Hist 1810

"Lewis and Clark

and the American Empire"


Dr. Paul Douglas Newman Krebs 123, O:269-2987, H:535-3176, Office Hours: Tues and Thurs 11-12 and by appointment.


Aims of "Lewis and Clark"

  This three credit course will explore the "American" ideas, myths, and realities about "the West" and its human and non-human inhabitants, and its environmental and geographical features around the birth of the Republic. It will use the famed expedition of the "Corps of Discovery" led by Merriweather Lewis (above) and William Clark (left) for 1805-1807 as a prism to investigate a myriad of issues facing the infant United States, including: physical expansion, Native American and foreign relations (Sacajawea on right), the relationship of Americans to their environment, trade, national defense, slavery and multi-culturalism just to name a few. The class will be structured as an upper level reading seminar. A number of historical essays will be assigned for every meeting which will serve as the basis for class discussion. Given the primary importance of discussion, verbal participation will be mandatory in each class meeting.

 There will also be a series of required writing assignments: in-class essay quizzes on the readings, several typed essays, and a term paper. There will be no "examinations" in this course, but do not let that fool you--this class is not for the feint of heart--the reading load will be heavy and the writing will be constant. As a result, however, you will emerge from the course not only with a greater understanding of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but also with fine-tuned reading, analytical, and writing skills.


The Course


1. Stephen Ambrose, Undaunted Courage: Merriweather Lewis, Thomas Jefferson,and the Opening of the American West
2. Daniel Botkin, Our Natural History: The Lessons of Lewis and Clark
3.Bernard DeVoto, ed., The Journals of Lewis and Clark
4.James Ronda, Lewis and Clark Among the Indians



You should attend all classes, however, I am not going to baby you with an attendance policy. None of you are freshman so I do not feel the need to hold your hands. I will call the roll each class an keep a record for myself but this will not be used either against you or in your favor--it will just help me to better understand your performance at term's end.



As mentioned above, there will be an extremely heavy reading load in this course, and each class will serve as a discussion that will revolve around that reading. Therefore, you must read the assignments in order for this class to work. If you fail to complete a reading assignment there is little reason for you to come to that class.



Grading for this class will be based on a point system: a 500 point scale. 900-999=A, 800-899=B, 700-799=C, 600-699=D, 000-599=F



There will be periodic, unannounced quizzes on the reading assignments--some open book and some not. They will account for 100 points (20%).


Class Participation

You will be expected to participate in every class discussion. Participation will account for 100 points (20%).


Book Reviews

You will write two, 3-5 page typed book reviews on Botkin, Our Natural History, and Ronda, Lewis and Clark Among the Indians. Instructions for how to write a book review follow later in the syllabus. The book reviews will be graded on writing as well as content for a total of 100 points each (20% each). Students who receive a C, D, or F will be scored on a scale of 75 points, and will be required to re-write their paper for a percentage of the remaining 25 points. This is NOT a punishment, but a way for you to improve both your grade and your writing skills. Students receiving a B will have the option of rewriting their paper under the same terms as listed above.


Term Papers

In addition to Ambrose, Botkin, and Ronda, you have also been required to purchase The Journals of Lewis and Clark. You will use the Journals as a primary resource for your 10-12 page term paper for 100 points (20%). By February 26, you will decide on and inform me in writing of your topic. By March 12, you will produce a typed bibliography of at least ten secondary sources (non-internet). You will hand in your first draft on April 2 for 75 points, and you will hand in your revision by Tuesday, April 21.


Field Trips

There will be three optional, VOLUNTARY, field trips associated with this class that will take place no matter what the weather will bring. To get a feel for what the Corps of Discovery ex[eroemced, we will engage in some hiking, backpacking, and primitive camping in March and April. In March, I will lead two, one-day hiking and backpacking trips in order to acclamate you to the techniques of backpacking and primitive camping. On March14 we will take a day hiking trip on the trails at Prince Gallitzin State Park in northern Cambria County, and then on March 28 we will take a day trip hiking and backpacking on the Lost Turkey Trail in Babcok Ridge State Forest in sourtheastern Cambria County. Then on April 4-5, we will take an overnight, hiking, backpacking, and camping trip on the John P. Saylor Memorial Trail in Babcock Ridge State Forest. You will take these trips at your own risk. To clear myself and the University from liability, you will all be required to sign a waiver disclaiming your right to sue me or the University should you be injured on the excursions. Having said that, I'd like to add that these are very safe trails, and should we all act responsibly there will not likley be any serious problems. I will find an outfitter to rent you equipment for the overnight and you will be expected to shoulder the cost of that rental. I will distribute a handout in February detailing the clothing and equipment that you will need.


Course Outline

Key: A=Ambrose, B=Botkin, R=Ronda
1. Introductions and other pleasantries.
2. A--Introduction, 1
3. A--2, 3
4. A--4
5. A--5, 6
6. A--7, 8
7. A--9, 10
8. A--11, 12
9. R--Prface, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
10. R--6, 7, 8, 9, Afterword
11. A--13, 14
12. A--15, 16
13. A--17, 18
14. A--19, 20
15. A--21
16. A--22
17. A--23, 24
18. A--25, 26
19. B--Preface, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
20. B--7, 8, 9, 10, 11
21. A--27, 28
22. A--29, 30
23. A--31, 32
24. A--33, 34
25. A--35, 36
26. A--37, 38, Aftermath