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Recent American History

Course NumberHIS 222W
Lab Hours0
Lecture Hours45
Course DescriptionPrerequisites: LEVEL 4 READING or LEVEL 2 WRITING. Surveys modern America from the Gilded Age to the present emphasizing the formation of American character traits. Examines topics such as the frontier, abundance, growth of government and regulation, the Depressions, and the Cold War for their influence upon the development of the American individual. (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Understand the American frontier experience
  1. Demonstrate the importance of famed American historian Frederick Jackson Turner's claim in 1893, that America's frontier experience was the single most influential factor forming the American character.
  2. Explain how some unique character traits of Americans can be traced to their frontier experience: Equalitarianism; more democratic society; individualism; optimism.
  3. Explain how the frontier also created negative character traits in the American; enhanced racism and the all-too-ready reaction of violence as method of solving our problems.

Demonstrate an understanding of industrialization in the late 19th century and the role of immigrants.
  1. Demonstrate an understanding that in the late nineteenth century, driven by the Protestant Work Ethic and the classic free-enterprise system, robber barons created a world industrial leader.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how we became wealthy as it is important to understanding the role abundance plays within the national character.
  3. Demonstrate awareness that the price we paid in the 19th and early 20th centuries for industrialization was extremely high in terms of the blood and sweat of millions of impoverished industrial workers.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of where these workers came from? Explain the immigrant's difficulties of adjusting to American society, fulfilling the American dream and mere survival.
  5. Explain the causes of American economic growth in the late nineteenth century.
  6. Explain the significance of the Protestant Work Ethic and Social Darwinism in the this development
  7. Define precisely why immigrants came to America.
  8. Discuss the reasons for differing rates of immigrant assimilation into American life.

Analyze the development of an American social conscience or the welfare state in America.
  1. Examine historically how and why this nation abandoned laissez-faire politics and began the path toward government involvement in society, business, and politics.
  2. Demonstrate awareness that a series of dramatic upheavals were taking place in America socially; women's rights, black oppression, the rise of the middle class.
  3. Define thoroughly the roots, causes and successes and failures of the Progressive Movement.
  4. Explain how the Afro-American became the "forgotten American" during the Progressive Era.
  5. Explain the origins of the movement for womens' rights in this period.
  6. Evaluate the contributions and significance of Progressivism to the American character.

Understand militarism as a part of American history
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of how war or the lack thereof affected the American character.
  2. Explain why the U.S. as a world power put itself above all else and projected the image of chosen people?
  3. Demonstrate how the history surrounding our foreign and military development is crucial to understanding Americans.
  4. Explain broadly the history of American's foreign policy.
  5. Explain how and why we abandoned isolationism and got into the Spanish-American War.
  6. Explain the causes of and the reason the U.S. got into World War I.
  7. Discuss the significance of warfare on American development.

Demonstrate an understanding of how the Great Depression tested the strength of American optimism.
  1. Explain the new character traits surrounding American's economic views that emerged.
  2. Demonstrate what caused the Great Depression and explain how bad it really became.
  3. Explain the nature of the boom years of the 1920s.
  4. Demonstrate the causes of Great Crash in 1929.
  5. Demonstrate how the Depression changed our culture.

Explain the Policy of Involvement: Cold-War and Vietnam
  1. Demonstrate the origin of the Cold-War, and our involvements in Vietnam.
  2. Explain how the U.S. abandoned Vietnam totally after World War II and a policy of isolationism entered upon the world stage.
  3. Explain how the American people shaped themselves to adjust to the tumultuous events of the Vietnam War and its 20 year legacy.
  4. Explain why the crisis in the Persian Gulf has repeatedly caused us to remember the lessons of Vietnam.
  5. Explain how the post World War II international situation led to the development of the "containment" policy.
  6. Explain the historic evolution of containment policy.
  7. Explain how containment led to the Vietnam War.
  8. Know the history of the significant events of Vietnam.
  9. Explain how the end of the Vietnam War affected domestic and foreign policy.
  10. Explain post-war disillusionment and how it affected foreign policy and domestic affairs under Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

Perform writing tasks to promote learning of concepts.
  1. Document attainment of skills learned.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the subject.

Demonstrate the learning of concepts through writing.
  1. Analyze course content in written form.
  2. Explain the subject matter in a coherent writing style.

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