The course concerns the main political aspects of the history of the United States, considering the historical developments of the nation from its birth to the present, and offering critical discussions of some fundamental documents of U.S. History as well as of current affairs in the U.S. in historical perspective. Topics include the major schools of thought and approaches, the connection between domestic and foreign politics, and the connection between the principles of the American republic and the pragmatism of its leadership. Concerning knowledge and understanding the course aims to apply original ideas in a research context, and to solve new problems in the field, making judgements on new issues, as well as the ability to communicate these skills to a broad publlic. Finally, with exercises of comprension of historical cases, we will try to obtain learning skills to study in an autonomus way.
Expected learning outcomes
The whole skills will enable the students to develop an ability to understand critically contemporary issues. They would be able to understand the complexity of contemporary world, perceive cultural, social and political interchanges, and behave as careful citizen in a world in transformation.
Lesson period: First semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The first part of the program addresses issues concerning the history and politics of the United States, including the welfare state, the development of modern conservatism, Congress and presidential powers, and national security. Following the study of American politcal history, as well the main interpretations that chaged over time, these issues will help us for a better understanding of American politics today. The monographic part of the course reflects on Alexander Hamilton's text "Report on American Manufactures". Secretery of treaury of George Washington's presidency, Hamilton reflects on the importance of manifacture for the national security of the United States for obtaining an economic egemony. About the origins of this egemony as well as the starting of Anerican capitalism and global commerce in the first part off Nineteeth century we shall have an exhibit in our space entitled "The age of the sailing ships. Clipper and schooner from James Fenimore Cooper to Herman Melville". The third part of the course reflects on the trasformation of American journalism from Benjamin Franklin's newspaper to the political use of the press in the age of penny press and muckrakingsi. In particular we will reflect on the figuer of Abraham Lincoln as great communicator. To carry on this part we will use movies, documentaries, and websites.
Prerequisites for admission
Frontal lessons with the help of slides, PowerPoint, images, websites and video.
Giovanni Borgognone, Storia degli Stati Uniti. La democrazia americana dalla fondazione all'era globale, Feltrinelli, Milano, 2016; Alexander Hamilton, Sulle manifatture americane, Ibis, Como-Pavia, 2018.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists in a written test and an oral discussion. The test points to evaluate in a clear way the general knowledge through 24 multiple choice questions and two open questions one 30 lines long and the other of two pages. Starting from the result of the test, the oral discussion addressed all the argument treated in the monographic part of the course. There will be also a written paper on an article chosen by the students on the databank online American Historical Newspapers related to an argument of the course. More in general the exam aimed to verify that the lessons drawn from American history can be useful to describe politics in contemporary United States, up to the impeacment of Donald Trump.