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

HI 313 - The United States 1900-1945

Office: Scott Shipp, Room 440
Hours: 11-12 MWF 

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to examine US social, economic, and political history from 1900 to 1945.  Emphasis will be given to such themes as: the Progressive Era, World War I, FDR and the New Deal, and the United States at War, 1941-1945.  The first two decades of the twentieth century marked a turning point in US history. During these “pivotal years” a political, economic, social and cultural agenda was established that still dominates our life today.  Throughout the period, we faced a variety of challenges at home involving, for example, race and gender issues, as well as problems arising from industrialization and scientific and technological progress.  But with our characteristic optimism and dynamism we faced many of these challenges, as well as challenges from abroad.

Our learning goals include developing each cadet’s ability to think critically and analytically, and to communicate effectively in written and oral formats. 


There will be a mid-term exam (30 percent), a final exam (40 percent), and one term paper (30 percent) of 3000 words (about 12 pages including footnotes and bibliography.)  The exams will contain a mix of short answer questions (perhaps one word or phrase or a sentence or two), true/false, and short essay questions. The questions asked will be directly related to the textbooks and to the lectures so reading the textbooks and taking good notes will be essential.  Class participation, and discussion, is an important part of the learning process so cadets should come prepared to class.

The topic of the term paper must be approved in consultation with the instructor.  This research paper will have footnotes and bibliography in the approved format of the Department of History.  Cadets should avail themselves of the excellent and helpful services of the Writing Center to strengthen their paper.  Papers will be assessed on the basis of argument, evidence, and style.  Although this is not a course in military history, the instructor will consider proposals for biographic papers on great US military leaders of the period with respect to the leader’s formation, character, leadership abilities, and the like. 

Books and Materials

We have three excellent and enjoyable textbooks. (The reading assignments will be about 50-60 pages a week.) 

Cooper, Pivotal Decades: The United States 1900-1920

Leuchtenburg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal

Hess, United States at War, 1941-1945