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American History II

General data

Course ID: 4219-AW102 Erasmus code / ISCED: 08.3 / (unknown)
Course title: American History II Name in Polish: American History II (Historia USA II)
Organizational unit: American Studies Center
Course groups: All classes - weekday programme - 2nd cycle
obligatory lectures - weekday studies - MA level
ECTS credit allocation (and other scores): (not available)
view allocation of credits
Language: English
Type of course:

obligatory courses

Short description:

This lecture provides a general survey of American History from Reconstruction through the early 21st century. Students will become acquainted with the main developments in American politics, society, and culture.

Full description:

The central theme of this lecture is the rise of big business and its impact on how Americans lived, worked, and played. This development also transformed how Americans thought about the role of government in their society and laid the foundation for America's emergence as a superpower after World War II. To a lesser extent, the topics of religion, sports, and popular culture (film, radio, and TV) will also be addressed.


The Social Side of Reconstruction

The Rise of Big Business

Urbanization and Immigration

Reaction and Reform: Populism and Progressivism

The Origins of Mass Culture

Rethinking America's Place in the World

The Roaring 20s

The Depressing 30s

The Rise of a Superpower

The Culture of the Cold War and Countercultures

The Reagan Revolution and Culture Wars


Textbook and assigned readings

* Required textbook: American Journey, v2

* Miller, Zane L. „Boss Cox’s Cincinnati: A Study in Urbanization and Politics.” Journal of American History 54 (4,1968): 823-838.

* Sklar, Kathryn Kish. “Hull House in the 1890s: A Community of Women Reformers.” Signs 10 (4/1985): 658-677.

* Jeffrey, Julie Roy. “Women in the Southern Farmers’ Alliance: A Reconsideration of the Role and Status of Women in the Late Nineteenth-Century South.” Feminist Studies 3 (1,2/1975): 72-91.

* Lash, Christopher. “The Anti-Imperialists, the Philippines, and the Inequality of Men.” The Journal of Southern History 24 (3/1958): 319-331.

* Ewen, Elizabeth. “City Lights: Immigrant Women and the Rise of the Movies.” Signs 5 (3/1980): 45-66.

* Cohen, Lizabeth. “Encountering the Mass Culture at the Grassroots: The Experience of Chicago Workers in the 1920s.” American Quarterly 41 (1/1989): 6-33.

* Blee, Kathleen M. “Women in the 1920s KuKluxKlan.” Feminist Studies 17 (1/1991): 57-77

* Sherwin, Martin J. “The Atopic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War: U.S Atomic-Energy Policy and Diplomacy, 1941-1945.” American Historical Review 78 (4, 1973): 945-968.

* Nelson, Bruse. “Organized Labor and the Struggle for Black Equality in Mobile during World War II.” The Journal of American History 80 (3/1993): 952-988.

* D’Emilio, John. “Gay Politics, Gay Communities: San Francisco’s Experience.” Socialist Review 50 (11): 77-104.

Learning outcomes:


1.Students will gain an understanding of the general themes of American history from Reconstruction to the early 21st century.

2. Students will get acquainted with a range of facts and figures about the social, cultural, political, and economic history of the last 150 years.

3. Students will be able to use terminology pertaining to history writing and analysis of the past.


1. Students will learn to synthesize this material to make arguments that demonstrate their understanding of American history.

2. Students will learn how to analyze primary sources for what they reveal about the era in which they were produced.

3. Students will learn how to critically assess secondary sources, including textbooks and scholarly literature, and to read critically the contributions of historians to our understanding of American history.


1. Students will understand the importance of American history for the understanding of American contemporary culture.

2. Student will practice the ability to speak publically, presenting argument supporting their theses.

3. Students will gain the appreciation of diversity and multiculturality.

Assessment methods and assessment criteria:

Final exam

Written form, 2 hours; multiple choice questions with only one correct answer (15-20); true/false questions, matching and grouping, terms to define, names to recognize, phenomena to describe, events to put in a chronological order plus short essay questions (concerning mostly the assigned readings), 60% of the total required to pass the exam.

The exam will address issues covered during the lecture and the material from the assigned readings (textbook and articles).

This course is not currently offered.
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