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Major Events in Twentieth-Century American History

Teachers: Ivy Wang & Usha Chilukuri

Office Hours: M 11:30-12:30
Office Location: Lingnan Administration Center 318

Welcome to Major Events in Twentieth-Century American History.

The purpose of this course is twofold: to provide an overview of
modern American history and to introduce history as a discipline.
Topics will include, among others, the Roaring Twenties, the Second
World War, the social movements of the 1960s, immigration to the
United States, and post-9/11 America. Most topics will be
accompanied by a film, which will be screened on Wednesday nights
at 7:30 p.m. Although attendance at these film screenings will not
be taken, questions about the films’ content will appear on the final
The course will also focus on developing the tools that historians
use to investigate the past, including research skills, proper citation,
primary source analysis, historiography, and analytical writing. The
culmination of this will be a seven-page research paper that
students will turn at the end of the semester.
Although this course will demand high-level English language skills
and commitment on the part of the students, the emphasis will be
on critical thinking and the understanding of historical concepts.

Class Expectations
(1) Plagiarism will not be tolerated in this course.
• First offense: Offender will rewrite the assignment and receive a
50% reduction in his or her grade on the assignment.
• Second offence: Offender will be asked to leave the course.
(2) Attendance Policy
• Students may miss one class per semester without penalty; each
additional missed class will result in a 2% deduction from the final
• Be on time! Two late arrivals to class will be counted as one
• All absences must be cleared by email with the teacher before
class. Students must make arrangements with the teacher to make
up missed classes with an alternate assignment.
• Students who miss class are still responsible for completing any
assignments due in the missed class.
(3) Participation
• Since this is a seminar-style course, students must participate in the
discussion each week. Participation will be factored into the final
(3) Assignments
• All written assignments are to be typed. Essays must be double-
spaced in 12-point font.
(4) Overdue Work
• For each day an assignment is late, 5% will be deducted from its
(5) Grading Scale
• Homework Assignments: 15%
• Class Participation: 25%
• Essay Outline: 10%
• Rough Draft: 10%
• Final Draft: 20%
• Final Exam: 20%
28/11/2007 01:49:00
Class 1:
• Overview and expectations
• Plagiarism
o Yale policy
o Examples
o Exercises
o Discussion of famous historians
• In class: blind analysis of Spanish-American War cartoons and
newspaper headlines
• Homework:
o Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden”
o Mahan Excerpt
o McKinley’s speech
o Howells Anti-imperialism excerpt
o Carl Schurz Anti-Imperialism excerpt
o Political Cartoons
o Secondary source: McPherson (the Globalist)
o Summaries from textbook

Class 2:
• 30 minutes: Primary sources (group analysis of one primary source
object); how to read primary sources handout, analysis of McKinley
• Content topic 1: The Spanish-American War; America looks out on
the world
o The role of the press and public opinion
o New relationship between Americans and the outside world
 Expansion of American vision to include other parts of
the world
• Discussion leader: overview of facts and major themes
• Small group analysis of a single document
• Whole class discusses primary sources and then secondary source
• Homework:
o Summaries from textbook on progressivism and progressive
o Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire
o Cheaper by the Dozen, Jane Addams, Roosevelt’s platform,
Walter Rauschenbusch, Socialist Party Principles, The Jungle

Class 3:
• 30 minutes: Groupwork and presentations on primary sources
• Content topic 2: Industrialization, urbanization, and progressivism
• Homework:
o Article on nativism/Americanism in Boston
o Primary sources on Wilsonianism/isolationism
o Primary sources on Sacco and Vanzetti

Class 4:
• 30 minutes: Historiography
• Content topic 3: The legacy of the Great War (discussion)
• Homework:
o Pick one topic from the list to write about for your midterm
o Read five-page essay

Class 5:
• How to research
• How to cite
• Essay writing: general overview of the parts
o Worksheet on identifying parts in essay from homework
• Homework:
o Find two primary sources and two secondary sources related
to essay topic and write out citations
o Citation worksheet
o Roaring Twenties readings

Class 6:
• Content topic 4: The Roaring Twenties
• Homework:
o Write a five-paragraph essay comparing the role of the press
during the Spanish-American War and the Progressive Era
o Great Depression readings (support for and opposition to the
New Deal)
Class 7:
• Content topic 5: The Great Depression (class debate)
• Five-paragraph essay due
• Homework:
o Prospectus for research paper
o Second World War readings

Class 8:
• Presentation on the Home Front
• Content topic 6: World War Two (isolationism/interventionism
• Prospectus due
• Homework:
o Suburbanization and urban renewal readings

Class 9:
• Content topic 7: Suburbanization of America and Urban Renewal
(New Haven as case study)
• Presentation of expectations for outline
• In-class DBQ exercise on suburbanization
• Homework:
o 3 p. outline of paper
o Civil Rights readings
Class 10:
• Outline due
• Presentation of expectations for rough draft
• Content topic 8: Social movements: esp. Civil Rights Movement
• Homework:
o Full-length rough draft

Class 11:
• Talk about common errors in outlines
• Content topic 9: Cold War Culture (Dr. Strangelove)
• Homework:
o 1980s readings

Class 12:
• Rough draft due
• Content topic 10: Political inclusion and exclusion in the 1980s
(conservatism; the Religious Right; AIDS epidemic and gay rights)
• Homework:
o Read another student’s rough draft

Class 13:
• Return rough drafts
• Discuss common mistakes & workshop essays
• Homework:
o Final draft

Class 14:
• Content topic 11: Immigration and the changing face of the US;
Comparison with China
• Final draft due
• Homework:
o Study final exam review sheet

Class 15:
• Final
• Christmas party
History Class 28/11/2007 01:49:00
Main Goals:
• Overview of 20th century American history
o Social and cultural history emphasis
o Understanding of history as a discipline
 Historiography
 Primary source analysis
 Analytical writing—how to create a dialogue between
primary and secondary sources

• Plagiarism
• Primary source analysis
• Understanding historiographical essays, writing historiography
• Research skills
• Citations
• Essay writing
• Discussion techniques