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American History 2--HIST 2112 (OER): Chapter 30: Recent Past

American Yawp Chapter Summary

Revolutionary technological change, unprecedented global flows of goods and people and capital, an amorphous and unending “War on Terror,” accelerating inequality, growing diversity, a changing climate, political stalemate: our world is remarkable, frustrating, and dynamic. But it is not an island of circumstance–it is a product of history. Time marches forever on. The present becomes the past and the past becomes history. But, as William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”1 The last several decades of American history have culminated in the present, an era of innovation and advancement but also of stark partisan division, sluggish economic growth, widening inequalities, widespread military interventions, and pervasive anxieties about the present and future of the United States. Through boom and bust, national tragedy, foreign wars, and the maturation of a new generation, a new chapter of American history is busily being written. Read more from Chapter 30 of the American Yawp.

Things to Consider

Questions to be thinking about as you move through the content of this chapter

  1. Why did the U. S. economy boom in the 1990s?
  2. Why was Bill Clinton impeached?
  3. Why did the Cold War end?
  4. Why did the U. S. invade Iraq?
  5. Why did the bubble burst on the housing market?
  6. Why is national health care an impossible issue for Americans?

Learning Objectives and Assessment

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Identify key events that define change over time in a particular place or region, and identify how change occurs over time
  • Recognize a range of viewpoints in historical narratives
  • Understand the dynamics of change over time
  • Explore the complexity of the human experience, across time and space
  • Distinguish between historical facts and historical interpretations
  • Seek a variety of sources that provide evidence to support an argument about the past
  • Develop a methodological practice of gathering, sifting, analyzing, ordering, synthesizing, and interpreting evidence
  • Evaluate a variety of historical sources for their credibility, position, significance, and perspective

Course Objectives

  • The student will understand the rise and social, political, and economic impact of the Civil Rights Movement and Social and Identity Movements of the mid-Twentieth Century.
  • The student will understand the role of the U.S. in global affairs in a post-Cold War world.
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