Instructor: Nicholas Wirth Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (505) 982-1829 X1292 Website: http://wirthhistory12.sfprep.org MODERN AMERICA: 1945-2008 Rhetoric is a poor substitute for action, and we have trusted only to rhetoric. If we are really to be a great nation, we must not merely talk; we must act big. Teddy Roosevelt This course is an introduction to modern American history. It examines the rise of the American power after World War Two and the challenges it faced in the early 21 st century. The course will focus on the roots of the Cold War, 1950s conformity and collusion, the revolutions of the 1960s, political and economic chaos of the 70’s, the Reagan Revolution/conservative backlash, the promise and prosperity of the 1990s and the stormy waters of the 2000s. However, time constraints make it impossible to cover everything that happened during this time frame. Instead, this course will focus on important themes, vital issues, and social movements that made modern America. While politics, politicians and public figures will remain an important part of what is covered, the main focus will be on the daily lives and struggles of ordinary people and the actions of small groups of activists. These topics will be introduced through a mixture of lectures, discussions, primary and secondary source readings, film and music. Overall, it will emphasize that history is not simply a collections of names and dates confined to the past. History is what makes us who we are and what society is today. By the end of this course students should have a clear understanding of how America transformed into a modern and complex nation. This class builds reading, writing, critical thinking, public speaking, test taking and discussion skills, through examination of historical events. Students are expected to read and interpret historical documents, synthesize information into a coherent response, analyze details to create a story and pull together diverse sources of information to communicate a unique understanding of the subject. A critical component of this course is the development and mastery of discussion skills. Texts and materials Boren, David. A Letter to America. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2008. Print. Chafe, William Henry, Harvard Sitkoff, and Beth L. Bailey. A History of Our Time: Readings on Post War America. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. Print. Cobbs-Hoffman, Elizabeth, and Jon Gjerde. Major Problems in American History, Volume 2: Since 1865. New York: Cengage, 2007. Print. Tindall, George Brown., and David E. Shi. America: A Narrative History. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. Print. Requirements and Responsibilities Assignments The nightly reading will include many political perspectives and emphasize the myriad of voices that encompass the American experience. In addition, students will write a 1000 word essay on A Letter to America, compose an in-class essay on the Civil Right Movement and construct a substantial research paper. Weekly reading quizzes and a final examination will assess knowledge of specific historic details. These will cover all the reading assignments, lectures and class discussions. It is important to keep track of the essential questions that are posted in class. There will be various group and individual presentations. Finally, class discussion and participation are cornerstones of this course. It is imperative that students complete the nightly assignment and participate actively in class. Expectations Attendance is mandatory for this and all classes at Prep. Let me know at least twenty four hours ahead of time if you will be missing class for a sports commitment. Unexcused absences will result in a zero for the day. More than one unexcused absence will constitute a note home to your parents. You must produce a note from the office to readmitted to class. Your advisor will sent a note home if you have more than four excused or unexcused absences. Please come to this class on time. For example, first period starts at 8:00 not 8:05. Tardies will constitute a reduction of one full letter grade on daily class participation. Any student who is late more than three times will be referred to the Dean. All assignments are to be turned in on time at the beginning of the scheduled class period. Extensions will only be granted for extreme cases. If you require one please see me at least twenty four hours in advance. Late assignments will be reduced by one full letter grade per day. Class discussions must be conducted in a safe environment. Please refrain from any type of behavior which could be deemed as disruptive or hurtful. Academic honesty and integrity are cornerstones of this course. It is imperative that you stay on top of your long-term assignments and manage your time! Grading Each assignment will be graded unless notified otherwise. Expect a one week turnaround for most assignments except papers which will be handed back in two weeks. Students should ask for clarification outside of class if they have questions or concerns about an assignment. I reserve the right to raise or lower the grade in question. Your grade will be broken down into the following categories. Quizzes and homework 10% Participation 30% Tests, Papers and Projects 60% Daily class participation grade A = Excellent, consistent participation and leadership; not just talking but listening, collaborating and helping. Student is clearly prepared for class having done the previous night’s homework. B = Consistently offers opinions to discussions. S/he needs to work on developing listening and questioning skills. Student is prepared for class discussion having done the previous night’s homework. C = Minimal participation, did not listen, question or contribute to the discussion. D = Student is not listening or engaged during discussion. This grade will be assessed for disruptive or offensive/threatening behavior. F = Consistently distracting class with disruptive behavior. 0 = Unexcused absence A final word on class participation: You are expected to be engaged throughout every class session. An engaged student is respectful, active, and attentive. Respectful means listening closely and openly to the ideas of others, neither interrupting, intimidating nor dismissing their comments. Students should be free to share their thoughts and views and are entitled to expect a courteous response from others. Active does not mean dominating a discussion nor does attentive mean silently withdrawing from it. Every student is an influential member of the class, responsible for contributing to the learning environment. Failure to contribute will lower your grade. Course Website All important class documents will be posted on my website. These include but are not limited to the course overview, syllabus, academic honesty statement, readings, and important links. The web address is http://wirthhistory12.sfprep.org/ The Instructor I am happy to answer questions or set up meetings outside of class. I can be contacted via school e-mail at email@example.com. If a situation arises and you need to talk to me at home please feel free to call me. However, I have three small children and will not accept calls after 8pm.