Faculty of Arts


Rise and Fall of the USA

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for HISTORY 108.


How can a nation founded in slavery and offering equality and opportunity for only some claim to be a land of freedom? Is the increasing gap between rich and poor a sign that the age of American power and prosperity is over? Approaching the history of the United States as one of triumph, tragedy, and, ultimately, paradox, this course tackles these and other questions as it explores how Americans have contended with one another over the meanings of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice from the founding of their nation to the present.

The course will examine critical periods—the revolutionary era; the Civil War and Reconstruction; the era of industrialisation and "progressive" reform; the Great Depression and World War II; the 1960s; the early twenty-first century—during which Americans challenged and changed their ideas, cultures, practices and institutions. We will seek to understand how Americans’ conflicts over freedom and struggles for justice shaped the building of a great but imperfect nation.

In the course of engaging with these questions and themes, students will acquire an understanding of United States history as well as the skills and practices of the historian.

View the course syllabus

Availability 2018

Semester 1


Coordinator(s) Dr Paul Taillon


History 108 Course Guide.

Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself, 1845.

Anzia Yezierska, Bread Givers, New York, 1925.

Recommended Reading

Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty! An American History, Brief Edition.


Coursework + exam


HISTORY 108: 15.0 points



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