Skip to main content
School of History

HST4314 – Building the American Nation: 1776-1896

This module explores the turbulent development of the United States from its inception in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence through to its ascendance as an industrial and imperial world power in 1896. We will explore the history of this young nation from the writing of the Constitution, through contests over democracy, slavery and the Civil War, to an era of mass immigration and industrial capitalism. Throughout the module our studies will be guided by four themes which were central to the building of an American nation and which continue to divide opinion today: citizenship, the state, the marketplace, and borders. Students will gain an understanding of different approaches to studying American history and will demonstrate an ability to marshal historical knowledge to make a convincing case in favour of their own critical interpretation of the past.

Module code: HST4314

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 1

Module Convenor: Dr Joanna Cohen

This module explores the turbulent development of the United States from its inception in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence through to its ascendance as an industrial and imperial world power in 1896. We will explore the history of this young nation from the writing of the Constitution, through contests over democracy, slavery and the Civil War, to an era of mass immigration and industrial capitalism. Throughout the module our studies will be guided by four themes which were central to the building of an American nation and which continue to divide opinion today: citizenship, the state, the marketplace, and borders. Students will gain an understanding of different approaches to studying American history and will demonstrate an ability to marshal historical knowledge to make a convincing case in favour of their own critical interpretation of the past.

Assessment: Learning Log (1,500 words) 40% and Essay (2,500 words) 60%
Level: 4