US history for beginners
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
This interactive course explores the development of modern America, taking into account the foundation of its political system, its internal political and racial struggles, and its emergence from isolation that led to it being the global superpower of the modern era
This course is ideal for anyone interested in the broad sweeps of U.S. history, or studying further courses on U.S. history.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
-Colonialisation, the War of Independence, and the creation of the American political system, 1608 – c.1800
-Slavery, the Civil War and the issues of race 1776 - 1968
-Immigration, migration and expansion, 1800 – 1950
- War and the growth of the global power, 1898 – 1945
-The American Century, the legacy of the Cold War and modern America, 1945 – 2001.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Describe the development of modern-day America.
Discuss the historical foundations of current issues facing the United States.
Analyse certain aspects of American culture and politics.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course. No prior knowledge required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be delivered through a mixture of lecture and discussion, with student participation
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Pen and paper for any voluntary note taking.
Below is a list of books you may find interesting:
Binder, Frederick M., and Reimers, David M., (eds.), The Way We Lived: Essays and Documents in American Social History (Lexington, Mass., various editions).
Brinkley, Alan, American History: A Survey (Boston, 2003).
Brogan, Hugh, The History of the United States of America (London, 1985, 1997).
Foner, Eric and McGirr, Lisa, (eds.), American History Now (Philadelphia, 2011)
Foner, Eric, Give Me liberty: An American History (New York, various editions).
Jones, Maldwyn A., The Limits of Liberty: American History, 1607-1992 (Oxford, 1983).
Heffner, Richard, A Documentary History of the United States, (Signet, 2009)
Tindall, George Brown and Shi, David E., America: A Narrative History (New York and London, various editions).
Zinn, Howard, A People’s History of the United States (New York, 2003).
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
We have a wide range of US history courses. Have a look on our website for more details.
Dafydd Townley is a lecturer in American History at the University of Reading where he teaches courses to undergraduates and graduates on the FBI, protest groups in 1960s America, and race and ethnicity in the United States, as well as broad survey modules on US history. His research interests include American national security policy, the US intelligence community, cybersecurity policy, US grand strategy and US domestic counterintelligence operations. His research has been supported by University of Oxford’s Rothermere American Institute, Columbia University, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation, the Institute for Historical Research and the Royal Historical Society. His work has been published in History, the Journal of Intelligence History and his monograph, The Year of Intelligence in the United States: Public Opinion, National Security and the 1975 Church Committee will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in June, 2021. His current research focuses on the long-term development of US cybersecurity policy.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.