King's College Department of History





Too frequently Americans are inclined to mythologize the period 1763-1815 in which the Atlantic colonies of Great Britain broke their bonds with that "sceptered isle" and embarked upon "the great experiment" in self governance. As a result the truly heroic and the truly human become lost in a whirling blur of red, white, and blue banners which would suggest that from the moment the first English settler arrived in Jamestown nothing was more desirable than to be rid of "the King and his damn'd Parliament". Nothing could be further from the truth. And - it is the true story which this course will endeavor to examine.

To provide structure, this study will utilize a chronological frame and trace the growth and development of the revolutionary movement within the colonies, the political and military confrontations between the colonies and the mother country, and the crises and confrontations which led to the establishment of a highly politicized American republic. Of necessity, this study must begin with a general commentary on the character of British North America pre-1763 and the nature of imperial relations.

Ours is a study of ideas, of institutions, of individuals and of the influences to which they were subject as well as the influences which they exerted and, perhaps, still exert. It is a study of leadership - individual and collective - exercised in colonial reaction to Parliamentary legislation, in defining the proper constitutional position of the colonies, in meeting the challenge of the War of Independence, in creating a new structure of government and making it work. It is a study of power - political and economic - and how it was to be channeled, shared, and exercised within a federal republic. It is a study of the transformation of society and culture from colonial to American. This is a study of the first American "civil war" and the period of "construction" (rather than reconstruction) which took place at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries.

Properly approached and undertaken, this course should provide celebration and critique. It examines achievements and failures; triumphs and tragedies; hopes and frustrations. It cannot lay claim to prognostication yet it should offer guidance and direction in shaping the future. The study utilizes static data to evaluate and to analyze the dynamic forces and ideas by which women and men have shaped the American story of their times and of our times in this new century. As a matter of fact, it is the study of how men and women created the United States of America!


  1. To identify the significant ideologies and philosophies which encouraged the America Revolution as well as those which informed the establishment of the American republic;
  2. To identify the more significant men and women responsible for creating and sustaining the American Revolution and the early American republic;
  3. To identify the principal social, economic, and cultural forces which shaped this period of American history;
  4. To identify the impact which the crises and confrontations in this period had on the growth and development of American history, short term and long term;
  5. Finally - to evaluate the ideas, institutions, and individuals studied as a means to better understand and to evaluate the character of the American republic as well as the cross currents in the republic.



The Glorious Cause, The American Revolution 1763-1789. Robert Middlekauff. Oxford University Press: New York. Revised Edition. February 2005.
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation. Joseph Ellis. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. February 2002.
What Kind of Nation: Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and the Epic Struggle to Create a United States.James F. Simon. Simon and Schuster. February 2003.
The Declaration of Independence
The Constitution of the United States

**** It is highly recommended that each student have a basic American history text available for reading and consultation; the time frame of the course precluded selection of a text which would "neatly" cover the time to be considered. Any of the texts (Henretta, Norton, Boyer, Murrin, or Davidson) used in CORE 130 would suffice.


Several collateral readings will be assigned during the semester to complement the text and lecture. These readings will be distributed in class on a timely basis. They are to be completed prior to discussion of the material in class lectures.


To assist in gathering a knowledge and understanding of many issues in the text as well as in classroom discussions and as an adjunct to your own research I recommend use of the Early America Website which you might wish to access and use as is appropriate. Access:EARLY AMERICAN REPUBLIC 1763-1815 (


Three (3) brief papers/reports will be assigned. One of these will involve oral presentation as well. Guidelines for each paper/report will be distributed as appropriate. Exploration of various original research resources including the library and the World Wide Web will be encouraged in the completion of these assignments. You will be expected to demonstrate proficiency in applying the writing and critical thinking developed in CORE 110 and CORE 100. All students will be expected to submit papers in typed or word processed form. Handwritten work will NOT be accepted. Papers not submitted on time will be severely penalized; the highest possible grade will be a "C". The second paper will also require oral presentation, discussion, and defense in the second half of the semester. A schedule will be established for this purpose at an appropriate time.


It will be the obligation of each student to participate in the online discussion group which will be established.


There will be three (3) written tests given during the semester including the final examination. The first two tests will be announced in class at least ten (10) days in advance. The third (final) examination will be given according to the Registrar's examination schedule. The tests will be based on the lectures and assigned reading materials. The general structure of the tests will be essay. Each test will be non-comprehensive and will review the most recent materials covered.


Regular participation - asking or responding to questions, volunteering one's own ideas or arguments, sharing evidence - is EXPECTED from each student! Participation will be weighed positively in the overall semester grade evaluation as a growth/development factor. It is not my intention to lecture during every class period. Background in CORE 130 as well as the assigned readings should provide each student with the raw materials from which active classroom discussions can develop.


You are expected to attend classroom lectures/discussions on a regular basis. The rules of the College regarding class attendance will be followed strictly. You are responsible for all materials discussed in lectures and classroom discussions. MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE ABSENCE of THREE (3) - excused OR unexcused. Three consecutive absences or a pattern of absence over a three week period will initiate an Excessive Absence Report to the College Student Services Office. It is to be correctly assumed that it will be impossible to receive a grade which is higher than the percentage of days attended without significant reasons. Absence on the day of a scheduled test will not be excused unless a serious reason has been explained to the professor (in advance, if possible) and arrangements for a make-up test are made within five (5) class days of the scheduled test. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to arrange the make-up with the professor. It should not be presumed that absence on a test day will automatically permit a re-test.


The determination of the final semester grade will be based on the successful completion of all requirements for the course using numerical values totaling 125 points as follows:
Tests: Test I, II, III - 60 points total (20 points each)
Written Assignments - 45 points total (15 points each)
On Line Discussion Assignment - 10 points
Participation/Discussion in Class - 10 points
The professor's grading scale to be used is as follows:
A+ = 98    A = 95    A- = 92
B+ = 88    B = 85    B- = 82
C+ = 78    C = 75    C- = 72
D+ = 68    D = 65    F = 59


Learning is not achieved only within the confines of a classroom. To that end be advised of the following:

Howard B. Fedrick

History Department

King's College

Last Updated October 17, 2005