General Course Information for HIS410: California History

Course: HIS410 - California History
Textbook: For the correct edition of the textbook assigned to a specific class, go to:

Course Prerequisite(s):
Course Description:

Through an historical and literary approach, this course examines the interaction of the hopes and dreams of the peoples of California from the arrival of the first peoples to the post-World War II boom. May involve work in oral history.

Course Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate, through objective tests and essays, their ability to:

  • Explain the impact of California's physical geography on its history.
  • Discuss the geography, economic activities, folklore and religion of California's native peoples.
  • Explain the impact of Spanish exploration and colonization - especially the mission system - on the development of the agricultural economy of early California.
  • Describe Mexican rule in California and the causes and consequences for California of the war between Mexico and the United States.
  • Identify the cultural, social, political and economic effects of the discovery of gold in California, including its impact on native Californians and Mexican nationals.
  • Discuss conflicts over land, water and other resources as California's population grew during the second half of the nineteenth century.
  • Highlight the key principles of the California Constitution - especially Progressive-era reforms such as initiative, referendum, and recall - and explain the differences between it and the United States Constitution.
  • Explain the reasons for and importance of Hollywood as the center of production of American popular consumer culture since the 1920s.
  • Describe the main patterns of immigration to California, including the influx of South-Westerners into California in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s and their impact on the cultural, economic, social, and political development of the state.
  • Explain the Asian attraction to California, contrasting the experiences of Asian immigrants with other immigrants to the state.
  • Describe the effects of federal and state law on the legal status of immigrants.
  • Explain the development and location of California's major economic activities: mining, large-scale agriculture, entertainment, recreation, aerospace, electronics, and international trade.
  • Illuminate historical and contemporary perspectives on cultural diversity and the ongoing divisions of class, race and gender in California's diverse population.
  • Explain debates concerning the allocation of resources and environmental crises within the state and throughout the west, especially California's water delivery system and its relationship to California's geography and economy.

Students with Disabilities:
Students seeking special accommodations due to a disability must submit an application with supporting documentation, as explained under this subject heading in the General Catalog. Instructors are required to provide such accommodations if they receive written notification from the University.

Writing Across the Curriculum:
Students are expected to demonstrate writing skills in describing, analyzing and evaluating ideas and experiences. Written reports and research papers must follow specific standards regarding citations of an author's work within the text and references at the end of the paper. Students are encouraged to use the services of the University's Writing Center when preparing materials.

The following website provides information on APA, MLA, and other writing and citation styles that may be required for term papers and the like:

National University Library:
National University Library supports academic rigor and student academic success by providing access to scholarly books and journals both electronically and in hard copy. Print materials may be accessed at the Library in San Diego or through document delivery for online and regional students. Librarians are available to provide training, reference assistance, and mentoring at the San Diego Library and virtually for online or regional students. Please take advantage of Library resources:


Contact the Library:

  • (858) 541-7900 (direct line)
  • 1-866-NU ACCESS x7900 (toll free)

Use the Library Training Tools (on the Library Homepage) for additional help

  • Recorded class presentations
  • Tutorials & Guides (APA/MLA, Peer-Review, and more)

Plagiarism is the presentation of someone else's ideas or work as one's own. Students must give credit for any information that is not either the result of original research or common knowledge. If a student borrows ideas or information from another author, he/she must acknowledge the author in the body of the text and on the reference page. Students found plagiarizing are subject to the penalties outlined in the Policies and Procedures section of the University Catalog, which may include a failing grade for the work in question or for the entire course. The following is one of many websites that provide helpful information concerning plagiarism for both students and faculty:

Ethical behavior in the classroom is required of every student. The course will identify ethical policies and practices relevant to course topics.

Students are expected to be competent in using current technology appropriate for this discipline. Such technology may include word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Use of the internet and e-mail may also be required.

Learning to work with and value diversity is essential in every class. Students are expected to exhibit an appreciation for multinational and gender diversity in the classroom.

As a diverse community of learners, students must strive to work together in a setting of civility, tolerance, and respect for each other and for the instructor. Rules of classroom behavior (which apply to online as well as onsite courses) include but are not limited to the following:

  • Conflicting opinions among members of a class are to be respected and responded to in a professional manner.
  • Side conversations or other distracting behaviors are not to be engaged in during lectures, class discussions or presentations
  • There are to be no offensive comments, language, or gestures