America is a vibrant nation drawing together peoples from diverse cultural, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Together they are the United States of America, but how has America been shaped by its people? This course will consider some of the voices that have been to the fore in shaping America. We will analyse the impact of those involved in events, including the framing of the constitution, the opening up of the West, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Vietnam War, and movements, including antislavery, women’s rights and civil rights, had on shaping America. The course does not presuppose an in-depth knowledge of American history or politics.
Duration: 8 Mondays
Time: 19.00 - 21.00
Feb 3, 10, 17, 24,
Mar 2, 9, 16, 23
Readings for this course will mainly be from electronic resources. A reading list will be provided at the beginning of the course.
Dr Sarah Feehan earned her PhD from UCD. She has previously taught courses on American foreign policy, the Vietnam War and a history of the American presidency. Her research interests include American political history and foreign policy, British foreign policy and Britain and the Commonwealth.
- The Founding Fathers – Setting the tone for new United states of America.
- Presidents/Congress(wo)men/Senators – The importance of the political voice.
- The men who built America – Vanderbilt/Rockefeller/Carnegie/Morgan.
- Raising your voice: fighting for your rights – Anti-slavery, Civil Rights, Women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, Labour Movement.
- The Immigrant voice in America. - The role of the dissenting voice.
At the end of this course a student should be able to analyse the contribution made by various people and groups and discuss how they helped shape America. They should be able to draw on examples from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to illustrate how those holding differing views expressed them and affected debates that helped move America forward. They should be able to discuss major social, political and cultural events in American history and identify the leading voices and analyse their contribution and the impact they had during these events.
Each class will be divided between a lecture and group discussion. The lecture will give students an introduction and general overview of the weekly topic. A strong emphasis will be placed on group discussion. The group discussion will encourage students to express their views on the topics and debate key issues. Students will be introduced to primary sources, readings and video clips relevant to each topic in order to get them to engage more fully with the subject. Students will be offered the opportunity to do small assignments, to delve a little deeper, but this will be an entirely optional element of the course.