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HSTAA 110 A: History Of American Citizenship

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Meeting Time: 
MTWTh 12:00pm - 12:50pm
GLD 322
Professor John Findlay
John M. Findlay

Syllabus Description:

History of American Citizenship

Professor: John Findlay (                      Office:  Smith 108B, 206-543-2573                            

Lectures: MTWTh, 12:00-12:50                   Office Hours:  Tues. 1:30-3:15, and by appt                        

Room:  Gould Hall 322        

                             Coffee Hour: Wed. 1:00-2:20, Buzz Coffee Shop, Ground Floor, Gould Hall



AA 12:30-1:20 in SAV 139, and AC 11:30-12:20 in MGH 251:  Sean Jarvis (

AB 12:30-1:20 in SAV 130, and AD 11:30-12:20 in JHN 026:  Soh Yeun Elloise Kim (



LOGISTICS:  This course surveys the history of American citizenship from the colonial period to around the year 2000.  We meet for lectures on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and hold discussion sections every Friday.  Professor Findlay’s lectures address the theme of citizenship in American history, and are meant to provide information and context, offer arguments, invite questions and comments, and develop an overall narrative.  The sections are for discussion of weekly reading assignments, lectures, films, and written work.   They also develop the theme of families in U.S. history.  The TA’s will lead the sections and assess student work.

GOALS & EXPECTATIONS:  The aims of the course are to improve students’ abilities to read critically, to think historically and conceptually, and to write well, and to broaden their understanding of the history of the United States.  In support of those aims, students in HSTAA 110 are expected to:  attend, listen to, and review lectures; participate in discussions during lecture sessions; read and think about the assigned readings and videos; attend sections prepared and willing to discuss readings and videos thoughtfully; and complete all written assignments.

READINGS:  Required common readings for HSTAA 110 consist of several items.  Four paperback books are available for purchase at the University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE (Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale; Pauli Murray, Proud Shoes; Reed Ueda, Crosscurrents; and Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, Midnight in Broad Daylight).  Copies of these titles are being placed on 24-hour reserve in Odegaard Library; some of the titles are also available from the UW Libraries as e-books.  Five shorter assigned selections are available on the course website (go to “Files,” and click on “Required Readings”).  These shorter readings include William Youngs, “The British American”; Paige Raibmon, “Naturalizing Power”; “Young Joseph” [Heinmot Tooyalakekt], “An Indian’s Views of Indian Affairs”; Vicki Ruiz, “Un Mujer Sin Fronteras”; and Luisa Moreno, “Caravans of Sorrow.”  Assigned for discussion during lecture on Oct. 9 is a selection of readings—gathered into a PowerPoint presentation, on “Voting and the Lewis and Clark Expedition”—also under “Required Readings.”  In addition to the common readings, students will undertake individualized research on family-history projects.  We will view two films, listen to music, and discuss additional texts that will be introduced via PowerPoint slides in the course of lectures.

No survey textbook is assigned.  Some students may find it useful to follow along in a college-level U.S. history textbook.  Paul Spickard, Almost All Aliens:  Immigration, Race, and Colonialism in American History and Identity, is a useful example (also on reserve at Odegaard Library, and available from UW Libraries as an e-book, too).  A textbook may assist those who wish to supplement lectures with a factual overview, but use of one is not required to succeed in the course.  The course website does offer a U.S. History Timeline under “Files.” 

MAIN THEMES:  HSTAA 110 interprets the history of the United States by examining how the American definition of citizenship evolved from colonial times to the present.  More specifically, it considers how different groups within the American population, such as white men (with and without property), Native Americans, specific groups of immigrants, women, and enslaved and free African Americans, at different times were denied (or gained) “full membership” (or less-than-full membership) in the United States.  Another, related theme, developed particularly in the readings and the research paper, is the experiences of families in American history.

Citizenship has been defined as the membership of an individual in a nation.  In 1957, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren argued, “Citizenship is man’s basic right for it is nothing less than the right to have rights.  Remove this priceless possession and there remains a stateless person, disgraced and degraded in the eyes of his countrymen.  He has no lawful claim to protection from any nation, and no nation may assert rights on his behalf.  His very existence is at the sufferance of the state within whose borders he happens to be.  In this country the expatriate will presumably enjoy, at most, only the limited rights and privileges of aliens, and like the alien he might even be subject to deportation and thereby deprived of the right to assert any rights.” 

Warren’s definition of citizenship, or its implications, is problematic.  Yet it points to a key aspect of citizenship in the U.S.—the possession of legal rights guaranteed by the Constitution and other authorities.  And it points out that those without citizenship—and, it should be added, those without full citizenship, for throughout history many, many Americans have technically been “citizens” but never enjoyed all the rights normally associated with complete membership in the nation—have been at the mercy of others to watch and speak out for them.  For most of American history, the majority of peoples, both in the U.S. and around the world, were ineligible for full American citizenship due to their place of birth, their nationality or race or sex or religion or sexual preference or age, or other factors.  In many ways American citizenship has been an exclusive category.  HSTAA 110 explores how that category has evolved, expanded, contracted, and taken on new meanings.

While recognizing that full citizenship entails a wide range of rights and responsibilities, this class often uses the right to vote, and the act of voting, as shorthand for complete membership in the nation.



The instructors, the Department of History, and the University of Washington offer ample resources to help students succeed in HSTAA 110.

OFFICE HOURS:  John Findlay, Elloise Kim, and Sean Jarvis will hold regular office hours for private meetings with students.  On Wednesday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:20, Professor Findlay will also meet with students over coffee in a more informal and less private office hour. We will gather outside the Design Coffee Shop, ground floor, Gould Hall.  At this coffee hour, Professor Findlay will be happy to talk about our course, but we could also discuss the University, the city of Seattle, the news, or other things on our minds.  If you cannot attend regularly scheduled office hours, do not hesitate to schedule appointments at other times or reach out via e-mail.

COURSE WEBSITE:  HSTAA 110 has a course website with much information on it already and with more added as the course unfolds.  The URL is   Site resources include:

Study Questions:  For each discussion section, the instructors will prepare and post several study questions.  These are meant to facilitate discussion by posing questions about some important issues in each set of readings.  Students are asked to prepare one response paper (i.e., an essay that responds to the readings) during the quarter, due Oct. 11.  One way to choose a topic for that paper is by answering a study question. Ultimately, we want students to improve at framing their own questions about readings on the past.  Study questions will normally be posted by the Monday prior to each Friday discussion section.

Descriptions of Written Assignments:  Students are required to complete several writing assignments.  Those assignments are summarized briefly on this syllabus.  The course website offers more detail about each assignment.

Sample Family History Research Papers:  Students are required to complete a research paper on some aspect of their family’s connection to U.S. history.  The course website offers a variety of examples of this assignment by students who enrolled in HSTAA 110 in earlier years.  (Go to “Files,” and click on “Sample Family History Papers.”)  We will critique two or three of the sample essays in lecture on Thursday 7 November.

Video Recordings and PowerPoint Slides for Each Lecture.  The UW subscribes to a service called Panopto, which video-records each lecture and synchronizes it with the appropriate PowerPoint presentations.  Students can revisit lectures by clicking “Panopto Recordings” on the course website.  PowerPoint presentations from each lecture are posted separately to the website—go to “Files” and click on “PowerPoint Presentations.”

UW LIBRARIES RESOURCES FOR HSTAA 110:  In the UW Libraries, Ms. Theresa Mudrock serves as the liaison to the Department of History.  She has created a web guide to help students find library resources for their family history research papers:  Ms. Mudrock herself is available to field questions and offer guidance for research:  The Reserves counter in Odegaard Library (2nd floor) makes available DVD copies of A Midwife’s Tale and Lone Star, should you wish to check them out for individual viewing.  The Reserves counter in Odegaard also has readings that have proven helpful over the years for family-history projects.  To ensure their availability to students doing research on family-history projects, or seeking more information on major course themes, that have been placed on 24-hour reserve.  These include Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America; Dorothee Schneider, Crossing Borders: Migration and Citizenship in the Twentieth-Century United States; Michael Schudson, The Good Citizen:  A History of American Civic Life; Rogers M. Smith, Civic Ideals:  Conflicting Visions of Citizenship in U.S. History; Paul Spickard, Almost All Aliens: Immigration, Race, and Colonialism in American History and Identity; and Reed Ueda, Postwar Immigrant America: A Social History.  Some of these titles are also available as e-books.  Note that these are supplementary—not required—titles.

WRITING TUTORS.  HSTAA 110 is a W course.  The TA’s and professor will provide feedback on student writing.  For more assistance students may turn to other places on campus where they can get help with writing.  These include the History Writing Center (; the Odegaard Library Writing and Research Center (; the CLUE Writing Center in Mary Gates Hall ( and the Minority Affairs and Diversity Educational Opportunity Program Instructional Center (  Students are more assured of getting help if they reach out earlier in the quarter.   

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS:  The UW offers several programs for Multilingual Students and Teachers, including Global Classrooms (  If English is not your first language, the Odegaard Writing and Research Center organizes Targeted Learning Communities to support students enrolled in courses (like this one) requiring considerable reading and writing.  Visit


Students are responsible for submitting their own independent work. They are also responsible for understanding and following University policies regarding academic honesty and plagiarism.  Please contact your TA or the professor if you have any questions on these matters.

 Late papers will be penalized at a rate of 0.4 per day.  However, in the event of illness or personal emergencies we will try to be accommodating.  Please contact an instructor as soon as possible so that she or he can try to be helpful.

 To receive a passing grade, students must complete all assignments, including participation in sections.  In other words, one cannot (for example) skip the response paper (worth only 10% of the total course grade) and still pass the course.



 A date followed by “section” (e.g. “Sept. 27 section”) indicates a reading assignment for Friday sections.   A date followed by “in-lecture discussion” means we will go over the specified readings during lecture.  An asterisk (*) denotes a reading is available on the course website—under “Files,” click on “Required Readings.”


First Half of Course:  American Citizenship from Colonization to Civil War

Unit I—Sept. 25 – Oct. 1:  Beginnings

            Sept. 25:  Introduction to Course

            Sept. 26:  European Colonizers of North America, 1492-1763

Sept. 27 section: *J. William T. Youngs, “The British American:  William Byrd in Two Worlds,” in American Realities, Historical Episodes, vol. I, From the First Settlements to the Civil War, 5th ed. (1981; New York:  Longman, 2001), 55-73; *Paige Raibmon, “Naturalizing Power: Land and Sexual Violence along William Byrd’s Dividing Line,” in Virginia J. Scharff, ed., Seeing Nature through Gender (Lawrence:  University Press of Kansas, 2003), 20-39.

Sept. 30:  Natives Americans’ Encounters with European Colonizers, 1492-1874

Unit II—Oct. 1-4:  Colonization and Citizens in British North America

            Oct. 1:  English Colonization—the 17th Century

            Oct. 2:  No lectureDVD of A Midwife’s Tale

            Oct. 3: English Colonization—the 18th Century

Oct. 4 section:  Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale:  The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 (1990; New York: Vintage Books, 1991), 3-161.

Unit III—Oct. 7-11:  Slaves, Citizens, and in Between: Revolutionary America, 1750-1850

            Oct. 7:  American Slavery in the 17th and 18th Centuries

            Oct. 8:  Slaves, Citizens, and Republican Government, 1775-1789

Oct. 9, in-lecture discussion:  Prepare by viewing the PowerPoint presentation “Voting and the Lewis and Clark Expedition” (on the course website click “Files,” then click “Required Readings”).

            Oct. 10:  Party Politics in the New Republic, 1790s-1850s

Oct. 11 section:  Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale, 162-308.

RESPONSE PAPER DUE AT START OF SECTION, OCT. 11—roughly two double-spaced pages.  Paper worth 10% of course grade.  Upload e-file to course website AND submit hard copy of this assignment to TA.

Unit IV—Oct. 14-18:  Citizens, Immigrants, and The Market Economy: North and South, 1790-1860

            Oct. 14:  Growth of the Market Economy, 1790-1860

            Oct. 15:  The Expansive North and the Rise of Reformers

            Oct. 16:  The Slave South

            Oct. 17:  Immigrants in the Antebellum Republic -- No class meeting—this lecture will be recorded on Panopto.

Oct. 18 section:  Pauli Murray, Proud Shoes:  The Story of an American Family (1956; Boston:  Beacon Press, 1999), 1-111.


Unit V—Oct. 21-25:  Disunion, Civil War, Emancipation, Reconstruction, 1820-1896

Oct. 21:  America Grows Apart, 1820-1857, Over Issues of Slavery and Citizenship  

Oct. 22:  Civil War and the Emancipation of Slaves

Oct. 23:  Reconstruction and African American Citizenship

Oct. 24:  The Rise of Jim Crow and the Demise of African Americans’ Rights

Oct. 25 section:  Murray, Proud Shoes, 112-276.

MIDTERM TAKE-HOME ESSAY EXAM, DUE MONDAY 28 OCT. AT START OF FILM, 6:15 pm.  Students will answer one question (choosing from 3-4) on the first half of the course.   Questions will be posted by Thursday 24 October.  Essays should be 5-6 pages long, uploaded to website.  Worth 20% of course grade.


Second Half of Course:  Citizenship during the U.S. Rise to Global Power

Unit VI—Oct. 28-Nov. 5:  Westward Expansion, Racial Minorities, and American Empire, 1840-1914

Oct. 28:  No lecture at 12:00.  Rather, the class will meet at that evening at 6:00 for pizza and 6:15 to view film LONE STAR (1996).  Room Johnson 075

            Oct. 29:  The American West and the Nation during the 19th century

            Oct. 30:  Mexicans and the 19th-century U.S.

            Oct. 31:  Indians and Indian Policy in the 19th-century U.S.

Nov. 1 section:  *”Young Joseph” [Heinmot Tooyalakekt], “An Indian’s Views of Indian Affairs,” The North American Review 128 (April 1879): 412-33; Reed Ueda, Crosscurrents: Atlantic and Pacific Migration in the Making of a Global America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), intr., ch. 1.

FAMILY HISTORY PROJECT—BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE BY START OF SECTION, NOV. 1.  Must consist of at least three titles, including at least one primary source and one secondary work.  Upload e-file to course website.

            Nov. 4:  The Industrializing West and Chinese Immigrants

            Nov. 5:  Foreign Policy, Citizenship, & Empire: U.S. Acquisition of Overseas Territory, 1890-1941

Unit VII—Nov. 6-18:  Industry, Immigration, and Reform, 1877-1930

Nov. 6:  Industrialization Transforms America

Nov. 7, in-lecture discussion:  critique of sample family history papers 

            Nov. 8 section:  Ueda, Crosscurrents, chs. 2-3.

Nov. 11: VETERANS DAY HOLIDAY—no class

Nov. 12: Industrialization and Immigration


Nov. 13:  Industrialization and its Discontents: Radicals, Progressives, and Modernizing America

Nov. 14:  Redefining Who Can Vote and Who Can Immigrate, 1882-1934

Nov. 15 section:  Pamela Rotner Sakamoto, Midnight in Broad Daylight: A Japanese American Family Caught between Two Worlds (New York: Harper, 2016), xiii-xvi, 1-207.

Nov. 18:   Race, Migration, and Cultural Change, 1920-1960

Unit VIII—Nov. 19-29:  American Citizenship from Depression to Cold War, 1930-1970

            Nov. 19:  Depression, New Deal, and Economic Citizenship

            Nov. 20:  World War Two and Immigrants in the U.S.

            Nov. 21:  Cold War and Containment Policy

Nov. 22 section:  Sakamoto, Midnight in Broad Daylight, 211-357; *Vicki Ruiz, “Una Mujer Sin Fronteras: Luisa Moreno and Latina Labor Activism,” Pacific Historical Review 73 (Feb. 2004): 1-20; *Luisa Moreno, “Caravans of Sorrow:  Noncitizen Americans of the Southwest,” in David G. Gutiérrez, ed., Between Two Worlds: Mexican Immigrants in the United States (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1996), 119-23.

Nov. 25:  Immigration Policy in an Era of Global Conflict, 1942-1980

            Nov. 26:  African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement

            Nov. 27-29:  No Class – Thanksgiving holiday

Unit IX—Dec. 2-6:  Citizenship in Recent America

Dec. 2: From Affluence to Overreach: The American Home Front, 1945-1980

Family-history research paper due By 12:00 noon, Dec. 2, IN GOULD 322.  Paper should be 7-8 double-spaced pages.  Submit hard copy AND upload e-file.  30% of course grade

Dec. 3:  The Courts and the Rise of a “Rights-Based” Citizenship in Postwar America

Dec. 4:  Citizenship Amid Economic and Political Change, 1970-1990

Dec. 5:  Race, Immigration, Environment, and Citizenship, 1990-2008

Dec. 6 section: Ueda, Crosscurrents, ch. 4; discuss the film Lone Star, dir. John Sayles (1996)

Final take-home essay exam, on second half of course.  Questions posted by Friday 6 Dec.  Upload as e-file no later than 10:00 a.m., Thurs 12 Dec.  5-6 pages, 20% of course grade



Discussion Sections:  20% of course grade.  Students are expected to complete the assigned readings on time, to come prepared to discuss them (i.e., to have thought about them before class), and to attend regularly.  The TA will evaluate individuals’ contributions to discussions.  The TA may include in this part of the course grade additional assignments specific to the sections, and can also weigh favorably students’ contributions to in-lecture discussions.


Writing Assignments:  80% of course grade

1) A response paper, concerning the reading assignment for October 11, due as hard copy and e-file at the start of section. A response paper is a student’s considered response to the reading for that day. The paper, of approximately 2 double-spaced pages, may concern any aspect of the reading.  One way to find a topic is to answer one of the study questions posed for that day’s reading.  Another way to find a topic is to compare and contrast the day’s reading to readings done earlier.  10% OF COURSE GRADE

2) Students will take a Mid-term, Take-home, Essay Exam, covering the first half of the course. The exam will be submitted as an e-file to course website by the beginning of the movie (6:15 p.m.) on the evening of Monday 28 October. Questions will be posted 4-5 days before the exam is due.  20% OF COURSE GRADE

3)  Family-History Research Project

This essay of 7-8 word-processed, double-spaced pages is meant to illustrate how personal and family stories intersect with national history (as we will have seen through our reading of the Youngs, Raibmon, Ulrich, Murray, Ueda, Sakamoto, Ruiz, and Moreno texts).  Students are asked to pick one or two individuals from their families—ideally but not necessarily somebody slightly removed from their nuclear family, such as an uncle or great grandmother—and interweave their personal stories with events or forces operating at the “national” level.  Thus we might hear how the G.I. Bill created upward mobility by allowing a veteran to attend college; how U.S. law or policy presented hurdles for prospective immigrants; how passage of suffrage legislation permitted a great grandmother to vote for the first time; or how U.S. foreign policy led to ancestors experiencing war or dislocation.  There are many, many possibilities.  Students are expected to research in both primary sources (oral interviews, diaries, letters, memoirs, newspapers, etc.) and secondary works.  One key to success here is to start thinking about the topic in plenty of time.  Another is to recognize the wide range of resources available, not the least of which are the UW Libraries and History Librarian Theresa Mudrock.  Ms. Mudrock has developed a website to help students launch their research (  The course website has copies of sample papers from previous quarters, and we will critique some sample papers in lecture on Nov. 7.

Some students find it uncomfortable writing about their own family, or do not have family members with substantial connections to U.S. history.  In these cases, students may select someone else’s family history to write about.  Students choosing this option should consult with the professor or TA’s.  Here are some people and books that could serve as starting points for a research paper about someone else’s family’s history:  Kim Barnes, In the Wilderness; Margaret Byington, Homestead: The Households of a Mill Town; John Demos, The Unredeemed Captive; Ivan Doig, This House of Sky; Paula Fass, Inheriting the Holocaust; Louis Fiset, Imprisoned Apart; Carlos Gil, We Became Mexican American; Mary Matsuda Gruenewald, Looking Like the Enemy; Neil Henry, Pearl’s Secret; Gordon Hirabayashi, UW student who protested wartime mistreatment of Japanese Americans; Kristen Iversen, Full Body Burden; Phoebe Goodell Judson, A Pioneer’s Search for an Ideal Home; William Kittredge, Hole in the Sky; Mary Paik Lee, Quiet Odyssey; Neil Nakadate, Looking After Minidoka; Monica Sone, Nisei Daughter; or Frances Esquibel Tywoniak, Migrant Daughter.  There are many other possibilities.

The family-history research paper will be developed in stages.  The three lead-in assignments will not be graded, but must be submitted to receive a final grade on the research project.  If lead-in assignments are turned in late, TA’s cannot guarantee timely feedback on them.

Oct. 18, due by the start of section:  a one-page prospectus, or a description of the topic and argument for your research paper. Students will receive feedback on the suitability of the topic and ideas on how to pursue the topic.  Please submit as e-file.. 

Nov.1, due by the start of section, submitted as e-file: a bibliography of at least three titles in use for your project, at least one of which must be a primary source and one of which must be a secondary work.

Nov. 12, due at the start of lecture:  a rough draft of your essay, as complete as you can make it and submitted as an e-file.  If parts of the essay are incomplete, try to include an outline of how you expect to finish the paper, or a list of the questions that still need answers.  Students will receive feedback on how to improve the essay.

Dec. 2, due at the start of lecture:  the final draft of the family-history research paper, submitted both as e-file and in hard copy.  30% OF THE COURSE GRADE 

4)  Students will submit (uploaded as e-file to course website) the Final, Take-home, Essay Exam, no later than between 10:00 on Thursday 12 Dec. Questions will be posted by December 6. Students will answer one question from a list of 3 or 4.   20% OF THE COURSE GRADE



Section: 20%.  Response Paper: 10%.  Midterm: 20%.  Research Paper: 30%.  Final Exam: 20%.

HSTAA 110 does not use the GradeBook (or Grades) feature in Canvas.




Catalog Description: 
Examines how, when, and why different groups of people (e.g., white men, white men without property, peoples of color including one-time slaves, women, immigrants) became eligible for citizenship throughout American history. Explores how and why for many peoples, at many times, citizenship did not confer equal rights to all.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
August 15, 2019 - 12:30pm