The Emergence of America: From European Settlement to 1880 - HIST3900

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The module will focus primarily on the period from the 18th century onwards but will begin with an outline treatment of the British colonies in North America from initial European settlement. Interactions between Native American, African, African-American and European populations will be emphasised in the colonial period. Thereafter the module examines the first anti-colonial revolution in modern history and the creation of a new nation and concludes with the reconstitution of the nation after a bloody civil war and on the eve of large-scale industrialisation.

Themes include the causes and consequences of the Revolution, the new political system, the development of mass democracy, economic development and territorial expansion into the West, reform movements, sectional conflict between North and South, slavery, the Civil War and the re-establishment of a national order during Reconstruction.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 20
Private study hours: 130
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Autumn Term
• Essay 2,000 words 40%
• Primary Source Critique 1,000 words 40%
• Seminar participation 20%

Spring Term
• Essay 1,500 words 20%
• Primary Source Critique 500 words 20%
• Seminar participation 10%
• Examination 50%

Reassessment methods
This module will be reassessed by 100% Coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

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 deploy different historical methodologies and approaches in the context of the colonial, national and pre-industrial periods of American history.
2 Demonstrate skills in interpreting texts and other source materials, particularly in relation to race, warfare, imperialism, political revolution, and slavery.
3 Identify, explore, and evaluate the significance of key conceptualisations in US history such as 'Manifest Destiny', 'the Market Revolution', and 'Jeffersonian democracy', and 'emancipation'.
4 Demonstrate essay writing and oral presentation skills (using a variety of methods), 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.

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, 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 their communication skills and skills with IT.
5 Present information creatively and accessibly.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.