The Rise of the United States Since 1880 - HIST3910

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


The 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

Autumn term
• One essay (2,000 words) 40%
• Source analysis exercise (1,000 words) 40%
• Seminar participation 20%

Spring Term
• One essay (1,500 words) 20%
• Source analysis exercise (500 words) 20%
• Seminar participation 10%
• Exam (2 hours) 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 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 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.
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, 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. 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.
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