History 200 
Spring, 1999 
MWF 8:50-9:40, 2611 Humanities 
Office hours: M 11-12, W 10-11, 
     and by appointment 
Writing Fellow: Sarah Klimenko 
Email: klimenko@students.wisc.edu
Charles L. Cohen 
4115 Humanities 
Tel: 263-1956, -1800 (Dept.) 
Mailbox: #4037 Humanities 
Email: clcohen@facstaff.wisc.edu 
Class email: 200-cohen@lists.students.wisc.edu


This course is intended to make you into an historian--which is not the same thing as knowing where Nathaniel Bacon slept or how many commas Hamilton used in the 27th Federalist Paper.

The required readings consist of two packets designed specifically for this course. They are available from the Humanities Copy Center, 1650 Humanities Building:

Charles L. Cohen and Maureen Conklin, comps., Bacon's Rebellion: An Anthology of
Charles L. Cohen and Maureen Conklin, comps., The Ratification of the Constitution in New
    York:  An Anthology of Documents

All assignments come from these packets. The College Library has placed both packets on three-hour reserve.

Communications B Requirement

History 200 is a writing-intensive course aiming to promote your compositional skill as well as enhance your knowledge of early America and improving your capability to conduct scholarly research. The course satisfies the University's Communications B Requirement.

Honors Credit

History 200 confers honors credits automatically on all Honors students.

Written Assignments

The major written assignments consist of two 3-page papers, a 6-page paper, and a 10-page paper. Minor assignments consist of one or two sentences. Both major and minor assignments must be typed and double-spaced; they are due at the beginning of class on the days indicated. Pages 4-5 below list the paper topics, minor assignments, and due dates. Please note that you will hand in draft versions of the 3-page papers and the 6-page paper to the Student Writing Fellow (see below), and the final version of those papers to me.

Student Writing Fellow

This course takes advantage of the Student Writing Fellow Program. Fellows are competitively chosen undergraduates who help students develop their writing skills. The Writing Fellow will read the first drafts of your 3-page papers and 6-page paper, return them to you with written comments, and discuss how you should revise the essay before turning in the final version. I will read and grade the final versions myself; the Writing Fellow has no grading responsibility. The Fellow will not review the 10-page paper.


Each 3-page paper counts for 10% of the final grade, the 6-page paper counts for 20%, while the 10-page paper and class participation each count for 30%. Class participation will be evaluated through a combination of attendance and quality of discussion (which is not identical to quantity). The minor assignments will be ungraded, but failure to turn them in will lower your class participation grade.


By January 25 everyone in the class should have a personal email account. To contact me alone, use: clcohen@facstaff.wisc.edu[.] To contact everyone in the class (including me), use:
Date                    Lectures and Assignments 

Jan. 20      Introduction 

       22      Bacon's Rebellion, II.1,4; refer to I.1-3 as necessary 

       25      BR, II.2 

                                Minor Assignment: #1 

       27      BR, II.3 

       29      BR, III.1-2; IV.1-6 

                                Draft of First 3-Page Paper Due 

 Feb. 1      BR, V.1-4; VIII.1 

            BR, VI.1-11 

         5     BR, VII.1-6 

                                Minor Assignment: #2 

             BR, VIII.2 

       10     BR, VII.7-12 

       12     BR, VII.13-16 

                                Final Draft of First 3-Page Paper Due 

       15     BR, IX.1-10 

       17    BR, VIII.3 

       19    BR, X.1-3 

                               Minor Assignment: #3 

      22     BR, X.4-5 

      24    BR, IX.11-14 

      26    BR, IX.15-18 

                             Draft of 6-Page Paper Due

Date                    Lectures and Assignments  

March 1   BR, IX.20-23 

           3   BR, IX.19, 24; VIII.4 

             BR, II.5-6 

     8-12   Spring recess (even though it is still technically winter) 

        15   Ratification of the Constitution in New York, II.1-2; I.3-4, 6-7 

        17   RCNY, II.3-5; I.1-2, 8 

        19   RCNY, III.A1-B14; I.10 

                               Final Draft of 6-Page Paper Due 

        22   RCNY, III.C1-D10; I.5 

        24   RCNY, III.E1-G8; I.9, 11 

        26   RCNY, V.A1-B12; IV.2-4, refer to IV.1 as necessary 

                               Minor Assignment: #4 

        29   RCNY, V.C1a-C5c 

        31   RCNY, V.C6a-19; IV.5-6 

 April 2   RCNY, VI.1-25 

                               Final Draft of Second 3-Page Paper Due 

         5     RCNY, VI.26a-60 

         7     RCNY, VI.61-96 

         9     RCNY, VII.1-2 

                              Minor Assignment: #5 

       12     RCNY, VII.3 

       14     RCNY, VII.4-5 

       16     RCNY, VII.6-18 

                              Final Draft of Second 3-Page Paper Due 

       19     RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 412-29, col. 2; VIII.2-4 

       21     RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 429-44, col. 1; VIII.5-6 

       23     RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 444-64, col. 2; VIII.7 

                                Minor Assignment: #6

Date                    Lectures and Assignments  

Apr. 26    RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 464-76, col. 1; VIII.8-10 

       28     RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 476-98, col. 1; VIII.11-12 

       30     RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 498-515, col. 2; VIII.13-30 

May 3     RCNY, VIII.1, pp. 515-17; VIII.31-55 

         5     Individual Discussion of Final Papers as Necessary 

            10-Page Paper Due

Paper Topics

In writing these essays, you should draw on any and all material from the readings and class discussions, making specific statements firmly rooted in the evidence, using quotations whenever applicable, and evaluating the arguments of all "authorities" (including me!). You may of course draw on any relevant additional sources but are not required to. You may choose another topic if the suggested ones bore, fatigue or disorient you, but you must consult with me before so proceeding.

FIRST 3-PAGE PAPER: Draft due Jan. 29; final draft due Feb. 12. Compare the interpretations of Bacon's Rebellion offered by at least two of the four narratives.

6-PAGE PAPER: Draft due Feb. 26; final draft due March 19. Identify what you consider the most significant occurrence during Bacon's Rebellion and explain the reasons for your choice.

SECOND 3-PAGE PAPER: Draft due April 2; final draft due April 16. Choose one day of the Constitutional Convention described by Lansing, Yates, and Hamilton, and analyze each man's depiction of the day's events.

10-PAGE PAPER: Due May 7. Explain why the New York Convention ratified the Constitution despite the majority's Antifederalist sympathies.

Minor Assignments

#1: Due Jan. 25. In one sentence NOT EXCEEDING 50 words (the 51st word and its successors face a terrible fate), choose one event mentioned by at least two of the three narrators you have read (Anne Cotton, John Cotton, Thomas Mathew) and compare how each author treats it.

#2: Due Feb. 5. In one sentence NOT EXCEEDING 50 words (see above for implied threat), explain what prompted Bacon's men to attack the Occaneechee fort.

#3: Due Feb. 19. In one or two sentences NOT EXCEEDING 75 words (same operative threat as previously, my liberality notwithstanding), identify the most prominent grievance the Virginians advanced and suggest the social or political tensions that underlay it.

#4: Due March 26. In one sentence NOT EXCEEDING 50 words (you know the drill), describe Robert Lansing's activity in the Constitutional Convention.

#5: Due April 9. In one sentence NOT EXCEEDING 50 words (or else...), identify the foremost disagreement between "Cato" and "Caesar."

#6: Due April 23. In two sentences NOT EXCEEDING 75 words (need I say more?), summarize the Federalist and Anti-Federalist positions as articulated in the New York Convention debate on ratification.

Regarding Late Papers

Whereas it may come to pass that one or more individuals, whether through dilatoriness, dereliction, irresponsibility, or chutzpah, may seek respite and surcease from escritorial demands through procrastination, delay, and downright evasion;

And whereas this unhappy happenstance contributes mightily to malfeasance on the part of parties of the second part (i.e., students, the instructed, you) and irascibility on the part of us (i.e., me);

Be it therefore known, understood, apprehended, and comprehended:

That all assignments must reach us, or be tendered to the Department Receptionist, on or by the exact hour announced in class, and that failure to comply with this wholesome and most generous regulation shall result in the assignment forfeiting one half letter grade for each day for which it is tardy (i.e., an "A" shall become an "AB"), "one day" being defined as a 24-hour period commencing at the announced hour on which the assignment is due; and that the aforementioned reduction in grade shall continue for each succeeding day of delay until either the assignment shall be remitted or its value shrunk unto nothingness. And let all acknowledge that the responsibility for our receiving papers deposited surreptitio (i.e., in my mailbox or under my door), whether timely or belated, resides with the aforementioned second-part parties (i.e., you again), hence onus for the miscarriage of such items falls upon the writer's head (i.e., until I clutch your scribbles to my breast, I assume you have not turned them in, all protestations to the contrary notwithstanding).

Be it nevertheless affirmed:

That the greater part of justice residing in mercy, it may behoove us, acting entirely through our gracious prerogative, to award an extension in meritorious cases, such sufferances being granted only upon consultation with us, in which case a negotiated due date shall be proclaimed; it being perfectly well understood that failure to observe this new deadline shall result in the immediate and irreversible failure of the assignment (i.e., an "F"), its value being accounted as a null set and less than that of a vile mote. And be it further noted that routine disruptions to routine (i.e., lack of sleep occasioned by pink badgers dancing on the ceiling) do not conduce to mercy, but that severe dislocations brought on by Acts of God (exceedingly traumatic events to the body and/or soul, such as having the earth swallow one up on the way to delivering the assignment) perpetrated either on oneself or on one's loving kindred, do.

And we wish to trumpet forth:

That our purpose in declaiming said proclamation, is not essentially to terminate the wanton flouting of didactic intentions, but to encourage our beloved students to consult with us, and apprehend us of their difficulties aforehand (i.e., talk to me, baby), so that the cruel axe of the executioner fall not upon their Grade Point Average and smite it with a vengeance.
To which proclamation, we do affix our seal: