This course explores the most important social, economic and political developments in the Britain since the beginning of the eighteenth century. It covers topics including Britain’s century-long conflict with France in the 1700s, the rise of industrial society, Victorian ideas and attitudes, British feminism, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the emergence of the Labour Party and British socialism, the impact of the two world wars, and postwar political and social changes. Offered even Fall. Prerequisites: HIST 102 or HIST 112
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):
HIST 102 or HIST 112.
Course Rotation for Day Program:
Offered even Fall.
Most current editions of the following:
Core texts must be assigned from the “Required” section below; the primary sources reader is highly recommended. Additionally, at least two texts from the “Recommended” section must be assigned. Use the most current editions from among the following:
Required (choose a text or a text-set) plus the primary sources reader:
A History of Modern Britain, 1714 to the Present
By Wasson, Ellis (Wiley-Blackwell) Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE Recommended
The Age of Aristocracy: 1688-1830
By Willcox, William B. Bradford and Walter L. Arnstein (Houghton Mifflin) Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE (pair with Text 3) Recommended
Britain Yesterday and Today: 1830 to the Present
(Houghton Mifflin) Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE (pair with Text 2) Recommended
The Peoples of the British Isles: A New History from 1688 to 1870
By Heyck, Thomas William (Lyceum) Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE (pair with Text 5) Recommended
The Peoples of the British Isles: A New History from 1870 to the Present
By Heyck, Thomas William (Lyceum) Category/Comments - PRIMARY SOURCE (pair with Text 4) Recommended
Sources and Debates in Modern British History, 1714 to the Present
The Birth of Industrial Britain: Social Change 1750-1850
By Morgan, Kenneth (Pearson Longman) Recommended
Britain Under Thatcher
By Seldon, Anthony and Daniel Collings (Longman) Recommended
Life isn’t All Ha Ha Hee Hee
By Syal, Meera (Picador) Recommended
By Levy, Andre (Picador) Recommended
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
By Wollstonecraft, Mary (Penguin) Recommended
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
By Equiano, Olaudah (Bedford/St. Martin's) Recommended
A Civilised Savagery: Britain and the New Slaveries in Africa, 1884-1926
The Condition of the Working Class in England
By Engels, Freidrich (Penguin) Recommended
She: A History of Adventure
By Haggard, H. Rider (Oxford World Classics) Recommended
The Road to Wigan Pier
By Orwell, George (Mariner Books) Recommended
By Pat Barker (Penguin) Recommended
Course Learning Outcomes
Explain key aspects of modern British history through analysis of relevant primary sources.
Integrate a range of relevant secondary sources into one’s analysis of modern British history.
Describe major 18th century economic and political developments, including state-formation, industrialization, and events pertaining to the French Revolutionary era.
Identify major 19th-century political reforms, as well as issues central to society and culture, including religiosity, scientific authority, and the emergence of mass politics.
Describe British imperialism during and after the later 19th-century and its effects upon British society.
Explain British experiences of World War and the interwar period, including political, social, and cultural concerns.
Describe transformations of British society in the postwar era, including the expansion of the welfare state and challenges it faced in the later 20th century through immigration and neoliberalism.
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., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total c5000 words.
Background to the 18th century
The structure of society in the 18th century
Intellectual currents: the British Enlightenment
War, the state & the 18th-century empire
The impact of the French Revolution
Post-Napoleonic war politics, liberalism, and reform
The emergence of Chartism
Darwinism and cultural change in the later Victorian period
Victorian women: ideals/realties
Britain and the “new imperialism”
Challenges to the liberal state: trade-unionism; feminism; Home-Rule
Britain, World War One, and interwar challenges
World War 2 and British society
The creation of the welfare state
Decolonization in select sites
British culture in the 1950s
Challenges of the 1960s: youth movements; immigration; Northern Ireland
Stagflation and the 1970s
From Thatcherism to New Labour
Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20
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.