The Rise of the United States Since 1880 - HIST3910

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Aurelie Basha i Novosejt checkmark-circle


TThe module is an introduction to the major themes, events and debates in U.S. history from 1880 until the present day. It will consider this period of domestic and international upheaval and trace key themes and ideas, including the connections between domestic and international developments, the evolution of the U.S. presidency, industrialization and reform, U.S. imperialism and isolationism, the growth of the national security state in the Cold War, post-war conformity versus 1960s radicalism as well as conservative politics in the 1970s and 1980s.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:

One essay (2,000 words) (40%)
Source analysis exercise (2,000 words) (40%)
Seminar participation (20%)

Reassessment methods:
This module will be reassessed by 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List:

Brogan, Hugh. The Penguin History of the United States of America (London:
Penguin Books, 1990).
Herring, George C. From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776
(New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2008).
Iriye, Akira. The Cambridge History of American Foreign Relations, Vol. III: The
Globalizing of America (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Norton, Mary Beth, David W. Blight, et al. A People and a Nation: A History of the
United States (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1999).
Paterson, Thomas G., Garry Clifford, Shane J. Maddock, Deborah Kisatsky and
Kenneth J. Hagan. American Foreign Relations, Vol. II: A History Since 1965
(Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2006).
Rosenberg, Emily S. Spreading the American Dream: American Economic and
Cultural Expansion, 1890-1945 (New York, NY: Hill & Wang, 1982).

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate the ability to pursue different kinds of history and bring them together in the context of U.S. history in its industrial and international phases.
2 Understand how domestic and international factors interacted in the evolution of U.S. history in the 20th century.
3 Hone their ability to critically assess primary and secondary source materials, and to use evidence in support of arguments.
4 Identify, explore, and evaluate the significance of key conceptualisations in US history such as 'McCarthyism', 'isolationism' , 'red peril', 'neo-conservatism', and 'War on Terror'.
5 Demonstrate essay writing and oral presentation skills, and how to make good use of the relevant library resources and to illustrate their argument using a range of primary sources in US history.
6 Acquire an informed basis from which to analyse contemporary issues in U.S. domestic and foreign policy.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Consider critically relevant intellectual concepts as well as differences of opinion and interpretation both amongst historians, and they will also be encouraged to develop their ability to identify and solve problems
2 Work both independently and within groups. Students will engage in independent work, using library resources, and will practice and improve their skills in time management, historical research, organisation and analysis of material, oral presentations and essay-writing.
3 Communicate complex concepts effectively through written work. They will acquire the ability to further develop skills they have already gained, which will be of use to them in future study or occupations.
4 Demonstrate communication skills and skills with IT.
5 Present information creatively and accessibly.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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