American History 1890-1945

Department of American and Canadian Studies, School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies

College of Arts and Law


Code 21567

Level of study Second Year

Credit value 20

Semester Both (1+2)

Pre-requisite modules You must have completed at least two years of appropriate study in this discipline.’

Module description

This module introduces students to the key themes in US political, social, economic and cultural developments in the early Twentieth Century. Students will, through the intensive study of primary sources, develop an understanding of the construction of historical argument. The key themes are:

  • The rise of the USA as a global power, including the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the World Wars. The course explores the development, goals, implementation and impact of American foreign policy on the world and on US politics and society, and links between foreign and domestic policy.

  • Major social movements within the US from 1890 - 1945, including immigration, women's movements, segregation and civil rights, and the impact of changes in agriculture and industry and consumption. The course explores groups that have agitated for change in the US, assessing their aims, strategies and influence.

  • Broad cultural changes in religion, gender and sexuality, and popular entertainment from 1890 - 1945.

  • The evolution of the US political system from the Progressives to the New Deal, including woman suffrage.

Teaching and learning methods

Lecture and seminar