U.S. History Since 1945

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 120

       Course Name: U.S. History Since 1945

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines political, economic, social and cultural development of the United States since 1945.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the United States’ achievements from 1945 to the present in political, cultural, and social terms
  2. Compare representative works of literature and philosophy produced within this period
  3. Critique the values expressed in the philosophical and literary texts of this period, and discuss the current relevance of these values
  4. Explain the ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity of the late twentieth-century United States and the nature of political, cultural, and ethnic conflict
  5. Apply conflicting interpretations of late twentieth-century United States history
  6. Analyze primary and secondary sources of the late twentieth-century United States

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to Post-Modernism and Contemporary History
  2. World War II
  3. Postwar Developments
  4. The Eisenhower Years
  5. Kennedy and the 1960s
  6. Origins and development of the Civil Rights Movement
  7. Lyndon Johnson and the Late 1960s
  8. The Vietnam War
  9. Nixon, Watergate and the 1970s
  10. Ford and Carter
  11. The Reagan Counterrevolution
  12. Bush and Clinton
  13. Contemporary Issues

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods: lectures, in-class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:

  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 13-15 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, and/or other kinds of writing.
  3. Participate in in-class and out-of-class activities.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

A standard textbook will be assigned. Recently, one or more of the following books has been used:

Norman L. and Emily S. Rosenberg. In Our Times
Walter LaFeber. The American Century
Moss. America in the 20th Century
om Wolfe. The Electric Kool-Aid Test
James W. Patterson. America Since 1941: A History
Irwin Unger. Recent America: The U.S. Since 1945

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments.

Students will also be evaluated on a combination of written assignments and in-and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available at the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *

XX/XX: Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX: Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX: Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX: Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"

*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.