This course explores some of the major events and themes of United States history since the Civil War. It follow the paths of certain American ideals, particularly the political and social ideals that both sides contested for in the Civil War–the most destructive war in history up to that time. During the half century after the war, Americans experienced tremendous social change because of continued industrialization, immigration, and westward expansion. By the turn of the century, too, the changing world role of the United States meant that foreign policy and global issues began to have a significant impact on the lives of Americans.
The course focuses on the following ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS:
1. What do historians do? How do they approach the past? How do they learn about the past?Why might the study of history be valuable?
2. How did the United States become an industrialized nation? What impact did industrialization have on ordinary Americans, including racial minorities and immigrants?
3. How did the United States become a world power? What roles has the U.S. played in the world since 1898? How has the nation’s interaction with the world influenced life inside the country?
4. How did the democratic ideals of equality and opportunity fare in modern U.S. history? To what extent has the U.S. become more democratic? When and how have equality and opportunity been denied or undermined?