History 0620 U.S. 1877 to Present
Dr. Paul Douglas Newman
Autumn 2002  T-R 9:30 & 3:30
Classroom: Biddle 131
Office: Krebs 125, 269-2987, Fax 7255
Home: 535-3176 (not after 9pm, or else!)
Office Hours: T & R 11-12, 2-3, & by appt
The Course
Aims of History 620 * Books
Participation* Quizzes
  Exams * Grading * Rosters
Rules and Regs
Attendance * Make-Ups
Incompletes * Cheating
Disabilities * Prerogative
Course Calendar
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 
18 19 20 2122 23
On-Line Resources
Flood Museum *  Memorial
Zinn Pages

Final Exam Study Guide

The Course
Aims of History 620
There are three reasons that I and the State of Pennsylvania have decided that it is in your best interest to have passed a course in the history of America from the death of Abraham Lincoln to yesterday afternoon--better known and loved to you and me as History 620--in order to achieve a Bachelor's degree from this fine institution of higher learning. Not one of these reasons is more important than any other, rather all will significantly enrich your life to the point that you will be indebted to me for all eternity.

1.One purpose is to make you employable by teaching you how to think, how to reason, and then, training you to communicate your rationalized thought in an intelligent and efficient manner. These skills are Mandatory in today's world of gainful employment. I intend to impart these skills to you by presenting you with massive quantities of historical information, and then challenging you to use the facts--to synthesize them--in forming your own opinion about the themes and events of American history in clear and efficiently written essays.  This class will be a seminar for which several reading assignments will constitute the basis for discussion.  In these class discussions, you will hone your oral communication skills.  Reading and discussion are not options in this class, they are mandatory excercises.  If you are unable or unwilling to perform them, I will remind you that the door to the classroom is behind you and that the Registrar's Office is across the quad in Biddle Hall.

2.Most of you are citizens of this republic, the United States of America. As citizens, you are endowed not only with many "fundamental" rights and privileges but also with some heavy-duty responsibility. You are charged with the task of choosing the local, state, and national officials of one of the most (if not the most) powerful country on earth. But the problem is that so very few of you take this responsibility seriously. Eighteen to twenty-five year-olds are the group least likely to even know where the polls are--much less when to vote! This type of apathy is what frightened many of the Founders most. Apathy concerning who governs and the policies implemented by government is the seedbed for tyranny! And those rights and privileges that you so readily identify as fundamental and automatic to your citizenship can and will be quite easily denied and stripped of you. The Founders understood that government is power, and that power corrupts the men who possess it, and that the powerful seek to gain more power by seizing it from the people. In order to combat this inevitable truth, they created a republic (not a democracy) in which the power of the country remained invested in the hands of the people, the electorate, who shared and controlled the power of their government. It will be one purpose of this course to reinfuse you with the actions and intentions of the Founders, their predecessors and their followers, who created and continued the first and arguably the most successful experiment in republican government in the world so that with your generation, the experiment can continue.  This is not meant to glorify "the founders," however... keep reading...

3.Another purpose is to expose you to a side of American history that you probably have never experienced, its darker side. The reason for this is plain. The history of human beings--that is the writing of the story of man--has encompassed many themes: progress, expansion, declension, imperialism, etc... but one theme that is inherent within them all, and which--unfortunately--seems to have characterized the entire story of human interaction, is Conflict. The story of Americans' relationships with one another and with other nations is no different.

During the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, Rodney King passionately beseeched his fellow citizens, "Can't we all get along?" The immediate answer was no, as the violence continued for days. But gradually it did stop, and more importantly, the citizens of that community strove to rebuild it, and are now making efforts to heal not only the wounds that the riots caused, but the wounds that caused the riots. Much, much work remains to be done in the area of race relations, poverty, and xenophobia, but people try, and through their effort society usually improves.

And King's question is a poignant one for us--His 610--to apply to the history of the interaction of American human beings with one another, as well as with those of differing races, religions, and ethnicity in the formative years of our nation before and after 1877. Again, you will find this semester that the answer to "Can't we all get along?" has many times been NO, as various racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, socioeconomic, political, and national groups have squared off against one another in hateful, hurtful, and often deadly conflict--as we all saw several years ago in Los Angeles. One reason for these tragedies--the same as Los Angeles--is a lack of understanding, a lack of knowledge, and a lack of empathy (not sympathy, empathy--the capacity for participating in the feelings or ideas of others; sympathy is the actual participation). In short, these tragedies are to a great extent the result of ignorance. Over time, Americans have slowly learned to empathize with one another and with the rest of the world, and in various arenas certain levels of progress have been made, but just as in Los Angeles, much work remains in most of those areas.

By examining the conflicts of our past, and most importantly their participants, hopefully we will all gain a better understanding of the differing peoples we live with in this country and around the world today. By learning the histories of various peoples we can better understand their present situation, and more importantly, the way in which they think, since people view the present in terms of their past. Armed with this type of education, it is my hope, and the hope of the state of Pennsylvania, that we all can learn to be empathetic--to attain at least the capacity to participate in the feelings and ideas of others. Neither I, William Penn, Albert Gallatin, nor Mark Schweiker can or will force you to be sympathetic, but we will provide you with the opportunity to sympathize by preparing you to empathize! If we succeed to the point that everyone in the world is prepared to empathize, the answer to Rodney King's question in the future will probably still be no, but that does not mean that progress cannot be made. Perhaps enough progress can occur so that two hundred years from now, historians can look back to the end of the twentieth century as the beginning of a time when progress replaced conflict as the main theme of American history. Let's hope! But more importantly, let's do something about it!

Required Books:
The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough
A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

As mentioned above, there will be an extremely heavy reading load in this course, and each class will be a discussion revolving around that reading.  Therefore, you must read the assignments in order for this class to work.  If you fail to read an assignment there is no reason for you to come to class that day--you will only be risking humiliation when you are called upon.

Class Participation
Since this class will live or die with your level of participation, I am requiring you to contribute to our conversations by according 20% of your grade (100 points) to participation.  I will make a seating chart and record your relevant contributions to the conversation with check marks.  At term's end, the highest 10% will receive an A, the second 20% will receive a B, the middle 40% a C, the next 20% a D, and the lowest 10% an F for the participation grade.  If the class as a whole does well, then the scale will slide from A to D, or A to C, but that depends on all of you.

Another mode of participation will be through an on-line newsgroup called UPJZinnGroup.  This discussion group is supported by Yahoo, and if you cannot reach it through the link, simply go to Yahoo.com, click on Groups, then Schools & Education, then Colleges and Universities, and then search for UPJZinnGroup. When you reach the UPJZinnGroup homepage, click "Join this Group," fill out the info to create a Yahoo account.  This way you can access the group via the web.  Or, you can simply participate through your own existing non-yahoo email account by sending an email to UPJZinnGroup-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and requesting admission to the group--all posts will then be sent to your e-mail.  Then you can begin discussing Zinn, David McCullough, our class, your quizzes and tests, whatever you want so long as it is related to History 0620.  I'll read it everyday and post occasionally.  It's anonymous, but you can include your first initial and last name at the end of your post if you want me to know who you are.  Read the Group Description on the UPJZinnGroup homepage for more details.

Now, I know what you're all thinking: "1. But it's not fair!  2. I'll feel stupid!  3. I don't like to speak in front of people!  4. You're mean old S.O.B.!"  Well, in response to those statements, I would say: "1. Life isn't fair, get over it.  2. If you were stupid you would not be in college, and I care about your intellectual development, not your  "feelings."  3. You may not like speaking in front of people but honing your oral communication abilities is one of the most important skills that you can take out of college and into the real world.  Things that are good for you are not always pleasant.  4.  I am a mean old S.O.B., refer back to response number 1."

There will be periodic unannounced quizzes on your reading material that will account for 20% of your grade (100 points).  The quizzes will be short and objective (matching, true-false, multiple-guess, fill-in-the-blank, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, etc.) and based on the reading assignment for the day.  There will be 13 quizzes administered of which I will drop the lowest three grades.  Therefore, there will be NO MAKE-UP QUIZZES.  If you are absent and miss a quiz for ANY REASON, it will be counted as one of your three drops.  THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE.

There will be two examinations: one mid-term for 100 points and a comprehensive final exam for 200 points.  The exams will be essay in nature.  The final exam WILL BE COMPREHENSIVE.  Start freaking out now!  If you do not like reading, writing, or thinking, please run, do not walk to the registrar's office to drop the class!

This course will operate on a point system. Every exercise in this course will be worth a certain number of points, which will add up to 500 points by the end of the semester.
Criteria for final grades: A =450-500, B =400-449, C =350-399, D =300-349, F =299 and below

Supplemental Instrouction
There will be a voluntary group tutoring component to this class called "Supplemental Instruction."  The supplemental instructor, approved by  myself and the Learning Resources Center, is Drew Funka.  Drew is a history major of the finest caliber, and he is a veteran of History 620.  His group tutoring sessions well be held on   , from   in  , and  , from  , in    .  (Days times and places will be listed soon.)  Attending supplemental instruction is purely voluntary.   You may attend all, some, or none of the sessions at your leisure.  SI is EXTREMELY helpful to those who participate.  Plus, hanging out with Drew is REALLY cool.  

Rules, Regulations, and Disclaimers

There is no attendance policy for this class.  Come, don't come, whatever...you paid for it, besides, I get paid whether you show up or not.

Make-Up Exams
I retain the prerogative to approve or deny applications for taking the exams at any time other than the appointed hour.  Make-Ups will only be administered to those students who inform me of their intention to miss the exam  BEFOREHAND.  There will be NO EXCEPTIONS. Failure to comply with this rule will result in a grade of zero for the exam.  I am not responsible for attending to your make-up exam.  You must make an appointment with me to perform make-up work.

Only students with severe cases of hardship will be permitted a grade of "I" or "G" at term's end with the permission to finish the course work at a later date.  I reserve the right to determine what is a "severe case of hardship."

Any attempt to offer anyone else's work as your own will merit a zero for that assignment, a G grade for the course, and will automatically begin the proceedings for an F in the course and for your expulsion from this university in accordance with the Academic Integrity Guidelines found in your student handbook.

Students with disabilities who may be requesting academic accommodations for this course should notify the course instructor and Theresa M. Horner, LRC Disability Services Coordinator, as early as possible in the term. The Disability Services Coordinator will verify the disability and determine reasonable accommodations for the course. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about disability services at UPJ, please call ext. 7109 or stop by the Learning Resource Center in 133 Biddle Hall.

Returning Papers and Grades
According to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, each student of the age of majority (18) has the right to absolute privacy concerning their academic grades.  If that privacy is breeched, the instructor and the institution are liable and may be sued by the injured student.  Therefore, I will only return graded papers to their owners, face to face, and I will only discuss scores and grades with students face to face.  I will not discuss scores or grades over the telephone, e-mail, fax, conventional mail, hologram, or through a spiritual medium.  The only totally secure method to maintain your right to privacy is to handle all grade reporting in person.  THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE.

Finding Out About Your Final Grade
I will not report your final exam grade to you until the grades have been turned in and sent to you in the mail by the Registrar's Office.  DO NOT PESTER ME with the question, "Do you have our finals graded yet?"

Professorial Prerogative
I reserve the right to make any changes to this syllabus that I deem necessary at any time for any reason of my choosing.  Failure to comply with any revisions to the syllabus will not be excusable due to absence on the day the changes were announced.  You are responsible for everything that transpires in the classroom every class meeting.

Course Calendar
1. First Day: Introductions and Other Pleasantries

2. Robber Barrons: Zinn, pp. 253-269

3. Rebels: Zinn, pp 269-295

4. Johnstown, The Calm Before the Storm: McCullough chapter 1

5. The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, McCullough chapter 2

6. Nature's Fury and Man's Folly: McCullough chapters 3-6

7. No Pen Can Describe: McCullough chapters 7 & 8

8. Justice Denied, Starting Over: McCullough chapter 9

9. The Empire and the People: Zinn, chapter 12

10. The Socialist Challenge: Zinn, chapter 13

11. War is the Health of State: Zinn, chapter 14

12. Self-Help in Hard Times, The Twenties: Zinn, chapter 15, pp. 377-392

13. Self-Help inHard Times, The New Deal: Zinn, chapter 15, pp. 392-406

Mid-Term Examination on October 14

14. A People's War, WWII: Zinn, chapter 16, pp. 407-425

15.  A People's War, The Cold War: Zinn, chapter 16, pp. 425-442

16. Or Does it Explode?: Zinn, chapter 17

17. The Impossible Victory: Zinn, chapter 18

18. Surprises: Zinn, chapter 19

19. The Seventies: Under Control?: Zinn, chapter 20

20. Carter-Reagan-Bush: The Bipartisan Consensus: Zinn, chapter 21

21. The Unreported Resistance: Zinn chapter 22

22. The Clinton Presidency: Zinn, chapter 24

23. The 2000 Election and the War on Terrorism: Zinn, chapter 25

24. The Coming Revolt of the Guards: Zinn Chapter 23.

Final Examination: You must take the exam at the appointed hour.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Don't Ask.  This means you.  Yes you.  And even you.

9:30 Class: Friday, December 12, 12:30-2:30

3:30 Class: Tuesday, December 9,  3-5

Back to Nnnnewman
Back to Syllabi Page