The Pre-Col Courses: An Overview

Session 2 of the NIAHD Pre-Collegiate Program is off to an exciting start.  Week 1 saw the introduction of students to the College of William and Mary and the start of their classes.  They set out on field trips and have already logged over 450 miles travelled between the 2 courses.  To give you a better appreciation for the relevance of these sites, here’s an overview of each of the courses that our students may be studying.

HIST 217: American History from the Founding of Jamestown thru the Revolution (a.k.a. the Colonial Course)

IMG_5197As the course title suggests, NIAHD’s Colonial course begins with the first European colonists setting foot on the banks of the James River.  Students look at nearly every facet of this first settlement including the interactions colonists had with the environment, weather, each other, and the Native Americans who had settled this area long before English ships sailed up the river.

As they continue their studies into Week 2, students will move forward into the late 17th– and early 18th-centuries after permanent settlements turned into thriving towns and cities.   Visits to surviving plantation homes and the trade shops in Colonial Williamsburg show the complex class system that developed in the colonies for a broader understanding of life during the Colonial period.

Week 3 will introduce the coming of revolutionary thought and growing tensions that ultimately led to America’s War for Independence.  They will end the course by experiencing life in Colonial Williamsburg as the colonists might have and witness some of the events and conversations plaguing the city during such a tumultuous time in history before finally visiting Yorktown, where America fought for victory on the battlefield.

HIST 218: American History from the Revolution thru the Civil War (a.k.a. the Civil War Course)

IMG_5220Don’t let our short-hand fool you.  This course focuses on much more than just the Civil War.  We start with a quick recap of the Revolutionary War emphasizing the mindset of citizens in the newly established American Republic.  Almost immediately, students will challenge the foundation of American independence with a look at slavery, which from its very complex nature and prolonged existence, will be revisited time and time again during these three weeks.

Week 2 dives into the rapid development of industry and trade in the young nation and especially in the burgeoning city of Richmond.  Built at the head of the James River Falls, Richmond was a necessary link between the thriving coastline cities and the expanding westward movement.  It was also in Richmond that tensions between Northern and Southern culture could be seen on a daily basis.  Was it any surprise to folks living here that a great war was coming?  That is one of many questions our students will attempt to answer.

The American Civil War devastated the young nation with a record of 600,000 casualties.  As the home of the Confederate capital, Virginia was particularly affected and students will take advantage of many historic sites to study military and social history related to the Civil War.  As the course comes to an end, students will visit various cemeteries to discuss how conflict is remembered and perhaps even draw a few parallels between history and current events.

There are a lot more photos to come, so check back next week and like us @NIAHD at W&M on Facebook to stay updated.

Published in: on July 22, 2016 at 11:22 am Comments (0)