Democracy in the Early Republic

Course registration is closed.

Historian Andrew Robertson argues that democracy was America’s “other peculiar institution” in the era of the Early Republic. Robertson will lead students in an exploration of the primary and secondary sources from this pivotal era in American history, when the possibilities of the revolution were first explored and tested. The course, spanning the period from the 1790s to the eve of the Civil War will feature Robertson in discussion with specialists in the field.

Dr. Andrew Robertson

Professor Andrew Robertson is Associate Professor at Lehman College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, where he is also Acting Executive Officer of the History Department. He earned his doctorate at Oxford University and is the author of many articles and books about the Early Republic, including The Language of Democracy: Political Rhetoric in the United States and Britain, 17901900 (University of Virginia Press, 2005) and co-editor, with Jeffrey L. Pasley and David Waldstreicher, of Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic (University of North Carolina Press, 2004).

Reading List

John Dunn, Democracy: A History (Atlantic Books, 2005)

T. H. Breen,  American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People (Hill & Wang, 2010)

Danielle Allen, Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Norton, 2014)

Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic (University of Virginia Press, 2002)

David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism, 17761820 (UNC Press, 1997)

Special Issue of The Journal of the Early Republic, Volume 33, Number 2 (Summer 2013): 183–334 (articles by John Brooke, Donald Ratcliffe, Philip Lampi, Rosemarie Zagarri). Available on JSTOR via Adams State’s Nielsen Library.

Rosemarie Zagarri, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007)

Andrew Burstein, The Passions of Andrew Jackson (Vintage, 2003)

Patricia Cline Cohen, The Murder of Helen Jewett (Vintage, 1998)

Harold Holzer, Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President (Simon & Schuster, 2007)

James Oakes, Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 18611865 (Norton, 2013)

Course Section Numbers (CRNs) for this course, HI 516

Use these CRN codes to register for this course, HI 516, on the Adams State University web page starting July 1.

CRN 12224, Instructor: tba
CRN 12225, Instructor: Dr. Edward Zevin
CRN 12226, Instructor: Dr. Ryan Swihart
CRN 12227, Instructor: Dr. Ryan Swihart
CRN 12228, Instructor: Dr. Ryan Swihart

Course Structure

The course syllabus and readings will be made available when the course site opens, shortly before the beginning of the semester. Check your ASU Blackboard page for that information. 

The course will run from August 21 to December 15. It includes 12 pre-recorded lecture sessions of approximately one hour each and two live Q&A sessions of one hour each with the lead scholar. Q&A sessions will run from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time and will be recorded and archived so that those who cannot participate live can watch later.

Each Gilder Lehrman Online Course has a Lead Scholar and Instructors. Frequently, courses also feature guest speakers. Instructors, each of whom has earned a PhD in American history, are responsible for all grading and for facilitating discussion.

The typical workload for online courses is 8 to 10 short response papers and one longer project completed in stages during the semester. Reading assignments are 150-250 pages. Students will also be required to participate in online discussion forums each week.