The United States from the Late 19th Century to the Eve of World War II

History 124A

Fall 2016
145 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 1-2P
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • For individuals born at the end of the Civil War in 1865 and living through the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, their 76 years of life would have witnessed profound technological, social, and ideological change. Innovations such as the telephone, airplane, and automobile transformed American business and reoriented social life. As the power of businesses grew, factory workers and farmers responded with uneven success. Masses of Americans quit laboring on the farm and moved the cities, women gained the right to vote and entered the paid workforce in greater numbers, yet African Americans mostly remained trapped in low-paying occupations and segregated neighborhoods. At the same time, immigrants arrived in droves until the “golden door” banged shut. As America became more ethnically diverse and economically stratified, various ideas developed to justify or critique these changes. This course will examine these diverse ideas and experiences by tracing the three main themes of business and technology, race and rights, and definitions of freedom from the Civil War till World War II. 

    Course Books

    Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945 by Sánchez, George J New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 9780195096484 Required
    The Octopus by Norris, Frank Penguin Classics. ISBN: 978-0140187700 Required
    Looking Backward by Bellamy, Edward Dover Publications. ISBN: 978-0486290386 Required
    Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, and Free Speech by Polenburg, Richard Viking. ISBN: 978-0670813735 Required
    Pragmatism: A New Name for Some Old Ways of Thinking by James, Williams CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN: 978-1502921178 Required
    Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-century America by Savage, Kirk Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691009476 Required