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HIST1002.1: Introduction to American History

Explore US history since 1865. Learn about the American Civil War, Reconstruction, segregation, and US foreign policy.

2,007 enrolled on this course

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  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Discover key moments in American history after the Civil War

American history is vast and complex. Through this 3-week course, you will explore some of its key moments - examining domestic history and foreign relations.

You will investigate the background to the modern history of the United States, including the Civil War, Reconstruction, segregation and the black experience, and US expansion and foreign policy into the 19th century.

Explore the post-Civil War period including Lincoln’s death

We’ll start off by looking at the background to the modern history of the United States. We will also explore some of the burning issues that drove this nation apart in the middle of the nineteenth century; divisions that culminated in the Civil War 1861-1865.

You’ll explore the idea of ‘Reconstruction’ after the war, the declaration of independence, Civil War propaganda, and the death of President Abraham Lincoln.

Learn about racial segregation and the rise of a new black consciousness

After 1877, further efforts were made to segregate the South and take power away from black citizens, and you’ll be exploring this alongside convict leasing and racist assumptions of the time.

You’ll also explore the rise of a new black consciousness echoing across America, led by the voices of W.E.B Dubois and Booker T. Washington.

Discover American foreign policy

In the final week, we’ll be tackling US foreign expansion and the new developments in American foreign relations after the Civil War.

Evaluating America’s place in the world between 1877 and 1914, you’ll finish off by exploring US involvement in WW1.

What topics will you cover?

  • Industrialisation, immigration, and urbanisation in the post-Civil War period
  • Race relations from 1865-1919
  • American foreign policy since the late nineteenth century

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Articulate core knowledge of American history in the period since the Civil War, encompassing themes, events, movements, and people from 1865-1919.
  • Critically analyse interpretations of America’s past, and the primary source documentation that underpins them.
  • Communicate clear and concise arguments in written forms that address issues in American history during this period.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in American history. You don’t need any previous experience.

Who will you learn with?

I am a lecturer in American and Atlantic History with 15 years experience in teaching and research. My latest books are 'The Last Caribbean Frontier' 2012 and 'Enterprising Women' 2016.

Who developed the course?

The University of Newcastle Australia

The University of Newcastle is a world-class university distinguished by a commitment to equity and excellence. Ranked in Australia’s Top 10 universities, and 173rd in the world (QS rankings, 2024).

  • Established

  • Location

    Newcastle, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 180Source: QS World University Rankings 2024

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control

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Join the conversation on social media

You can use the hashtag #UniNewcastle to talk about this course on social media.