With the notable exception of slaves, all those who came to America were misfits. From the earliest settlers who crossed a land bridge from Asia in the last Ice Age, to the most recent arrivals crossing the border into Texas, we, or our ancestors, chose to come here, either fleeing something, or chasing a dream of something else.
This two-semester course explores the background, motives, thoughts, and actions of Americans throughout their history. America has become one of the wealthiest nations on earth. This wealth extends beyond the merely economic to include a rich political, legal, religious, and cultural heritage. It has given birth to remarkable achievements including representative democracy, a written constitution, the rule of law, religious toleration, an individualist ethos, and many other historically rooted cultural customs and mores.
America’s achievements did not always follow immediately from her promises, however, and often required violent struggle and profound social and cultural discord, atop disturbing social injustices, to be realized, even in part. Students will come to understand and appreciate the promise of America, its flaws, as well as its accomplishments.