Topics Courses

Course Descriptions

Fall 2014 Topics Courses

HIST 2304: Rise and Fall of Liberal Reform – Politics and Society, 1900 – 1980

CRN: 16969


Instructor: Richard Freeland

Time: Wednesdays 6:00 – 9:00 PM

This course will explore the efforts of political leaders during the twentieth century to shape public policies responsive to the conditions of a modern industrial society.   The focus will be on three cycles of liberal reform and conservative reaction:  first, the Progressive era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson between 1900 and 1917 and the conservative reaction to Progressivism during the presidencies of Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover in the 1920s; second, the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt during the 1930s and the Fair Deal of Harry Truman after World War II followed by the years of Eisenhower Republicanism in the 1950s; and finally the period of liberal activism during the 1960s, including the New Frontier of John Kennedy and the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, followed by the conservative backlash represented by the election of Richard Nixon in 1968 and culminating in the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980.  The course will emphasize discussion of assigned readings rather than lecture.  There will e opportunities for students to participate in debates on key questions of historical interpretation and to lead at least one class discussion.  There will be one major paper.