Colonial and Revolutionary America



Dr. Bob Wettemann
Office Hours:  M-W, 1:00-3:00, T 9:30-12:00, Th 10:30-12:00, F 9-10:00, or by appointment
207 Old Main
Phone:  793-3864

Course Objectives
     Required Readings
     Graded Exercises
     Class Policies
     Lecture/Discussion Topics and Important Dates


This course will familiarize students with the social, political, economic, cultural and military developments that have taken place in North America as it evolved from a land inhabited by indigenous peoples into a battleground between imperial powers, and eventually, into the American Republic.  While names and dates are important, this course will not be centered upon rote memorization.  Rather, students will use the skills of the historian to trace and interpret the events that transpired between first contact and the ratification of the Constitution in 1789.


David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed
T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution

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A total of 600 points will be offered throughout the course of the semester.  Final grades will be awarded based upon the scale outlined in the McMurry University 2001-2003 catalog, and will correspond with the following point totals:



558-600 points






















less than 360 points

:  There will be two exams: a 100 point mid-term examination and a take-home final exam worth 150 points.  These will be held on the dates noted in the class calendar.  All exams will be based upon the assigned readings, class discussions and activities.  The final exam will include a comprehensive component.

Book Discussions: On 4 October and 1 December, the class will participate in an exciting game that is sweeping college campuses everywhere . . . “MY THESIS IS. . .”  On 4 October, be prepared to discuss Albion's Seed.  The discussion for The Marketplace of Revolution will be held on the last day of class, and will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your mastery of Colonial and Revolutionary America. On the respective dates, be prepared to discuss the contents of each work in detail in an effort to gain a greater understanding of the arguments made by the respective authors.  You will also need to be prepared to defend any assertions made on the basis of your reading against contrary arguments that may be raised.

Book Reviews:  Each student will also be required to prepare a written book review for two monographs selected from the list provided.  One review must be selected from the pre 1750 list, and the other must be from the post 1750 list.  Books may also be selected that are not on the list, but they must be approved by Dr. Wettemann in advance.  Reviews will be completed in accordance with “Wettemann’s Guide to Book Reviews” available at  The exception will be that these reviews shall be no less than three and no more than four typed, double-spaced pages long.  Each book review will be worth 100 points.

Pre 1750 Reading List:

Axtell, American People in the Colonial South
Cronon, Changes in the Land
Demos, A Little Commonwealth
Kupperman, Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony
Landsman, From Colonials to Provincials
Lockridge, A New England Town
McKusker and Menard, The Economy of British America
Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom
Merrell, The Indians' New World
Thompson, Rum Punch and Revolution
Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800
Wood, Black Majority

Post-1750 Reading List:

Bailyn, Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
Carp, To Starve the Army at Pleasure
Countryman, A People in Revolution
Gross, The Minutemen and their World
Jensen, The American Revolution Within America
Morgan, The Birth of the Republic
Nash, Urban Crucible
Norton, Liberty's Daughters
Royster, A Revolutionary People at War
Shy, A People Numerous and Armed
Wood, Creation of the American Republic

Campaign Presentation:  Each students will prepare and give oral presentations reviewing a critical campaign of the American Revolution.  Specific guidelines for the presentation will be forthcoming, but preliminary instructions may be found in the U.S. Army Center of Military History Staff Ride by William G. Robertson, available at  Each student will serve as the instructor for a 30 minute discussion of the campaign.  Although a staff ride guide is ideally designed to be led during the course of an examination of the actual site, the use of maps and other visual aids will have to suffice in this case, as visiting sites associated with the American Revolution necessitates considerable travel.  Maps for most engagements may be found at    

The campaigns available for selection are as follows:

Quebec Campaign, 1775
Retreat from New York, 1776

Washington's Christmas Campaign, 1776-77
Burgoyne's New York Campaign, 1777
The Monmouth Campaign, 1778
Clark's Western Campaign, 1778-79
The Carolina Campaign, 1780-1781
The Yorktown Campaign, 1781

The campaign presentation will be worth 50 points. In addition to the class presentation, you will also submit a brief (4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced) paper outlining the significant historic events of the campaign and how its success or failure contributed to the overall outcome of the American Revolution. Additional information regarding the format of the class presentation will be forthcoming.

Class Participation: Students are expected to attend all classes and be prepared to participate in class discussions and activities.  50 points will be awarded for superior participation and attendance, though the professor reserves the right to deduct points for lackluster performance and excessive absences.

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MISSED OR LATE ASSIGNMENTS:  Assignments turned in after class on the specified due date will be penalized the equivalent of one letter grade per calendar day.  Thus, if an assignment worth 50 points due on Friday is turned in on the following Monday, there would be a 15 point deduction.  Late assignments due to illness will be considered on a case-by-case basis (and require official documentation).  

PLAGIARISM:  Even if someone gives you permission to submit their work as your own, or if you present another's work as your own text without quotation marks, and proper citation, that is plagiarism.  If you have not done so already, consult the "Plagiarism" section of the McMurry History Department Style Manual.  Plagiarism will be neither tolerated nor accepted.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES: Other than tape recorders and calculators, the use of electronic devices (cellular phones, personal pagers, flash photography, etc.) is prohibited in the classroom without prior permission of the instructor.  Special dispensation will be given to those with pregnant spouses that may need to be contacted in case of an emergency.  Otherwise, all cell phones that ring in class will be answered by the instructor.

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Week 1:  Begin reading Hackett-Fischer, Albion's Seed: Lecture on Pre-Columbian North America
Week 2:  Colonial France and Spain
Week 3:  Film, Black Robe
Week 4:  The First English Colonies
Week 5:  Europe, Africa and the New World
Week 6: The Growth of the English Colonies
            1 October – First Review Due
Week 7:  MY THESIS IS . . . Albion's Seed, 4 October
MID TERM EXAM:  6 October
Begin reading Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution
Week 8:  Mercantilism and Colonial Competition
Week 9:  The Great Wars for Empire
Week 10: Unsettled Times
Week 11:  The Road to Revolution
Week 12:  The War for Independence
Weeks 13 and 14: The American Revolution
            22 November – Second Review Due
Week 15:  The Radicalism of the American Revolution
            1 December– MY THESIS IS . . . The Marketplace of Revolution

FINAL EXAM Thursday, 8 December, 1:00 p.m.

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