The University of Southampton

HIST6110 War, Rebellion and Race in the Early American Republic

Module Overview

From Indian wars to bareknuckle, eye-gouging backwoods fighters, the early American Republic was a violent place to live. It was not the virtuous, elite-dominated society that its founders envisioned. And although earlier historians may have thought of that place as the location of the former thirteen colonies, in reality it stretched from the Caribbean to Canada to Africa. In investigating topics such as the end of the American Revolution, Native American warfare, the War of 1812, slavery, abolition, prostitution, print culture and the rise of Andrew Jackson, this module will ask how the Early Republic changed from a small entity afraid of government interference to a fractious, divided society on the brink of Civil War.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide an overview of the Early American Republic. • Assess the forms of interactions between American inhabitants, Native Americans, slaves, and Britons from roughly 1783 to 1860. • Engage with the ways in which historians have grappled with changing interpretations of the Early Republic

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The history of the Early Republic.
  • The different ways in which historians have interpreted the Western Confederacy War, the Loyalist diaspora, the federalist/antifederalist debates, the formation of the Early Republic, the War of 1812, slavery and abolition, Jacksonianism, and the lead-up to the Civil War.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Construct an easy-to-follow essay containing an introduction, thesis statement, counterargument, and conclusion.
  • Communicate effectively in class discussions.
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Carry out independent research based on primary and secondary sources.
  • Use a range of library resources and online databases to gather evidence.
  • Correctly cite historical sources in your essays.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Accurately and clearly choose evidence from your readings to support the arguments you make for your essays.
  • Recognise the importance of key sources and moments in the history of the Early Republic.
  • Evaluate and engage with the arguments that previous historians have made about said sources.
  • Articulate your reflections on primary and secondary source literature in informal class discussions.


Topics may include, but are not limited to • The Western Confederacy War • The Federalist debates • The black Loyalist diaspora • Slavery • The War of 1812 • Print culture and prostitution • The Age of Jackson • Abolitionism • Sectionalism

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods focus on weekly seminars analysing key events, chronology and concepts, including examination and discussion of primary and secondary source material and the key issues of debate they raise. Learning activities include: • Preparatory reading before each seminar • Participation in group and seminar discussion • Independent reading of the sources provided and of related secondary works • Preparing discussion questions and leading the seminar group in discussion for part of a seminar period • Independent research of additional information and source materials Seminars will provide you with general knowledge and understanding about chronology, sources and key concepts. This will be consolidated through readings and seminar discussions of primary and secondary source material. Discussion in seminars will help you to develop your own ideas about a topic, to analyse a range of source material and to articulate a critical argument.

Completion of assessment task26
Preparation for scheduled sessions100
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Carolyn Eastman (2009). A Nation of Speechifiers: Making an American Public after the Revolution. 

Alan Taylor (2011). The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels and Indian Allies. 

Drew McCoy (1980). The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America. 

Mark Cheethem (2013). Andrew Jackson, Southerner. 

Maya Jasanoff (2011). Liberty’s Exiles: The Loss of America and the Remaking of the British Empire. 

Colin Calloway (2008). The Shawnees and the War for America. 


Assessment Strategy

Feedback Method • Guidance and advice on preparation, completion and presentation of assignments will be available to you in seminar discussions • You will be encouraged to discuss preparation for your formal assessments in private meetings with your tutor • You will have the opportunity to receive oral feedback on your research from your peers and from your tutor before you write your essay • You will have the opportunity to discuss written feedback on assignments with your tutor


MethodPercentage contribution
Presentation 10%
Research essay  (4000 words) 90%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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