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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail

E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 1
The Post-New Deal Order

E-Seminar 2
The Politics of Anticommunism

E-Seminar 3
The Stable Fifties

E-Seminar 4
The Subversive Fifties

E-Seminar 5
Kennedy, Johnson, and the Great Society

E-Seminar 6
The Civil-Rights Movement

E-Seminar 7
The Vietnam War

E-Seminar 8
Cultural Revolutions

E-Seminar 9
The Age of Limits

E-Seminar 10
The Rise of the Right

America Since 1945
A Series of Ten E-Seminars

Taught by: Alan Brinkley

E-Seminar Description
In a series of ten e-seminars, America Since 1945, Alan Brinkley, Alan Nevins Professor of History, discusses the political, cultural, and social developments that occurred from the earliest years of the postwar era through the 1980s—a period in which the United States changed more rapidly and profoundly than at any other time in its history.

These e-seminars trace the evolution of U.S. foreign policy from the Cold War through America's twenty-year involvement in Vietnam and profiles the presidents who led the country in its growing global engagement. On the domestic front, Professor Brinkley examines some of the larger movements, such as the anticommunist crusade of the 1950s, the civil-rights movement, and the Great Society. He also traces the evolution of the voices of dissent, from the early strains of environmentalism and feminism in Rachel Carson and Betty Friedan to the more fully-fledged antiestablishment views of the New Left and the campus radicals of the 1960s. This series of e-seminars follow the rise of American consumerism in the 1950s and the reaction to this faith in abundance that occurred during the 1970s when many Americans believed that the country's future depended on a more measured use of natural resources. Professor Brinkley ends the series with a discussion of the renewed faith in unfettered American power, embodied in the rise of the conservative right.

These multimedia presentations feature text and video of Professor Brinkley's lectures and include short biographical entries, interactive timelines, audio slide shows, and a wealth of period media—newsreels, promotional films, and excerpts from documentaries—that underline the themes discussed in the lectures.

Series Length:3–5 hours each
Start Date:Anytime
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE
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Go to the series now.

Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements

E-Seminar 1: The Post–New Deal Order
  1. The American Century Idea
  2. Legacies
  3. The New Framework
  4. The Cold War
  5. Containment Policy Tested
  6. Allure of the New

E-Seminar 2: The Politics of Anticommunism
  1. Impact of the Cold War
  2. The Red Scare
  3. Interpretations of the Red Scare
  4. Final Analysis

E-Seminar 3: The Stable Fifties
  1. Abundance
  2. Television
  3. The Suburbs
  4. National Politics
  5. Conclusion

E-Seminar 4: The Subversive Fifties
  1. Disillusionment
  2. Other Americans
  3. Environmental Critique
  4. Feminism
  5. Poverty
  6. Segregation
  7. Conclusion

E-Seminar 5: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Great Society
  1. Introduction
  2. Presidents and Liberalism
  3. John F. Kennedy
  4. Lyndon B. Johnson
  5. The Great Society
  6. Conclusion

E-Seminar 6: The Civil-Rights Movement
  1. Introduction
  2. Greensboro
  3. Southern Whites
  4. Drawing National Attention
  5. March on Washington
  6. Selma
  7. A National Problem
  8. Militancy
  9. What Happened in White America?

E-Seminar 7: The Vietnam War
  1. Introduction
  2. A Bigger Story
  3. Two Vietnams
  4. No Choice
  5. Why America Failed
  6. Alternatives
  7. Conclusion

E-Seminar 8: Cultural Revolutions
  1. The Death of the Public World
  2. A Redefinition of the Self
  3. Revolution
  4. The New Left
  5. A Vastly Different Culture

E-Seminar 9: The Age of Limits
  1. A New and Different Period
  2. A Transformed Economy
  3. Inflation
  4. Waning Influence
  5. The Presidents
  6. Limits Issues
  7. Conclusion

E-Seminar 10: The Rise of the Right
  1. Introduction
  2. The Marginalization of the Right
  3. The Revival of the Right
  4. The Triumph of the Right
  5. Ronald Reagan
  6. Restoring the American Century

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Alan Brinkley is the Allan Nevins Professor of History at Columbia University in New York, where he has taught since 1991. Professor Brinkley became Chair of the Department of History in 2000, and he has been appointed Provost of the university, effective July 1, 2003. His published works include Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression (Knopf, 1982), which won the National Book Award in 1983; The Unfinished Nation: A Concise History of the American People (Knopf, 1992); The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (Knopf, 1995); and Liberalism and Its Discontents (Harvard, 1998). He is presently writing a biography of Henry R. Luce, to be published by Knopf.

His essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in scholarly journals and in such periodicals as the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, the Times Literary Supplement, and the London Review of Books. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the National Humanities Center, the Media Studies Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, and others; and he was the recipient of the Joseph R. Levenson Memorial Teaching Prize at Harvard. He is chairman of the board of trustees of the Century Foundation (formerly the Twentieth Century Fund), a member of the editorial board of the American Prospect, a member of the board of directors of the New York Council for the Humanities, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1998–99 he was the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University.

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Recommended Reading
Ambrose, Stephen. Eisenhower. 2 vols. New York: Simon & Schuster Books, 1983–84.

Blum, John M. Years of Discord: American Politics and Society, 1961–1974. New York: Norton, 1991.

Branch, Taylor. Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989, c1988.

Branch, Taylor. Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–65. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. New York: Fawcett Crest, 1964.

Chafe, William H. Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

Dallek, Robert. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961–1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Farber, David. The Age of Great Dreams: America in the 1960s. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994.

Freeland, Richard. The Truman Doctrine and the Origins of McCarthyism: Foreign Policy, Domestic Politics, and Internal Security,1946–1948. New York: Knopf, 1972.

Friedan, Betty. The Feminine Mystique. New York: Norton, 1963. Reprint, with an introduction by Anna Quindlen, 2001.

Gaddis, John Lewis.* The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941–1947. New York: Columbia University Press, 1972.

———.* Strategies of Containment. Oxford University Press, 1982.

Gillon, Steven M. The Democrats' Dilemma: Walter F. Mondale and the Liberal Legacy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

Harrington, Michael. The Other America: Poverty in the United States. New York: Macmillan, 1962. Reprint, with a new introduction by Irving Howe, New York: Collier Books, Macmillan, 1994.

Himmelstein, Jerome L. To The Right: The Transformation of American Conservatism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

Hodgson, Godfrey. The World Turned Right Side Up: A History of the Conservative Ascendancy in America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1996.

Jackson, Kenneth T. Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Kaiser, David E. American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000.

Kennan, George F. "1925–1950." In George F. Kennan: Memoirs 1925–1950. Rev ed. Knopf, 1983.

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. New York: Viking, 1957, 1997.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Harper, 1958.

Kutler, Stanley I. The Wars of Watergate: The Last Crisis of Richard Nixon. New York: Knopf (distributed by Random House), 1990; Norton, 1992.

LaFeber, Walter. America, Russia, and the Cold War, 1945–1967. 8th ed. McGraw-Hill, 1980. A classic survey of American-Soviet relations.

Langguth, A. J. Our Vietnam: The War, 1954–1975. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.

Lemann, Nicholas. The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How it Changed America. New York: Vintage Books, 1992.

Leffler, Melvyn P. A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War. Stanford University Press, 1992. A superb, densely researched history of the policies of the 1940s.

Logevall, Fredrik. Choosing War: The Lost Chance for Peace and the Escalation of War in Vietnam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Lukas, J. Anthony. Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families. New York: Vintage Books, 1986, c1985.

Matusow, Allen J. The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.

May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. Rev. ed. Basic Books, 1999.

McCullough, David. Truman. Rev. ed. New York: Touchstone Books, 1993. An elegant biography.

McGirr, Lisa. Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Mills, C. Wright. White Collar: The American Middle Classes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1951.

Oshinksy, David. A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy. New York: Free Press, 1983.

Patterson, James T. Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Reeves, Richard. President Kennedy: Profile of Power. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Riesman, David, in collaboration with Reuel Denney and Nathan Glazer. The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1950. Abridged and rev. ed., 2001.

Rogin, Michael Paul. The Intellectuals and McCarthy: The Radical Specter. Cambridge: M.I.T. Press, 1967.

Schoenwald, Jonathan M. A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Schrecker, Ellen. Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998.

———. The Age of McCarthyism: A Brief History with Documents. 2d ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001.

Schulman, Bruce J. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. New York: Free Press, 2001.

Schulzinger, Robert D. A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941–1975. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Sheehan, Neil. A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam. New York: Random House, 1988.

Whyte, William. The Organization Man. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1956.

Wills, Garry. Reagan's America: Innocents at Home. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987; New York: Penguin, 2000 (with new introduction).

*Both books by Gaddis provide a sound introduction to Cold War history.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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