U.S., Colonial Era to Present

HIST 272/6.0

A survey of political, economic, and social developments in the United States from its colonial beginnings to the post-World War II era.


This online history course surveys American history from colonization to the present and will encompass such major interpretive themes as the development of American democracy and imperialism, the definition of who is an American at various points in time, and the continuities and discontinuities that connect or not such themes over time and such points in time.

The baseline will consist of a US history textbook to provide chronology, must-know events and people, and the basic story, but the real work will come from the sets of special readings and assignments. Sometimes these will involve classic articles that take one position or another on a certain point of interpretation. Sometimes a piece of recent scholarship to show what is being done in the field today. And sometimes an important primary source, sound clip, or film to introduce you to the practice of historical interpretation.

Ideally the course will draw a thick and straight line of continuity between the earliest days of colonization and the “War on Terror” that confronts us today. Whether or not you agree with such an approach or interpretation will be up to you and the work you do over the coming months. In the end, you will need to be able to argue what you think is the most important theme in American history and how it relates to the course readings and assignments.


Component% of final markLength of assignment
Term 1  
Project 1: Asynchronous Role Play20% 
Project 2: Research Paper15%7 pages
Term 2  
Project 3: Asynchronous Discussion10% 
Project 4: Critical Review5%4 pages
Project 5: Synchronous Discussion10% 
Final Exam25% 

Participation in discussions, etc.

Throughout the course, we will have forums that I encourage you to participate in to discuss relevant topics with your classmates, TAs and instructor.


Final Examination

Students must write their exam on the day and time scheduled by the University. The start time may vary slightly depending on the off-campus exam centre. Do not schedule vacations, appointments, etc., during the exam period.


I am a PhD candidate in the history department where I am writing a dissertation on merchant families and social life in nineteenth century St. John’s, Newfoundland. My fields of study are colonial North America, the Atlantic world, and public history. I completed an MA in public history at Carleton University in 2010 and have worked extensively in that field. My internships and employment locations include Library and Archives Canada, the Library of Parliament, Veteran’s Affairs Canada’s student guide program in France, and the RCMP Heritage Centre. With Kendall Garton, I co-chaired the 2013 McGill-Queen’s Graduate Conference in History (mcgillqueens2013.wordpress.com). In addition to my PhD studies, I am working towards the School of Graduate Studies’ “Expanding Horizons” professional development certificate.

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend, on average, about 10 - 12 hours per week on the course

Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.


Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.