American Experiment: Liberty, Equality, and Democracy in the United States?
Part One, 1492-1877

History | Philosophy

Course Description

This course, an introduction to the political history of the United States, will examine the principles upon which the Republic was founded—the inherent equality of all men and their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—and the practice of those principles. What did the framers of the American Republic understand by the concept of "liberty"? Who was free in this new Republic? What were the factors that made it so difficult for the country to embrace equality and to what extent do these factors still exist today? When did the United States come to see itself as a Democracy as opposed to a Republic? How did democratic processes further or limit the founding principles? Did the Civil War and the Amendments to the Constitution which followed in its wake represent a re-founding of the United States? Who really won the Civil War? How were these political developments being viewed from what is now Canada? 

We will examine these and other questions through a reading of our core text, Jill Lepore's 2018 work, These Truths: A History of the United States. We will also read primary source materials, as well as selections from Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's book, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States, John Ehle's Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, watch the film Trail of Tears from the PBS film series, We Shall Remain, and view excerpts from Ken Burns' documentary, The Civil War. There will also be a short novel, yet to be determined.

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 18 students.

Priority is given to students who pay upon registration.

For fully registered courses, a waiting list will be created. Should vacancies develop, those on the waiting list will be contacted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Course Details

First Session: Tuesday 16 March 2021

Course Length: 12 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:15 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Pam Butler, Carol Fiedler, Brian McDonough

Degree Credit: Yes

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)
$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)
$135.00 (promotion for new students)

Course fees are refundable in full before the second session. After the second session, a fee of $50 for the withdrawal will be applied. Refunds will not be issued after the third session. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Degree students, course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers should not register online. 

Degree students must schedule an appointment with the Admissions and Accreditation Committee to register for courses at

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers from cancelled Spring 2020 courses, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

If you are a RETURNING student

If you are NEW to TMI

Downloadable Course Material

Below you will find all the course materials to download for your course. Reading materials can be downloaded, once courses have started. NOTE that you must have registered for the course and be logged in to download and view the course material for this course. Online readings are restricted to personal use and cannot be further reproduced. If you have registered for this course, but do not see the course material below please make sure you are logged in.