Clifford A. Kiracofe, Jr., Ph.D.

HI314 - The United States Since 1945



Dr. Clifford Kiracofe



464-7079 at VMI

Office Hours

MWF before and after classes, and by appointment. Stop by welcome.


Scott Shipp 440





We shall use two excellent textbooks:

Alonzo L. Hamby, Liberalism and Its Challengers, From FDR to Bush

Norman L. Rosenberg, In Our Times, America Since World War II

Additional Suggested Resources:

Cold War

Gerald K. Haines and Robert E. Leggett, eds., Watching the Bear: Essays on the CIA’s Analysis of the Soviet Union, Washington, DC:  Center for the Study of Intelligence available at:

Primary Documents available at:

Civil Rights

University of Southern Mississippi, Digital Archives, links to resources:

National Park Service, Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Letter from the Birmingham City Jail:


This course will examine US political, economic, social, and cultural history since 1945.  Key themes of the era, such as the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement, will be given particular attention.  Our approach will be to work through the period by presidential administration beginning with Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Our learning goals include developing each cadet’s ability to think critically, to analyze, and to communicate orally and in writing.  We shall also seek to develop cadet’s skills in research using contemporary digital and Internet resources as well as traditional library resources.


Cadets are expected to come prepared to each class.   There will be a Mid Term Exam, a Final Exam, and a Term Paper.  The Exams will contain short answer and true-false questions based upon the textbooks and lectures.

The Term Paper shall be 3,000 words total and the length shall be indicated by a word count on the title page.  The term paper shall conform to History Department guidelines as found at the History Department website.  The term paper is a research paper and shall demonstrate the use of scholarly books, scholarly articles, and Internet resources.  The term paper shall contain end notes in proper format, and a bibliography in proper format.  The topic of the term paper shall be approved by the instructor and should be a topic of personal interest to the student.  Topics can be drawn from political, social, economic, military, technical-scientific, or cultural history.  Non-history majors, such as engineering students, may wish to select a topic relating to their specialization such as the history of a significant engineering project. 

For a helpful assist in writing research papers, please check out this useful website from the University of Michigan: Also, again, please carefully review the History Department website for guidelines.


  1. For research, your primary resource is Preston Library.  Please work with the Reference Librarian who can assist you with developing your research skills with respect to accessing scholarly books, scholarly journals, and Internet resources.  You are expected to use books and other printed library resources as well as electronic databases of scholarly materials and Internet resources.
  2. For writing, your main resource is the Writing Center.  Professionals there can assist you to develop effective written communication skills. 
  3. For study, your main resource is the Learning Center.  Professionals there can assist you with tips and guidance for developing appropriate learning style, effective personal time management, and effective note taking.


Evaluation is based upon performance on Mid Term Exam (30%), Term Paper (30%), Final Exam (40%), and Classroom Participation.  With respect to the term paper, evaluation is based upon the quality of the argument, evidence, and style.  Style includes organization and structure as well as proper grammar, expression, and format. Please note that the Term Paper is about one-third of your grade and, therefore, it is important to budget your time over the semester to do a good job on it.  A good job also involves a revision process so allow time to make revisions needed to strengthen the paper.

Course Schedule:



Required Reading

January 12

Introduction; FDR 

Hamby: Intro and begin Chapter 1 

January 19


Hamby: Chapter 1

January 26

Truman Years

Hamby: Chapter 2 Rosenberg: Chapter 1

February 2

Truman Years

Rosenberg: Chapter 2

February 9

Eisenhower Years

Hamby: Chapter  3

February 16

Eisenhower Years

Rosenberg: Chapter 3

February 23

Review for MidTerm


March 1

The 1950s; The Civil Rights Movement

Rosenberg: Chapter 4

Hamby: Chapter 3

March 8

Kennedy Years and 1960s

Hamby: Chapter 5

Rosenberg: Chapter 5

March 22

Johnson Years and Vietnam

Hamby:  Chapter 6

Rosenberg: Chapter 6

March 29

Nixon, Ford Years; the 1970s

Hamby:  Chapter 7

Rosenberg: Chapter 7

April 12

Carter Years; the 1970s

Rosenberg: Chapter 7, 8

April 19

Reagan Years

Hamby: Chapter 8

Rosenberg: Chapter 9

April 26

Since Reagan

Hamby: Epilogue

Rosenberg: Chapter 10

Examinations and Term Paper:

Term Paper Topic (submit typed for approval) is due on: February 13
Mid-Term Exam will be on:  February 27
Term Paper is due on:  April 16 
Final Exam as posted by the History Department