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20th-Century American History

20th-Century American History

This American History online course is ideal preparation for students thinking of studying history at university, exploring an extremely important period of American history and encountering a range of historical methods in the process.

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Course Summary

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What do immigration, the “imperial presidency” and interstate highways have in common? They all changed the landscape of America during the twentieth century. During this eight-tutorial course you will study the political, social and cultural history of twentieth-century America, focusing on key themes including the nature of American identity, the growth of Presidential power, and the intersection between foreign policy and domestic life, as you discover how and why America became a world superpower. Emphasis will be placed on the use of primary sources, such as letters and oral histories, in order to supplement and bring to life the lecture material.

This in-depth course provides a fascinating insight into the pivotal century when America became one of the most powerful nations on Earth, a century that saw the development of the nuclear bomb, put a man on the moon, and shaped the international climate in which we now live. It will provide thought-provoking supplementary material to students who study history at school and who may be thinking of applying to study history at university and beyond.

Course Details

During this course, students will be…

 

By the end of this course, students will be able to…

 

Syllabus

Tutorial 1: Immigration & Prohibition (3 hours)

The first tutorial explores the notion of immigration, a concept at the heart of American identity as embodied by the Statue of Liberty.

The second looks at the period between 1920 and 1933 when it was illegal to sell alcohol in the United States, discussing the rise and motivations of the movement that fought for this bold act of legislation, the effect that Prohibition had on the social and cultural life of America, and the reasons behind the legislation’s eventual repeal. We will also discuss one of the unintended consequences of Prohibition: the rise of American gangster culture.


Tutorial 2: The New Deal & World War II (3 hours)

The Great Depression was one of America’s lowest points in the 20th Century – widespread poverty, homelessness, and despair blighted the nation. Tutorial 3 looks at the effects of the Great Depression and the measures that Franklin D. Roosevelt employed in an attempt to end it. Tutorial 4 moves on to the period of WWII and America’s involvement in this conflict, exploring in particular how women and African-Americans experienced the war and how the global conflict shaped post-war America.


Tutorial 3: The Cold War & Social Justice (1 - 1.5 hours)

The years following WWII saw huge changes in the American social and cultural landscape. Tutorial 5 discusses the armed stand-off between the US and USSR that embodied the post-war era, whilst tutorial 6 explores the great social upheavals of the 1960s, including the struggle for gay rights, women’s rights, and African-American civil rights. We will consider whether 20th-century America succeeded in achieving the promise of “liberty and justice for all.”


Tutorial 4: The Reagan Era & The End of History (1 - 1.5 hours)

Tutorial 7 will discuss the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) in the wider context of the resurgence of American conservatism and the rise of the religious right. Tutorial 8 concludes the course by exploring how the world – with America at its heart – entered a new era with the fall of the Soviet Union, considering the varied reasons for which the 20th century has often been called ‘the American century’.


Key Details

Course Pre-requisites Advanced level of English
An interest and enthusiasm for history, with particular reference to American history
This course would suit students studying towards A-level History or equivalent.
Course Level For students applying to university to study history or related subjects
Difficulty Moderate
Prior Knowledge No prior knowledge is required to take this course, just enthusiasm for the subject.
Fees £29.99
Workload 4-6 hours (further independent study is encouraged)

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Single License

£29.99


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  • Personal learning profile
  • Course certificate
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3 Month Membership

£89.99


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6 Month Membership

£129.99


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  • Access to all 30+ courses for 6 months
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