Objectives for Core Component Area
    • To understand the evolution and current role of the U.S. in the world
    • To differentiate and analyze historical evidence (documentary and statistical) and differing points of view
    • To recognize and apply reasonable criteria for the acceptability of historical evidence and social research
  6.  Intellectual Competencies

    Reading –By paraphrasing material present in the text, handouts, journals, and/or articles.

    Writing –By constructing essay answers on examinations, written assignments, and research projects.

    Speaking –By explaining ideas in an organized way with adequate grammar and sentence construction during classroom interaction and oral presentations.

    Listening-By following verbal directions and delivering appropriate comments in the classroom during instructor/student interaction

    Critical Thinking –By analyzing and critiquing an issue in essays, term papers, or projects.

    Computer Skills –By handing in word-processed papers or research projects with at least one source from an internet source.

  7.  Perspectives
  • Showing respect for other cultures and in gender issues by using utmost caution and being sensitive to such issues while presenting opinions on issues in History
  • Accomplishing assignments on time, cooperating with group assignments, and attending classes for the full time period.
  • Using technology in the presentation of class assignments, exploring the wide variety of information on History issues available through the use of technology, and using technology properly such as turning off cell phones and observing copyright laws when using technology.
  • Demonstrating ethical behavior through active group participation, avoidance of plagiarism and cheating by copying and distributing other students’ work or instructors’ exams or assignments.
  • Displaying aesthetic judgment by presentation of organized and typed written assignments in properly prepared formats.
  • Exhibiting problem solving ability through critical thinking and self-evaluation on homework and other class assignments.
  • Confirming the importance of interdisciplinary skills by using written communication (English), language arts (Communication), philosophical analysis (Philosophy), historical events (History), government issues (Government), word processing (Computer Science), and sociological theories (Sociology) to complete homework assignments, to participate in classroom discuss, and to respond to examination questions.


Instructor Outcomes:

All homework and readings is designed to allow an in depth discussion and is mandatory.  Note taking, Levels of Questioning Activities, Quizzes, and Exams will be used to assess work both through Blackboard and in-class. Participation and discussion will also factor in considerably.

Cheating is not tolerated in this course.  If you are caught cheating, you will receive an automatic F in the courseThe same policy holds true for homework and group assignments.  Doing work together should not be confused with copying work from one another.  Use group work to help and teach each other.  Plagiarism on any writing assignment constitutes cheating.  This policy includes improper use of the Internet. To discourage plagiarism, all written (typed) assignments must be submitted through the SafeAssign portal in Blackboard.

Late Work: All assignments must be turned in on the date specified on your course outline or on the date announced in class.  Late work will not be accepted except in case of a medical absence.  All of the work is designed to help you gain a greater understanding of the content.

Attendance: Attendance is essential to success.  Be prepared for lengthy and long-term assignments (Reading assignments and assessment).  In this class students are expected to be responsible for some of their own learning. Late work in case of absence follows the general policy of the institution.  It is the student’s responsibility to check in and find out what was missed or to turn in work if they missed a deadline due to sickness/family emergency.  

If a student misses class on the day of a test, it is imperative that the student makes up the test within two days of their return to class. A missed exam due to absence will not be made up as the lowest exam grade will be dropped. Under instructor discretion, student(s) with more than 3 absences will be dropped from the course.


Department Course Requirements: 

Blackboard:  As a hybrid course, Blackboard will be used to introduce, present, discuss, and assess covered material. Participation with the Course Homepage on Blackboard is MANDATORY. During the first two weeks you are required to login to the homepage and post on the discussion board.  If you do not know how to do this, ask the instructor.  All Blackboard elements can be done from the free computer labs on campus, from any public library computer, and from your personal device.

Discussion Board:  You will be required to post and respond to discussions on Blackboard on a weekly basis. Discussion topics will be posted every Monday. You are required to submit a minimum 150-word comment by noon Thursday, after which, you are asked to review classmates’ posts and respond to two comments with a minimum 80-word reply. It is important to remember that this will be a “safe space” where tolerance is expected and personal views respected.

Assessments: Online quizzes and assessments will be done through Blackboard. The survey textbook is divided into five units, each consisting of three chapters. You will take a quiz weekly and an assessment every third week. In order to take quizzes/assessments you must download the Lockdown Browser. It will restrict navigation on your computer while testing. Quizzes and Assessments will only be accessible using this software. It can be downloaded from STC Homepage by searching “Lockdown Browser.”


Unit Exams                        50%

Final Exam               15%

Quizzes                               10%

Paper/Presentation       15%

2 Critical Reviews             5% each

Total:                                  100%


  1. Evaluation method for exemplary educational objectives
  2. Grading criteria

Required Textbook:   

  • Created Equal: A History of the United States, Combined Volumes, 3rd or 4th Ed.

Supplemental Readings:

  • Files uploaded through BlackBoard by the Instructor.
  • Holton, Woody. Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia.
  • Morgan, Edmund.  American Slavery, American Freedom.
  • Remini, Robert V.  The Life of Andrew Jackson
  • Fredrick Douglas. Slave Narrative
  • Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber, ed. Divided Houses


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Sharyland I.S.D. Policies and Procedures: All grading weights and make-up procedures will follow Sharyland I.S.D. Updated 20-17-2018 District Grading Policies and Procedures. Final grade may vary from STC final grade.

Office hours:  Monday-Friday from 7:40-8:00am and Thursday 4-5pm or by appointment.

  Calendar for Dual Enrollment United States History: 2016-2017

Fall Semester 2017

Aug 28-Sep 1 (1st Day-STC)

Intro/Syllabus Review

Chp 1: First Founders and Chp 2: European Footholds in North America

Sep 4-8

Continue Chp 2 and complete Chp 3: Controlling the Edges of the Continent

Blackboard Exam over Chapters 1-3

Sep 11-15 (End PR 1) & (12th Day: Census Day-Sep 13)

Chp 4:African Enslavement: The Terrible Transformation

  • Edmund Morgan’s American Slavery, American Freedom will be used to detail the differences in social stratification that motivated Bacon’s Rebellion and the establishment of slavery as the dominate form of labor in the Southern colonies.

Sep 18-22

Chp 5: Colonial Diversity

Sep 25-29

Chp 6: The Limits of Imperial Control

  • Woody Holton’s Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves as a case study of Virginia and the applicability to the newly formed United States.

Exam over Chapters 4-6

Oct 2-6 (End PR 2)

Chp 7: Revolutionaries at War

  • Thomas Paine’s Common Sense as a primary documents.  Discuss how Paine’s pamphlet led to Richard Henry Lee’s proposal of declaring independence. 
  • The Declaration of Independence Analyze the purpose for declaring independence

 Oct 10-13 Off-Oct 9

Chp 8: New Beginnings

  • Select articles from The Federalist Papers.

Oct 16-20 (End of Term 1)

Chp 9: Revolutionary Legacies

Exam over Chapters 7-9

Oct 23-27

Chp 10: Defending and Expanding the New Nation

Oct 30-Nov 3

Chp 11: Society and Politics in the “Age of the Common Man”

  • Robert V. Remini’s The Life of Andrew Jackson will be introduced into the discussion to understand the character of Jackson that defined the “Era of the Common Man.”

Nov 6-10 (End PR 3)

Chp 12: Peoples in Motion

  • Primary document reading: Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions; Women’s Rights Convention, Seneca Falls, 19-20 July 1848.
  • Primary article of John Louis O’Sullivan, Annexation in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review 17 (July 1845): 5-10 where he mentions “manifest destiny.”

Exam over Chapters 10-12

Nov 13-17  (STC Last day to withdraw-Nov 17)

Chp 13: The Crisis over Slavery

  • Articles found in Divided Houses by Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber, ed.  “Narratives of Union Women Spies” and “Confederate Women and Narratives of War.”
  • Fredrick Douglas’ Slave Narrative prepares student to understand the conditions of slavery and the position many Northerners took against it.

*********************Thanksgiving Break: Nov 21-25*********************

Nov 27-Dec 1

Chp 14: “To Fight to Gain a Country”: The Civil War

Dec 4-8 (End PR 4)

Chp 15: Consolidating a Triumphant Union

Exam over Chapters 13-15

Dec 11-17 (STC Finals Week: Grades Due 12/18)

  • Comprehensive Exam—Fall Semester Final over Chapters 1-15 (Essay and Multiple Choice Questions)

Semester Exam ________________

Dec 19-21 (End of Term 2) 2017