Instructor: Barbara Reeves-Ellington
Meeting Times: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:50-4:15 pm
Lecture Room: S2.140
Office Hours: Tuesday 4:30-6:00pm, Thursday 1:00-2:30pm

Course Objective:

To examine 19th century American history through a framework of empire and from a perspective of global power relations and cultural contacts. The course will put 20th century American imperialism into historical context while exploring the themes of 19th century isolationism and exceptionalism.

Course Description:

This course introduces students to themes of American expansionism and imperialism from Thomas Jefferson's "Empire of Liberty" to Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations. Posing the question "Manifest Destiny or Manifest Design?" we will analyze the spread of the American empire from the perspective of ideological underpinnings and political strategies and explore why and how Americans sought control over lands and peoples. Using empire as an organizing theme, we will examine the ways in which diverse peoples confronted imperial challenges on the American continent and around the world. Course readings include the opportunity to examine case studies in the Continental United Status, the Caribbean, Hawai'i, China, and the Philippines.

Course lectures will follow a thematic and chronological development. HIST 380B is designated "W" for writing and "P" for pluralism. The course is an elective in The Global Studies Integrated Curriculum (GSIC) and includes a Languages Across the Curriculum component.

Languages Across the Curriculum

Explorations of history are always enriched by an understanding of languages and societies other than our own. Students in HIST 380B may opt to do part of their course work with Languages Across the Curriculum (LxC). They will join language-specific study groups led by qualified language resource specialists to do readings in Spanish, French, Chinese, or Russian. Other languages may also be available. This is an excellent opportunity to examine American intersections with other cultures from a non-American perspective. Students who join the LxC project will enhance their own and their colleagues' understandings of American empire in the nineteenth century by bringing different perceptions to the classroom from their foreign-language readings. They will also contribute to curriculum development for the LxC section of HIST 380B.

In addition to attending lectures, LxC participants are required to attend ten one-hour weekly sessions with the language resource specialists. They will use this time to discuss selection and interpretation of foreign-language materials and prepare their final projects. Students who choose not to participate in LxC are required to write a term paper of 1,500 to 2,000 words (six to eight pages) on a topic of their choice related to the course. Project and paper topics must be approved by the course instructor. Non-LxC-students will meet with the course instructor regularly during the semester to develop their papers according to a research plan.

  • *Geoffrey Barraclough, ed. Hammond Concise Atlas of World History, 5th edition (Union, New Jersey: Hammond, 1998).
  • Amy Kaplan and Donald E. Pease, Cultures of United States Imperialism (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1993).
  • Laurence M. Hauptman and L. Gordon McLester III, The Oneida Indian Journey: From New York to Wisconsin, 1784-1860 (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999).
  • Walter LaFeber, The New Empire: An Interpretation of American Expansion, 1860-1898, 2nd edition (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).
  • *Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 3rd edition (Boston: Bedford/St. martin's, 2001).
  • Rydell, Robert, All The World's a Fair (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
  • William Earl Weeks, Building the Continental Empire: American Expansion from the Revolution to the Civil War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996).

Select ONE of the following books for book review (due October 4):

  • Sarah Deutsch, No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880-1940 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
  • Laurence M. Hauptman, Conspiracy of Interests: Iroquois Dispossession and the Rise of New York State (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1999).
  • Jane Hunter, The Gospel of Gentility: American Women Missionaries in Turn-of-the-Century China (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).
  • Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999).
  • James M. McCaffrey, Army of Manifest Destiny: The American Soldier in the Mexican War, 1846-1848 (New York: New York University Press, 1992).
  • Peter S. Onuf, Jefferson's Empire: The Language of American Nationhood (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2000).
  • Louis A. Pérez Jr., The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998).
  • Amanda Porterfield, Mary Lyon and the Mount Holyoke Missionaries (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
  • Gary Okihiro, Cane Fires: The Anti-Japanese Movement in Hawaii, 1865-1945 (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991).

Course Requirements and Grade Determination

Regular attendance at lectures is required. Participation in discussions is expected. Failure to participate will result in grade reduction. Assignments include the following elements.

Book review, 20%
Two short quizzes, 10%
Midterm exam, 20%
Analysis of a primary document, 20%
Term paper or LxC project, including presentation 30%


Part One: "Westward the Course of Empire," 1783-1860

Part Two: "The Power that rules the Pacific rules theworld," 1860-1919

Last Updated: 8/12/16