U.S. I Themes

The Themes

Just shy of a dozen, the following themes represent the current line of thinking with regards to topics that should be explored during your preparation for the comprehensive exam. Gone are the days when just acknowledging the accomplishments of the Great Dead White Men was all one needed to do to be an accomplished historian; today’s historian is expected to have more breadth and depth than his or her predecessors.

Although arranged in such a manner as to appear to be compartmentalized, the themes should be approached as more like the threads in a tapestry, woven together to give a rich and nuanced view of early American history. The timelines and the ThematicGrid© give added scope to the themes, and may be helpful in your preparation for the exam.

Each of the following themes has a list of suggested readings, based on the past few U.S. I Colloquiums. These readings do not necessarily represent all that you should read- different professors have different viewpoints and strengths in different areas of expertise, and you would be best served by consulting with your U.S. I instructor and any other professors who will be writing the questions for your particular comprehensive exam. Always remember- there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.

To get started, steel yourself, take a deep breath, highlight the U.S. I Themes tab above, and pick a theme…