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The Brief American Pageant , Sixth Edition
David M. Kennedy, Stanford University
Lizabeth Cohen, Harvard University
Thomas A. Bailey
Mel Piehl, Valparaiso University
Suggested Lecture Topics
Chapter 37
Developing The Chapter: Suggested Lecture Or Discussion Topics


  • Explain the changes in American economic development since World War II. The emphasis might be on America's uncontested postwar economic domination and on the eventual weakening of the heavy-industrial base and the turn to other economic activities.

    REFERENCE: John Patrick Diggins, The Proud Decades: America in War and Peace, 1941-1960 (1988).

  • Explain the complex causes of the Cold War. The emphasis might be on the vacuum of power created by the destruction of Europe and the decline of Britain, as well as on the specific ideological and political battles over Poland, Germany, and Greece.

    REFERENCES: Daniel Yergin, Shattered Peace (1977); Melvyn P. Leffler, A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration, and the Cold War (1992).

  • Examine the rise of suburbs in relation to the changes in postwar economic, social, and racial life. Consider suburbia as an expression of both rising affluence and geographical mobility (especially in the South and West). Perhaps consider some of the critics and defenders of the suburbs in the 1950s.

    REFERENCE: Kenneth Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier (1986).

  • Analyze the connection between the Cold War abroad and the hunt for subversion at home, perhaps focusing on the difference between the attacks on actual Soviet spies and the broader attack on all American Communists and the use of the "Communist" charge as a way to smear and suppress all sorts of people with unconventional views and lifestyles.

    REFERENCE: Richard Fried, Nightmare in Red (1990); Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes (1998).



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