Slavery & Freedom: US History 1790-1900

Subject 131-079 (2008)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2008.Search for this in the current handbookSearch for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.500
Level: Undergraduate
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2008.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: Usually 12.5 points of first-year history.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr David Goodman
Subject Overview:

The subject will examine the history of the United States during the 19th century, focusing on the consequences of the existence of slavery in a free society. The subject moves from the institution of slavery itself and the distinctiveness of southern society, to the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the plight of the freed slaves after 1865. Students should develop a knowledge of the consequences of slavery for the north and of the American understanding of freedom; the relationship of slavery to the democratic and republican ideals of the early republic; the institution of slavery; the emergence of the abolitionist movement; and the ways in which other subordinated groups in American society - such as women, or organised labour - also thought of themselves as struggling to make a transition from slavery to freedom. We will examine the relationship of late 19th century understandings of market freedoms to earlier republicanism, the fate of indigenous Americans during the decades of westward expansion, and the expansion overseas into the Philippines and Cuba at the end of the century.

Assessment: A research essay of 2500 words 60% (due mid-semester) and a review essay of 1500 words 40% (due during the examination period).
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Information Not Available

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources;

  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;

  • demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument;

  • be able to communicate knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion.


Formerly available as 131-256/356. Students who have completed 131-256 or 131-356 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.

Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts
Diploma in Arts (American Studies)
Diploma in Arts (History)
Graduate Certificate in Arts (American Studies)
Graduate Diploma in Arts (American Studies)

Download PDF version.