HIST 1015 American History to 1865

Instructor Contact:

Doug Sheflin


About the Course:

This course will address the social, political, cultural, and economic changes in North America from before 1492 through the Civil War.  The course will consider prominent people, issues, events, and debates that led to the nation’s founding as well as its near fracture.  While attention will be paid to well-known individuals and events, we will also look to more obscure forces which have influenced American history.  Such an extensive scope will provide a more complete sense of the pre-colonial and colonial periods, the building of the nation, trials during the early 1800s, and ultimately the rift that led to the Civil War.  The readings, writings, and discussions are meant to sharpen your ability to: think, read, and write critically; analyze and evaluate data to form opinions; engage in discussion and debate; and understand modern America.

Course Prerequisites: None


By the end of the course you should be able to:

-Recognize that the study of history is more than memorizing names and dates

-Identify the importance of context and contingency to understanding history

-Employ critical thinking and critical reading in approaching course content

-Relate people and events to the “Key Themes” and understand that relationship

-Assess contemporary issues and debates by appreciating their historical roots

Required Texts:

The American Yawp (https://www.americanyawp.com/), a free and open-source textbook

Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave

Grading (out of n points):

Two take-home exams, one five-page paper, and several short papers and discussions.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado