History | American History II
H106 | 7641 | McGerr


Above class open to freshmen and sophomores only

Course Description
This course surveys the broad sweep of modern U.S. history, the
years from the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s down to the
present.   We will focus particularly on the consequences of three
fundamental developments: the emergence of the United States as an
industrial capitalist society, as a democracy, and as a world
power.  Looking closely at the evolution of American social
structure, culture, and politics, we will analyze such topics as
changing attitudes toward work and pleasure, transformations of
class and gender relations, the rise and fall of racial segregation,
the shifting meanings and influence of liberalism and conservatism,
the impact of war on society, and the concept of a post-industrial
nation.

Course Goals
In developing your understanding of the issues noted above, this
class pursues the aims common to introductory history courses.
Through lectures, discussions, and assignments, you will practice
using the analytical tools of historians.  You will increase your
ability to think historically, to recognize how the past conditions
the present and the future, to analyze historical evidence, and to
read, view, and write critically.

Assignments
There is one required book, which is available for purchase: James
Oakes et al, "Of the  People," Volume II.  Other reading
assignments, including articles and primary sources, will be
available online on the Oncourse website.  There are two required
films: "The Best Years of Our Lives" and "Die Hard."  Each student
will write several short papers, two in-class tests, and a final
examination.