Taught by: Dr. Roger Rosentreter
– Few states can boast a past as rich as Michigan’s. In the early 17th century, French explorers, fur traders and missionaries arrived in the Great Lakes. For the next 150 years, the French established Michigan’s earliest settlements while interacting with the Indians who had called Michigan home for several thousand years. The British kicked the French out of Michigan, adopted policies that precipitated the American Revolution, and later refused to leave until forced across the international border by the U.S. Army. Geographical location (the Great Lakes and the shared border with Canada) had an enormous influence on Michigan’s development. The lakes brought settlers to Michigan and contributed to commercial and recreational development that continues to this day. At the same time, the proximity to Canada greatly influenced Michigan’s role with the Underground Railroad and Prohibition. Throughout the 20th century, Michigan was a manufacturing leader, producing everything from breakfast cereal to cigars. But it was the automobile that dominated the century, most notably playing a key role in the Arsenal of Democracy that helped the win World War II. But some Michigan stories are depressing, most notably, Indian exploitation, racial discord and the wanton destruction of the state’s natural resources. This course will explore the many facets of how Michigan contributed to the growth of the United States.