U.S. History: Jamestown to the Civil War, 1607-1865

Course Description:  This course is a survey of American History beginning with the Jamestown settlement (1607) and ending with the American Civil War (1865). This course will follow the traditional political chronology of American History but will also include a discussion of race, class and gender. This course is designed to contribute to liberal arts general education at Queens College and to contribute to the training of history majors.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this course students should:

  • Be able to demonstrate an understanding of major issues in United States History between 1607 and 1865.
  • Be able to demonstrate and understanding of the roles that race, class, and gender played in United States History.
  • Think and write critically about topics in history.

Required Readings

Recommended Reading

*There is no assigned textbook for this course, but if you would like a textbook for reference I recommend the Foner book.

Grade Breakdown

  • Participation – 10%


This class will be interactive and will include classroom discussion.


  • Response Paper – 40%

Paper Breakdown

  1. Annotated Bibliography and 1 paragraph prospectus – 10 points
  2. Outline (including thesis statement and introduction) – 15 points
  3. First Draft – 25 points.
  4. Final Draft – 50 points.
  • Midterm Exam – 25%
  • Final Exam – 25%

Grades will be assigned as follows:

  1. Grading Scale:
A+ = 97-100 C+ = 77-79
A = 93-96 C = 70-76
A- = 90-92 C- = 70-72
B+ = 87-89 D+ = 67-69
B = 83-86 D = 60-66
B- = 80-82 F = 0-59



Slave Narrative Paper

Format and Length Guidelines

  • Times New Roman,
  • 12 point font
  • Double spaced
  • One inch margins.
  • Pages should be numbered.
  • Your paper should have an original title.
  • Please include your name, the date, on the top right hand corner of your paper.
  • Essays should be 5 pages long.  Essays that are less than 5 pages will automatically be lowered one letter grade.
  • Your paper should include at least 3 quotes from the book being reviewed.
  • Citations to the book should be done in MLA format or Chicago Style. Please see the Purdue Owl for examples.  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/
  • Handwritten essays will not be accepted.
  • Emailed essays will not be accepted.
  • Late essays will not be accepted.




In addition to Celia: A Slave choose at least two slave narratives from the list (available as e-books through Queens College):


Both the first and final drafts must be run through “Turnitin” through BlackBoard.


Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

The Narrative of Sojourner Truth by Sojourner Truth.

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. By Olaudah Equiano.




You may choose slave narratives from the North American Slave Narratives Database



Assignment Details:

Part 1 – 1 paragraph prospectus and annotated bibliography (150 words per book) (Due February 22)

A prospectus is an abstract of what your paper will discuss.  You may not have your entire paper planned, but you should be able to offer a preliminary discussion.  Your prospectus should include the question you are going to ask about slave narratives, the argument you are going to make about it (this will undoubtedly shift as you research and write, but you need to begin to formulate a hypothesis to help direct your inquiry).

The annotated bibliography should include the citations of the sources you are going to use and a 150 word explanation of why you have chosen theses sources and how you will use them in your argument.

Part II – Outline (Due March 8)

Your outline should include your thesis statement, the introduction to your paper, and the layout of your essay.  Follow this format:

  1. Introduction
  2. Thesis Statement
  3. First Paragraph.


  1. Body – What is your argument? How will you show this argument?
  2. Discuss Book 1 as it relates to your argument.
  3. Discuss Book 2 as it relates to your argument.
  4. Discuss Book 3 as it relates to your argument.
  • Conclusion


Part III – First Draft (Due April 5)

  • First draft of your 5-page paper. We will peer edit these in class and then I will look them over as well.

Part IV – Final Draft (Due May 10)



General Paper Rubric

Criteria Inadequate




Above Average Exemplary


Organization Writing lacks logical organization. It shows some coherence but ideas lack unity. Serious errors.



Writing is coherent and logically organized. Some points remain misplaced and stray from the topic. Transitions evident but not used throughout essay.


Writing is coherent and logically organized with transitions used between ideas and paragraphs to create coherence. Overall unity of ideas is present.


Writing shows high degree of attention to logic and reasoning of points. Unity clearly leads the reader to the conclusion and stirs thought regarding the topic.


Level of Content


Shows some thinking and reasoning but most ideas are underdeveloped and unoriginal.


Content indicates thinking and reasoning applied with original thought on a few ideas.



Content indicates original thinking and develops ideas with sufficient and firm evidence.


Content indicates synthesis of ideas, in- depth analysis and evidences original thought and support for the topic.




Main points lack detailed development. Ideas are vague with little evidence of critical thinking.


Main points are present with limited detail and development. Some critical thinking is present.


Main points well developed with quality supporting details. Critical thinking is weaved into points


Main points well developed with high quality and quantity support. Reveals high degree of critical thinking.


Grammar & Mechanics


Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors create distraction, making reading difficult; fragments, comma splices, run-ons evident. Errors are frequent.


Most spelling, punctuation, and grammar correct allowing reader to progress though essay. Some errors remain


Essay has few spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors allowing reader to follow ideas clearly. Very few fragments or run-ons.


Essay is free of distracting spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors; absent of fragments, comma splices, and run-ons




Mostly in elementary form with little or no variety in sentence structure, diction, rhetorical devices or emphasis.


Approaches college level usage of some variety in sentence patterns, diction, and rhetorical devices.


Attains college level style; tone is appropriate and rhetorical devices used to enhance content; sentence variety used effectively.


Shows outstanding style going beyond usual college level; rhetorical devices and tone used effectively; creative use of sentence structure and coordination




Fails to follow format and assignment requirements; incorrect margins, spacing and indentation; neatness of essay needs attention.


Meets format and assignment requirements; generally correct margins, spacing, and indentations; essay is neat but may have some assembly errors.


Meets format and assignment requirements; margins, spacing, and indentations are correct; essay is neat and correctly assembled.


Meets all formal and assignment requirements and evidences attention to detail; all margins, spacing and indentations are correct; essay is neat and correctly assembled with professional look.



Other readings


  • The American Revolution on the Battlefield, 1763-1783
  • James F. Hrdlicka, “The Attachment of the People”: The Massachusetts Charter, the French and Indian War, and the Coming of the American Revolution.”
  • Voices of Freedom – “New York Working Men Demand a Voice,”

Thomas Paine, Common Sense,”Samuel Seabury’s Argument Against Independence.”

  • Outline Due


  • The American Revolution at Home, 1763-1783
  • Carol Berkin: “ ‘Beat of Drum and Ringing of Bell’: Women in the American Revolution” from First Generations: Women in Colonial America, 165-194.
  • Voices of Freedom – “Abigail and John Adams on Women and the American Revolution,” “Noah Webster on Equality,” “Liberating Indentured Servants,” Letter of Phillis Wheatley,” “Thoughts upon Female Education.”


  • Founding a Nation and Securing the Republic.

Voices of Freedom – “Thomas Jefferson on Race and Slavery,” “Judith Sargent Murray, On the Equality of the Sexes,” “George Tucker on Gabriel’s Rebellion,” “Tecumseh on Indians and Land,” “Mercy Otis Warren on Religion and Virtue.”


The Market Revolution, 1800-1840

Reading due: Paul Johnson, “Art” and the Language of Progress in Early-Industrial Paterson: Sam Patch at Clinton Bridge.”Voices of Freedom – “Complaints of a Lowell Factory Worker,” “A Woman in the Westward Movement,” “Charles G. Finney “Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts.”


  • The Peculiar Institution and Democracy in America, 1815-1840
  • Reading Due: Celia: A Slave. David Anthony, “The Helen Jewett Panic: Tabloids, Men, and the Sensational Public Sphere in Antebellum New York.”
  • Voices of Freedom “Appeal of the Cherokee Nation,”


  • An Age of Reform, 1820-1848

Reading due:

  • Sally Ann H. Ferguson, “Christian Violence and the Slave Narrative.”
  • Voices of Freedom – “Catherine Beecher on the Duty of American Females,” “Angelina Grimke on Women’s Rights,” “The Declaration of Sentiments.”
  • A House Divided, 1840-1861

Reading due:

  • Margaret M.R. Kellow, “ ‘For the Sake of Suffering Kansas’: Lydia Maria Child, Gender, and Politics of the 1850s,” Journal of Women’s History 5:2 (September 1993), 32-49.
  • Voices of Freedom – “The Irrepressible Conflict,” “Texas Declaration of Independence,” “The Lincoln Douglas Debates,” “South Carolina Ordinance of Secession.”

Reading Due:

  • Robert L. Girardi, “Illinois Soldiers Respond to the Emancipation Proclamation.”
  • Voices of Freedom – “Alexander H. Stephens, The Cornerstone of the Confederacy,” “ Marcus M. Spiegel, Letter of a Civil War Soldier,” “ Samuel S. Cox Condemns Emancipation,” “Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address.”


  • A New Birth of Freedom, The Civil War, Part II

Reading due:

  • Drew Gilpin Faust, “Altars of Sacrifice.”
  • Voices of Freedom – “Mary Livermore on Women and the War,” “Letter of a Mother of a Black Soldier,” “Frederick Douglass of a Black Soldier.”