20th-century American History Interactive

Course Synopsis

What do immigration, the “imperial presidency” and interstate highways have in common? They all changed the landscape of America during the twentieth century. During this eight-tutorial course you will study the political, social and cultural history of twentieth-century America, focusing on key themes including the nature of American identity, the growth of Presidential power, and the intersection between foreign policy and domestic life, as you discover how and why America became a world superpower. Emphasis will be placed on the use of primary sources, such as letters and oral histories, in order to supplement and bring to life the lecture material.

This in-depth course provides a fascinating insight into the pivotal century when America became one of the most powerful nations on Earth, a century that saw the development of the nuclear bomb, put a man on the moon, and shaped the international climate in which we now live. It will provide thought-provoking supplementary material to students who study history at school and who may be thinking of applying to study history at university and beyond.


What’s Included?

This course consists of 8 X interactive lectures – audio recordings with accompanying presentation material – each taking approximately 1 hour to complete. Our unique, on-demand, interactive delivery system means that students are able to start instantly and work through material at their own pace. The interactive format ensures that the learning process is engaging and enjoyable, with regular quizzes and exams to enable students to check that they are following the topics covered. The course is available to start instantly online – once enrolled, you can get started straight away.





Personal Profile

Interactive Tutorials

Quizzes and Exams


Why Take this Course?

This course is ideal preparation for students thinking of studying history at university, exploring an extremely important period of American history and encountering a range of historical methods in the process.

Please note! This is an 8-tutorial course.


Aims and Objectives

  • To gain a thorough understanding of the key events of 20th Century American History
  • To understand how and why America became such a dominant superpower in the last century
  • To gain an insight into events that shaped the world we live in today

Key Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Discuss with confidence the key events of this period
  • Use the course materials to pursue further independent study


All courses include the following Interactive Tutorial series

Tutorial 1

Immigration & Prohibition

3 hours

The first tutorial explores the notion of immigration, a concept at the heart of American identity as embodied by the Statue of Liberty. The second looks at the period between 1920 and 1933 when it was illegal to sell alcohol in the United States, discussing the rise and motivations of the movement that fought for this bold act of legislation, the effect that Prohibition had on the social and cultural life of America, and the reasons behind the legislation’s eventual repeal. We will also discuss one of the unintended consequences of Prohibition: the rise of American gangster culture.

Tutorial 2

The New Deal & World War II

3 hours

The Great Depression was one of America’s lowest points in the 20th Century – widespread poverty, homelessness, and despair blighted the nation. Tutorial 3 looks at the effects of the Great Depression and the measures that Franklin D. Roosevelt employed in an attempt to end it. Tutorial 4 moves on to the period of WWII and America's involvement in this conflict, exploring in particular how women and African-Americans experienced the war and how the global conflict shaped post-war America.

Tutorial 3

The Cold War & Social Justice

3 hours

The years following WWII saw huge changes in the American social and cultural landscape. Tutorial 5 discusses the armed stand-off between the US and USSR that embodied the post-war era, whilst tutorial 6 explores the great social upheavals of the 1960s, including the struggle for gay rights, women’s rights, and African-American civil rights. We will consider whether 20th-century America succeeded in achieving the promise of “liberty and justice for all.”

Tutorial 4

The Reagan Era & The End of History

3 hours

Tutorial 7 will discuss the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) in the wider context of the resurgence of American conservatism and the rise of the religious right. Tutorial 8 concludes the course by exploring how the world - with America at its heart - entered a new era with the fall of the Soviet Union, considering the varied reasons for which the 20th century has often been called 'the American century'.

What’s Included?

All courses contain the following elements:

Interactive Tutorials
Online Quizzes
Access to the discussion forum
Access to all course resources
Certificate of completion

Key Details

Course Pre-Requisites Advanced/fluent Level of English
Interest / motivation to learn about this fascinating field of study!
Course Level For students applying to/thinking of applying to university to study History
This course is an area-specific course, designed to expand your historical knowledge
Difficulty level: Moderate
Fees £29.99
Workload 8 - 10 hours

Enrolment Options

Choose one of the following options to take your course:

Single Licence


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Personal learning profile
Course certificate

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Membership 1


3-Month Membership
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Course certificates

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Membership 2


6-Month Membership
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Personal learning profile
Course certificates

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