Catalogue 2019 - 2020

HIST 356 A City Upon a Hill: Boston, Massachusetts, 1630-1865


3 cr.


Junior standing.

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the origins and evolution of Boston, Massachusetts, as both a city and a community. From its Puritan beginnings to its role in the American Revolution and later the antislavery movement, Boston has not only fascinated the general public, but also captured the imaginations of individual poets, writers, and artists. This course combines a variety of sources to explore the character of urban life and culture in the dynamic metropolis. Among other issues, we will address the importance of Boston's Puritan origins, examine its function as a commercial seaport within Massachusetts as well as both the British Empire and the American union, and assess its role in the American Revolution. Social interaction and cultural exchange among Bostonians will also constitute a major theme of the course. In this regard, we will examine life in Boston for various ethnic and racial communities, including French Catholics, African Americans, and Irish immigrants, as well as explore important sites of public interaction in the city such as Boston Common. Finally, we will also consider the means by which modern-day Boston has sought to preserve its historical landmarks amid continued urban development.