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Tons of awesome courses in one awesome channel! Nicole Sweeney teaches you sociology, Carrie Anne Philbin teaches you computer science, Craig Benzine teaches film history, and Mike Rugnetta is teaching mythology!
In which John Green kicks off Crash Course US History! Why, you may ask, are we covering US History, and not more World History, or the history of some other country, or the very specific history of your home region? Well, the reasons are many. But, like it or not, the United States has probably meddled in your country to some degree in the last 236 years or so, and that means US History is relevant all over the world. In episode 1, John talks about the Native Americans who lived in what is now the US prior to European contact. This is a history class, not archaeology, so we're mainly going to cover written history. That means we start with the first sustained European settlement in North America, and that means the Spanish. The Spanish have a long history with the natives of the Americas, and not all of it was positive. The Spanish were definitely not peaceful colonizers, but what colonizers are peaceful? Colonization pretty much always results in an antagonistic relationship with the
In which John Green teaches you about the (English) colonies in what is now the United States. He covers the first permanent English colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the various theocracies in Massachusetts, the feudal kingdom in Maryland, and even a bit about the spooky lost colony at Roanoke Island. What were the English doing in America, anyway? Lots of stuff. In Virginia, the colonists were largely there to make money. In Maryland, the idea was to create a a colony for Catholics who wanted to be serfs of the Lords Baltimore. In Massachusetts, the Pilgrims and Puritans came to America to find a place where they could freely persecute those who didn't share their beliefs. But there was a healthy profit motive in Massachusetts as well. Profits were thin at first, and so were the colonists. Trouble growing food and trouble with the natives kept the early colonies from success. Before long though, the colonists started cultivating tobacco, which was a win for everyone involved if you igno
In which John Green teaches you about relations between the early English colonists and the native people the encountered in the New World. In short, these relations were poor. As soon as they arrived, the English were in conflict with the native people. At Jamestown, Captain John Smith briefly managed to get the colony on pretty solid footing with the local tribes, but it didn't last, and a long series of wars with the natives ensued. This pattern would continue in US history, with settlers pushing into native lands and pushing the inhabitants further west. In this episode, you'll learn about Wahunsunacawh (who the English called Powhatan), his daughter Pocahontas, King Philip's (aka Metacom) War, and the Mystic Massacre. By and large, the history of the Natives and the English was not a happy one, even Thanksgiving wasn't all it's cracked up to be. Support CrashCourse on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crashcourse
Hey teachers and students - Check out CommonLit's free collection of
In which John Green teaches you about some of the colonies that were not in Virginia or Massachussetts. Old New York was once New Amsterdam. Why they changed it, I can say; ENGLISH people just liked it better that way, and when the English took New Amsterdam in 1643, that's just what they did. Before the English got there though, the colony was full of Dutch people who treated women pretty fairly, and allowed free black people to hold jobs. John also discusses Penn's Woods, also known as Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was (briefly) a haven of religious freedom, and William Penn dealt relatively fairly with the natives his colony displaced. Of course, as soon as Penn died, the colonist started abusing the natives immediately. We venture as far south as the Carolina colonies, where the slave labor economy was taking shape. John also takes on the idea of the classless society in America, and the beginning of the idea of the American dream. It turns out that in spite of the lofty dream that e
In which John Green teaches you about the beginnings of the American Revolution in a video titled The Seven Years War. Confusing? Maybe. John argues that the Seven Years War, which is often called the French and Indian War in the US, laid a lot of the groundwork for the Revolution. More confusing? Why does this war have two names? Why were the French and Indians fighting each other? The Seven Years war was actually a global war that went on for nine years. I think I'm having trouble making this clear. Anyway, the part of this global war that happened in North America was the French and Indian War. The French and Indian tribes were the force opposing the British, so that's the name that stuck. Let's get away from this war, as it makes my head hurt. Other stuff was going on in the colonies in the 18th century that primed the people for revolution. One was the Great Awakening. Religious revival was sweeping the country, introducing new ideas about religion and how it should be practiced.
In which John Green teaches you about the roots of the American Revolution. The Revolution did not start on July 4, 1776. The Revolutionary War didn't start on July 4 either. (as you remember, I'm sure, the Revolution and the Revolutionary War are not the same thing) The shooting started on April 19, 1775, at Lexington and/or Concord, MA. Or the shooting started with the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. At least we can pin down the Declaration of Independence to July 4, 1776. Except that most of the signers didn't sign until August 2. The point is that the beginning of the Revolution is very complex and hard to pin down. John will lead you through the bramble of taxes, royal decrees, acts of parliament, colonial responses, and various congresses. We'll start with the end of the Seven Years War, and the bill that the British ran up fighting the war. This led to taxes on colonial trade, which led to colonists demanding representation, which led to revolution. It all seems very complicat
In which John Green teaches you about the American Revolution. And the Revolutionary War. I know we've labored the point here, but they weren't the same thing. In any case, John will teach you about the major battles of the war, and discuss the strategies on both sides. Everyone is familiar with how this war played out for the Founding Fathers; they got to become the Founding Fathers. But what did the revolution mean to the common people in the United States? For white, property-owning males, it was pretty sweet. They gained rights that were a definite step up from being British Colonial citizens. For everyone else, the short-term gains were not clear. Women's rights were unaffected, and slaves remained in slavery. As for poor white folks, they remained poor and disenfranchised. The reality is it took a long time for this whole democracy thing to get underway, and the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness weren't immediately available to all these newly minted Ameri
In which John Green teaches you about the United States Constitution. During and after the American Revolutionary War, the government of the new country operated under the Articles of Confederation. While these Articles got the young nation through its war with England, they weren't of much use when it came to running a country. So, the founding fathers decided try their hand at nation-building, and they created the Constitution of the United States, which you may remember as the one that says We The People at the top. John will tell you how the convention came together, some of the compromises that had to be made to pass this thing, and why it's very lucky that the framers installed a somewhat reasonable process for making changes to the thing. You'll learn about Shays' Rebellion, the Federalist Papers, the elite vs rabble dynamic of the houses of congress, and start to find out just what an anti-federalist is.
Hey teachers and students - Check out CommonLit's free collection of read
In which John Green teaches you where American politicians come from. In the beginning, soon after the US constitution was adopted, politics were pretty non-existent. George Washington was elected president with no opposition, everything was new and exciting, and everyone just got along. For several months. Then the contentious debate about the nature of the United States began, and it continues to this day. Washington and his lackey/handler Alexander Hamilton pursued an elitist program of federalism. They attempted to strengthen the central government, create a strong nation-state, and leave less of the governance to the states, They wanted to create debt, encourage manufacturing, and really modernize the new nation/ The opposition, creatively known as the anti-federalists, wanted to build some kind of agrarian pseudo-paradise where every (white) man could have his own farm, and live a free, self-reliant life. The founding father who epitomized this view was Thomas Jefferson. By the t
In which John Green teaches you about founding father and third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson is a somewhat controversial figure in American history, largely because he, like pretty much all humans, was a big bundle of contradictions. Jefferson was a slave-owner who couldn't decide if he liked slavery. He advocated for small government, but expanded federal power more than either of his presidential predecessor. He also idealized the independent farmer and demonized manufacturing, but put policies in place that would expand industrial production in the US. Controversy may ensue as we try to deviate a bit from the standard hagiography/slander story that usually told about old TJ. John explores Jefferson's election, his policies, and some of the new nation's (literally and figuratively) formative events that took place during Jefferson's presidency. In addition to all this, Napoleon drops in to sell Louisiana, John Marshall sets the course of the Supreme Cou
In which John Green teaches you about the War of 1812. The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and its former colonial overlord England. It started in, you guessed it 1812. The war lasted until 1815, and it resolved very little. John will take you through the causes of the war, tell you a little bit about the fighting itself, and get into just why the US Army couldn't manage to make any progress invading Canada. And yes, Canadians, we're going to talk about the White House getting burned down. The upshot: no territory changed hands, and most of the other bones of contention were solved prior to the actual war. Although nothing much changed for the US and England, the Native Americans were the big losers. Tecumseh was killed, and the Indian tribes lost a lot of territory. Watch as John lays it all out for you. Also, check out #1812problems on Twitter. It's awesome.
In which John Green teaches you about the Market Revolution. In the first half of the 19th century, the way people lived and worked in the United States changed drastically. At play was the classic (if anything in a 30 year old nation can be called classic) American struggle between the Jeffersonian ideal of individuals sustaining themselves on small farms vs. the Hamiltonian vision of an economy based on manufacturing and trade. I'll give you one guess who won. Too late! It was Hamilton, which is why if you live in the United States, you probably live in a city, and are unlikely to be a farmer. Please resist the urge to comment about this if you live in the country and/or are a farmer. Your anecdotal experience doesn't change the fact that most people live in cities. In the early 19th century, new technologies in transportation and communication helped remake the economic system of the country. Railroads and telegraphs changed the way people moved goods and information around. The lon
In which John Green teaches you about America's "peculiar institution," slavery. I wouldn't really call it peculiar. I'd lean more toward horrifying and depressing institution, but nobody asked me. John will talk about what life was like for a slave in the 19th century United States, and how slaves resisted oppression, to the degree that was possible. We'll hear about cotton plantations, violent punishment of slaves, day to day slave life, and slave rebellions. Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, and Whipped Peter all make an appearance. Slavery as an institution is arguably the darkest part of America's history, and we're still dealing with its aftermath 150 years after it ended. Support CrashCourse on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crashcourse
Hey teachers and students - Check out CommonLit's free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. Memoirs from former slaves like abolitionist Frederick Douglass provide insightful context
In which John Green teaches you about the presidency of Andrew Jackson So how did a president with astoundingly bad fiscal policies end up on the $20 bill? That's a question we can't answer, but we can tell you how Jackson got to be president, and how he changed the country when he got the job. Jackson's election was more democratic than any previous presidential election. More people were able to vote, and they picked a doozie. Jackson was a well-known war hero, and he was elected over his longtime political enemy, John Quincy Adams. Once Jackson was in office, he did more to expand executive power than any of the previous occupants of the White House. He used armed troops to collect taxes, refused to enforce legislation and supreme court legislation, and hired and fired his staff based on support in elections. He was also the first president to regularly wield the presidential veto as a political tool. Was he a good president? Watch this video and draw your own conclusions. Support C
In which John Green teaches you about various reform movements in the 19th century United States. From Utopian societies to the Second Great Awakening to the Abolition movement, American society was undergoing great changes in the first half of the 19th century. Attempts at idealized societies popped up (and universally failed) at Utopia, OH, New Harmony, IN, Modern Times, NY, and many other places around the country. These utopians had a problem with mainstream society, and their answer was to withdraw into their own little worlds. Others didn't like the society they saw, and decided to try to change it. Relatively new protestant denominations like the Methodists and Baptists reached out to "the unchurched" during the Second Great Awakening, and membership in evangelical sects of Christianity rose quickly. At the same time, Abolitionist societies were trying to free the slaves. Americans of the 19th century had looked at the world they were living in, and decided to change it. Support
In which John Green finally gets around to talking about some women's history. In the 19th Century, the United States was changing rapidly, as we noted in the recent Market Revolution and Reform Movements episodes. Things were also in a state of flux for women. The reform movements, which were in large part driven by women, gave these self-same women the idea that they could work on their own behalf, and radically improve the state of their own lives. So, while these women were working on prison reform, education reform, and abolition, they also started talking about equal rights, universal suffrage, temperance, and fair pay. Women like Susan B. Anthony, Carry Nation, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Grimkés, and Lucretia Mott strove tirelessly to improve the lot of American women, and it worked, eventually. John will teach you about the Christian Temperance Union, the Seneca Falls Convention, the Declaration of Sentiments, and a whole bunch of other stuff that made life better for women.
In which John Green teaches you about the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s, and the expansion of the United States into the western end of North America. In this episode of Crash Course, US territory finally reaches from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific Ocean. After Oregon was secured from the UK and the southwest was ceded by Mexico, that is. Famous Americans abound in this episode, including James K Polk (Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump), Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Winfield Scott. You'll also learn about the California Gold Rush of 1848, and California's admission as a state, which necessitated the Compromise of 1850. Once more slavery is a crucial issue. Something is going to have to be done about slavery, I think. Maybe it will come to a head next week. Support CrashCourse on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crashcourse
Hey teachers and students - Check out CommonLit's free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the event
In which John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history. The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue on with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first the nation had to get through this election. You'll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas, and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War. John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown. Support CrashCourse on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crashcourse
Disclaimer: This is very different than the usual Crash Course US History episode.
In which John Green lists a whole lot of the battles of the US Civil War in seven and a half minutes. We get a lot of requests for military history, so we offer a list of battle names, with some commentary about outcomes, and lots of really interesting pictures. This is a but of a departure for Crash Course as we leave behind the world of thoughtful analysis and just list some facts. Don't worry though. We've already got our brains turned back on for next week. Support CrashCourse on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/crashcourse
Hey teachers and students - Check out CommonLit's free collection of reading passages and curriculum resources to learn more about the events of this episode. The Battle of Gettysburg remains one of the most infamous battles of the Civil War: https://www.commonlit.org/texts/the-battle-of-gettysburg
The Civil War pitted brother against brother and friend against friend, as was th
In which John Green ACTUALLY teaches about the Civil War. In part one of our two part look at the US Civil War, John looks into the causes of the war, and the motivations of the individuals who went to war. The overarching causes and the individual motivations were not always the same, you see. John also looks into why the North won, and whether that outcome was inevitable. The North's industrial and population advantages are examined, as are the problems of the Confederacy, including its need to build a nation at the same time it was fighting a war. As usual, John doesn't get much into the actual battle by battle breakdown. He does talk a little about the overarching strategy that won the war, and Grant's plan to just overwhelm the South with numbers. Grant took a lot of losses in the latter days of the war, but in the end, it did lead to the surrender of the South. If you want to learn more about the Civil War, we recommend these books:
Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson