HIST-181 The U.S. since the Civil War
Spring for 2015-2016
This course traces the past 150 or so years of American history, covering the nation’s development from the end of the Civil War through the recent past. Over the past century and a half, the United States has undergone myriad social, political, economic and cultural transformations, and has assumed a decisive role in international affairs. This semester, among other topics, we will examine the United States’ development of an industrial economy, its forays into imperialism, its embrace of reform, its experiences of economic catastrophe and war, and its career as Cold War-era superpower. We will also look at how various groups of Americans have struggled for rights and equal treatment, attempting to get the United States to live up the promise of its founding ideals. The United States has been in many ways defined by Americans’ basic disagreements over the meaning of founding American principles – liberty, equality, freedom – and in this class we will consider the ways in which Americans’ conflicting definitions of these principles have defined the nation’s history.
The following syllabi may help you learn more about this course (login required):
Spring '16: Taylor B (file download)
Additional syllabi may be available in prior academic years.
HIST-181-70 US history since 1865
Offered academic year 2016-2017
This course traces a few themes in American history from the end of the Civil War through somewhere close to the present day. We will discuss the history of American politics, economy, society, and culture. It is designed as an introductory course, so no prerequisite knowledge about American history (except in the broadest sense) is required. However, historians frequently complain that there is too much history for the brief time we are allotted in each semester, and this course is no exception. Thus, in an attempt to give the course focus, we will be paying special attention to the word “American.” Who did it apply to? Who did it not? What characteristics qualified a person or an idea for the label? What did Americans believe made their community and nation unique?
These are, of course, still relevant questions today. I hope that you will leave this course with a greater understanding of your own experience in the United States.
As in all (good) history courses, this course will not merely present students with timelines to memorize and famous people to identify. Rather, history courses should primarily teach you a way of thinking, and this one will present you with information in lecture and readings, and encourage you to analyze that information in discussions and written assignments. After your time in this course, you will hopefully be equipped to examine evidence critically, to place claims about American history in context, and to understand the ways in which your world is the product of the past.
Taught in Doha.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: