American Classics

Photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2002



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

"What then is the American, this new man?" asked J. Hector St-John de Crèvecoeur in his Letters from an American Farmer in 1782. This subject takes Crèvecoeur's question as the starting point for an examination of the changing meanings of national identity in the American past. We will consider a diverse collection of classic texts in American history to see how Americans have defined themselves and their nation in politics, literature, art, and popular culture. As a communications-intensive subject, students will be expected to engage intensively with the material through frequent oral and written exercises.

Other Versions

Other OCW Versions

In this subject, students read, discuss, and write about critical works in American history from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Details like assigned readings vary from year to year.

Related Content

Christopher Capozzola, and Louise Lepera. 21H.105 American Classics. Fall 2002. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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