The American Dream
Time: 18:00 - 20:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HAH44
Duration: 5 sessions (over 5 weeks)
What is the course about?
This course explores some of the central aspects of American history from its colonial beginnings through to the late twentieth century. Using thematic sessions, the module serves as an introduction to key themes and issues in the history of the US and provides a foundation for more specialised courses.
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?
The course will cover a variety of topics which will be covered thematically rather than chronologically. These topics will include include the Revolutionary war, Jacksonian America, America's westward expansion and 'borderlands', the antebellum South and slavery, the Civil War of 1861-5, plus Southern 'Reconstruction' and 'Jim Crow' segregation, the transformation of the nation's world role and notions of an American 'empire', Americans' experience of wars in the twentieth century, the New Deal, civil rights movements, social protest in the 1960s and 70s, and the rise of the New Right.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Identify and explain the main issues associated with the American Dream and the broader subjects covered in the course, and appraise critically the primary sources and historical interpretations of the subject and their relevance to the topic. You will recognize the factors and events that restricted groups and individuals from being able to achieve the American Dream.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is available to all levels, beginners, intermediate or advanced. No prior knowledge of American history is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course be taught online and will consist of mini-lectures and discussion of primary and secondary sources, such as speeches, letters and diaries. Those sources discussed in class will be available in advance of the online session through Google classroom, although there is no requirement to read them before the class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no other costs or requirements, although a pen and paper might prove useful should you wish to take notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Have a look at our range of American History and Politics courses in our online programme.
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.