HI 48 CONTEMPORARY AMERICA, 1929 - PRESENT

Fall 2005
Instructor: Dr. Andrew S. Moore
Office: 208 Bradley House
Office Hours: MW 1:30 - 2:20, Tues. 11:20 - Noon AND BY APPOINTMENT
Class meeting time and place: MWF 12:30, Alumni Hall, Room LL4
Phone: 641-7050
E-mail: amoore@anselm.edu

Required Reading

The above books are available at the Saint Anselm College bookstore. In addition to the books that you will need to purchase, there are other readings listed on the syllabus. Copies of these will be available online via this course's Blackboard page.

Course Description and Objectives
This course is intended to introduce students to some of the major themes and events of twentieth-century American history since the Great Depression. Those themes include the rise of the modern liberal state and the increasing importance of the federal government in individual lives, minority groups' struggle for equality and inclusion in public life, and the way that Americans have had to adapt to pluralism and multiculturalism. In that vein, we will ask questions about the development of competing identities - class, gender, ethnic, religious, and racial - and whether those competing identities somehow have come together to form a single national identity.

The study of history is necessarily reading-intensive, so students should be prepared to do a wide range of reading and to discuss those readings each week in class. The success of the course depends on that. Failure to be prepared for class on a regular basis will be readily apparent and one's progress in the course will suffer.

Assignments

A WORD ABOUT GRADES
Assigning grades in a writing-intensive class such as this one is necessarily subjective. But deciding what is and what is not an "A" paper is not exactly the same as one Supreme Court justice once characterized pornography - that is, he could not define it, but he would know it when he saw it. Here are a few guidelines I will use in determining the quality of written work.

For further writing guidelines, see the classic, William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style; or William Zinsser, On Writing Well, both of which may be found in the library.

Class and Reading Schedule
NB: This schedule is subject to change. Any changes will be announced ahead of time and posted on Blackboard.

INTRODUCTION
August 29: Introduction of Course

August 31: Setting the Stage: Life in the 1920s
No Reading

September 2: Depression Becomes "Great"
Reading: "Responses to the Crash" on Blackboard (hereafter BB)

PART I: SURVIVING THE DEPRESSION AND MAKING A NEW DEAL
September 5: Presidential Politics: Hoover and FDR
Reading: "Hoover and FDR" (BB)

September 7: Life in the Depression
Reading: "'Making Do' in the Depression" (BB)

September 9: The New Deal, Race and Labor
Reading: The National Labor Relations Act; Flint Sit-Down Strike (BB)

September 12: The Legacy of the New Deal
Reading: Brinkley, Voices of Protest summary due

II. AMERICA AND THE WORLD AT WAR (READ BOYER, CH. 1-2)
September 14: From Isolationism to War
Reading: FDR, "Quarantine speech"; Charles Lindbergh;"Arsenal of Democracy"; Burton K. Wheeler; "Day of Infamy" (BB)

September 16: Casablanca

September 19: War and the Nation

September 21: War and the Nation
Reading: Working women; African Americans support the war; Korematsu v. US (BB)

September 23: From FDR to Truman: The Origins of the Postwar World
Reading: Truman and Advisers on the Atomic Bomb (BB)

III. FIGHTING (AND NOT FIGHTING) THE COLD WAR (READ BOYER, CH. 3)
September 26: The Origins of the Cold War
Reading: TBA

September 28: Korea, NSC-68, and the Cold War
Reading: NSC-68

IV. LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM: THE 1950S (READ BOYER, CHS. 4-6)
September 30: The Age of McCarthyism
Reading: HUAC Investigates Hollywood (BB)

October 3: Affluence and Discontent
Reading: Teens and Television in the 1950s (BB)

October 5: JFK and the Cold War

October 7: Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Fall Break begins October 7 at 5:30; NO CLASS Monday, October 10

October 12: Midterm exam

October 14 NO CLASS

V. THE BLACK FREEDOM STRUGGLE (READ BOYER, CH. 8)
October 17: The NAACP and the Law: Brown, Montgomery, and Little Rock

October 19: Direct Action: Freedom Rides, Birmingham, and Selma
Reading: Letter from Birmingham Jail (BB)

October 21: Religious Faith and Civil Rights
Reading: Marsh, God's Long Summer summary due

VI. LIBERALISM, PROTEST, AND INCIVILITY: THE 1960S (READ BOYER, CHS. 7, 9-10)
October 24: LBJ and the Great Society
Reading: "The Other America", War on Poverty (BB)

October 26: The New Left and the Counterculture
Reading: "Rock and Roll", "The British Are Coming", Port Huron Statement (BB)

October 28: Liberalism and Its Discontent: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

October 31: Black Power and Incivility
Reading: TBA

November 2: Vietnam: The War Escalates
Reading: Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (BB)

November 4: The Rise of Conservatism
Reading: TBA

VII. NIXON, "ME," AND THE AGE OF LIMITS (READ BOYER, CHS. 11-13)
November 7: Nixon and the Imperial Presidency
Reading: Impeachment of Nixon (BB)

November 9: Feminism, Sex, and Roe
Reading: Roe v. Wade (BB)

November 11: The "Me" Generation: Life in the 1970s

November 14: Saturday Night Fever

November 16: Affirmative Action and Race in the 1970s
Reading: "The Bakke Case" (BB)

November 18: Politics and American Confidence: Jimmy Carter
Reading: Horowitz, Jimmy Carter and the Energy Crisis of the 1970s summary due

VIII. A NEW GILDED AGE? (READ BOYER, CH. 14)
November 21: Ronald Reagan and American Conservatism
Reading: TBA

November 23 Thanksgiving Recess begins at 12:30

November 28: The Empire Strikes Back: Ronald Reagan and the Cold War
Reading: Reagan's "Evil Empire" speech (BB)

IX. CULTURE WARS, CLINTON, AND POLITICAL REALIGNMENT (READ BOYER, CHS. 15-16)
November 30: From Bush to Clinton: The Politics of the Third Way
Reading: Republican "Contract with America" (BB)

December 2: Culture Wars and a Multicultural America
Reading: TBA

December 5: Religion in American Society
Reading: Wuthnow, After Heaven Summary due

December 7: Wrap-up and Debriefing

COMPREHENSIVE EXAM QUESTIONS
1. How has the modern liberal state grown and evolved since the Great Depression?

2. Discuss the role of religion in public life in the second half of the twentieth century.

3. How have the meanings of "liberalism" and "conservatism" changed since the Great Depression? How have political party alignments and re-alignments been influenced by those changing definitions?