Syllabus for HIS-356



War and American Society focuses on the various ways in which America has dealt with war and the changes that have taken place in American society as a result of war. The course considers the following wars: the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish­-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the War on Terror. A major emphasis is placed on the humanities approach, addressing war and American society from historical, literary, artistic, and philosophical perspectives.


After completing this course, you should be able to:  

  1. Explain how the American experience of war has changed over time.
  2. Describe how war at once affects and reflects the social attitudes and values of American society.
  3. Identify and analyze wartime political, social, economic, and intellectual trends in America.
  4. Evaluate primary sources and appreciate their importance to the study of the humanities.
  5. Analyze the philosophical and moral issues raised by the American experience with war.


You will need the following materials to complete the work of the course. These materials are available from the textbook supplier, MBS Direct. The book by Snow and Drew is the basic survey text for the course; the others cover specific wars. (Note that some of these titles are available from more than one publisher.)

Survey Text

ISBN-13: 978-0765624031

Other Texts


ISBN-13: 978-0226923420    

ISBN-10: 0226923428

ISBN-10: 0140390162


ISBN-10: 1573922021

ISBN-10: 0195117964

ISBN-10: 0195173996

ISBN-10: 0192802070

ISBN-10: 0671725254


War and American Society is a six-credit online course consisting of eight modules. Modules include learning objectives, study materials, and activities. Module titles are listed below.


For your formal work in the course, you are required to complete written assignments and journal assignments, take a proctored midterm examination, and a complete a final project. See below for more details.

Discussion Forums

In addition to posting an introduction to the class in Module 1, you are required to participate in fifteen graded online discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a discussion question and at least two subsequent comments on classmates' responses. Meaningful participation is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation.

Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. You will be evaluated on the quality and quantity of your participation. Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful.

Written Assignments

War and American Society has eight written assignments. When you have done all of the assigned reading for each assignment, prepare your answers to the assignment question. (All activity questions can be found in the individual modules of the course site.)

Responses to written assignment questions are expected to be well developed and reasonably detailed (between 500 and 1000 words for each assignment question). They should clearly demonstrate your understanding of the course materials. An adequate response may well require a review of the relevant course materials.

Prepare your written assignments using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first activity, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Final Project

The final project is designed to measure your ability to analyze and synthesize historical evidence related to a historical theme. You are required to write a thesis paper that will be judged on your ability to formulate and support a thesis with specific and relevant historical evidence.

For specific details and requirements about the final project, refer to the Final Project area of the course. For due dates, be sure to reference the Course Calendar.

Midterm Examination

You are required to take a proctored midterm examination. The exam is three hours long and covers material in Modules 1 through 4 (through World War I). The exam consists of three essay questions. For each essay, you will be asked to formulate a thesis and defend your position by synthesizing and evaluating what you have learned in your coursework.

Each of the three essays on the exam will be graded using a rubric. You can view the rubric at any time by navigating to the Examinations section of the course.

During the exam, you may use any of the books you were required to purchase for the course. No other materials will be permitted. If you have specific questions about the exam, please contact your mentor at least a week in advance of the scheduled test.

Statement about Cheating

You are on your honor not to cheat during the exam. Cheating means:

If there is evidence that you have cheated or plagiarized in your exam, the exam will be declared invalid, and you will fail the course.


Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:






























Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a course not in your area of study), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).


First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to maintaining academic quality, excellence, and honesty. The University expects all members of its community to share the commitment to academic integrity, an essential component of a quality academic experience.

Students at Thomas Edison State University are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

All members of the University community are responsible for reviewing the Academic Code of Conduct Policy in the University Catalog and online at

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State University expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the University insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty can take the following forms:


Thomas Edison State University is committed to helping students understand the seriousness of plagiarism, which is defined as using the work and ideas of others without proper citation. The University takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing are subject to discipline under the academic code of conduct policy.

If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, or without identifying it as a direct quote, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > “Citing Sources.”)

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else’s. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

For examples of unintentional plagiarism, advice on when to quote and when to paraphrase, and information about writing assistance and originality report checking, click the links provided below.

Examples of Unintentional Plagiarism

When to Quote and When to Paraphrase

Writing Assistance at Smarthinking

Originality Report Checking at Turnitin

Disciplinary Process for Plagiarism

Acts of both intentional and unintentional plagiarism violate the Academic Code of Conduct.

If an incident of plagiarism is an isolated minor oversight or an obvious result of ignorance of proper citation requirements, the mentor may handle the matter as a learning exercise. Appropriate consequences may include the completion of tutorials, assignment rewrites, or any other reasonable learning tool in addition to a lower grade for the assignment or course. The mentor will notify the student and appropriate dean of the consequence by e-mail.

If the plagiarism appears intentional and/or is more than an isolated incident, the mentor will refer the matter to the appropriate dean, who will gather information about the violation(s) from the mentor and student, as necessary. The dean will review the matter and notify the student in writing of the specifics of the charge and the sanction to be imposed.

Possible sanctions include:

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