University of Pennsylvania
Reconstructing America's Story
University of Pennsylvania

Reconstructing America's Story

Taught in English


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Beginner level
No prior experience required
25 hours to complete
3 weeks at 8 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

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March 2024


7 assignments

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There are 7 modules in this course

This introductory module examines America's national narrative and the complex historical context from which our narrative was born. We will examine the "standard story" of America's founding and the complex contradictions between America's declared ideals and the reality of our historical practices of slavery and discrimination.

What's included

4 videos4 readings1 assignment

This module examines the political philosophy of the Declaration of Independence, discussing the relationship between slavery and the Revolution, and describes the nature and purpose of the Founders’ Constitution.

What's included

5 videos1 reading1 assignment

This module examines American history as the consistent search for unity and equality. It also covers the impact of the Declaration of Independence on American constitutional history.

What's included

4 videos2 readings1 assignment

This module examines the modern reading of the Declaration to antislavery activists and why those ideals entered the Constitution.

What's included

3 videos1 reading1 assignment

This module examines the nature of the conflict that precipitated the Civil War, and describes how the Civil War changed from a war for unity to a war for freedom. It also explores the connections, or lack thereof, between the ideologies of the two sides and the political theory of Founding America.

What's included

3 videos1 reading1 assignment

This module examines the changes made to the Constitution by the Reconstruction Amendments. It also covers Redemption, the coup against the Reconstruction governments, and how the history of Reconstruction and Redemption was framed to promote white unity.

What's included

3 videos1 reading1 assignment

This module examines why the standard story is counterproductive in terms of creating real unity among Americans and seeing the continuing struggle between the ideologies of the Founding and Reconstruction. Finally, it looks to explain how a better story can open a path forward.

What's included

4 videos1 reading1 assignment


Professor Kermit Roosevelt, III
University of Pennsylvania
2 Courses38,572 learners

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