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Cover of Our History: A Survey of United States History, Volume One - To 1877 v1.0
July 2019
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ISBN (Digital): 

Our History: A Survey of United States History, Volume One - To 1877

Version 1.0
By Steven M. Gillon

Key Features

  • Balances the treatment of political and social history with strong emphases on cultural history and social movements. Employs the lens of political culture to explore how race, class, and gender have shaped United States history. Weaves a rich and lively narrative that is grounded in the clarity of an explicit political chronology.
  • Captures the drama of key events and trends in U.S. history, including the emergence of core institutions, how leaders governed, America’s evolution into the world’s strongest economy, and the many fascinations of everyday life.
  • Narrative thread traces America’s development as an ongoing experiment in politics, culture, and identity within a global context by emphasizing four evolving themes:
    • Government. What are the competing views of the proper role of government and how have Americans reconciled those views at various points in history?
    • Identity. What is the American identity—and how has it changed over time? What qualities have and do Americans feel define them best?
    • Culture. How can we use the concept of culture to explore and make sense of the regional, ethnic, economic, political, and other environments in which Americans interact and construct their lives?
    • Global Engagement. What are the underlying reasons for the United States’ seemingly ambivalent relationship with the rest of the world? How has that perspective both changed and remained constant as America’s role on the world stage has evolved?
  • Embeds primary source excerpts within every chapter and concludes each chapter with a feature called “Competing Voices.” Includes at least two primary sources in every “Competing Voices” segment that reflect diverse, contemporaneous views about a key chapter topic, accompanied by carefully crafted questions to help learners analyze and better understand the sources.
  • Colorful and gripping vignettes initiate each chapter. In-text learning features, such as hyperlinks to online primary sources—including video, audio, and documents—pique students’ interest and understanding, while keeping the reader focused on key points. Each chapter ends with a summary and chronology of key events, a list of “10 Most Important Things to Remember” about the chapter, and a list of annotated suggested readings and media for further study and research.


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Our History: A Survey of the United States, Volume One — To 1877 v1.0 is suitable for introductory or survey courses on the history of the United States, also called American History, for the time period from pre-Columbian contact to the end of Reconstruction (1877). It is intended for the first course in a full-year sequence that is taught at the undergraduate level at both two- and four-year colleges and universities.

Our History clearly presents the full scope of United States history by organizing the narrative around a primarily political chronology, and featuring an emphasis on the various competing experiences of individuals, communities, and the body politic. The book features an expansive treatment of political history that includes all forms of politics, not just electoral results or elite actors, while integrating robust coverage of popular culture that illuminates many facets of social history. This volume is generally assigned for courses lasting for one semester or one or two quarters. For a year-long course, it can be paired with a second volume that encompasses the period from the end of the Civil War (1865) to the present. (See Our History: A Survey of United States, Volume Two — From 1865 v1.0.)

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Instructor’s Manual

Instructor’s Manual

The Instructor’s Manual guides you through the main concepts of each chapter and important elements such as learning objectives, key terms, and key takeaways. Can include answers to chapter exercises, group activity suggestions, and discussion questions.

Instructor’s Manual

PowerPoint Lecture Notes

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A PowerPoint presentation highlighting key learning objectives and the main concepts for each chapter are available for you to use in your classroom. You can either cut and paste sections or use the presentation as a whole.

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Steven M. Gillon University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus

Steven M. Gillon is the Scholar-in-Residence at HISTORY and Professor of History at the University of Oklahoma.

Steven Gillon (PhD Brown University) received his BA in History from Widener University where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in History. He was named the recipient of the Faculty Prize for maintaining the highest undergraduate GPA. He went on to earn his AM and PhD in American Civilization from Brown University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving his PhD, Steve spent nine years teaching history at Yale University where he won the prestigious DeVane Medal for outstanding undergraduate teaching. In 1994, he accepted a position as University Lecturer in Modern History at Oxford University. Three years later, he returned to the United States at the invitation of the president of the University of Oklahoma to become the founding dean of a new Honors College.

Steve is one of the nation's leading experts on modern American history and politics. He has written or edited nearly a dozen books including Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism (Basic, 2018) and the New York Times bestseller, The Pact: Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the Rivalry that Defined a Generation (Oxford, 2008). Among his many other books are: America’s Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F. Kennedy, Jr. (Penguin USA 2019); Pearl Harbor: FDR Leads the Nation into War (Basic, 2011); 10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America (Three Rivers, 2006); Boomer Nation: The Largest and Richest Generation and How it Changed America (Free Press, 2004); That’s Not What We Meant to Do: Reform and Its Unintended Consequences in Twentieth-Century America (W.W. Norton, 2000); The Democrats' Dilemma: Walter F. Mondale and the Liberal Legacy (Columbia University, 1992); and Politics and Vision: The ADA and American Liberalism, 1947-1985 (Oxford, 1987).

Steve's articles have appeared in both academic journals and popular newspapers, including the Los Angeles TimesNew York Daily NewsWashington PostChicago Tribune, and Boston Globe. He has been a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post. He has made appearances on NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News as a commentator and expert on issues related to modern American history.

Over the past decade, Steve has hosted a number of shows on HISTORY, including the network's flagship public affairs program, HistoryCenter. He has also hosted Our GenerationHistory vs. Hollywood, and Movies in Time. His last three books have been turned into prime-time documentaries on the network.

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