This course examines U.S. history since 1950, with a focus on events in politics, public policy, and the law. Topics include the development of the Cold War; the Red Scare; the civil rights movements; the elections of the 1960s; the Americanization of the Vietnam War; the collapse of the New Deal political order; the decline of the 1970s American economy; the age of Reagan; the end of the Cold War; 1990s partisanship; the causes and effects of 9/11; and the election of Barack Obama.
All documents and other primary sources will be posted on the course website; articles will be e-mailed.
- Exams (midterm and final): 55 percent
- Document-based paper (5pp.): 20 percent
- Reading-based quizzes (2 lowest grades dropped): 15 percent
- Participation: 10 percent
My Contact Information:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- cell: 207-329-8456
- skype: kcjohnson9
- office hours: Tuesday/Thursday, 12.30-1.30, Boylan 1127a
August 28: Introduction: America in 1945
- Robert Mickey, “The Beginning of the End for Authoritarian Rule in America: Smith v. Allwright and the Abolition of the White Primary in the Deep South, 1944–1948,” Studies in American Political Development (2008).
- Richard Fried, “‘Operation Polecat’: Thomas E. Dewey, the 1948 Election, and the Origins of McCarthyism,” Journal of Policy History (2010).
- Steven Casey, “Selling NSC-68: The Truman Administration, Public Opinion, and the Politics of Mobilization, 1950–51,” Diplomatic History (2005).
- Manfred Berg, “Black Civil Rights and Liberal Anticommunism: The NAACP in the Early Cold War,” Journal of American History
- Bill Katz, “The Checkers Speech“
- Fred I. Greenstein, “Eisenhower as an Activist President: A Look at New Evidence,” Political Science Quarterly
- Anthony Badger, “The South Confronts the Court: The Southern Manifesto of 1956,” Journal of Policy History
- Michael Klarman, “Brown vs. Board of Education: Law or Politics?,” UVA Public Law Research Paper
- Kim Phillips-Fein, “‘As Great an Issue as Slavery or Abolition’: Economic Populism, the Conservative Movement, and the Right-to-Work Campaigns of 1958,” Journal of Policy History (2011).
- Laura Gifford, “’Dixie is no longer in the bag’: South Carolina Republicans and the Election of 1960,” Journal of Policy History
September 18: Politics & Policy in the Kennedy Era
- Lawrence McAndrews, “Beyond Appearances: Kennedy, Congress, Religion, and Federal Aid to Education,” Presidential Studies Quarterly (1991).
- David Coleman, “The Missiles of November, December, January, February . . . : The Problem of Acceptable Risk in the Cuban Missile Crisis Settlement,” Journal of Cold War Studies (2007).
September 23, 25: NO CLASS—conversion days
September 30: LBJ Takes Charge
- Robert Caro, “The Transition,” New Yorker.
- Hugh Davis Graham, “The Origins of Affirmative Action: Civil Rights and the Regulatory State,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
- James F. Findlay, “Religion and Politics in the Sixties: The Churches and the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Journal of American History
October 2: The 1964 Election
- Thomas Sugrue, “Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction Against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940-1964,” Journal of American History
- Rick Perlstein, “Thunder on the Right: The Roots of Conservative Victory in the 1960s,” OAH Magazine of History (2006)
October 7: Vietnam & American Politics
- Fredrik Logevall, “Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam,” Presidential Studies Quarterly (2004).
- Francis M. Bator, “No Good Choices: LBJ and the Vietnam/Great Society Connection,” Diplomatic History 32 (2008).
October 9: The Demise of the New Deal Coalition
- Kenneth O’Reilly, “The FBI and the Politics of the Riots, 1964-1968, ” Journal of American History
- Michael Flamm, “‘Law and Order’ at Large: The New York Civilian Review Board Referendum of 1966 and the Crisis of Liberalism,” The Historian (2002).
October 14: The 1968 Election
- Melvin Small, “The Election of 1968,” Diplomatic History (2004).
- Andrew Johns, “Achilles’ Heel: The Vietnam War and George Romney’s Bid for the Presidency, 1967 to 1968,” Michigan Historical Review (2000).
- Dan T. Carter, “Legacy of Rage: George Wallace and the Transformation of American Politics, “ The Journal of Southern History
October 16: No class
October 21: Nixon & Political Culture
- Kyle Longley, “Target Number One: The Nixon Administration and Foreign Policy Issues in the Efforts to Unseat Senator Albert Gore, Sr. in 1970,” Diplomatic History (2004).
- Gareth Davies, “Richard Nixon and the Desegregation of Southern Schools,” Journal of American History
October 23: Midterm exam
October 28: Watergate
- Beverly Gage, “Deep Throat, Watergate, and the Bureaucratic Politics of the FBI,” Journal of Policy History (2012).
- David Thelen, “Introduction: Remembering the Discovery of the Watergate Tapes,” Journal of American History
- “Conversations between Alexander P. Butterfield and David Thelen about the Discovery of the Watergate Tapes,” Journal of American History
October 30: Rights-Related Liberalism
- Donald Critchow and Cynthia Stachecki, “The Equal Rights Amendment Reconsidered: Politics, Policy, and Social Mobilization in a Democracy,” Journal of Policy History
- Amanda Ross Edwards, “Why Sport?,” Journal of Policy History
November 4: Rise of the Right
- Daniel Williams, “The GOP’s Abortion Strategy: Why Pro-Choice Republicans Became Pro-Life in the 1970s,” Journal of Policy History (2011).
- Robert Freedman, “The Religious Right and the Carter Administration,” The Historical Journal
November 6: The 1980 Election
- Cary R. Covington, Kent Kroeger, Glenn Richardson and J. David Woodard, “Shaping a Candidate’s Image in the Press: Ronald Reagan and the 1980 Presidential Election,” Political Research Quarterly
- Jerome L. Himmelstein and James A. McRae, Jr., “Social Conservatism, New Republicans, and the 1980 Election,” The Public Opinion Quarterly
November 11: Politics & Policy in the Reagan Years
- Hugh Davis Graham “The Surprising Career of Federal Fair Housing Law,” Journal of Policy History
- Andrew Van Alstyne, “Media, Advertising, and the 1984 Election.”
- John Ellwood, “Politics of the Enactment and Implementation of Gramm-Rudman-Hollings: Why Congress Cannont Address the Deficit Dilemma,” Harvard Journal on Legislation (1988).
November 13: The End of the Cold War & U.S. Politics
- Jeffrey Engel, “A Better World . . . but Don’t Get Carried Away: The Foreign Policy of George H. W. Bush,” Diplomatic History (2010).
- Stephen Borrelli, “Finding the Third Way: Bill Clinton, the DLC, and the Democratic Platform of 1992,” Journal of Policy History
- James A. McCann, Ronald B. Rapoport and Walter J. Stone, “Heeding the Call: An Assessment of Mobilization into H. Ross Perot’s 1992 Presidential Campaign,” American Journal of Political Science
November 18: Politics & Policy in the Clinton Years
- WJ Rorabaugh, “Critical Perspectives: Did Prosperity Contribute to the South’s Abandonment of the Democratic Party?,” Journal of Policy History
- Norman Graebner, “The End of Liberalism,” Journal of Policy History
- Bailey, Sigelman and Wilcox, “Presidential Persuasion on Social Issues: A Two-Way Street?,” Political Research Quarterly
November 20: Political Tumult: Impeachment & the 2000 Election
- Wm. Gormley, Death of American Virtue, (chaps 1-6).
- Steve Brill, “Pressgate (6 parts),” Brill’s Content (1998).
- Benjamin Highton, “Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and the 1998 House Elections,” The Public Opinion Quarterly
November 25: Politics & Policy in the Bush Years
- Melvyn Leffler, “9/11 and American Foreign Policy,” Diplomatic History 29 (2005), pp. 395-413.
December 2: The 2008 Election
December 4: Politics & Policy in the Obama Years
- Kevin Donnelly and David Rochefort, “The Lessons of ‘Lesson Drawing’: How the Obama Administration Attempted to Learn from Failure of the Clinton Health Plan,” Journal of Policy History (2012).
- Jeffrey Toobin, “Money Unlimited,” New Yorker
- George Packer, “The Empty Chamber,” New Yorker
December 9: 2012 and Beyond
December 11: Review Class
December 18: Final exam (3.30-5.30), Whitehead 518