Colonies to Empire through Transatlantic Dimensions

Course information


Colonies to Empire through Transatlantic Dimensions



Zoltán Vajda

Course code

AM-MA-A1 U.S. History

AMB2-2 History and Culture Survey








Course description

Short description

The aim of the course is to survey major issues in the development of American history from colonial times to the twenty-first century in order to show how, rooted in colonial traditions, originally imported from the old country but developed in the new world, the USA became the sole superpower by the beginning of the twenty-first century. Particular emphasis is laid on the causes, course and consequences/results of the American revolution, the making of the Constitution, the thrust of modernity in the nineteenth century as well as the economic and social development of the USA in the twentieth that launched it as a superpower.



1) Colonial times I: Foundations


2) Colonial times II: Development and independence


3) The early national period


4) Westward expansion and economic changes in the early nineteenth century


5) Slavery and the sectional conflict


6) Civil War and Reconstruction


7) Post-War economic development and turn-of-the-century U.S.A.


8) America in the early twentieth century


9) The Great Depression


10) World War II


11) America in the 1950s


12) The 1960s


13) Détente and the end of the Cold War. The early 21st century


14) First examination





Requirements to get the grade

The course concludes with an oral exam based exam topics and assigned readings.


Reading list

1) The Mayflower Compact (1620)


2) The Declaration of Independence (1776)


3) The U.S. Constitution and the First Ten Amendments (1787; 1791)


4) Jefferson on the importance of New Orleans (1802)


5) Missouri Enabling Act (1820)


6) The Gettysburg Address (1863)


7) The Sherman Anti-Trust Act (1890)


8) Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)


9) The Zimmermann Note & Wilson’s speech for declaration of war against Germany (1917)


10) F. D. Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms” Speech (1941)


11) President Roosevelt’s message asking for war against Japan (1941)


12) Communist Control Act of 1954 (1954)


13) Civil Rights Act of 1964 (1964)


14) Strategic Arms Limitations Agreement (1972)


Suggested reading list