Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours. (5 x 2 Hour Seminars)
Lecture 14 Hours. (14 x 1 Hour lectures)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay in lieu of exam, if exam element failed  60%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay, if essay element failed  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

By the end of the course, students will possess a grasp of the major themes in the history of Anglo-American relations. They will be able to discuss the development of relations between London and Washington since the time of the American Revolution; how the two powers became reconciled at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries; how and why close bonds were formed in the period leading up to and including the Second World War; why Britain and America developed such a close relationship during the Cold War period, but also why areas of tension developed in certain quarters and over key issues of policy; how and why the US has continued to maintain a close relationship with the UK in the post Cold War era, and despite the proliferation of close relationships with other nations; and finally to speculate on the future of the Anglo-American relationship in the 21st century.

Brief description

This module examines the nature of relations between Britain and The United States since the America War of Independence and especially from the beginning of the Twentieth Century to the present day.


This module aims to give students an in-depth understanding of the history of relations between the US and UK since the founding of the American republic, and especially since the start of the Twentieth Century. It will question why this relationship has come to be so important through an examination of the interaction between military, political, diplomatic and cultural factors. In particular, the term 'special relationship' will be explored in order to understand whether this is a helpful term for historians and political scientists. Lectures provide much of the basis of the historical background, while seminars are more conceptual and deal with some of the broad themes in Anglo-American relations. No prior knowledge of this area of study is necessary, althouh students are expected to deal with a broad range of historical approaches to understanding this topic, including alliance theory.


This module begins by examining the concept of a 'special relationship' between the two countries; what this means and how scholars have tried to define it. The module then focuses on the historical development of the so-called 'special relationship' between Britain and America from conflict in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, to reconciliation and partnership at the start of the twentieth. It analyses in particular the impact of America's rise to powerin comparison to British decline on bilatral relations. It then examines relations during the Second World War, questioning whether this was in fact the defining moment in the 'special relationship' and the impact of the Roosevelt-Churchill relationship on this. It then explores reasons for continuing the relationship in the post-War period and early Cold War, highlighting vital areas of cooperation as well as the tension as the Cold War progressed. In bringing the study up to the present, the course examines the dynamic between the US-UK relationship and Britain's closer integration with Europe and speculates on the future of the US-UK relations.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear and direct in their and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as BIDS and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module


This module is at CQFW Level 6