Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Making of Modern America 1850-2000
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 50 minute sessions
Seminars / Tutorials 5 x 50 minute seminars
Seminars / Tutorials Individual 10-minute 'feedback tutorial' per written assignment submitted


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  30%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  70%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,500 word supplementary (resit) essay  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour supplementary (resit) examination  70%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
a) Demonstrate familiarity with a body of knowledge in the field of United States history
b) Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of approaches to the study of US history
c) Reflect critically on selected historical texts
d) Gather and sift appropriate items of historical evidence
e) Develop and sustain historical arguments - in both oral (not assessed) and written work
f) Work both independently and collaboratively whilst being able to participate in group discussions (not assessed).


This module provides first-year students with an introduction to the history of the United States of America. It is designed to familiarise students with some of the main themes in U.S. history, and to provide a comparative perspective for those taking courses on British and European history.

Brief description

The focus of this module is on the interplay between unity and diversity in U.S. history. It begins with a consideration of the sectional conflict between North and South and its partial resolution in the Civil War. The next section sets the divisive impact of industrialisation against the integrative effects of a developing consumer culture and the mass media. It also looks at the relationship between assimilation and ethnic diversity in a society repeatedly transformed by the impact of mass immigration. The third section focuses upon the first half of the 20th century, when economic crisis and growing international involvement led to an increase in federal government power. Finally, the module considers issues of race, cultural identity and political division in post-World War Two United States and the implications for U.S. society of the nation's role as a world power.


1. Introduction: The United States at mid-century
2. Slavery in the Antebellum South
3. The Origins of the Civil War
4. Civil War as 'Total War'
5. Emancipation and Reconstruction
6. The Frontier in American Life
7. The 'New Immigration'
8. Industrial America
9. From the Monroe Doctrine to World War One
10. The 'New Woman'
11. Culture, Society and Economy in the 1920s
12. The Roosevelt Years at home
13. From Isolationism to Cold War
14. The early Cold War at home
15. The Rights Revolution
16. Liberalism and Backlash
17. The Vietnam War
18. Contemporary America

Seminar One: Slavery and Sectional Conflict
Seminar Two: Immigration and Ethnicity
Seminar Three: Women in the United States
Seminar Four: McCarthyism and Civil Rights
Seminar Five: America's Rise to World Power

Reading List

Recommended Text
Degler, Carl N (1984) Out of Our Past: The Forces that Made Modern America 3rd New York ; London : Harper & Row Primo search Hugh Brogan (1986) The Penguin History of the United States of America Harmondsworth : Penguin Primo search Jones, Maldwyn A (1995) The Limits of Liberty: American History, 1607-1992 2nd Oxford : Oxford University Press Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 4