U.S. The Young Republic (512:302) Fall 2014

Prof. Tom Jeffrey

website: http://rci.rutgers.edu/~tjeffrey

e-mail: tjeffrey@rutgers.edu

Campus phone: 848-445-2710

Office: (1) Van Dyck Hall: ROOM TO BE ANNOUNCED; (2) Edison Papers, 2nd floor Old Livingston Theater

Office Hours: MTh, 7:30-8:00a.m., 9:30-10a.m. (208 Van Dyck) or by appointment (Livingston)

 

This course is a comprehensive examination of political, economic, and social developments in the United States from the end of the American Revolution (1783) through the Mexican War (1846-1848). Major themes during the first half of the semester include the growth of Republican ideology in the aftermath of the Revolution, the writing and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, the development of political parties, the decline of the Federalist party and the advent of Jeffersonian Democracy, and efforts by the nation's leaders (ultimately unsuccessful) to avoid being drawn into the European war. Major themes during the second half of the semester include the causes of the War of 1812, the growth of sectionalism and the debate over slavery, the rise of Jacksonian Democracy, the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, the development of a distinct American identity, the reform movements of the 1830s and 1840s, "Manifest Destiny" and the Mexican War, and the coming of the Civil War.

 

I. Required Readings

 

Risjord, Norman. Jefferson's America (2nd edition or 3rd edition)

The Constitution of the United States (YR)

Kaminski, John, & Leffler, Richard. Federalists and Antifederalists (2nd edition)

Hickey, Donald. War of 1812 (CP)

Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of Frederick Douglass, ed. by Benjamin Quarles

Singleton, Maura. “Anatomy of a Mystery: The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy in the Post-DNA Era.” University of Virginia Magazine, Fall 2007 (YR)

Burstein, Andrew The Passions of Andrew Jackson

Coffin Handbills (YR)

Haynes, Sam W. James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse (CP)

Hietala, Thomas. Manifest Design (CP)

Merk, Frederick. "Dissent in the Mexican War" (CP).

 

CP = Selections from these books are in the course packet available at the Rutgers bookstore.

YR = This reading can be downloaded from the Lecture Outlines page of the Young Republic website.

 

II. Examinations, Papers, and Grades

 

There will be two in-class examinations (October 16 and November 25). PLEASE NOTE THAT BECAUSE OF THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAYS, THE SECOND EXAM WILL TAKE PLACE ON A TUESDAY. The second exam will not be comprehensive but will be based on the lectures and assigned readings for the period after the first exam. Study questions for each examination will be available on the Young Republic website approximately one week in advance of the exam. The two exams will be weighted equally in determining your final grade

 

In addition to the exams, there will be two writing assignments. (1) A summary (1-2 double-spaced pages) of Donald Hickey's War of 1812 (in course packet) due on October 13. This assignment will be graded on a pass/fail basis (i.e., if you turn in the assignment on time and you haven't plagiarized, you pass). (2) As a final assignment students will be given a choice of either writing a theme paper of 8-10 pages (see below for topic) or submitting summaries of the three readings from the course packet relating to the Mexican War (Haynes, Hietala, Merk). These choices will be explained in greater detail on December 1, in the class that follows the second exam. Briefly, however, the course packet summaries will be graded on a pass/fail basis and will not affect your final course grade based on the average of your two exams. The theme paper may improve your course grade depending on the quality of the product (however, there is no guarantee that it will do so; the only guarantee is that it will not lower your course grade). All final assignments are due on Monday, December 15.

 

Class participation and attendance will also be taken into consideration in determining your final grade. Attendance at ALL class meetings is expected. It is also in your own interest to attend class on a regular basis, since I test heavily on my lectures. No "A" grade will be assigned to any student with more than two unexcused absences regardless of how well they perform on the exams and final assignment.

 

Please check the Announcements page on the Young Republic website on a regular basis for course-related information, including any cancellations due to bad weather

 

III. Classroom Etiquette

 

Students should be in their seats by the time the lecture begins at 8:10a.m. Please do not begin packing your books or otherwise preparing to leave class until the professor has completed the lecture. Such behavior is distracting both to the professor and to other students. Laptop computers are permitted for the purpose of taking notes. However, all other electronic devices (for example, cell phones and iPods) should be put away when the lecture begins. Thank you for your cooperation.

 

IV. Topics and Assignments

 

Outlines for each topic are posted on the Young Republic website. It is strongly recommend that you download these outlines, look them over before class, and bring them to class with you.

 

Introduction (September 4)

 

The U.S. during the 1780s  (September 8, 11)

READ: Jefferson's America, 2nd edition: pp. 1-70, 124-34, 147-51, 167-92; 3rd edition: pp. 1-70, 126-36, 149-53, 169-94

 

The "Critical Period" and the Debate over the U.S. Constitution (September 15, 18)

READ: Jefferson's America, Chapters 8-9

READ: U.S. Constitution [on Young Republic website]

READ and DISCUSS (September 18): Federalists & Antifederalists, all introductions + pp. 4-13, 21-32, 42-45, 58-66, 70-74, 76-83, 86-92, 106-17, 121-26, 136-42, 159-64, 168-72, 183-93, 200-205, 215-19

 

Party Building and Nation Building (September 22, 25)

READ: Jefferson's America, Chapters 10-11

 

"Entangling Alliances": The Debate Over Foreign Policy (September 29, October 2)

READ: Jefferson's America, Chapters 12-13

 

"The Revolution of 1800" and the Advent of Jeffersonian Democracy (October 6, 9)

READ: Jefferson's America, Chapters 14-15

 

"Free Trade and Sailors Rights": The Controversy over Neutral Rights (October 13)

READ: Jefferson's America, Chapter 16; READ and DISCUSS: War of 1812  [from course packet]

Course packet summary (Hickey, "War of 1812") due.

 

FIRST IN-CLASS EXAM: Thursday, October 16

 

The War of 1812 and the "Era of Good Feelings" (October 20, 23)

READ: Jefferson's America, Chapter 17 ; READ and DISCUSS: War of 1812  [from course packet]

 

The Supreme Court in the Early Republic (October 27)

 

Tocqueville's America: The U.S. during the 1830s (October 30)

 

Frederick Douglass's America : Slavery and the Old South (November 3, 6)

READ and DISCUSS (November 3, 6): (1) Narrative of Frederick Douglass; (2) “The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy in the post-DNA Era” [on Young Republic website]

 

"The Age of Reform": Persuasion and Coercion (November 10)

 

The Abolitionist Movement and the Growth of Political Antislavery (November 13)

 

Andrew Jackson and the Revival of Political Parties (November 13, 17)

READ and DISCUSS (November 17): Andrew Jackson and Coffin Handbills [on Young Republic website].

 

Parties and Politics during the "Age of Jackson" (November 20, 24)

  

SECOND IN-CLASS EXAM: Tuesday, November 25

 

THANKSGIVING RECESS (November 28)

 

Andrew Jackson’s “Indian Policy” (December 1)

 

The Presidencies of William Henry Harrison and John Tyler (December 1)

 

“Don’t Mess with Texas”: The Texas Issue and Presidency of James K. Polk (December 4)

LISTEN AND ENJOY: "James K. Polk: Napoleon of the Stump" [on Young Republic website].

 

The Bitter Fruit of "Manifest Destiny”: The Coming of the Civil War (December 8)

READ and DISCUSS (December 8): (1) Haynes, James K. Polk; (2) Hietala, Manifest Design; (3) Merk, "Dissent in the Mexican War" [readings from course packet]

 

THEME PAPERS AND COURSE PACKET SUMMARIES DUE: December 15, 12:00 NOON.

 

No theme papers will be accepted prior to December 10.  Course packet summaries may be submitted any time between December 8 and December 15. See instructions on Announcements page for additional information.

 

 

 

V. Theme Paper (8-10 pp.)

 

Topic: Throughout the early years of the Young Republic, the United States was in constant danger of being drawn into war. (1) Why was the country able to avoid war during the 1790s? (2) Why did the nation go to war in 1812 and in 1846? (3) Were the War of 1812 and the Mexican War "just wars"?

 

Themes: The first two sections of your paper should take into consideration (1) the major foreign-policy crises of the period (including the "war scares" of 1794 and 1798); (2) the attitude of the political parties toward foreign affairs; (3) the economic, political, diplomatic, ideological, and strategic issues involved; and (4) the role of presidential leadership. Section 2 should also take into consideration the alternatives to war available in 1812 and 1846.

 

Section 3 should take into consideration following criteria for a "just war": (1) it must be undertaken by lawful authority; (2) it must be waged for the purpose of vindicating an undoubted right that has been infringed; (3) it must be a last resort, after all peaceful measures have been exhausted; (4) the good sought must outweigh the evils that war inevitably produces; and (5) the methods of war must be legitimate and proportionate.

 

Sources: The sources used for your paper should include the assigned readings and the relevant lectures. All direct quotations from the readings should appear in quotation marks with reference in parentheses to the author's last name and the page on which the quotation appears [example: (Hickey, p. 50)]. Since the purpose of this paper is to measure your analytical abilities and comprehension of the material presented in this course, you are not encouraged to use outside sources. If you do use outside sources, all quotations AND FACTS derived from those sources should be fully documented in your paper. [Example: 1,721 Americans were killed in battle during the Mexican War (Samuel Eliot Morison, Oxford History of the American People (1965), p. 565).]