What is the course about?
This course will cover the dynamic period of American history – where the nation is growing and expanding in terms of territory, population and influence during the period of 1818 through to 1859, prior to the cessation of southern states and the onset of the Civil War. We will examine the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of American expansion during this period of its history – on issues about new state creation, slavery/free Black Americans/emancipation through ‘repatriation’, Native American relations and a growing American nation – domestically and on the international stage.
This is a live online course. For more information please see our guide to online learning.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The idea of ‘Manifest Destiny’
- Missouri Compromise
- Monroe Doctrine
- American Colonization Society establishes Monrovia (Liberia)
- Presidential Elections during the period
- The Indian Removal Bill, the Trail of Tears, relations with the Native American peoples during this period
- Issues: population changes, demographics, slavery and slaves/free Black-Americans, new states to the Union.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Discuss how the domestic changes occurring within and to the American nation relates to the idea of ‘Manifest Destiny’
- Compare different types of historical records
- Use data learned in class to engage with questions about how American’s expansion impacted the different groups within the nation.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an ‘introductory’ level course and does not assume any previous study or reading although you will need a good standard of English to keep up with the course. As with most of our history and current affairs courses. As with all of our history and politics courses, an open mind and a willingness to listen and to think about views with which you are not familiar or may not agree, are more important than any previous knowledge or experience in the subject matter.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will consist of tutor presentations, some audio and video clips as appropriate, some in-class readings for discussion, as well as opportunities for questions and comments.
This course will be delivered online, and will involve tutor presentation and class discussion. Student preparation and homework outside class times is strongly encouraged. To fully participate in this online class you will need:
- An email address
- A reliable internet connection
- A computer/laptop/tablet with a fully updated browser (preferably google chrome).
- Your device will need a microphone, and preferably a camera.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
- Computer/laptop/tablet/mobile phone with access to Microphone / earphones OR speakers for listening to tutor presentation and participate in discussion
Some optional background reading is listed below.
P.S.Boyer (2012) American History. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
E. Cobbs, J. Gjerde, and E. Blum (2010) Major Problems in American History, Volume I: To 1877. Third Edition.
Wadsworth Publishing Co. Inc.
[Other specific readings will be introduced and made available during the course via Google Classroom].
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Have a look at our range of American History courses on our website.