Published Date

January 1, 2016

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom


Diplomatic/International, Political, Teaching Methods

AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education


United States, World

This resource was developed as part of the AHA’s Globalizing the US History Survey project


By Brittany Adams

Institution: Irvine Valley College

Location: Irvine, CA

Year: 2016

This is a sample list of some of the major topics that I have included as I have restructured the beginning of my US history survey course to incorporate more regional history into the early survey and to de-center the British colonial narrative. Most of my revisions focus on the 16th, 17th, and 18th century as listed below:


Week One: Course Intro

  • Pre-history to mid 16th century
  • Examinations of Western Europe, major West African kingdoms, and North American indigenous groups prior to first encounters

Week Two: European Colonization

  • Jesuit missionizing in Huron society
  • Early settlement in Virginia
  • Puritan settlements
  • The New Netherlands

Week Three: The Myth of the Thirteen Colonies

  • Comparative Spanish, French, and English settlements in the early to mid 1600s

Week Four: Colonial Era

  • Choctaw-Chicasaw War and the settlement of Louisiana
  • Migrations across the Atlantic
  • Explorations of California

Week Five: Colonial Era, II

  • Developments in colonial Santa Fe
  • Spanish developments in Florida and the growth of escaped slaves from British colonies
  • Comparative definitions of race in legal codes across different empires

Week Six: Prelude to Independence from England

  • Causes of revolt
  • Examination of other colonial empires and other forms of resistance/conflict in Spanish and French empires

Week Seven: American Revolution and the Continued Colonial Era in the West

  • Role of France and Spain in alliances with the American Independence movement
  • French and Spanish colonialism in the West

Week Eight: Early Republic

  • Comparative examination of The American Revolution with the Haitian Revolution, Mexican Independence from Spain, and French Revolution

Week Nine: Early Nationalist Era/Federalism

This week I do take a more traditional look at foundations for early American government

  • The Napoleonic Code in Louisiana

Week Ten: Jeffersonian Politics and the War of 1812

  • The Growth of Early American Nationalism

Week Eleven: Nationalist Expansion and Economic Shifts

  • Tejano culture Santa Fe Trail

Week Twelve: The Era of the Common Man

  • Democratic Systems and popular politics during growing entrenchment of slavery

Week Fourteen: Westward Expansion

  • Mexican-American War
  • Gold Rush(es) across borderlands regions

Week Fifteen: Slavery and Sectionalism

  • Failed compromises and questions over the extension of slavery in newly incorporated territories

Week Sixteen: Civil War

  • The development of the US postal system and the building of Fort Point (a Civil War era fort built in San Francisco)