West Valley College

Spring 2018

History 17B Online (3 units)
Sections 30129

Tim Kelly, Ph.D.
Office Hours:  M/W/Th 2:00-2:45 and by appt.

Office:  SS/LA 1E
(408) 741-2546


Don't know much about American history but fed up with the conventional ways of learning it?  Well then you've come to the right place.  Who says history has to be boring?  You will embark on a fascinating exploration of the making of modern American society.  Through multi-media web lectures, readings, e-mail discussions, music, posters, and film clips, this course will investigate the post-Civil War years of American history by examining a wide variety of topics, including racial and ethnic politics, popular culture, reform movements, and diplomatic history.

History 17B is a survey of the political, economic, social and cultural development of the Unites States from Reconstruction to the present.  Topics covered include Reconstruction, Native American culture and western settlement, Industrialization, the Progressive Era, World War I, the Twenties, the New Deal, and World War II.  Also covered are domestic, social, and foreign policy issues of the post-World War II period from the 1950s through the 1990s,  including reform movements, Vietnam, the Civil Rights and other ethnic movements, the Feminist Movement, popular culture, and post-Cold War foreign policy.

Required Texts

You will also have additional reading materials (documents and web pages) that are online.

General Course Policies

  1. Print out this syllabus as evidence for transfer to a four-year institution.
  2. Participation on the group discussion board and COMPLETING THE ASSIGNED READING by the beginning of each topic are essential to passing this course.
  3. Tutoring is available at no charge at Tutorial Services.  It is provided by qualified, trained students who have been recommended by the faculty.  Contact Tutorial Services in the Library Building or call 741-2038.
  4. ***Plagiarism/cheating will result in automatic failure and offenders will be referred to the CSSO for disciplinary action.  Familiarize yourself with the campus policy on cheating detailed in the College Catalogue under Student Conduct Code, 5.8.19 Policy on Cheating.  (You will find examples of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it at http://www.indiana.edu/~wts/wts/plagiarism.html.)***
  5. West Valley College makes reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities.  College materials will be available in alternate formats (Braille, audio, electronic format, or large print) upon request.  Please contact the Disability and Educational Support Program at (408) 741-2010 (voice) or (408) 741-2658 (TTY) for assistance.
  6. Student Learning Outcomes will be assessed through an essay question on either the Midterm or Final asking students to assess how the U.S. has incorporated social and economic reforms in the twentieth century.

Pass/No Pass Option and Dropping

Students wishing to take this class with the Pass/No Pass grade option must fill out the required form with Admissions and Records (click HERE for the form) no later than the due date specified below (see Dates to Remember).  Faculty no longer play a role in whether students request Pass/No Pass.  See the WVC Catalog under "Academic Regulations and Standards" for more information about this option.  

In addition, students who wish to be dropped from the course are responsible for doing this on their own.  I will not do this for you.  If you stop logging on to Canvas but your name is on my roster at the end of the semester, you will receive an "F" in the class with no opportunities to change this to a "W."  Once you log on to Canvas you will be counted as attending the class and so will not be dropped as a first day No Show.

Quizzes and Exams

You are required to take 16 quizzes (the two lowest scores being dropped and added back into your total as Extra Credit), a midterm, and a final.  ALL QUIZZES AND EXAMS ARE CONDUCTED ONLINE.  You will have 15 minutes to complete 10 questions (once you begin the quiz, you must complete it within 15 minutes by 11:59 pm of the due date).  You MAY NOT make-up a missed quiz.

Your Midterm and Final exams will be essay format and will be explained in Study Guides posted on the lecture web page.

Quiz questions will be drawn from the assigned textbook for the week.  Questions for the Midterm and Final exams will be drawn from both the lectures and the readings.  Once you take the quiz, the system will give you an immediate score; however, you can only fully review your quiz for the correct answers once the quiz period is complete (i.e., at the end of the week).

IF A PROBLEM OCCURS:  Students are encouraged not to wait until the last day to take a quiz (which will be available for the entire week).  If a problem occurs with the system or your computer (and let's face it - such problems DO occur from time to time), contact me ASAP.  I will help you solve the problem.  If, however, you wait until the final day (or worse, the final hours) and a problem arises, I cannot guarantee that I will be able to help you before the deadline (you take that risk upon yourself by waiting so long to take the quiz).

Extra Credit

Your two lowest scored quizzes (which includes a missed quiz scored as zero) that are dropped will be added back into your total score as Extra Credit.  The incentive here is to take ALL of the quizzes (not just the 14 required) and do the best you can on them all.  


You will write and submit one 3-4 page paper on Ellen Schrecker's book The Age of McCarthyism.  More details about the paper can be found by clicking on the Paper Topic link on the Lectures page.

Threaded Discussions

You will have TEN required threaded discussions on Canvas. Click on the MODULES tab, and then click on the Discussions link.  Read the topic statement and then post your comments. You may respond to the instructor's statement or any other comment made by other students.  You must participate in each of these discussions in order to receive credit for your participation.  More instructions are posted on Canvas.

Course Requirements                                                                                 Grading Policy:   Grades are awarded on a Standard Scale:
1. One 3-4 page paper 
2. Midterm Exam
3. Final examination 
4. Fourteen Quizzes 
5. List-Serve Participation
(250 pts)
(260 pts)
(300 pts)
(140 pts)
(50 pts)

1000 - 900
899 - 800
799 - 700
699 - 600
599 and below

Dates to Remember
February 11:
March 2:
March 4 - 10:
Last Day to Drop w/out a "W"
Last Day to Request P/NP Option
April 7:
April 26:
May 19 - 23:
Schrecker Paper Due
Last day to Drop with a "W"
Final Exam Availability

How to Read the Lectures

For more information about this online course format, go to http://instruct.westvalley.edu/kelly/.

Course Outline

Discussions and quizzes are due at the end of each week (unless otherwise noted).

Week 1  (Jan 29 - Feb 3)

Introduction:  What is History?
Race and Segregation in Post-Civil War America

Readings:  Text, Chs. 17, 18 (pp. 352-357), 21 (pp. 429-430);  Online:  Wells-Barnet, "A Red Record"; Washington, "The Atlanta Exposition Address"; DuBois, "Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others"

Week 2  (Feb 4 - 10)

How the West Was Won (and Lost)
Progress and Conflict in the New Industrial Order

Readings:  Text, Chs. 18 (pp. 357-end), 19

Week 3  (Feb 11 - 17)

Coming to America:  The New Immigration, 1880-1924
The Conflict Between Urban and Rural America

Readings:  Text, Chs. 20, 21;  Online:  Sinclair, "Living and Dying in Packingtown, Chicago"


Week 4  (Feb 18 - 24)

Progressivism and the Reform Impulse in America
Expansion and Imperialism:  The Rise of an American Empire

Readings:  Text, Chs. 21 (review pp. 435-445), 22, 23

Week 5   (Feb 25 - March 3)

The Roaring Twenties
The Great Depression

Readings:  Text, Chs. 24, 25;  Online:  Steinbeck, "The Grapes of Wrath"


Week 6  (March 4 - 10)

A New Deal for America
MIDTERM (includes Week 6 Lecture AND reading)

Readings:  Online:  Brinkley, "The New Deal and the Idea of the State" (pp. 85-112)

Week 7  (March 11 - 17)

America and the Second World War
The Good War:  WWII and American Society

Readings:  Text, Ch 26; Online:  "African Americans and WWII:  A Fifth Column?"

Week 8  (March 18 - 24)

America, the Holocaust, and the Atomic Bomb:  A Racial Perspective
Cold War Containment

Readings:  Text, Ch. 27; Online:  "Truman's Decision to Drop the Bomb"; "A Survivor's Account of the Hiroshima Blast"; "Hiroshima:  Was It Necessary?"; Kennan, "The Long Telegram"


Week 9  (Apr 1 - 7)

A Cold War Home Front

Readings:  Schrecker, pp. 1-133,  pp. 262-270; Online:  McCarthy, "Communists in Government Service"


Week 10  (Apr 8 - 14)

"A Date with the Family":  Postwar Prosperity in America
War of the Generations:  Rock 'n' Roll in the 1950s and Adult Opposition To It

Readings:  Text, Ch 28 Online:  Coontz, "'Leave it to Beaver' and 'Ozzie and Harriet':  American Families in the 1950s"; "Up From the Potato Fields"; Friedan, "The Problem That Has No Name"

Week 11  (Apr 15 - 21)

The Era of Reform:  New Frontiers and Great Societies
The Civil Rights Movement

Readings:  Text, Ch. 29; Online:  King and Malcolm X Readings

Week 12 (Apr 22 - 28)

The Tragedy of Vietnam          
Coming Apart at Home:  America's Youth Rebellion  

Readings:  Text, Ch. 30;  Online:  "Peasant Experiences in the Vietnam War"; "The My Lai Massacre"; "The Port Huron Statement"

4/26 LAST DAY TO DROP w/a "W"

Week 13   (Apr 29 - May 5)

The Paranoid Style of American Conspiracy History
The Age of Disillusionment:  America in the Seventies

Readings:   Text, Ch. 31;  Online:  Hofstatder, The Paranoid Style of American Politics;  and skim through the info on the following web site:  The Kennedy Assassination <http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/home.htm>

Week 14  (May 6 - 12)

The Reagan Revolution:  The Ascendance of Conservatism
Race and Ethnicity in Modern America

Readings:  Online:  "40th President Rode Boundless Optimism"; Cooper and Goldin, "Some People Don't Count";  Obama's 3/18/08 Speech on Race in America; Yen, "Whites No Longer a Majority in U.S. by 2043"

Week 15  (May 13 - 19)

Conservatism Resurgent:  The Clinton and Bush Years
America and the World

Readings:  Text, Ch. 32; Online:  John Richardson, "The Real Cause of the Crash of 2008"President Bush's Address to Congress after 9/11; Bacevich, Boot, Ignatieff, and O'Hanlon, "Was the Iraq War Worth It?"


Saturday, May 19 - Wednesday, May 23 (Availability ends 5/23 at 11:59 pm)