USA 1970s-1980s

Ref: C2337820

The 1970s and 80s were important decades for the USA. The prestige of the American Presidency was on the wane. The USA withdrew from the Vietnam War. The Cold War ended under the tutelage of Ronald Reagan. The Civil Rights Movement entered a different phase. A variety of political, economic and social topics will be studied.

Course aim

The aim of the course is to examine the key events of the 1970s and 80s which relate to the USA. These will include Watergate and the ending of the Cold War.

Who is the course for?

What topics will this course cover

A range of American Presidents will be discussed, as will Watergate, the ending of the Vietnam War, Ronald Reagan and his role in ending the Cold War. Cultural issues facing diverse ethnic minorities and their quest for better civil rights will be examined. Links will also be made to President Trump and the current administration.. Students will be encouraged to read around the topic and/or visit exhibitions to embed their learning.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1 evaluate the reasons for the end of the Vietnam War 2 discuss the decline in prestige of the American President 3 interpret the role of Ronald Reagan in the ending of the Cold War 4 investigate changes in Civil Rights

How will I know I'm making progress?

Question and answer; verbal feedback from the tutor and through quizzes

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

None is necessary

Reading and information sources

Enduring Vision by P Boyer is a good starting point. Further reading and websites will be suggested by the tutor throughout the course

What could the course lead to?

Cambridge online History courses OU courses Cambridge Summer Schools

Download full course outline

USA 1970s-1980s Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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