American Civ to Civil War

Jan 2019

Andrew Lipman was a wonderful professor -- he gives a very good lecture and is very clear on his expectations for his class. The topics of the lecture were always listed on the board, as well as the key terms he expected students to know. He truly wants his students to succeed, and structures the evaluations in that way. The Q+Qs, which make up 20% of the grade, are based off a check system, and as long as you have read the piece and do some basic analysis, you will do well. The mideterm and the final are also based on the key terms he lists throughout the lecture -- the terms are used as proofs in essays. At times, he can be very humurous in his lectures though at other times more serious, but he is able to differentiate which material deserves which treatment. For a large lecture, he is able to work in participation from the class, though it is not required in the syllabus -- this makes for more meaningful contributions to discussion. Furthermore, he always makes sure to ask for questions as he wraps up parts of the lecture. I would definitely reccomend taking this lecture!

Nov 2011

Herbert Sloan is an excellent professor! Second best class I have taken after my Americas II seminar. He is very intelligent and ALWAYS makes the time for his students if that time is required outside of class. I absolutely love how blunt and unfair he is to make his point of view clear on the issue. The lectures are interesting and he brings it a lot of outside historical information. I know that when I'm 50 he is one of the few professor I can look back at and say "Hey I remember that guy. What an amazing class!"

Mar 2011

Sloan's American Civilization class was a mixed bag at best. His detailed and quite immense knowledge of historical trivia made the class enjoyable at times but also off point at others. Most of the knowledge actually retained could have been easily gained by reading through the textbook. The essays were unfortunately focused on the colonial period and religion, both not at the focus of my interest, and the time it took for them to be returned was quite frankly appalling. Nevertheless the course featured some interesting and some controversial readings and discussion sections with Justin Jackson were well-planned and enriching. As a foreigner new to American history this course was way less helpful than it could have been, making it probably enjoyable to those of you who have already digested and hurled out the material several times in your school careers.

Dec 2009

This is one of the most boring classes I have ever taken, and NOT because the material is boring- in fact, I find it quite interesting- but because Sloan is just not a dynamic lecturer. Lecture consists of him digressing all the time in a monotone. He is also condescending and gets off on being outrageous. True, he is sometimes witty and the class is not horrible, but it is certainly not worth the time you spend in lecture, take it from an A student. Read the books yourself or take another class from this time period. (Also, BTW, the class is not an easy A; he and the TAs actually grade essays very carefully. Not that you'll get them back in time for the comments to be useful, since Sloan takes forever, literally more than a month, to get papers back.)

Nov 2009

Having endured any high-school American History class, you know the material Sloan is talking about. And if you can't keep up with his fast talking then the textbook is written well enough for anyone to understand. Problem 1: He digresses all the time; about New York families, Mayor Bloomberg, Hudson Bay blankets, Jefferson's taste in wine, Lincoln's favorite jam, current movies, random Historians, past Columbia presidents, -- i don't know just some very detailed trivia facts that are unnecessary in a survey-style course. Try to not be side-tracked by these details Problem 2: After the lecture, the TAs do all the work -- they grade, they clarify, they run discussion groups - I know there are 40-some students but TAs are always effy - are they grading harder to be impressive? Have they actually done the reading too? Problem 3: There are some dense, boring books in this course. If you can't beast through 400 pages of dull colonial history then reconsider this class -- there are 6 very dense books you have to read in a short time period. Other than those few issues, it's one of my favorite classes and I'm not a history major.

Dec 2005

Rachel is the best TA in the American history department. Bar none. Simple as that. She is so sweet, funny, caring, and knows her sh*t when it comes to the US. Try to get her as your TA if you can. You will learn more in section than in lecture, and you will do well, I promise.

Jul 2003

he was good. i mean, as good as my history teacher in high school. this class is basically a waste of time unless you need it for your major or want to brush up on some American History....or if you wanna meet Barnard chicks. anyway, the class was run with a lot of busy-work...the midterm and finals were a lot of silly grammar school memorization of dates and such...very VERY little actual thought. class is always chock fulla jocks and seniors looking to fill their time and pad their GPA...