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Old December 13th, 2012, 07:09 PM   #1

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American History to 1865


Just signed up for American History to 1865 for next semester. It feels good to go back to school.

Anyway, despite being American myself I have never actually deeply studied the Colonial period or the Revolution. I know a little bit about the War of 1812 because of its overlap with the Napoleonic Wars and my knowledge about the Civil War is abysmal.

So my fellow Americans, what are some things I should know before I begin this class, some misconceptions I should rid myself of and possibly some books I should read before I begin.

The next semester doesn't start till February so I have a little time to study up.
Thanks guys and gals.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 07:18 PM   #2

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I notice that you mentioned four things:
1) Colonial Period
2) The American Revolution
3) The War of 1812
4) The Civil War

What I notice is that items 3 and 4 are wars, and item 2 is often characterized by the revolutionary war. If war is your interest, then I suggest you also make note of the Mexican-American War.

What I would be far more interested in are the social, economic, and political forces that led to each of those wars. This takes a deeper look than just studying the movements, tactics, and politics of the wars.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 07:40 PM   #3

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patito de Hule View Post
I notice that you mentioned four things:
1) Colonial Period
2) The American Revolution
3) The War of 1812
4) The Civil War

What I notice is that items 3 and 4 are wars, and item 2 is often characterized by the revolutionary war. If war is your interest, then I suggest you also make note of the Mexican-American War.

What I would be far more interested in are the social, economic, and political forces that led to each of those wars. This takes a deeper look than just studying the movements, tactics, and politics of the wars.
Thanks Patito. I've noticed I do tend to be rather warfare-centric in my history studies, though as the class probably won't follow exactly that pattern I'll have to break out of it.

I hadn't even thought of the Mexican-American war, I often forget about altogether. Odd considering I'm a Californian.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 09:45 PM   #4
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The periods between the wars is interesting politically, with many revolutionary players in the mix for a long period of time. Monroe was injured at Trenton and Jackson was a 13yr old courier who was whipped by the British.
The articles of confederation merged into the constitution. That took time. The whiskey and Shays rebellions popped up then. There was the Aaron Burr and James Wilkinson conspiracy, the quasi war and the conflict with the barbary pirates. Plus an ever expanding map.
I hope your professor mentions the charters and personalities. It was and interesting time filled with intelligent, strong willed men with big hearts, bigger egos, thick skin and hard heads.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #5

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There's also the Indian wars. And if they try to tell you that Andrew Jackson defied the Supreme Court and said "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it", it's a myth:

The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians ... - Francis Paul Prucha - Google Books
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Old December 13th, 2012, 10:24 PM   #6
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I forgot Lewis and Clark, the industrial revolution, and slavery. There's no way to cover that time period in one class.
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Old December 13th, 2012, 11:46 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pacific_Victory View Post
I hadn't even thought of the Mexican-American war, I often forget about altogether. Odd considering I'm a Californian.
You would be surprised. To add my voice to Patterico's i would also suggest looking into any of these books, or research online that deals with the American Indian Wars of the colonial period and what led to (In chronological order):

1.)The Jamestown Massacre of 1622
2.) Pequot War of 1637
3.) The on again off again Anglo-Powhatan War (1610-1614, 1622-1632 and 1644 - 1646. respectively)
4.) King Phillips war or Metacomet's War of 1675-1678
5.) King William's war (Of the North American theater of the nine years war) of 1688-1697
6.) Queen Anne's war of 1702-1713, being the North American theater of the War of Spanish succession.
7.) The Tuscarora War of 1711-1715 fought in North Carolina
8.) The Yamasee War of 1715-1717 fought in South Carolina
9.) Dummer's War, Father Rale's War or the Fourth Indian War (Just a few it was known as) of 1722-1725
10.) French and Indian War or The Seven years War of 1754-1763
11.) Pontiac's War or Pontiac's Rebellion of 1763-1766

If your interested in any of these of course.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 02:19 AM   #8

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I'm going back to the beginning too, although I'm not going to school. Brugger's "Maryland, A Middle Temperament" and Land's "Colonial Maryland" are on queue
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Old December 14th, 2012, 05:36 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yankee View Post
Brugger's "Maryland, A Middle Temperament"
Now that's a good book right there!
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Old December 14th, 2012, 08:43 AM   #10

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My favorite flavor of history! I just finished that same class and loved it. What you need to know is the federalist papers. Continental congress. Stamp act. Admiralty courts. Navigation acts. A bit of the French and Indian war. Bill of rights. Constitution. Thomas pain and common sense.

Now to make the class easier and or more fun I highly reccomend watching founding brothers and founding fathers both by history channel. Another great resource is iTunes U. Download it. Then the American revolution course from Yale by mrs. Joanne freeman. Such a great teacher.
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