Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Forging a National Identity?: American History, 1607-1865
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 50 minute lectures delivered twice a week
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 50 minute fortnightly seminars 1 essay tutorial (15 minutes)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment semester assessment  1 x 2500 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Semester Examination  2 hour examination  70%
Supplementary Assessment supplementary asessment  resit any failed written work  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   supplementary examination  resit failed examination  70%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of the relevant literature and historical discussion in the field

Demonstrate an ability to use and reflect critically upon a range of relevant primary and secondary material.

Express understanding, in written form, within an academic context.

Work independently.

Demonstrate their ability to form and sustain coherent historical arguments.


This module provides students with an introduction to American History and recent historical work on the period. The module will complement the department’s existing suite of part one modules and seeks to cover the period of American history from colonial settlement to the end of the Civil War; currently absent from the department’s offerings at this level. It takes the development of American national identity as the focal point of study.


Lectures (2 a week):
1. Introduction: Major Themes in pre-1865 American History
2. Colonial America: From Jamestown to the Salem Witch Trials
3. Colonial America: Revisiting The Middle Ground
4. Origins of the American Revolution
5. American Revolution
6. The Jeffersonian Vision
7. Haitian Revolution
8. Slaves and Free People of Colour
9. Native American Removal and African-American Colonization
10. Jacksonian Democracy
11. Antebellum Northern Society
12. Antebellum Southern Society
13. Mexican-American War and Manifest Destiny
14. Seneca Falls and First Wave Feminism
15. Compromise of 1850 and Abolitionism
16. Origins of the Civil War
17. Course of the Civil War
18. Consequences of the Civil War

Seminars (fortnightly):
1. Race
2. Territorial Expansionism and Manifest Destiny
3. Atlantic World
4. American Women in the Nineteenth Century
5. Cultures of War and Violence

Brief description

This module will examine the history of the United States from the founding of Jamestown through the Civil War. Analyzing the colonial, revolutionary, antebellum and Civil War eras, the evolving definition of American national identity will be explored. Tracing the themes of expansionism, manifest destiny, slavery and war culture, the module will highlight the centrality of an exclusionary politics of race, gender and class to early American national identity.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number n/a
Communication This module will help students develop their listening and note taking skills during the lectures; they will demonstrate and develop the ability to communicate ideas in the essay. Skills in oral presentation will be developed in seminars but are not formally assessed.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students are encouraged to make use of advice given in the individual tutorial for essay feedback on how to improve research and communication skills
Information Technology Students will be encouraged to locate suitable material on the web and to apply it appropriately to their own work. Students will also be expected to word-process their work and make use of Blackboard. These skills will not be formally assessed
Personal Development and Career planning Students will develop a range of transferable skills, including time management and communication skills, which may help them identify their personal strengths as they begin to consider potential career paths.
Problem solving Students are expected to note and respond to historical problems and to undertake appropriate research for seminars and the essay.
Research skills Students will be required to read a wide range of texts and evaluate their usefulness to specific research questions. Research for coursework and the written examination will help them improve their research skills.
Subject Specific Skills Students will develop awareness of appropriate sources and historical literature associated with the study seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth-century America.
Team work Students will be expected to play an active part in group activities (e.g. short group presentations in seminars) and to learn to evaluate their own contribution to such activities.


This module is at CQFW Level 4