Democratizing Twentieth Century America

At the dawn of the Twentieth Century African Americans were regularly lynched, doctors were legally forbidden to share information about birth-control with women, striking workers were routinely accosted by hired enforcers and young men could be drafted to fight in wars, though they were not old enough to vote.

This course will explore the growing inclusiveness of American democracy during the Twentieth Century. Students will examine democratization as it relates to the following groups: women, labor, African Americans, Latinos and other people of color, anti-war activists, and gays and lesbians. Moreover, through reading, critical analysis and discussion, we will attempt to answer the following questions:

1 Why then? Why did this endeavor for reform [relating to a particular group] get underway when it did?
2 What gains were won? What gains were sought but not won?
3 If the reform was only partially achieved, what limited its attainment?

By the end of the course, students will have a grasp of the critical events that shaped the United States during the twentieth century and a better understanding of the meaning of democracy and equality.

**This course is reading and writing intensive. Students should come in with a basic grasp of world history during the Twentieth Century as we will focus on the role the United States played in WWI, WWII and the Cold War. Students will produce several pieces of work that can be converted into history PBATs and exhibitions.

Readings: 
A People’s History of the Twentieth Century, by Howard Zinn
Numerous primary source materials
Research: 

Several independent research papers related to topics focused on during the course.

Sample PBATs: 
In-depth reseach into one of the social movements studied in class and in response to the three questions that guide the course:
Why then? Why did this endeavor for reform [relating to a particular group] get underway when it did?
What gains were won? What gains were sought but not won?
If the reform was only partially achieved, what limited its attainment?
For example: Why did the New Left Social Justice Movements get underway the way they did?