History of Chicagoland

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 241

       Course Name: History of Chicagoland

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course surveys the history of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, with an emphasis on the growth and development of the area.  Content includes land development, culture, social movements, government, and economic history/development.  Other topics linking Chicago with its suburbs include the growth of transportation and urbanization, with a concentration on the post-WWII boom.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the major eras covered
  2. Describe Chicagoland’s achievements in political, cultural, economic, and social terms
  3. Compare representative works of literature produced within this period
  4. Explain the ethnic, cultural, economic, social, and religious diversity of Chicagoland and episodes of political, social, economic, cultural, and ethnic conflict
  5. Apply conflicting interpretations of Chicagoland’s history
  6. Analyze primary and secondary sources of Chicagoland’s past

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to Historical methodology and Historiography
  2. Creation of Chicago
  3. Immigration
  4. Social Activities
  5. Creation of Suburbia
  6. The Progressive Era
  7. The Roaring 1920s
  8. The Great Depression and WWII Era
  9. Post-WWII Growth
  10. The 1950s
  11. The 1960s
  12. The 1970s and '80s
  13. The 1990s
  14. Current Issues

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials.
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 15-20 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of Journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Cohen, Lizabeth. Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Cronon, William. Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1992.

Duis, Perry. Challenging Chicago: Coping with Everyday Life, 1837-1920. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1998, reprint 2006.

Ebner, Michael H. Creating Chicago’s North Shore: A Suburban History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989.

Green, Paul and Melvin G. Holli eds. The Mayors. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University, 2005.

Hill, Libby. The Chicago River: A Natural and Unnatural History. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2000.

Hirsch, Susan Eleanor. After the Strike: A Century of Labor Struggle at Pullman. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2003.

Holli, Melvin G. and Peter D’A Jones eds. Ethnic Chicago: A Multicultural Portrait. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995.

Karamanski, Theodore J. Rally ‘Round the Flag: Chicago and the Civil War. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1993.

Keating, Ann Durkin. Building Chicago: Suburban Developers and the Creation of a Divided Metropolis. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2002.

Kenney, William Howland. Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Knupfer, Anne Meis. The Chicago Black Renaissance and Women’s Activism. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2006.

LaGrand, James B. Native Metropolis: Native Americans in Chicago, 1945-75. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2005.

Pierce, Bessie Louise. A History of Chicago, volume I: Beginning of a City, 1673-1848. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

_________________. A History of Chicago, volume II: From Town to City, 1848-1871. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

_________________. A History of Chicago, volume III: The Rise of the Modern City, 1871-1893. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Platt, Harold L. The Electric City: Energy and the Growth of the Chicago Area, 1880-1930. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

____________. Shock Cities: The Environmental Transformation and Reform of Manchester and Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

Reed, Christopher Robert. Black Chicago’s First Century: 1833-1900. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2005.

Royko, Mike. Boss: Richard J. Daley of Chicago. New York:  Plume, 1988.

Spear, Allan H. Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969.

Spinney, Robert G. City of Big Shoulders: A History of Chicago. DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2000.

Straus, Terry Editor. Indians of the Chicago Area. Second Edition. Chicago: NAES College, 1990.

Tuttle, William M. Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1996.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Papers will be evaluated based on how well they conform to the assignment and on how well they employ the historical method.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring in history is available at the Learning Center.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.