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In its first 170 years the US grew from a disparate collection of east-coast colonies to a major world power. This subject examines American society through these years, exploring the intertwined themes of slavery, freedom and growth. The first part focuses on the consequences of the existence of slavery in a free society, including fighting of a terrible civil war. The second part examines the dynamics and consequences of growth; topics include the emergence of a market economy, the frontier and the fate of indigenous Americans during the decades of westward expansion, and expansion overseas at the end of the 19th century. The third part examines visions of and debates about the emergence of modern mass society and culture in the first four decades of the twentieth century; topics include Prohibition, the Great Depression and New Deal, the emergence of broadcasting, the segregated South, immigration, and the two world wars.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:
- understand some of the major issues in US history 1776-1945 and the significant changes in US society over this period;
- understand the social, political and cultural context of events in US history 1776-1945;
- demonstrate an ability to research a topic in US history 1776-1945 using primary sources;
- have an enhanced understanding of some of the major interpretive arguments made by historians of US history 1776-1945; and
- demonstrate an ability to communicate historical arguments in writing and orally.
Last updated: 26 March 2020