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CCOG for HST 277 Spring 2023

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Course Number:
HST 277
Course Title:
History of the Oregon Trail
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Examines the history of the Oregon Trail including the predecessors of the route, the motivations of the people who used the route, the trail and its variations, life along the trail, and the impact of the migration. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Articulate and interpret an understanding of key historical facts and events in the history of westward migration along the Oregon Trail.
  • Identify the influence of culturally-based practices, values, and beliefs to analyze how historically-defined meanings of difference affect human behavior.
  • Identify and investigate historical theses, evaluate information and its sources, and use appropriate reasoning to construct evidence-based arguments on historical issues.
  • Construct a well-organized historical argument using effective, appropriate, and accurate language.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

This course requires students to focus on the history of the Oregon Trail from a variety of different perspectives, considering the ways in which the experiences of people in the past have been shaped by factors like social class, gender, race, religious belief, and ideology. Students must also evaluate relationships between different cultures, whether defined in terms of political identity (such as interactions between the people of two or more nations) or in terms of cultural groups within a larger society. One of the key goals of this course is to provide a perspective on the contemporary world that is grounded in a robust and accurate understanding of the past, ultimately in the name of encouraging a greater sense of social responsibility.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assess by using any combination of the following:

  • Class participation and discussion
  • Essays
  • Exams and Quizzes
  • Research Projects
  • Other Creative Assignments

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Competencies and Skills:

  • Connect evidence to its relevant historical context
  • Analyze and evaluate written, artistic, or other evidence
  • Assess the motivation and purpose of evidence

Evaluate different interpretations of past events and construct your own interpretation:

  • Identify a historian’s thesis and supporting evidence
  • Evaluate the arguments used to support different interpretations of historical issues
  • Develop your own thesis and historical interpretation and use evidence to support it

Think critically about the relationship between past and present events and issues:

  • Recognize and identify historical roots and parallels to current issues
  • Compare and contrast the experience of diverse groups in American society

  • Listen to and appreciate the experience of students from a variety of backgrounds

  • Assess the contributions and experiences of various groups in American society

Communicate effectively in writing about a historical topic:

  • Communicate effectively in writing about a historical topic
  • Communicate in writing an understanding of historical process and an evaluation of how concepts or values change over time

Clearly articulate thoughts and ideas to a particular audience which may include:

  • Working collaboratively with other students to evaluate and understand historical events
  • Working collaboratively with others in discussions, debate, or role plays
  • Presenting information in oral presentations

Themes, Concepts, Issues:

Predecessors of the Oregon Trail:

  • Captain Robert Gray Explorations and Discoveries
  • The Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Mountain Men and Fur Companies
  • The Missionaries
  • Information brought east

Motivations for migration on the Oregon Trail:

  • Political
  • Economic
  • Religious
  • Personal
  • Manifest Destiny

The route of the Oregon Trail:

  • The Different Beginnings
  • The Main Route
  • Cutoffs and Alternative Routes

                   1. The Barlow Road

                   2. Applegate Trail

                   3. The Meek Trail

                   4. Hastings Cutoff

                   5. Hudspeth Cutoff

Life on the Oregon Trail:

  • Organization and government
  • Women
  • Children
  • Religion
  • Music
  • Relationship with Native Americans
  • Blacks and other minorities
  • Death and disease

Unique Wagon Trains:

  • The Applegate Train
  • Aurora Colony
  • Mormon Trains
  • Argonauts
  • The Luellings
  • Cattle drive from California

Impact of the Oregon Trail:

  • Political
  • Environmental
  • Economic
  • Literature
  • Art
  • Western expansion