Syllabus for HIS-356



War and American Society focuses on the various ways in which America has dealt with war and the changes that have taken place in American society as a result of war. The course considers the following wars: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. A major emphasis is placed on the humanities approach, addressing war and American society from historical, literary, artistic, and philosophical perspectives.


After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Explain how the American experience of war has changed over time.
  2. Describe how war at once affects and reflects the social attitudes and values of American society.
  3. Identify and analyze wartime political, social, economic, and intellectual trends in America.
  4. Evaluate primary sources and appreciate their importance to the study of the humanities.
  5. Analyze the philosophical and moral issues raised by the American experience with war.


You will need the following materials to complete the work of the course. These materials are available from the textbook supplier, MBS Direct. The book by Snow and Drew is the basic survey text for the course; the others cover specific wars. (Note that some of these titles are available from more than one publisher.)

Required Textbooks

Survey Text

  1. Donald M. Snow and Dennis M. Drew, From Lexington to Baghdad and Beyond: War and Politics in the American Experience, 3d ed. (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2009).

ISBN-13: 978-0-7656-2403-1

Other Texts

  1. Edmund S. Morgan, The Birth of the Republic, 3d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).

ISBN-10: 0-226-53757-9

  1. Thomas Paine, Common Sense.

ISBN-10: 0-14-039016-2

  1. Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience.

ISBN-10: 1-57392-202-1

  1. James M. McPherson, Drawn with the Sword, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).

ISBN-10: 0-19-511796-4

  1. David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

ISBN-10: 0-19-517399-6

  1. R. A. C. Parker, The Second World War, rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997).

ISBN-10: 0-19-280207-0

  1. James Brady, The Coldest War, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000).

ISBN-10: 0-671-72525-4


War and American Society is a six-credit online course consisting of six (6) modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.

  1. Module 1: The Revolutionary War and Its Aftermath

  1. Module 2: The War of 1812 and the Mexican War

  1. Module 3: The Civil War

  1. Module 4: The Spanish-American War and World War I

  1. Module 5: World War II
  2. Module 6: The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Post-Vietnam Era

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written assignments, take a proctored midterm examination, and a final exam. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to posting an introduction to the class in Module 1, you are required to participate in five (5) graded online discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation.

Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

War and American Society has four (4) written assignments. When you have done all of the assigned reading for each assignment, prepare your answers to the assignment question. (All activity questions can be found in the individual modules of the course site.)

Responses to written assignment questions are expected to be well developed and reasonably detailed (between 500 and 1000 words for each assignment question). They should clearly demonstrate your understanding of the course materials. An adequate response may well require a review of the relevant course materials.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first activity, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.


Midterm Examination

You are required to take a closed-book, proctored midterm examination (see the course Calendar and the Syllabus).

The exam is two hours long and covers material in Modules 1 through 3, through the Civil War. It consists of true/false, identification, and essay questions. If you have questions about the format and/or content of the examination, please contact your mentor at least a week in advance of the scheduled test. The exam is two hours long.

As stated in the Syllabus, you must take your midterm online using the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for both exams within the first week of the semester.

Final Examination

You are required to take a closed-book, proctored final examination during the last week of the semester (see the course Calendar and the Syllabus).

The final exam is two hours long and covers all reading and activities from Modules 4–6 of the course. It consists of true/false, identification, and essay questions.

As stated in the Course Syllabus, you must take your final online using the College's Online Proctor Service (OPS). Please refer to the "Examinations and Proctors" section of the Online Student Handbook (see the General Information area of the course Web site) for further information about scheduling and taking online exams and for all exam policies and procedures. You are strongly advised to make your scheduling arrangements for the final exam within the first week of the semester.


When you click the exam link below, it will redirect you to our Perception Test Management server. You are required to try the sample exam to make sure your computer or browser is compatible before you take the midterm exam.

When you click the exam link, please read the first three screens thoroughly. They contain important information about your examination, time limit, and a statement about academic honesty and the consequences of cheating. On the second and third screens you are asked to enter your initials to signal that you have read and understood the stated terms. The timed testing session will not begin until you have read these three screens and clicked the Proceed button. When the time limit is reached, the exam will be automatically submitted.

If you have any technical issues with the exam, please e-mail directly for assistance.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

  1. Looking up any answer or part of an answer in an unauthorized textbook or on the Internet, or using any other source to find the answer.
  2. Copying and pasting or in any way copying responses or parts of responses from any other source into your online test. This includes but is not limited to copying and pasting from other documents or spreadsheets, whether written by yourself or anyone else.
  3. Plagiarizing answers.
  4. Asking anyone else to assist you by whatever means available while you take the exam.
  5. Copying any part of the exam to share with other students.
  6. Telling your mentor that you need another attempt at the exam because your connection to the Internet was interrupted when that is not true.

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

  1. Online discussions (5)—15 percent
  2. Written assignments (4)—35 percent
  3. Midterm exam (proctored, modules 1-3)—25 percent
  4. Final exam (proctored, modules 4-6)—25 percent

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

  1. Read carefully the entire Syllabus, making sure that all aspects of the course are clear to you and that you have all the materials required for the course.

  1. Take the time to read the entire Online Student Handbook. The Handbook answers many questions about how to proceed through the course, how to schedule exams, and how to get the most from your educational experience at Thomas Edison State College.

  1. Arrange to take your examination(s) by following the instructions in this Syllabus and the Online Student Handbook.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the learning management systems environment—how to navigate it and what the various course areas contain. If you know what to expect as you navigate the course, you can better pace yourself and complete the work on time.

  1. If you are not familiar with Web-based learning be sure to review the processes for posting responses online and submitting activities before class begins.

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

  1. To stay on track throughout the course, begin each week by consulting the course Calendar. The Calendar provides an overview of the course and indicates due dates for submitting activities, posting discussions, and scheduling and taking examinations.

  1. Check Announcements regularly for new course information.


Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

  1. Cheating
  2. Plagiarizing (including copying and pasting from the Internet without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources)
  3. Fabricating information or citations
  4. Facilitating acts of dishonesty by others
  5. Unauthorized access to examinations or the use of unauthorized materials during exam administration
  6. Submitting the work of another person or work previously used without informing the mentor
  7. Tampering with the academic work of other students

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.


Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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