Jump to content
270soft Forum
Sign in to follow this  
vcczar

US Presidential History Syllabus Reading List

Recommended Posts

I thought some of you might find this interesting. If I were to teach a course on presidential history, I think the reading assignments would look something like this (Let me know if I should consider other speeches, or documents:

 

Week 1 - Pre-Presidency:

Articles of Confederation
Excerpts of Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Declaration of Independence
Constitution of the United States (w/o the Bill of Rights)
Excerpts of Madison's notes
Federalist Papers (selected papers)
"Anti-Federalist Papers"(selected papers)
Excerpts of the Virginia and Massachusetts Constitutions 
Excerpts of Adams Smith, Thomas Locke, etc. 
 
Week 2 - Washington and Adams presidencies:
Washington's 1st and 2nd inauguration
John Jay Treaty
Bill of Rights
Washington's Farewell Address
Adam's inauguration
1798 Resolutions by Madison and Jefferson
 
Week 3 - Jefferson through Adams:
Inauguration addresses of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Adams. 
Marbury v. Madison
Slave Trade Ban Act
Madison's Declaration of War
Monroe Doctrine and Monroe's announcement
Clay's American System Speech
 
Week 4 - Jackson through Polk:
Inauguration addresses of Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Polk
Jackson's argument against his censor
Adams's Amistad speech
Van Buren on Permanent Opposition
WL Garrison's Liberator
RW Emerson's American Scholar
Calhoun's Slavery as a Positive Good Speech
Polk's Declaration of War
Lincoln's Speech against the Mexican War
Adams's speech against the gag rule
Senaca Falls Convention speech (excerpts of a few speeches)
 
Week 5 - Taylor through Buchanan:
Inauguration addresses of Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan
1850 Compromise
7th of March Speech by Webster
Compromise Speech by Clay
House Divided speech by Lincoln
Popular Sovereignty speech by Douglas
Ostend Manifesto
Sumner's Barbarism of Slavery
Whitman's introduction to the 1855 Leaves of Grass
John Brown speech
Dred Scott Decision
Excerpts of Lincoln's Cooper Union speech
 
Week 6 - Lincoln and the Civil War:
Lincoln's inaugurations
Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
Frederick Douglass on the Emancipation Proclamation 
Gettysburg Address
Jefferson Davis inauguration
Confederate Constitution
Excerpts of Grant's Memoirs. 
Speech by Vallandigham
 
Week 7 - Johnson through Hayes:
Inaugurations of Grant and Hayes
Excerpts of Grant's Memoirs
Civil Rights Acts and Amendments
Various speeches for and against Reconstruction
Speeches by Frederick Douglass 
Speeches by women suffragettes 
 
Week 8 - Garfield through McKinley:
Inaugurations of Garfield, Cleveland, Harrison, and McKinley
McKinley's Declaration of War
Speeches by women suffragettes
Speeches by prohibitionists
Excerpts of Karl Marx
Bryan's Cross of Gold Speech
Bryan's Against Imperialism speech
Holmes's Common Law
 
Week 9: Roosevelt through Wilson:
Inauguration of Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson
Wilson's Declaration of War
Wilson's League of Nations
Roosevelt's Square Deal
Excerpts by La Follette
Excerpts by Debs
Roosevelt's Bull Moose Speech
 
Week 10 - Harding through Hoover:
Inauguration of Harding, Coolidge, Hoover
Hoover speech on efficiency
Harding speech on normalcy
 
Week 11 - FDR:
Inauguration Speeches
Fireside Chats (selected)
Huey P. Long speech (Share the Wealth)
Declaration of War
Anti-New Deal Speeches
Proposed 2nd Bill of Rights
 
Week 12 - Truman through Nixon:
Inauguration speeches
Truman's announcement of the bomb
Nixon's Kitchen Debate
Robert Taft speeches
Eisenhower farewell address
Kennedy-Nixon Debate
JFK Moon Speech
MLK Dream Speech & Mountaintop Speech
Wallace Segregation Speech
RFK on MLK's death speech
LBJ's Great Society
LBJ's War on Poverty
LBJ's "declaration of War"
LBJ's declining renomination speech
Reagan's speech for Goldwater (Time for Choosing)
Goldwater's convention speech
Excerpts of RFK and McCarthy anti-War speeches
Barbara Jordan Nixon impeachment speech
Nixon silent majority speech
Nixon resignation
Vidal vs Buckley
 
Week 13 - Ford through Clinton:
Inauguration speeches
Ford pardoning Nixon
Carter malaise speech
Ted Kennedy 1980 DNC speech
Reagan Challenger speech
Reagan Berlin Wall speech
Reagan farewell address
Jesse Jackson convention speech
Barbara Jordan speeches
Bush war speech
Clinton NAFTA speech
Perot anti-NAFTA speech
Gingrich Contract w/ America
Hillary Clinton's women's rights are human rights speech
 
Week 14 - Bush through Trump:
Inauguration Speeches
Bush declaration of War
Bush 9/11 speech
Kucinich, Byrd and Paul anti-war speeches
Obama 2008 victory speech
Obama Bin Laden speech
Sanders Socialism speech
Clinton DNC speech
Trump campaign announcement
Trump RNC speech
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@vcczar You should minimally at least make a google classroom for this. I'd participate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, NYrepublican said:

@vcczar You should minimally at least make a google classroom for this. I'd participate.

I'll consider it. Maybe for the Summer. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@vcczar One I especially think is quite important, because it was completely ignored and the consequences are being and felt and suffered everywhere, both in and outside the U.S., was the line from Eisenhower's farewell speech to "avoid the rise of the military-industrial complex."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Patine said:

@vcczar One I especially think is quite important, because it was completely ignored and the consequences are being and felt and suffered everywhere, both in and outside the U.S., was the line from Eisenhower's farewell speech to "avoid the rise of the military-industrial complex."

It's on there. "Eisenhower's Farewell Address"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@vcczar You should only use excerpts of Trump's RNC speech.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, NYrepublican said:

@vcczar You should only use excerpts of Trump's RNC speech.

Why only excerpts with his speech?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, vcczar said:

Why only excerpts with his speech?

Because it was WAY too long. I remember turning off his speech mid-way because he kept on talking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, NYrepublican said:

Because it was WAY too long. I remember turning off his speech mid-way because he kept on talking.

What I'd probably do with all of the speeches is have the entire speech, with the most important parts highlighted. That way, nothing can be taken out of context. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Patine said:

@vcczar This W.L. Garrison has no Wikipedia article. Who is he, exactly?

William Lloyd Garrison, editor of the Liberator and President of an Anti-Slavery Society

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Patine said:

@vcczar This W.L. Garrison has no Wikipedia article. Who is he, exactly?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Lloyd_Garrison 

He has. @vcczar did you quickly write it? :D 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it is entirely relevant but, @vcczar, you should include several speeches from the 1924 Democratic convention to showcase the internal struggle the party had in either being socially liberal or conservative. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@vcczar I notice the only two non-American author (both in the pre-Presidency period) who are included are Adam Smith and John Locke. Why not include other past authors who predate the United States, whose writings nonetheless impacted, sometimes quite overtly, the U.S. founding fathers, such as Plato (who coined the word and concept of a "Republic" in the first place), Marcus Aurelius, one of the biggest ideological founders of the Roman Republic and it's legal and constitutional structure, Montesque (who first came up with the idea of separation of government powers to prevent abuse by said government upon it's citizens), George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, one of the principal forces in the English Parliament behind the assembling, codifying, and formalizing of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 from several previous documents made as concessions by several previous monarchs (although Halifax was heavily influenced by Locke), including the then-unprecedented concept that the head-of-state of a nation could be removed from tenure for violating these rights, as his significant part in the Glorious Revelation of the same year showed. These are some notable and obvious influences on the Founding Fathers who were not American and predated the United States as a nation other than Smith and Locke. I can probably dig up some more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Sunnymentoaddict said:

Not sure if it is entirely relevant but, @vcczar, you should include several speeches from the 1924 Democratic convention to showcase the internal struggle the party had in either being socially liberal or conservative. 

 

Do you have any specific speeches in mind? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Patine said:

@vcczar I notice the only two non-American author (both in the pre-Presidency period) who are included are Adam Smith and John Locke. Why not include other past authors who predate the United States, whose writings nonetheless impacted, sometimes quite overtly, the U.S. founding fathers, such as Plato (who coined the word and concept of a "Republic" in the first place), Marcus Aurelius, one of the biggest ideological founders of the Roman Republic and it's legal and constitutional structure, Montesque (who first came up with the idea of separation of government powers to prevent abuse by said government upon it's citizens), George Savile, 1st Marquess of Halifax, one of the principal forces in the English Parliament behind the assembling, codifying, and formalizing of the English Bill of Rights of 1689 from several previous documents made as concessions by several previous monarchs (although Halifax was heavily influenced by Locke), including the then-unprecedented concept that the head-of-state of a nation could be removed from tenure for violating these rights, as his significant part in the Glorious Revelation of the same year showed. These are some notable and obvious influences on the Founding Fathers who were not American and predated the United States as a nation other than Smith and Locke. I can probably dig up some more.

Very good suggestions. I had to limit those I used. However, I think I should include some non-American speeches or excerpts of texts/documents during different eras of the presidency. For instance, GB abolitionists, GB Reform law, French Rev Rights of Man, Khruschchev "We will bury you" speech, etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×