Course Description: In this course we will examine the epochmaking transformation of America from a rural-agrariantraditional society to an urban-industrial, capitalist-modern society during the watershed years of the late nineteenth century. Our examination will focus on how popular movements(antislavery, labor, populist, socialist) and government policymaking (reconstruction, promotion of capital accumulation, regulation of the national market) responded to, shaped, and facilitated this transformation. About one-fourth of the course will center on the impact of federal reconstruction policy on the South; another fourth will focus on industrialization and the labor movement; a third fourth will examine urban politics and the evolution of social thought (the emergence of a new liberaism); the final quarter of the course will return to the national level and discuss the rise of the Populist movement and how it helped precipitate a party realignment in the 1890s, setting the stage for the emergence of corporate administered capitalism.
Course Requirements: There will be no exams in this course. Instead, students will write four 6-8 page papers, three of which will be based on assigned readings and in-class debates. The three papers are each worth 20% of the final grade. A periodization paper based on original source readings will be worth another 30% of the grade. The final 10% of the final grade will be based on class attendance and spot quizzes and short assignments on the assigned reading. I want to emphasize that class attendance and participation is crucial to this course. For that reason attendance will be taken and will directly affect your final grade according to the following scale: 0-2 absences = 1 point extra credit on final grade; 3-4 absences = no change in final grade; 5-7 absences = 1 point subtracted; 8-11 = 2 points off, and so on.
Required Reading: Eric Foner, A Short History of Reconstruction; Glenn Porter, The Rise of Big Business, 1860-1920 (second edition); Kim Voss, The Making of American Exceptionalism: The Knights of Labor and Class Formation in the Nineteenth Century; and Robert C. MacMcath, American Populism: A Social History, 1877-1898. In addition, there will be a collection of readingsavailable at the Paper Chase, 618 Wabash.
Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, or Friday immediately after class or by appointment. My office is at 224 Stalker Hall and I can be reached at 237-2719.
Lecture, Reading, and Discussion Schedule:
Jan. 17: Introduction to Course.
Jan. 19: Reconstruction: (read and discuss: Foner article on free
labor; also Foner ch. 1).
Jan. 22: Reconstruction: (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 2-4).
Jan. 24: Reconstruction (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 5).
Jan. 26: Reconstruction (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 6)
Jan. 29: Reconstruction (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 7-9).
Jan. 31: Reconstruction (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 10).
Feb. 2: Reconstruction (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 12).
Feb. 5: Debate on Reconstruction (read Foner: epilogue).
Feb. 7: The Race, Gender, and Class Questions in American
History: The Case of the South (read and discuss: Fields article, Fredrickson Arrogance of Race selection, and Painter review of Foner).
Feb. 9: Capital Accumulation and the Greenback Question during
the late 1860s and 1870s depression (read and discuss: Foner, ch. 11; Livesay and Porter selection from Merchants and Manufacturers).
Feb. 12: Railroads and Business Cycles (read and discuss: Porter,
Rise of Big Business, 1-45). FIRST PAPER DUE
Feb. 14: The Crisis of the Self-Regulating Market (read and
discuss: Porter, 45-75).
Feb. 16: Industrialization: The Transformation of Work
Feb. 19: Industrialization: The Transformation of Work
Feb. 21: The Labor Movement (read and discuss: Huston, "The
American Revolutionaries . . . and the Concept of the Distribution of Wealth, 1765-1900").
Feb. 23: The Labor Movement; video: 1877: The Grand Army of
Starvation (read and discuss: Voss ch 1).
Feb. 26: The Rise of the Knights of Labor (read and
discuss: Voss, chapter 2).
Feb. 28: Republicanism and the Knights (read and discuss Voss,
Mar. 1: Haymarket and the Great Upheaval.
Mar. 4-8: Spring Break; No Class.
Mar. 11: Discuss Voss, part II
Mar. 13: Continue discussion of Voss.
Mar. 15: Class Debate: Was the Labor Movement Exceptional?
(prepare by reading Fink and Degler articles).
Mar. 18: The Rise of evolutionary positivist social thought
SECOND PAPER DUE.
Mar. 20: Economic Origins of the New Liberalism (read and discuss
Henry Carter Adams, "The State in Relation to Industrial Action").
Mar. 22: Urban Politics in the Gilded Age: Distributive,
Redistributive and Regulative Politics (read and discuss: McCormick, "The Party Period").
Mar. 25: The Transformation of Liberalism, Social Thought, and
Mar. 27: Women and Politics (read and discuss Baker, "The
Domestication of Politics).
Apr. 1: From Mugwump liberalism to the new liberalism (read and
discuss Franklin MacVeagh articles).
Apr. 3: Gilded Age Social Reform Thought (read and discuss Henry
George excerpt and Henry Demarest Lloyd, "The New Conscience").
Apr. 5: Critical Election Theory and the Character of the Third
Apr. 8: Read and Discuss Sundquist, ch. 1 and Kevin Phillips
article comparing 1880s with 1980s).
Apr. 10: The Third Party System in National Politics
Apr. 12: The Period of Stalemate, 1874-1892.
Apr. 15: The Rise of the Populists (read and discuss: McMath,
chapters, 1 and 2). PERIODIZATION PAPER DUE.
Apr. 17: Populist Culture and Populist Politics (read and
discuss: McMath, chapters 3 and 4).
Apr. 19: Populism continued
Apr. 22: The Peoples Party in National Politics (read and
discuss: McMath, ch. 5; Sundquist, ch. 7).
Apr. 24: The Election of 1896 (read and discuss: McMath, ch. 6).
Apr. 26: The Political-Economic Consequences of the Election of
Apr. 29: The Alternative to Populism: Progressive Reform in
May 1: Class Debate: Populist Convention, 1896: Should the
Peoples Party Fuse with the Democrats?
May 3: The Transition from Proprietary Competitive Capitalism
to Corporate Administered Capitalism (read and discuss: Porter, 91-120).
FINAL PAPER DUE FIRST DAY OF FINALS WEEK
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Patrick D. Reagan
Tennessee Technological University
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