Section 5 – mwf: 10: 00-10: 50 – Anderson 14

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Dissent in America

History 0849 -- Fall 2013

Dr. Ralph F. Young

Section 5 – MWF: 10:00-10:50 – Anderson 14

Office: 858 Gladfelter

Office hours: MWF: 11:00-12:00; MW: 15:00-16:30

Telephone: 215-204-8927


I am always available for any questions or problems you might have during the semester. Please feel free to contact me at any time if you wish to set up an appointment outside of office hours.

Teaching Assistant:

John Worsencroft

Office: 934 Gladfelter

Office Hours: Wednesdays: 11:30-12:30

Course Objectives: A central aspect of a democratic society is the constitutional guarantee that all citizens possess freedom of speech, thought and conscience. Throughout American history individuals and groups of people, oftentimes vociferously, marched to the beat of a different drummer, and raised their voices in strident protest. We are going to study the story and development of dissent in America. How has dissent shaped American society? Why is it that some people never “buy into” the “American Dream” perceiving it not as a Dream, but more like a Nightmare? How has dissent molded groups of people within American society and, indeed, even transformed individuals.

Areas of concentration:

  • Dissent during the colonial period: Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, Native Americans.

  • Dissent during the early national period

  • Abolitionism and Transcendentalism.

  • Workers’ Rights.

  • Anti-War Movements.

  • The Women’s Movement: From Suffragist to Feminist.

  • The Struggle for Civil Rights.

  • Cultural Dissent: The rise of a counterculture from Beatniks to Hippies.

  • Contemporary dissent.

Dissent in America is a US Society Gen/Ed course and as such is geared to develop your understanding of the history, society, culture and political systems of the U.S. Dissent in America’s specific aims are to teach you how to interpret historical and cultural materials and articulate your own point of view about the role dissent has played in American history while enhancing your:

  • critical thinking skills

  • information literacy

  • ability to examine historical events through a variety of interdisciplinary disciplines

  • understanding of historical and contemporary issues in context

  • engagement, both locally and globally, in the issues of our day

Additionally, history courses are designed to develop the many interpretive skills that historians use. In this course you will be introduced to some of these skills and be expected to become competent in them. These competencies are fundamental and they will be beneficial to you in whatever career you pursue:

  • Construction of simple essay arguments using historical evidence (exhibiting a clear sense of chronology, using evidence in support of a clearly stated thesis)

  • Comprehension of time and change (understanding continuity and change over time) and understanding the connections

  • Distinguishing between fact and interpretation (recognizing valid historical sources and their interpretations)

  • Understanding of internet and digital library resources and other technologically appropriate sources for research, including ability to determine which are appropriate for academic use

  • Evaluation of primary sources in their historical context

  • Critical analysis of written materials and historical sources and demonstration of ability to write an analytical historical essay

Class Procedures and Policies: There will be lectures, discussions, in-class analysis of dissenters’ own words, library and Internet research, occasional quizzes and homework assignments, and two research papers. We will frequently refer to the documents in the textbook so always bring it to class. Participation in discussions is expected and will be a factor in your final grade. Good (can we hope for perfect?) attendance is therefore essential if you expect to do well. Papers submitted late will be reduced by one grade per day. Missed exams or quizzes will receive a grade of “F”. Missing 25% of the classes will result in automatic failure.

Text: Ralph F. Young, Dissent in America: Voices That Shaped a Nation, Concise Edition, Pearson/Longman, (ISBN: 978-0205605415, or, ISBN: 978-0205625895)

Disability Statement: This course is open to all students who meet the academic requirements for participation. Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss the specific situation as soon as possible. Contact Disability Resources and Services at 215-204-1280 in 100 Ritter Annex to coordinate reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.
Statement on Academic Freedom:  Freedom to teach and freedom to learn are inseparable facets of academic freedom.  The University has adopted a policy on Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities (Policy # 03.70.02) which can be accessed through the following link:
Cell Phone/Text Messages: As a matter of common courtesy, please put your phone on “silent” at the beginning of class (like we do at movie theatres).  However, if you must receive either a call or text message while in class, please pack up your books, exit the room, and respond to your call or text message. You will be marked as absent for that day.
Blackboard: Blackboard is a valuable resource for this course. Log on at least once a week to check the announcements, discussions, course materials, links and other information that will be posted here. The final research project is to be submitted through the Assignments tab on the Bb page.
Examinations: There will be a midterm and a final consisting of identification and essay questions.
Library Project: The Temple Library has several valuable databases that you can use for the library projects: American Periodical Series; African American Newspapers: The 19th Century; American Civil War Letters and Diaries; Early American Imprints; Early American Newspapers; Early Encounters in North America; The Gerritsen Collection; Women’s History Online, 1543-1945; In the First Person; The Historical New York Times; North American Immigrant Letters & Diaries; Oral History Online; Pennsylvania Gazette; and Women and Social Movements in the United States: 1600-2000.
Examine a contemporary newspaper/magazine account of a protest act and analyze how the dissenter or event was reported at the time. For example, when you read the account of Susan B. Anthony’s 1873 trial (pages 297-305) you will examine how the trial was reported by the New York Times, or any other periodical of that period. Does the newspaper account reveal animosity or support for Susan B. Anthony’s protest? What does the media account show about contemporary attitudes toward women’s rights?

Dissent in America Library Guide: Temple University Librarian David Murray has created a “LibGuide” specifically for DiA. This indispensable guide will be very helpful for doing your research for this course:

Documentary Review: Write a 1-2 page evaluation of a documentary that focuses on an example of dissent. Some suggestions: Fahrenheit 911, Freedom Riders, The Sixties, Two Days in October, any of the Eyes on the Prize series. Choose the film you want to watch, get approval from your TA, and then write your report.

Research Project: You will do research and write a 4-6 page paper on a present-day dissent movement in the Delaware Valley region. First do some library and Internet research on local protest/activist organizations. These could be antiwar groups, anti-abortion groups, gay rights, women’s rights, environmental, Green Party, community rights, etc. Choose one of these organizations (presumably one that you approve of or feel is addressing an important issue) and do research into the group. Examine its historical roots, present-day activities, explore its website, and, if you wish, attend a meeting or event or demonstration that the group organizes or talk to a member of the organization. Report on how effective or ineffective the organization is in articulating and protesting for its goals. What are the short term goals? What are the long term goals? Explain why you are critical or laudatory of the group and these goals. Be sure to analyze the organization within its historical context. Footnotes and a Bibliography must be used.

Policy on Academic Honesty – According to the Temple University Bulletin:

“Temple University believes strongly in academic honesty and integrity. Plagiarism and academic cheating are, therefore, prohibited. Essential to intellectual growth is the development of independent thought and a respect for the thoughts of others. The prohibition against plagiarism and cheating is intended to foster this independence and respect. Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of another person's labor, another person's ideas, another person's words, another person's assistance. . . . Undocumented use of materials from the World Wide Web is plagiarism. Academic cheating is, generally, the thwarting or breaking of the general rules of academic work or the specific rules of the individual courses. It includes falsifying data; submitting, without the instructor's approval, work in one course which was done for another; helping others to plagiarize or cheat from one's own or another's work; or actually doing the work of another person.”

Students must assume that all assignments are to be completed individually unless otherwise noted in writing in this syllabus. Any case of suspected plagiarism or cheating will be reported to the University Disciplinary Committee and you will receive a grade of “F”.

Teach Ins: Since 2002 the History Department has held weekly teach-ins every Friday afternoon from 3:00 to 4:30 in Anderson Hall 821. These teach-ins deal with the historical background of contemporary domestic problems and foreign policy issues. They provide a great opportunity to delve into and discuss the most pressing issues confronting our society. They evolved from my first Dissent in America class and are led by students and faculty. The teach-ins are open to the public, and all students in “Dissent in America” are encouraged to attend. And please make suggestions for topics that you would like to see presented or if you would like to lead a teach-in, get in touch with me and we’ll schedule it. Follow the teach-ins on Facebook:


Class Participation, Quizzes, Homework & Attendance: 10%

Midterm: 20%

Library Project 15%

Documentary Review: 10%

Research Project: 20%

Final Examination: 25%

Topics & Assignments: (dates subject to some modification.)
8/26-8/30 Foundations of Dissent: The European Background

Dissent in Colonial America

Williams, Hutchinson, Dyer, Bacon, Native American Voices, Zenger

Dissent in America, pp. 1-50
9/4-6 “All Men Are Created Equal”?

Woolman, Samuel Adams, Paine, Abigail Adams, Thomas Hutchinson, Shays, Mason, Murray, Tecumseh

DiA, 39-85
9/9-16 Questioning the New Republic: Indian Resistance, Reformers, Abolitionists, Feminists, Workers

Frelinghuysen, Ross, Walker, Garrison, Apess, The Grimké Sisters, Emerson, Fuller, Lowell Mill Girls, Stanton, Douglass, Thoreau, Brown

DiA, 87-141
9/18 Library Research Workshop with Librarian David Murray
9/20 Civil War Dissenters

Vallandigham, Brownlow, Pringle, African American Soldiers, Anthony

DiA, 143-182
9/23-9/30 Dissent in the Gilded Age

Powderly, Chief Joseph, Lease, The People’s Party, Washington, DuBois, Wells-Barnett

DiA, 183-221

Documentary Review Due 9/30
10/2-7 Progressives and Dissent

Schurz, Jones, Muir, Goldman, Rauschenbusch, Socialist Platform

DiA, 221-244

Mid-term Exam 10/9
10/11-16 Conflict and Depression

Hill, LaFollette, Debs, Bourne, Garvey, Sanger, Mencken, Coughlin, Long, Guthrie, Dellinger, Yasui

DiA, 245-310
10/18-23 Un-American Activities

Lawson, Smith, Robeson, Hay, Ginsberg

DiA, 311-338

10/25-11/1 Civil Rights

King, Malcolm, Carmichael, Black Panther Party, SDS, Ochs, Dylan

DiA, 339-372
11/4-13 Vietnam and the Counterculture

Savio, Oglesby, Kerry, Leary, Hoffman, Protest Music

DiA, 373-403
11/15-18 Mobilization of Minorities

Redstockings, S.C.U.M., Steinem, Stonewall, AIM

DiA, 403-415

11/20 Library Project Due
11/25-27 Environmentalism, Sexuality, Pacifism, and Militias

ACT UP, Gay Liberation, Hill, Paterson, Kaczynski

DiA, 417-438
11/29-12/6 Contemporary Dissent

Nader, DiFranco, Protest Music, AI, ELF, NION, VAIW, ACLU, MoveOn, Berg, Sheehan

DiA, 438-478

Research Project Due 12/6
12/13 Final Exam (Friday the Thirteenth): 08:00-10:00

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