This class functions as an introduction to early American history, focusing on the history of what would become the United States from the colonial period through Reconstruction. We will study the defining questions that Americans and others confronted in this era: What kind of a nation is the United States? Who “counts” as an American, and what rights, privileges, and obligations does that identity entail? How have ideas about “Freedom” and “Unfreedom” shaped the nation? What is the United States’ role in the world and as an empire? To examine these questions we will cover a variety of topics, such as settler colonialism and slavery, watershed moments like the national founding and Civil War, the experiences of Indigenous people, the freedom struggles of African Americans, other social and reform movements, and the role of race, gender, and sexuality in shaping the period.