After completing the unit and reviewing the Stearns article, answer the following in your own words: Why I believe it is important to .
First, examples from this unit must be utilized as part of your answer, and topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:
describing the possible migration of ancient peoples; the influence that trade, agriculture, and tools had on movements; and how colonial actions and colonization impacted those among whom the colonists settled.
Second, when studying the movements of Native American peoples and European exploration during the 15th and 16th centuries, what does history tell us about the motivations of God, gold, and glory? Why do you believe it was important to study these motivating factors?
Your response should be a minimum of two (2) pages in length. All sources used must be cited and referenced. Paraphrased or quoted material must have accompanying citations.
UNIT I STUDY GUIDE
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit I
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
1. Describe with an emphasis on identifying Native American tribes
and their associated settlements, tools, agriculture, and trade.
1.1 Recognize migration patterns among the earliest inhabitants of the Americas.
5. Analyze the impact foreign aggression had on American civilian morale.
5.1 Discuss the motivations for increased exploration in the Americas prior to 1600.
5.2 Compare experiences, practices, and outcomes of various explorers in pre-colonial
Lytle, R. (2013, January 14). 5 tips to succeed in an online course. US News. Retrieved from
Montreal Gazette. (2008, May 17). Beringia: Humans were here. Retrieved from
Stearns, P. (1998, January 1). Why study history? Retrieved from http://www.historians.org/about-aha-andmembership/aha-history-and-archives/archives/why-study-history-%281998%29
Why Study History?
Why is it important to study history? Philosopher George Santayanas famous adage, Those who cannot
remember the past are condemned to repeat it, has justifiably stood the test of time, but in practice, this only
scratches the surface. the door to culture, communication, and perspective on the
This course will provide the opportunity to develop these skills using past events of relative significance as the
basis for communication in an academic setting, the application of cultural analysis using multiple academic
methods, and honing the ability to evaluate the reliability of sources and information. The activities in this
course will challenge you to embrace the settings and events of significance with a focus on discerning,
analysis, and learning how to interpret the world of the past using the methods of today. Additional
introduction to the benefits of historical study can be found in an article by historian Peter N. Stearns, entitled
Why Study History? (For more information, see http://www.historians.org/about-aha-and-membership/ahahistory-and-archives/archives/why-study-history-%281998%29.)
In this course, we will survey the history of the areas that now make up the political boundaries of the United
States of America. We will start with the earliest records and professional theories concerning American
civilization and continue through one of the most significant turning points in American culture and lifethe
American Civil War and its fallout.
The course grade will be calculated from a series of assessments and assignments, all of which are intended
to engage your interest and provide context for interpreting the significance of landmark occasions, figures,
and events. Some assignments, such as the assessments, encourage you to work while studying to ensure
HY 1110, American History I
the retention and accuracy of the information. Others, including the unit assignments,
will ask GUIDE
you to use your
UNIT x STUDY
general understanding of settings, attitudes, and events to become engaged in
the time itself. More details will
be available each step of the way.
Before starting any course, it is helpful to take the time to closely inspect the materials available to you. This
course does not rely on any specifically assigned textbook, but instead will be led and directed primarily from
these unit lessons, supported and enhanced by accompanying online and library resources. As we enter each
unit, you will be directed concerning how and where to find these details, which will also come with an
introduction to the online library and how to use an . For additional tips on success in
the online classroom, US News recent article, 5 Tips to Succeed in an Online Course, is worth a quick
review. (For more information, see http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/articles/2013/01/14/5tips-to-succeed-in-an-online-course).
The unit lesson in each unit study guide provides not only an overview of the different chronologies (including
topics of significance), it also references suggested readings, activities, and resources that will prove helpful
to your study and completion of course requirements. Please enjoy this course. Answers to common issues
are provided in the announcements, but if there are questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact your
It is best to start with an identification of the setting and timeline. While this course is titled American History,
this is just a reference to modern United States political borders. The first few units of this course must
explore a much wider world in order to introduce the nations unique development. Be sure when reading not
to confuse the meaning of current references to America and the United States in this course, because
they are not synonymous.
America most often refers to a physical land mass, generally some part of the North or South American
continents, the centralized land masses between them, and/or the accompanying islands, which are situated
in the far west Atlantic and far east Pacific Oceans. The term United States, however, is a direct reference to
a unified political entity of independent states, starting in 1776, with borders that will spread as our course
progresses. This first unit will explore the events up to the year AD 1600 (present era) and describe the
movements of cultures native to North, South, and Mesoamerica as well as the migration to, and creation of,
European colonies in the New World.
Scientists and historians continue to discover new evidence and develop new theories about the movement
and development of cultures. Today, a popular hypothesis is that the sub-arctic region to the west of modern
Alaska, now known as the Bering Straits, was once a solid mass of land that connected the modern
continents of Asia and North America until approximately 14,000 BC. It is via this land mass, known today as
Beringia (see Figure 1 below), that the first native tribes are thought to have migrated into the Americas,
eventually spreading through the north, central, and southern regions. (For more information, please see
HY 1110, American History I
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Figure 1- Beringia. (Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries,
The University of Texas at Austin.)
This theory is most commonly attributed to a Jesuit missionary named Jos de Acosta (d. 1600), whose
scientific writings were among the most celebrated of his time. Acosta, however, was still subject to his time,
and due to this, his is not the exclusive hypothesis explaining the migration to this New World. It is, however,
important to reiterate that most cultural histories have been pieced together by historians, as the nomadic
tribes left few records. Similarly, traditions were passed orally from generation to generation until the
invention/introduction of writing.
With the assumption that what motivated the first peoples in the Americas was migration from Asia in search
of food and other basic necessities, historians agree with Acosta that the earliest migration took place
somewhere between 15,000-14,000 BC. Currently available artifacts, including tools, weapons, and cultural
markings, help to further illustrate this movement from North to South America. An example is the Clovis
culture in the modern state of New Mexico, recognized for the unique shape of its hunting tools and their
agecirca 10,000-9,000 BC. Foraging in the Americas would be a necessity for many tribes, even years after
European colonization, but the large-scale migration would decrease with the discovery of agriculture as a
supplement to the daily diet and the use of pottery as a way to preserve and store excess materials and food
(ca. 4000 BC).
With settlement came population centers, and eventually the advent of semi-permanent political, religious,
and trade influenced organizations of numerous familieswhat we now recognize as a tribe. Tribes would
spread and appear throughout the Americas after 4000 BC. Even with common ancestry, tribal cultures would
adapt to the climate and resources available. Over time, this led to wide differences among tribes in religion,
government, and social roles, specifically when looking in the North American Southwest, South, and
Northeast. As complex and durable as these tribal societies had become, shortly before AD 1500, their world
would be changed by European exploration.
HY 1110, American History I
Tribes and Settlements (links to enlarging these maps can be found in Suggested
UNIT x STUDY
Native American cultural maps show clearly distinguished cultural and tribal regions, some of which would
rely on each other for support in harsh climates, while others feuded over land and supplies (see Figure 2
below). Assuming the accuracy of two of the most common migration patterns, Beringia and similar boatdriven expeditions further south, it is understandable why some of the oldest remains are found in what is now
the American West, such as Clovis, and in the Great Plainsboth of which we will cover in greater detail
during discussions about expansion. Considering the rising interest that would come from early European
exploration, it is important to also highlight some of the key regions that would soon become disputed
settlement territories and the sites of frontier conflict.