Cities, Immigrants and Progressivism (Feb 20 & 22)

by Dr. H - February 15th, 2019

Chapters 18 and 19 explore the period at the end of the 19th century and before World War I through the lens of urban life, immigrant experiences, and reform movements often lumped together as “Progressivism.”

Monday, Feb 18: No Class, University Holiday

Download questions to help structure your textbook note-taking and studying of Chapters 18 and 19.

Wednesday, Feb 20: Reading is Chapter 18. Remember that Constitutions Module #1 is due on Blackboard by 11:59 tonight.

Friday, Feb 22: Reading is Chapter 19.

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island Immigration Station in New York City, 1892

End of Unit 1 (Wed Feb 13 – Fri Feb 15)

by Dr. H - February 13th, 2019

Due to the late opening of the university today (Wed Feb 13), we won’t have class. I will be on campus and available after 10 if anyone wants to stop in for office hours. PSA 2s have been graded, please check the “Feedback to Learner” for comments and an uploaded copy of your scored PSA 2 rubric.

To stay on track with the syllabus, I’ll post the slides and lecture notes from Chapter 17 to the Slides and Handouts area of Blackboard by 9:30 am.


Study for Friday’s Exam 1, covering Chapters 14-17. The study guide can be downloaded here and is also posted in Slides and Handouts on Blackboard, and remember you can bring 1 notes sheet (up to 8.5 x 11″) for the exam.

Constitutions Module #1 is open until Feb 20 at 11:59 pm.

Thanks, stay warm and safe! ~ Dr. Hangen

America’s Gilded Age, 1877-1900 (Wed Feb 6 – Fri Feb 8)

by Dr. H - February 5th, 2019

As you study Chapters 15 and 16, notice the economic, cultural, and political changes in this era. Also pay attention to the changing makeup of society in this time period (the scholarly word for studying the social makeup of a society is “demography”) and to new ideas and intellectual debates, especially about the role of government in establishing and securing progress and freedom. We often think about the US as being a society without rigid social classes, one in which social and economic mobility (“rags to riches”) is possible – was that true for the Gilded Age? (Is it true now?)

I’ll also be interested to see if you perceive echoes of the Gilded Age in our own time. How might this chapter’s history be relevant to you today?

A link to explore: check out some of the so-called “summer cottages” of the Gilded Age upper class in Newport, Rhode Island. Many are maintained as house museums – definitely worth a daytrip if you haven’t been.

Watch clips from PBS films The Gilded Age — highly recommended (showed Chapter 1 in class)

Also you might be interested to know that there’s an organization just for historians who study this time period, SHGAPE (Society for the History of Gilded Age and Progressive Era).

Document Workshop Ch 15 – The West (Mon Feb 4)

by Dr. H - February 4th, 2019

Today’s document workshop focuses on interactions between whites and American Indians in the West, particularly in the upper Plains, Rocky Mountains, and Northwest. Keep in mind that federal policy itself was developing in several different directions over this time, even as greater numbers of people moved to the West from the Eastern U.S. and from Europe in search of opportunity and a new start, making it a constantly changing situation.

If you have your textbook, use the Chapter 15 Document Project

If you don’t have your textbook but you do have a laptop, use the Primary Source set about the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre from the Digital Public Library of America.

If you don’t have either of these, use one of the books at the front of the class.

Reminder: PSA #2 is due on Wednesday, and I recommend you use one of the documents you used in today’s workshop as the basis for your paper.

The West 1865-1896 (Fri Feb 1)

by Dr. H - February 1st, 2019

Today’s class looks at overlapping stories and cultures in the American West in the late 19th century. We will try to define the region (where does the West begin and end?) and map its human, geographic, and mythic landscapes.

To prepare for today, you read Chapter 15 up through page 504 and listened to to the 1-hour episode of the podcast This American Life, “Little War on the Prairie” (November 23, 2018) about the Dakota War of 1862 and how it’s been remembered — and selectively forgotten.

On Monday, Feb 4 we will engage in a Document Workshop about the Chapter 15 documents; here’s a worksheet to help you prepare ahead of time for the workshop. It was handed out in class but I’m also providing it as a Word doc you can download if you prefer to type your responses.

Speaking of mythmaking and memory on the American western prairie, this week I spotted an essay about the return of the “prairie dress” (a popular style in the 1980s) in women’s boho fashion. Lots to think about here….

Reconstruction: Failures? Successes? (Wed Jan 30)

by Dr. H - January 30th, 2019

For lecture / discussion today: Chapter 14 and the multiple, competing, contentious versions of Reconstruction history … and why we’re still living with the legacies of that era (for more on Brian Palmer and Seth Freed Wessler’s work on disparate funding for southern cemeteries, see “The Costs of the Confederacy,” Smithsonian Magazine Dec 2018).

Handout: Transcript and discussion questions for this clip

For Friday: in addition to reading Chapter 15, please listen to the 1-hour episode of the podcast This American Life, “Little War on the Prairie” (November 23, 2018) about the Dakota War of 1862 and how it’s been remembered — and selectively forgotten.

Document Workshop 1: Contesting Freedom (Ch 14)

by Dr. H - January 28th, 2019

Additional resources:

Civil War Era Maps (University of South Florida)

Freedmen’s Bureau – How Effective? (National Archives DocsTeach)

Freedmen’s Bureau Primary Source Set (Digital Public Library of America)

Freedmen and Southern Society Project (Univ of Maryland)

Black Codes (PBS)

African American Odyssey: Quest for Full Citizenship (Library of Congress)

U.S. History in Context (WSU Library)

End of Week 1

by Dr. H - January 25th, 2019

Nice to meet everyone this week, I hope you had a good start to your semester. For those of you who submitted a Practice Primary Source Analysis (PSA) today: I’ll comment and return those by Monday so you can incorporate the feedback into your first graded PSA paper, due Wednesday Jan 30th.

Check Blackboard for a new section called “Slides and Handouts” for any material shown or distributed in class.

Links from Friday’s class:

For Monday, Jan 28th — Read Chapter 14 and prepare to bring your book or laptop to class for our first Document Workshop using the Ch 14 Document Project. You don’t need to write anything in advance.

Day 1 Notes (Wed Jan 23)

by Dr. H - January 23rd, 2019

Welcome to our class! 

What to do for Friday, Jan 25th: 

Bring your textbook to class on Friday

Read the syllabus. Read it twice. 

Explore the course Blackboard environment and course website

Read Hewitt & Lawson, EAH (Exploring American Histories) Chapter 14 section on “Emancipations”

Write a practice PSA paper and either bring it to Friday’s class or upload it to the Pre-PSA assignment portal on Blackboard by start of class on Friday. For your document, use the one you got in today’s class, or any one from Chapter 14 of the textbook, or one from this online collection of documents. For more info on what a PSA Paper is and how to write one, see p. 3 of the syllabus, the PSA Papers section of Blackboard, or the PSA Papers tab, above. You might not be able to fully cite the document you got in class (not all of them had dates / authors), so just do your best with making a footnote for it this time around.

If you can’t obtain the textbook this week, there is 1 copy on course reserve at the Library circulation desk. You will need your OneCard to check it out, and you can use it for up to 2 hours at a time during regular library hours. 

Thanks, all! ~ Dr. Hangen

Welcome, Spring ’19 Students!

by Dr. H - January 9th, 2019

Welcome to HI 112 US History II for Spring 2019. This course meets LASC requirements for USW or Constitutions. We meet MWF 9:30 am in Sullivan 314.

You will study broad themes in the history of modern America, including race and ethnicity, immigration, social and political reform, contested meanings of freedom, industrialization, cycles of prosperity and recession, popular culture, modernity, and rights movements.

You will improve your ability to think historically through critical analysis of primary and secondary sources; set events, documents, and people in their historical contexts; and craft your own interpretations from the “raw material” of the past.

If your prior experience in history courses involved a lot of memorization of facts and dates, then you will find this course to be very different. The goal is for you to actively DO history, not passively learn about history.

In addition to Blackboard I use this website to organize our course and its materials. Please bookmark it. Older material is from previous semesters; you can ignore anything not tagged “Spr19.”

The required textbook is Nancy A. Hewitt and Steven F. Lawson, Exploring American Histories: A Brief Survey With Sources, Volume 2 Since 1865 (Bedford / St. Martins) 2nd edition ISBN 978-1457694714. Please make sure you get Vol 2 and the 2nd Edition.

I look forward to meeting you on January 23rd. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out by email at thangen @