Spring 2020 - HIST 213 D100

The United States Since 1877 (3)

Class Number: 4660

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 15, 2020
    Wed, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Recommended: HIST 212.



An analysis of the transformation of American culture from post-Civil War to modern forms. Topics to be discussed will include industrialization, urbanization, foreign policy, cultural and political antagonisms. Breadth-Humanities.


People around the world, including Canada, have many questions about contemporary American society. To name just two obvious ones: How could a majority of voters in a nation reportedly rife with racism and Islamophobia elect and re-elect Barack Hussein Obama, a black man with a non-American, Muslim father, along with a clearly Arabic name; and then, how could they – or at least a significant minority of them –  choose  Donald Trump as Obama’s replacement, electing arguably the most overtly racist and anti-immigration president since the early 20th century?  This puzzle is only one of many to contemplate when considering the United States and its history.

In this class I seek to provide you with the information and analytical tools that will allow you to better understand the United States and Americans through their history. We will begin with the end of the Civil War and of slavery, one of the greatest paradoxes of American history.  This “peculiar institution” built the supposed land of freedom on the backs of unfree people, first stolen from Africa 300 years before.  We will finish the course in the 21st century and with the perplexing election of Trump. By then, you should already have learned enough American history to understand, at least a little better, how his victory came about, as well as many of the other confounding aspects of today’s American culture, society, and politics.


  • Tutorial participation 20%
  • Paper 1 (600 words) 10%
  • Paper 2 (900 words) 15%
  • Paper 3 (1200 words) 20%
  • Final exam 35%
  • Assignments and grading subject to change



Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty, Vol. 2, 5th Seagull Edition (New York: Norton, 2017).

Eric Foner, Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History, Vol. 2, 5th Edition (New York: Norton, 2017).

Timothy Tyson, The Blood of Emmett Till (New York: Simon Schuster, 2017)

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html