Slavery in America Course Description and General Education Objectives

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History 3355.001.153S Dr. Michael Frawley

Tuesday and Thursday Summer 2015

10:30-11:50 AM

Slavery in America

Course Description and General Education Objectives – The goal of this class is to provide students with an understanding of the economy of the Antebellum South. By the end of this course students will be able to explain what drove the Southern economy, the development of the plantation system, how slavery became so important to it, and how preserving slavery became the most important political and economic issue in the South, ultimately leading to the outbreak of the Civil War. Slavery was the engine of early Southern, and American, economic development, and needs to be understood not just as a social or moral problem, but as an economic one as well. Students in this course will develop an ability to make sense of the past by reconstructing causal patterns, identifying trends, and making informed comparisons between different historical cases as well as to grasp the influence of varied and complex historical factors on the lives of individuals in societies. Students will also develop competency in critical thinking, the ability to evaluate a position of an argument, and competency in written communication.

Required Readings

Kolchin, Peter – American Slavery: 1619-1877 ISBN-9780809016303

Wright, Gavin – Slavery and American Economic Development ISBN-9780807152287

And additional readings that will be posted on Blackboard

Examinations and Grades – There will be a midterm exam and a final examination. The midterm exam will be made up of short answer identification questions and essay questions. The final exam will have the same format but will contain a comprehensive element. You will need to bring a 8 ½ X 11 Blue Book for each exam. There will also be a research paper assigned for the course which will require work in both primary and secondary sources. You will receive more information on the paper the second week of class. Finally there will be a series of short writing assignments posted on Blackboard during the semester based on the required readings or the lectures. The midterm exam will count as 30% of your final grade, the research paper will count as 20% of your final grade, all of the Blackboard assignments taken together will be 10% of your final grade, and the final exam will count for 40%. The grading scale is: A=100-90%, B=89-80%, C=79-70%, D=69-60%, and F=59% and below.

Attendance – Attendance is expected of all students for every class. Make-up exams will only be permitted for a valid excuse with official documentation, as found in the student code of conduct: illness with a doctor’s excuse, death in the immediate family, special curricular requirements, court imposed legal obligations, military obligations, severe weather conditions, religious holidays, and participation in varsity athletic events. Students without a valid excuse who miss an examination will receive a zero for that exam. With a valid excuse a missed exam must be made up before the next scheduled exam.

Office: MB 4116 Office Hours: T&Th 9-11am

Student Conduct – This course will adhere to the plagiarism policy set forth by the UTPB Student Code of Conduct. If there is evidence of any deliberate violation of academic integrity, your instructor will pursue the most reasonable response the University allows. Vagrant plagiarism, cheating, and dishonesty will not be tolerated and will result in punishment to the full extent of the Student Code of Conduct.

To view the UTPB Student Conduct Guidelines, follow this link:

Scholastic dishonesty is more than "cutting and pasting." To make sure that you are not committing Scholastic Dishonesty please go to:

This is information you will need throughout your academic career and the University Scholastic Dishonesty Policy states that you may receive a zero on the course work which could cause failure in the class and/or suspension or dismissal from the college. 

Course Schedule

Week 1 – Introduction and colonial settlement in the South, the introduction of slavery and tobacco

Reading Assignment – Barbara Solow “Capitalism and Slavery in the Exceedingly Long Run” (Blackboard)

Week 2 – The Atlantic World: War and Revolution

Reading Assignment – David Waldstreicher Slavery’s Constitution

Week 3 – A New Nation, a new economy, and Eli Whitney

Reading Assignment – Peter Kolchin American Slavery: 1619-1877

Week 4 – Cotton and the American Economy

Reading Assignment – Stanley Engerman “Chicken Little, Anna Karenina, and the Economics of Slavery” (Blackboard)

Week 5 – The Industrial Revolution and the place of the South in it

Midterm – July 2nd

Week 6 – Politics and slavery in the early republic, fire bells and nullification

Reading Assignment – Gavin Wright Slavery and American Economic Development

Week 7 – A vicious cycle: the “Panic” of economic relations between the North and South

Reading Assignment – Bateman and Weiss “The Participation of Planters in Manufacturing in the Antebellum South” (Blackboard)

Week 8 – The slave power, abolition, economics, and war

Reading Assignment – John Fuller “The Slavery Question and the Movement to Acquire Mexico, 1846-1848” (Blackboard)

Week 9 – Crisis of the 1850s: Drawing a hard line

Reading Assignment – Herbert Collins “The Southern Industrial Gospel before 1860” (Blackboard)

Week 10 – The Civil War: “King” Cotton and the failure of a slave society

Reading Assignment – Thomas Kettell Southern Wealth, Northern Profits (Blackboard)

Papers due the last day of class – Tuesday August 4th

Final Exam – Thursday August 6th

This syllabus provides a general plan for the course. Deviations may be necessary and the instructor reserves the right to make them at his discretion.
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