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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2007

GOV 370L • 19- U.S. as a Territorial Nation - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38970 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
MEZ 2.124

Course Description

"The United States as a Territorial Nation" explores how the United States became a continental and, later, an overseas empire. This is to say it focuses on the territorial or geographic dimension of the United States' political development (rather than, say, on political parties, presidents, sectionalism, or elections). Throughout this lengthy expansion period, the United States was always made up of more than its member states. In this sense, the geopolitical reality of United States defies the idea of the United States as a nation of states.

The course studies several dimensions of this territorial dimension to the United States: (1) the federalist philosophy behind much of the founding of the United States; (2) the United States' acquisitions of land and formation of separate territories under U.S. sovereignty United States; (3) the establishment of the "public domain"land belonging to the U.S. government that came out of the United States various land acquisitions but that did not belong to either the original thirteen colonies or any of the subsequently added states, whether as individual states or jointly; (4) the effect of US geographic expansion on American Indians; (5) distinct place of Mormon history in US political development; (6) the origin of the unincorporated territories, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, after the Spanish-American war, territories that lie outside the continental United States and that remain as territories up to the present; (7) the development and administration of US government lands under different federal departments and agencies, and the political issues that derive from these lands. As a writing component class, student have to write early and oftenshort papers in which student may be asked to summarize readings, evaluate different arguments, and propose their own ideas. A significant portion of class time, especially early in the semester, will focus on writing. The class also introduces two games, that is to say, role-playing scenarios in which students have to engage with each other in situations where confronted with difficult choices. One game is Forest Diplomacy: War and Peace on the Colonial Frontier, and will be played early in the semester. The second game is The Quincy Library Group, 1993: Wilderness and Resource Extraction in the Sierra Nevada, and will be played late in the term.


Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest (Norton 1988). Dee Brown, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee (Henry Holt 1970). Sarah Barringer Gordon, The Mormon Question (North Carolina 2002). Bartholomew H. Sparrow, The Insular Cases and the Emergence of American Empire (Kansas 2006). Other readings will be available in a reading packet (P), to be purchased at Jenn's Copies on Guadalupe at Dean Keeton. There will also be two game packets to be downloaded from the Internet (more details to follow). Recommended: John Trimble, Writing with Style, 2nd Ed. (Prentice Hall, 2000).


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