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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: The Rise of the Right in the United States, c.1945-c.1990 (HIST10306)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe course investigates political conservatism in the United States during the era of the Cold War. It analyses the activities of the Republican Party in power and in pursuit of power, with special attention to the administrations of Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. There are also explorations of conservative ideas and conservative movements.
Course description The course employs a broad definition of the Right in American politics in order to investigate an array of developments in the United States since World War II, all involving the emerging success and influence of political conservatism. First, it pays special attention to the activities of the Republican party in pursuit of office and in power. Second, it examines racial conservatism among southerners in the Democratic party and later in the Republican party. Third, it looks at a variety of movements on the Right outside the parties, including some considered extremist and some within the political mainstream; examples of these organisations are the John Birch Society and Moral Majority. Fourth, it investigates the work of contemporary political theorists of the Right and their significance to practical politics. Fifth, it analyses political change at the grassroots level. In order to investigate conservatives and conservatism in the United States during the post-World War II decades, the course investigates the rich historiography that is relevant to this subject, as well as exploring a wide range of primary sources.

Content note: The study of History inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: racist ideas and actions, sexist ideas and actions. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass in 40 credits of third level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 44, Summative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 345 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 40 %, Coursework 40 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2 x 3,500 word essays, one due in each semester (each worth 20%)
1 x 3 hour exam (40%)
Non-written skills (classroom participation and oral presentations) (20%)
Feedback Students will receive written feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)3:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate command of the body of knowledge considered in the course;
  2. Read, analyse and reflect critically upon relevant scholarship;
  3. Understand, evaluate and utilise a variety of primary source material;
  4. Develop and sustain scholarly arguments in oral and written form, by formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence;
  5. Demonstrate independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers.
Reading List
Donald T. Critchlow, The Conservative Ascendancy: How the GOP Right Made Political History (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007)
David R. Farber, The Rise and Fall of Modern American Conservatism: A Short History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010)
Godfrey Hodgson, The World Turned Right Side Up: A History of the Conservative Ascendancy in America (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996)
Allan J. Lichtman, White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2008)
Robert Mason, The Republican Party and American Politics from Hoover to Reagan (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012)
Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001)
Kim Phillips-Fein, Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan (New York: Norton, 2009)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsRise of the Right
Course organiserDr Nick Batho
Course secretaryMiss Katherine Perry
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