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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nathan E Roberts
HSTAA 212
Seattle Campus

The Military History of the United States From Colonial Times to the Present

Development of American military policies, organizational patterns, tactics, and weaponry, from beginnings as a seventeenth-century frontier defense force to the global conflicts and military commitments of the twentieth century. Interaction and tension between need for an effective military force and concept of civilian control of that force.

Class description

This course explores changes to American military policies, organizational patterns, and roles in domestic and foreign affairs from seventeenth century colonial militias to global conflicts and military commitments of the twentieth century. It examines the U.S. military as a war-making body as much as an institution specially suited to embody tensions in American democratic ideals. This course mixes battles, tactics, and generals with ideas, meanings, and representations to demonstrate the importance of the U.S. military at war and at peace, at home and abroad within American history.

Student learning goals

Students should be able to recount the major shifts in military policies, tactics, and roles within U.S. history.

Students should be able to identify major periods of conflict and peacetime as well as locate battlefields, zones of conflict, and global border shifts on maps.

Students should be able to explain the ways in which the U.S. military acted as a site for competing notions of American democratic ideals.

Students should be able to identify and describe how the U.S. military changed its approaches to fighting wars because of technological advances, perceived differences in enemies, and domestic pressures.

General method of instruction

Lecture with visual materials (PowerPoint, photographs), discussion, films.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites. General background in U.S. history will be helpful.

Class assignments and grading

Frequent short (1/2 to 1 page)written responses to films and readings, map quizzes, two short (2-3 pages) writing assignments, midterm and a final.

The participation grade will consist of students' participation in discussions, online posts, short written responses, and map quizzes. (20%)

Two short (2-3 pages) papers. #1 - 15% #2 - 20%

Midterm - 20% Final - 25%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Nathan E Roberts
Date: 01/26/2009