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Contemporary United States History, 1940-Present
General Course Information
Schedule of Classes and Reading Assignments
Lecture Summaries
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Writing Assignment

                                                                                                                                                                                             Review Sheet
                                                                                                                                                                                              Final Exam
                                                                                                                                                                  Contemporary United States, 1940-present

The following are areas you should consider in preparing for the final exam:

First Essay (material since midterm)

1.     The “New Frontier” and the events of the Kennedy years.
2.     The “movements” and “counter movements” of this period and their impact on politics and society.
3.     The effect of the Vietnamese War on U.S. foreign policy and the political system.
4.     The ongoing development of Cold War policies, from détente through the final stages of the conflict.
5.     Politics from the mid-60’s to the present, including such phases as the decline of the “New Deal coalition”, the rise of Reagan conservatism, and recent political developments.
6.     Shifts in the electoral alignments since the mid-60’s, and their effect on the political system.
7.     Changing attitudes in mainstream society, including the “fragmentation” of recent decades.
8.     The effect of such events as Vietnam and Watergate upon belief in government and institutions.
9.     Recent events (the Clinton years, 9/11, Iraq, Katrina), and the extent to which they will continue to affect America’s future.

Second Essay (comprehensive, 1940-present)

1.     Continuities in postwar foreign policy, and the overall effect of Cold War and containment policies.
2.     The long-term effects of social movements such as the civil rights and women’s movements on society.
3.     Political shifts from 1940 to the present, focusing both on how different groups have shifted alignment and on regional shifts.
4.     The evolution of public policy from the New Deal-inspired “welfare state” to the “era of big government is over”.
5.     Changes in “everyday” American life and behavior since World War II and, what factors brought about these changes.


                                                                                                                                                                                       Review Sheet
Midterm Exam
Contemporary United States, 1940-Present

The following are areas that you should consider in preparing for the exam:

1. The impact of World War II, including both military strategy and changing social conditions on the “homefront”.

2. The factors surrounding the emergence of the Cold War, and the applications of containment strategy during the Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy presidencies.

3. Truman's domestic policies, his relative effectiveness, and his political relationship to the remaining Roosevelt New Deal coalition.

4. The underlying factors behind the economic boom of the postwar era, and the effect of this prosperity on various social and economic groups.

5. Policies and approaches of the Eisenhower Administration, both in terms of domestic “modern Republicanism” and foreign policy.

6. The persistence of the anti-Communist issue in domestic politics, including but not limited to “McCarthyism”.

7. Mass (or popular) culture in the 1950's and reactions to "mainstream" culture.

8. Changes observed in postwar American society, such as suburbanization and the development of the "middle class".

9. The events and factors surrounding the emergence of the civil rights movement, and the evolution of the movement through the early 1960's.