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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 321
Course Title: History of the Modern U.S.
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Analysis of the reformation of the United States during the era of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The course explores the story of how
Americans endured the Great Depression and eventually prevailed
in their struggle against totalitarianism. In particular, it highlights the
anxieties of the new era, the stock market crash of 1928, the New
Deal policies of FDR and the military campaigns of World War II.
Significant themes of gender, class, power and warfare are traced
from the twilight of the roaring twenties to the dawn of the atomic
age. Offered Odd Fall.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): HIST 122.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered odd Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A search is underway to find a suitable book of primary sources for the Class. That will be required beginning in Fall 2017

Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941
By Parrish, Michael E. (Norton)
Homefront USA 1941-1945
By Winkler, Allen (Wiley Blackwell)
Freedom from Fear
By Donald Kennedy (Oxford University Press)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyze the political and economic trends of the Republican ascendancy, 1920-1932
  2. Analyze the causes of the Great depression and the New Deal Response
  3. Analyze  with LBGT issues in American society, 1920-1941
  4. Analyze  the world War two home front
  5. Analyze race and class  and Gender in America from 1920 to 1945
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

Because the course represents an upper level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline.  It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking.  It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., exams, quizzes, papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words. Finally, it must develop student skills and abilities for researching diverse sources of knowledge

  • Describe the political events and Cultural shifts in America from 1920 to 1928
  • Analyze the causes and impact of the Great Depression
  • Differentiate how FDR transformed the American Presidency
  • Examine the changes in American society due to War, 1941-1945
  • Analyze the growing importance of LBGT issues in America from 1920 to 1941. Instructors unfamiliar with this topic are encouraged to use John D’ Emilio and Estelle Freedman INTIMATE MATTERS-A HISTORY OF SEXUALITY IN AMERICA, to prepare to include this topic in the course. Regional studies of LBGT communities in the period are also very useful.
  • Evaluate the historiography of the era 1920-1945

PLEASE NOTE. With the introduction of American Military History and History of World War Two, military topics are no longer part of HIST 321.

Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Michael Polley Date: September 7, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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