History 89—Reading Seminar in History:
The History of American Citizenship

Spring 2004—Professor Beth Salerno

Contact Information
Office: Bradley House 212
Phone: 641-7049
E-mail: bsalerno@anselm.edu
Mail boxes: #1753 or outside my office door
Office Hours: Mondays 4-5 pm, Wednesdays 1:30-2:15, Fridays 1:30-2:30. I am also available by appointment on most days.

Course Overview:

A readings seminar in history is designed to provide students with an introduction to a particular historical topic in all its complexity. This course will explore the history of American citizenship from the American Revolution to the present. Rather than trying to cover every relevant moment in those 250 years, the course focuses on turning points—moments at which the racial, gendered, economic, political or social boundaries of citizenship were discussed or redefined. The benefits and obligations of citizenship are often most clear to those who are excluded; therefore this course focuses heavily on those people whose citizenship rights have been most heavily questioned or limited, particularly women and people considered non-white.

The readings seminar is also an opportunity for undergraduate history majors to explore what it means to be a historian. While students will not do original research, they will examine how historians write history—how they make arguments, how they use primary sources, how they engage other historians in debate. The seminar is a collective endeavor, with all members engaged in fashioning a new understanding of how American citizenship is, and should be, studied, and how different definitions over time have affected different groups of Americans.

Work Requirements:

By definition, a readings seminar has a heavy reading load. Due to its small size and the focus on historical debate, the course also has a major focus on discussion and interaction among the participants. Students should come to class prepared to explain, discuss, and debate the readings.

Exams: There will be a midterm (15%) and a cumulative final exam (25%) in the course. Both exams will consist solely of essay questions. The midterm will be Monday, February 23rd in class. The final will be Tuesday, May 11 at 9 am.

Papers: There will be two types of papers in the course. "Discussion" papers (15%) will be assigned as necessary in the course, probably one per week for the first few weeks, more rarely thereafter. These will be short (2-3 page) analyses of the reading. "Presentation" papers (25%) will be due Wednesday, April 14th in class. Each student will do one, based on a book chosen from the professor's list. Presentation papers will be 7-8 pages in length and will discuss the thesis, argument, and sources for the book read, as well as placing the book in the context of the course materials and discussions. Further information on these papers will be available shortly.

Class Participation: Your conversations in class, and the work you do outside class to make those conversations successful, will make up 20% of your grade. Simply showing up will barely provide you with a D. This part of your grade requires engaged participation in class—asking questions, answering questions, starting discussions, debating with your peers and the professor, connecting readings together, noticing holes in the sources used or the arguments made, etc. I expect to see development over the course of the semester as you get a better grasp on the material and on the process of reading and debating historiography. Your comments should become more frequent, more insightful, more thoughtful and more comparative as the semester progresses.

I will assign written work which is not graded, but which will count toward class participation. These assignments will be shorter versions of the "Discussion papers" mentioned above. These will help facilitate class participation among quieter students and provide substance to everyone's comments.

Since attendance is crucial both to your class participation and to the success of the seminar, please contact me as soon as possible if you are ill, have an excused absence due to sports or other activities, or will need to miss class for some other reason.

Required Texts: There are no required texts for this class. We will be reading primarily scholarly articles and chapters from books. You will also need to acquire one book to read for your presentation paper.

Cheating: Just in case anyone was wondering, if I find you cheating on an exam, you will fail the exam. Please don't try it.

Plagiarism: Intentionally or unintentionally representing another's work as your own is plagiarism. This includes failure to provide a citation for any passages taken directly from a text AND for any ideas you have drawn from a text. We will go over citation in class, and you are always welcome to ask general or specific questions. You should also read the definitions in the student handbook.

Please be aware that I take plagiarism very seriously and lack of citations will be reflected in your grade. You are now senior undergraduate students engaged in a capstone course. You are expected to develop your own mature thoughts on history, not borrow someone else's. Turning in someone else's essay or using significant sections of someone else's work without attribution will result in a ZERO (not just failure) of the assignment. A second offense will mean failure of the course. First and second offenses will be reported to the Dean.

Less serious plagiarism, including lack of quotation marks or citation, will require rewriting of the paper for no better than a C grade. If you plagiarize a second time, you will fail the assignment. A third offense will mean failing the course. Second and third offenses will be reported to the Dean.

Late work: In order to do well in this course you must keep up with the readings and assignments. This includes getting your work in on time. Late assignments will be penalized one full letter grade for each day they are late (including weekends). Assignments turned in the same day they are due, but after I have collected them in class, will also be penalized one half grade. I will consider exceptions to this rule ONLY IF you have contacted me in advance or if you have a verified illness the day the paper is due. Please consider your schedule early in the course and contact me with any expected problems.

Incompletes: Incompletes will not be granted in this course unless there are extenuating circumstances and you have talked to me before the final exam.

Students with disabilities or other concerns not addressed thus far: I will be happy to make whatever accommodations students with disabilities arrange with the Dean's Office. Please come talk to me about these arrangements. Students with any other concerns—shyness, full-time job, starting quarterback position on the football team, etcetera—should also feel free to talk to me about how these issues might impact your participation in the course. I will work with you to help you succeed in this course, although ultimately the responsibility lies with you to balance your schedule and needs.

Reading Schedule: Due to the size and nature of this class, we will shape our agenda as we go along. I have laid out below a general list of the topics we will address, but the specific readings and dates will be affected by the length and complexity of our discussions. Therefore I will assign specific readings at the end of each class.

1-21 Syllabus, introductions, brainstorming on citizenship
1-26 Overview: Smith Chapter 1, Nakano Chapter 2
1-28 American Revolution: Kettner and Gunderson articles
2-2 American Revolution: Bloch and Kerber articles
2-4 Constitution: Smith Chapter 5; Cato III; Federalist #80; Constitution and Bill of Rights


* Jacksonian America, expansion of suffrage and fight for women's political citizenship
* Dred Scott case and the denial of citizenship to African Americans
* 14th and 15th amendments and the extension of national citizenship
* Racial segregation and its effects on citizenship (Jim Crow and Civil Rights)
* Immigration and citizenship (antebellum, industrial revolution and contemporary)
* Marriage and citizenship (particularly Cable Act)
* Citizenship and the right to work/Economic citizenship
* The obligations of Citizenship (particularly military and jury service)
* Modern day applications of and implications of our studies