Spring 2019 Courses

The American Revolution

Denver Brunsmanwith Professor Denver Brunsman, George Washington University

The American Revolution is arguably the most significant event in US history. Put simply, without the Revolution, the United States as we know it would not exist. And yet, the Revolution is also one of the events in American history most misunderstood by the general public. It is a much more complex, surprising event than most Americans realize.

This course will explore the American revolutionary era, defined broadly. Participants will gain insight into new scholarly approaches to traditional subjects, including American resistance to British rule, the decision for independence, and America’s victory in the Revolutionary War.

In addition, participants will consider marginalized figures and groups, including loyalists, women, African Americans, and American Indians, who challenge conventional interpretations of the Revolution. Finally, the course will examine how the Revolution gave birth to a new—and fractious—style of politics under the Articles of Confederation and US Constitution.

This dramatic range of people and events is not for the faint of heart. Participants will engage in a project as timeless as the Revolution itself: interpreting what exactly American independence meant for the inhabitants of North America and the world.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 24007, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 24008-24010

The Life and Writings of Frederick Douglass

David Blightwith Professor David Blight, Class of 1954 Professor of American History, Yale University; Director, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition

These twelve lectures, the readings, and the discussions are to probe the nature of the life, the work, and the thought of the nineteenth-century abolitionist, orator, and author Frederick Douglass. We will examine in depth the public and private sides of Douglass’s life, and his importance as a thinker and as a political activist in the great dramas of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 24014, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 24015-24017

The Kennedy Era

Barbara Perrywith Professor Barbara Perry, Gerald L. Baliles Professor and Director of Presidential Studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center

More than fifty years after its tragic end, the presidency of John F. Kennedy continues to be the focus of scholars, educators, biographers, journalists, politicians, advertisers, students, and citizens of the nation and the world. Why should a mere thousand-day presidency continue to attract such universal attention?

Through the lenses of imagery, symbolism, media, leadership theory, and public policy, this course will explore the strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures of the thirty-fifth president of the United States. By examining JFK’s biography, career, rhetoric, and policies, including on the Cold War, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the Peace Corps, civil rights, the space race, and the arts, students will gain both knowledge of and perspective on the Camelot era.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 23987, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 23988-23990

The Vietnam War

Fredrik Logevallwith Professor Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer Professor of International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Professor of History

This course covers the long struggle for Vietnam, waged between 1940 and 1975, with particular attention to the long period of direct American involvement. The events will be considered in their relationship to Vietnam's history, to US politics and society, and to the concurrent Cold War.

Students are not expected to have any familiarity with the Vietnam War, but they should have a basic understanding of US history since 1941. Students who feel they lack this background should consult a work such as Walter LaFeber’s America, Russia, and the Cold War, or Campbell Craig and Fredrik Logevall’s America’s Cold War, and/or a standard college-level US history text such as Mary Beth Norton et al.’s A People and a Nation.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 24000, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 24001-24003

Thesis/Capstone Course

The Thesis/Capstone course will be offered every semester.

Registration information: CRN: 23994

To apply for the Pace–Gilder Lehrman MA in American History Program, click “To Apply” in the menu.