HM4406: Democracy, Freedom, and Slavery: the USA, 1776-1865

HM4406: Democracy, Freedom, and Slavery: the USA, 1776-1865

Please note this module descriptor is indicative of the structure of this course and may be subject to change.

Module Title Democracy, Freedom, and Slavery: the USA, 1776-1865
Module Code HM4406
Module Tutor Christian O'Connell
School School of Education and Humanities
CAT Points 15
Level of Study 4
Brief Description

This module examines the development of the USA and particularly the growing tensions between changing ideas of democracy, liberty, freedom and the institution of slavery from the War of Independence through to the Civil War, 1861-65.

Indicative Syllabus

The module examines the founding principles of the American political system as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and translated into practise in the American Constitution.  It will explore the way in which ideas of liberty and freedom developed and became contested as a consequence of the spread of slavery, the beginnings of industrialisation, immigration, and westward expansion and growing sectional conflict in the period from the late-1700s through to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The debates about issue of slavery will be considered both within this broad context and as an institution itself using both secondary sources and slave narratives.  The module concludes with the debates about the causes, impact and significance of the American Civil War.

Learning Outcomes

A student passing this module should be able to:

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the basic principles and beliefs that lay behind the American political system and the way they were affected by the major economic, social, and cultural changes affecting the United States during the period 1776-1865;
  2. show a basic knowledge of some of the key primary sources for American history and of different historical debates on major issues;
  3. demonstrate more generally an understanding of the interaction between economics, politics and geography in the shaping of a society and its culture.
  4. utilise different historical perspectives (see understanding) in the course of seminar discussions and written work, demonstrating reading, writing, and organisational skills;
  5. distinguish between primary and secondary sources and to analyse historical argument.
Learning and Teaching Activities Scheduled Contact Hours: 40
Independent Learning Hours: 110
Assessment (For further details see the Module Guide) 001: 40% Assignment: Individual: 800 words
002: 60% Assignment: Individual: 1200 words
Special Assessment Requirements
Indicative Resources The current reading list can be found in the Module Guide, which your lecturer should make available via Moodle.

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