In response to the feedback of students and instructors collected on the CommentPress open review platform, We have made the following updates for the 2020-2021 academic year:
- Clarified the discussion of Aztec agricultural and engineering innovation.
- Explained the timing of the Treaty of Tordesillas
- Refined the discussion of the Spanish Armada.
- Distinguished more differences between the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies.
- Acknowledged the warfare in Ireland that resulted from the Glorious Revolution.
- Noted that eighteenth century Britons were subjects, not citizens.
- Corrected the incorrect claim that rabbis participated in celebrations of the Constitution (contemporary accounts incorrectly identified Jewish leaders as rabbis. The first rabbi did not arrive in the United States until well into the nineteenth century.)
- Added specifics on the timing of Tecumseh’s defeat at Moraviantown.
- Clarified that William Henry Harrison’s territorial governorship was in Indiana.
- Adopted more inclusive language when discussing the illegal economy in the antebellum era.
- Highlighted Henry Clay’s role in passing the Missouri Compromise.
- Added specificity about the Whig Party, including its electoral struggles following the Tyler administration and the coalitions it drew from and later inspired.
- Mentioned Indian Removal in the section on Andrew Jackson and point readers to the extended discussion in chapter twelve.
- Added detail to the contested election of 1824 and the “corrupt bargain” that resolved it.
- Clarified a comment from Charles Graddison Finney regarding revivals in the region he termed “the burned over district.”
- Adopted more sensitive language around Joseph Smith and the creation of sacred rituals.
- Used more precise language to reflect fluctuations in land prices in the cotton South.
- Clarified changes in southern fashion that deemphasized practical function in favor of signaling status.
- Added greater specificity on the discovery of gold in 1848 California.
- Removed inconsequential material from the postbellum era in order to maintain greater consistency of periodization.
- Clarified the origins of the Free Soil Party as drawing on elements of the former Liberty Party, Conscience Whigs, and Barnburner Democrats.
- Highlighted the collapse of democratic norms in Kansas
- Specified how the Dred Scott decision eroded states’ rights in favor of enslaver-friendly federal power.
- Explained Lincoln’s arguments in the Lincoln-Douglas debates
- Defined habeas corpus and explained Lincoln’s revocation of it in Maryland.
- Introduced the terms carpetbaggers and scalawags.
- Chapter 16: Tempered treatment of the Populists’ electoral gains in 1894.
- Chapter 17: Updated terminology surrounding Indigenous peoples
- Chapter 20: Added discussion of the Black women’s club movement.
- Chapter 20: Better specified the precise work of the WCTU
- Chapter 24: Clarified the nature of wartime atrocities in the Pacific Theater
- Chapter 26: Added discussion on the role of Joanne Robinson and other activists in launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- Chapter 26: Highlighted the work of Ralph Abernathy, Ella Baker, Septima Clark, and Fred Shuttlesworth in the formation and operation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
- Chapter 27: Added discussion of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (the Hart-Celler Act).
- Chapter 27: Added discussion of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, including their boycott of the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
- Chapter 27: Added discussion of Ella Baker and shifts in the civil rights movement, including the work of younger activists such as Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Diane Nash, and John Lewis.
- Chapter 30: Added discussion of the American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- Chapter 30: Carried forward the progress of the Covid-19 pandemic, including updated mortality figures.
- Chapter 30: Included the Dobbs v. Jackson (2022) decision.
- Chapter 30: Included discussion of transgender rights and sexual politics surrounding gender identity.
We have made the following updates for the 2020-2021 academic year:
Conforming to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) (or “full accessibility” or something to convey that we met some kind of standard).
To ensure the accessibility of our materials for all students, we employed the web’s leading accessibility checker, the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, to assess all of our content. This tool was developed by the Web Accessibility In Mind (WebAIM) initiative at the Institute for Disability, Research, Policy, and Practice at Utah State University. It applies the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG) to measure whether web content is accessible based on four criteria: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). WCAG lists three levels of accessibility, level 1, 2, and 3. Full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requires web material to reach level 2. Working through all of our content using WebAIM’s WAVE tool helped us make dozens of small changes that, while often invisible to most readers, will ensure that our content is accessible to all of our students.
The growth of digital history has produced countless exciting project, but too many are not fully accessible. We encourage instructors to download the WAVE tool themselves and ensure that all of their assigned resources, not just The American Yawp, meet the WCAG standards. And our project remains a collaborative one. We encourage instructors with expertise in accessibility to email the editors to flag any additional accessibility issues they might encounter.
Keeping Chapter 30, “The Recent Past,” up to date
The digital nature of The American Yawp allows our text to capture the very latest historical developments. Our final chapter now includes discussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the murder of George Floyd, the 2020 presidential election, and the January 6 insurrection.
Changes to Chapter 23, “The Great Depression”
We are thrilled to integrate substantial changes to this chapter based on the contributions of the historian Eric Rauchway. Under the guidance of Professor Rauchway, we have made substantial improvements, including a richer discussion of President Hoover’s response to the Depression, clearer details about the social costs of the Depression, clarifications and greater discussion of individual New Deal programs, and a greater overall depth to our coverage. Additional improvements suggested by Professor Rauchway, such as greater attention to the global financial system and the impacts of an aggressive American nationalism on economic policy, will be addressed in future editions. And, as always, we encourage additional feedback to improve this chapter
Many students and instructors informed us that the PDFs of the text were locked, preventing note-taking and editing. We have uploaded unlocked pdfs which are currently linked on the front page.
Minor Adjustments, primarily based on helpful feedback offered by scholars and instructors through our CommentPress open review platform
- Recognizing the increasing evidence for pre-Clovis settlement in North America.
- Expanding and nuancing our discussion of slaving in Africa.
- Dozens of very small language tweaks to improve clarity. Including distinguishing between the Dutch and English East India Companies, the location of the New Haven colony, relabeling eighteenth-century Jewish leaders as such and not rabbi’s (who were not present in the United States until the 1830s), referring to the party of Jefferson as the Democratic-Republicans rather than Republicans, explaining that the admission of free alongside slave states was particularly important for balancing power in the United States Senate.
- Added citations on a variety of issues, including understandings of gender in pre-Columbian America, the size and grandeur of Tenochtitlan, and Andrew Jackson’s Bank War.
- We worked to include a few key phrases suggested by instructors that were described, but not explicitly named, including salutary neglect.
- Eliminated the claim that some Aztecs may have seen Hernan Cortes as the god Quetzalcoatl. As a helpful comment from Eric Rodrigo Meringer noted, Camilla Townsend’s article in the American Historical Review has shown that the evidence for this interpretation is both scant and the claim is best understood as a Eurocentric myth.1
- Adjusted the mortality rate of the Bubonic Plague.
- Replaced an image about the 1860 election due to unnecessary profanity in the former image.
- Included clearer definitions of terms such as “Gilded Age and “Containment”
- Updated casualty numbers for the Korean War
- Included additional discussions of specific acts of mass violence against Black Americans, including the 1898 Wilmington Coup and the 1921 Tulsa Massacre.
- Added discussion about the environmental consequences of postwar suburbanization.
- Included additional context for the August 26, 1970 “Women’s Strike for Equality,” particularly noting the link between women’s activism in the 1960s and 1970s to the earlier suffrage movement.
We have made the following updates for the 2020-2021 academic year:
- Retitled chapters 1 and 17 – Chapter 1 is now “Indigenous America” and Chapter 17 is now “The West.”
- Light revisions to chapter 17 – With the help of Lindsay Stallones Marshall (University of Illinois), we began the process of revising this chapter. But more work is yet to be done and we are eagerly soliciting contributors to help us with more substantial revisions.
- New Terms and New Capitalizations – Language and terminology evolve, and, as with all matters, we think of our text as much as a place to begin discussions as to find answers. In addition to explanations of our changes, we include links to scholarly reflections on these issues.
- Terms: We prefer Native Americans or Indigenous peoples to American Indian and give precedence to tribal affiliation whenever possible. We now also exclusively use enslaved people or enslaved laborers instead of slaves; and enslavers instead of masters, slaveowners, or slaveholders. Similarly, fugitives and runaways are now described as freedom-seekers. For discussion of the terms of slavery, see the National Park Service, Bridget L. Hylton, and this summary from Katy Waldman, including dissenting opinions from Eric Foner. See also P. Gabrielle Foreman, et al. “Writing about Slavery/Teaching About Slavery: This Might Help,” a community-sourced document on terminology produced by slavery scholars.
- Capitalizations: The American Yawp now capitalizes Black and Indigenous when referring to African descended peoples. We continue not to capitalize white. For arguments for capitalizing Black but not capitalizing white, see the New York Times, Associated Press, and Columbia Journalism Review. For dissenting opinions, see Kwame Anthony Appiah and the Center for the Study of Social Policy.
- Expanded Discussion Questions: With the help of Julia Bernier (University of North Alabama), we expanded our list of discussion questions for each chapter. We now offer five questions for each chapter. You can see these, as well as suggested syllabi, course readings, key terms, quizzes, essay assignments, and exams on our Teaching Materials Page. Like our text, these materials are licensed openly (CC-BY-SA) and you are encouraged to use them, download them, distribute them, and modify them as you see fit.
- PDFs for the Reader (Volume I & Volume II): To maximize accessibility, allow for easy printing, and guard against unexpected technical issues, we can now offer PDFs for both the text and the primary source reader. These carry the same open license as the rest of the project and can be printed and distributed, as well as modified, as you see fit.
As always, we are eager to draw upon the whole of the historical profession for this project. In particular, we welcome your input on our main text through our feedback platform, available here. We will be engaging feedback and plan to substantially rework additional material in 2021. If you would like to help make substantial revisions, please contact the editors.
2019-2020 updates are now available. We have made three major improvements:
- An Expanded Primary Source Reader: We have added 60 new sources to the primary source reader to better reflect the under-represented voices and perspectives of the American past. You can see the new sources on our Reader updates page.
- A New Teaching Materials Page: In addition to our text and reader, we have created syllabi, course readings, chapter-by-chapter discussion questions, key terms, quizzes, essay assignments, and exams for both halves of the U.S. history survey. Like our text, they are licensed openly (CC-BY-SA) and you are encouraged to use them, download them, distribute them, and modify them as you see fit.
- Professionally Produced PDFs (Volume I & Volume II): To maximize accessibility, allow for easy printing, and guard against unexpected technical issues, we can now offer professionally produced PDF editions of our text, split into two volumes, care of Stanford University Press. These carry the same open license as the rest of the project and can be printed and distributed, as well as modified, as you see fit.
Note that the main text of The American Yawp remains unchanged and low-cost Stanford University Press print editions of The American Yawp (Volume I & Volume II) remain available. As always, we are eager to draw upon the whole of the historical profession for this project. In particular, we welcome your input on our main text through our feedback platform, available here.
The 2018-2021 Stanford University Press edition of The American Yawp is now available. We have partnered with Stanford University Press to provide the project with a formal peer-review, copyediting services, and print editions.
The editorial team has spent the past 18 months reworking the text based on feedback from the Stanford editorial team, anonymous readers, and our open feedback platform. The peer-reviewed text is now live for the 2018-2019 academic year. We will be locking the text for three years–from fall 2018 to spring 2021–to preserve the peer-reviewed version of our text.
Most updates were minor, but returning instructors will notice a few key changes. Chapter 30, “Recent History,” for instance, now offers greater treatment of the early years of the Trump presidency and and recent American social movements.
Beginning in December 2018, Stanford University Press will be providing low-cost print copies of the text. Volume I and Volume II are now available to pre-order from the Stanford University Press site and from Amazon.com. The editions will be ready in time for the start of the spring 2019 semester.
Regular visitors will notice that the main site received a modest makeover. While the fundamental organization and layouts of the various pages remain unchanged, the cosmetic changes were designed to offer a cleaner user experience and better provide for mobile accessibility.
Note that, in 2017, we attempted the integration of Hypothes.is, an annotation and note-taking platform, into the American Yawp. That integration is active for our primary sources but, because it regularly crashed our pages, the plug-in was promptly disabled in our main text. We remain committed to the value of social annotation, and Stanford University Press is busy developing a viable alternative.
We look forward to another year offering students free and open access to the very best of historical scholarship, but the American Yawp remains an evolving, collaborative project. We are eager to continue drawing on the collective expertise of the historical profession, and we welcome your ongoing input through our renewed feedback platform, available here. (Previous years’ feedback can be found here, here and here).
The 2017-2018 edition of The American Yawp is now available. After integrating feedback from our open review, our editorial team has made the following improvements to the text. Most updates were minor, but returning instructors will notice a few key changes:
- We have fully integrated Hypothes.is, an annotation and note-taking platform, into the project. The discreet pop up menu on the right of each page enables students to create free Hypothes.is account that will save their highlighting and note-taking and allow them to see others’ public notes and highlights. Find out more here: https://web.hypothes.is/
- Each chapter now includes a curated listing of links to relevant primary sources in the American Yawp Reader. You can find each set of links under “Primary Sources” in the table of contents of each chapter.
- On April 11, Dr. Melanie Newport, a history professor at the University of Connecticut, noted that all fifteen listed works of “recommended reading” on one of our chapters were authored by men. This was a serious flaw. We followed up our discussion of the issue and the feedback we received by redrafting the recommended readings for all of our chapters to better ensure that our text reflects the latest in historical scholarship. We encourage additional feedback on our CommentPress site, and those interested in the issue are encouraged to follow #womenalsoknowhistory on social media.
- Most chapters were not substantially reworked this year, but we did make notable changes to several chapters based on feedback. For instance, Chapter 3, “British North America,” now includes a brief discussion of the Salem Witch Trials; Chapter 26, “The Affluent Society” has undergone substantial stylistic revision to improve student comprehension; and Chapter 30, “Recent History,” now offers greater treatment of the immediate past including the election of President Donald Trump.
- For those using or referencing our previous edition, an archive is available.
We look forward to another year offering students free and open access to the very best of historical scholarship, but the American Yawp remains an evolving, collaborative project. We are eager to continue drawing on the collective expertise of the historical profession, and we welcome your ongoing input through our renewed feedback platform, available here. (Previous years’ feedback can be found here and here).
The 2016-2017 edition of The American Yawp is now available. After integrating feedback from our open review, our editorial team has made the following improvements to the text. Most updates were minor, but returning instructors will notice a few key changes:
- The American Yawp Reader has expanded. We now provide material for all thirty chapters. Each chapter now includes a short introduction, five documents, and two pieces of media (mostly images). Note that, owing to copyright law, post-1923 sources rely heavily upon government documents that have been deposited into the public domain.
- We have partnered with Hypothes.is to enable students to highlight and take notes in the text. The discreet pop-up menu on the right enables students to create a free Hypothes.is account that will save their highlighting and note-taking and allow them to see others’ public notes and highlights. *Note: we intend to beta test this feature in the Reader for the fall and for both the Reader and the main text in the spring.*
- Our first chapter, “The New World,” now offers greater treatment of the dynamism and diversity of pre-Columbian Native America.
- Our final chapter, “Recent History,” now offers greater treatment of the immediate past: the constitutional resolution of gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the impact of social media, the Black Lives Matter movement, and more.
- Each chapter now includes a recommended citation formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style.
- The homepages of the text and reader now include a search bar to better find particular names, places, or ideas across the site.
- For those using or referencing our previous edition, an archive is available.
We look forward to another year offering students free and open access to the very best of historical scholarship, but the American Yawp remains an evolving, collaborative project. We are eager to continue drawing on the collective expertise of the historical profession, and we welcome your ongoing input through our renewed feedback platform, available here.
The American Yawp would not exist without the support and participation of scholars and educators like you. Thank you again.
- A new introduction briefly explores the nature and importance of historical study.
- The American Yawp Reader, a documentary companion to the main text, is now active for chapters 1-21 (Post-1923 copyright restrictions have delayed the uploading of documents for subsequent chapters). The reader includes five documents for each chapter, ranging from 500-1,000 words each. A short introduction prefaces each document, and citations and links are also provided.
- Citations have been reinserted for all chapters.
- Each chapter now contains a supplementary “recommended reading” section that lists relevant scholarly works.
- “The Old South” is now “The Cotton Revolution,” reflecting recent historiography that has emphasized the relationship between American slavery and American capitalism.
- To better foreground the major economic changes of the late-nineteenth century, and to achieve greater chronological cohesion across the text, Chapter 16 and Chapter 18 have switched places. Chapter 16 is now “Capital and Labor,” and Chapter 18 is now “Life in Industrial America.”
- For those using or referencing the beta edition text, an archive is now available.
- Camilla Townsend, “Burying the White Gods: New Perspectives on the Conquest of Mexico,” The American Historical Review, Volume 108, Issue 3 (June 2003), 659–687. [↩]