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BECOMING AMERICANS: COOPERATION AND CONFLICT IN EARLY AMERICA (HIS-243364)

Center for Distance Learning Home > Distance Learning Catalog > Historical Studies >

Course Description:


In his 2004 Keynote Address at the Democratic National Convention, Barack Obama said, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America — there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America — there's the United States of America." President Obama repeated that quote and reaffirmed his belief in that idea in his 2015 State of Union Address.

President Obama's words convey an image of the United States as E Pluribus Unum, a singular, unified nation. Is the United States such a nation? This course explores that question by examining how communities in the mid-17th through early 19th centuries developed in the early American colonies. Through course readings, discussions and written assignments, student will have the opportunity to explore how the dynamic interactions of Native Americans, Slaves and others from Africa, and the culturally and economically diverse group of European settlers shaped the local and national social and political structures that they created.

Questions that the course will explore include: What is the meaning of belonging to a community? What factors lead to unification and which ones lead to division? How does an established community deal with challenges to its organizational premises? How did ideas of class, status and social hierarchy affect the formation of community? How did the diverse group of people that comprised early America articulate and act upon ideas of freedom, democratic governance, land ownership and opportunity and wealth distribution?

The course will place special emphasis on New York State's history. The social, economic and cultural impact of slavery and the encounters between European settlers and Native American nations will be fully integrated into this exploration of the formulation and fragmentation of the communities that came to comprise the United States. The course will be organized to allow for independent explorations and a common forum for the exchange of ideas.

Prerequisites: Completion of an introductory course in early American History such as US History to 1865: What Does It Mean to be a Free Nation? or the equivalent.

Important Note: this course was formerly offered as 243364, Transformations During the Colonial Experience in America 1607-1776. Students who have successfully completed 243364 should not enroll in this course.

This course fully meets the General Education requirement in American History.


This online course is offered through the Center for Distance Learning. You can take this as an individual course or as part of an online degree program, with term starts in March, May, September, November and January. View current term offerings and all online courses. Click here to register for online courses.

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Liberal Study
Upper Level
Credits: 4
Meets General Education Requirement In: American History-Full

Term(s) Offered (Subject to Change) : Spring 1. Fall 1.

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