2023-2024 Catalog

HIST 359 Abolitionist and Civil Rights Movements in Early American History

In this seminar, we will examine the strategies, tactics, and rhetoric used by early American activists who sought to abolish slavery, eliminate racial discrimination in criminal law and process, establish legal protections against racial violence, and obtain fundamental rights for African Americans. Assigned readings early in the semester will provide a broad foundation of knowledge about the topic from the perspectives of social, political, legal, religious, cultural, literary, and media history. The rest of the course will be devoted to researching and writing a substantial research paper. The assignments are designed to help you deepen your knowledge of early American history, learn about the history of movements for social change, improve your ability to read critically and think historically, acquire expertise in analyzing primary sources, and strengthen your research and writing skills. [SS, V, W]