During the transformative period between the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, the United States became the world’s foremost industrial power. Great feats of engineering—the transcontinental railroad, the trans-Atlantic cable, the Brooklyn Bridge—undergirded rapid economic growth. The population expanded by 142 percent, from 31 million to 76 million, with more than a third of that growth coming from immigration. New York’s population approached 2 million; Chicago’s was more than 1 million. The federal budget mushroomed from $78 million to $1.3 billion, a seventeen-fold expansion. The United States became a pacemaker in the development of new technologies: the steamboat, the sewing machine, the typewriter, the telephone, the automobile, the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and motion pictures.
But there was a dark side: the growing gap between the wealthy elite and Emma Lazarus’s “poor huddled masses,” the pervasive corruption of American politics, the nativist backlash provoked by surging immigration, a proliferation of doubts about the future of American democracy, and the unwelcome discovery that America’s natural resources were not, after all, unlimited. Our course will explore both sides of the story: the triumph of American capitalism, and the imperiled condition of the American republican experiment.
(see syllabus below)
Bruce Thompson, Ph.D.
10 Thursdays at 7:00PM
JUN 28 to AUG 30
To register, click the ENROLL link above
or call 408-864-4060 (M – F, 10 – 6)
Week 1 (JUNE 28) ~ Introduction: The Triumph of Money in America
Week 2 (JULY 5) ~ One Nation Under Rails: The Most Important Industry
Week 3 (JULY 12) ~ The Grant Presidency: Expansion and Corruption
Week 4 (JULY 19) ~ Captains of Industry
Week 5 (JULY 26) ~ Titans of Finance
Week 6 (AUGUST 2) ~ Teeming Shores: The New Immigrants
Week 7 (AUGUST 9) ~ The Modern Metropolis: New York, Chicago, San Francisco
Week 8 (AUGUST 16) ~ Political Corruption: The Best Government Money Can Buy
Week 9 (AUGUST 23) ~ Ragtime: American Culture in the 1890s
Week 10 (AUGUST 30) ~ 1900: The State of the Nation
Bruce Thompson, is a lecturer in the Departments of History and Literature and the Associate Director of Jewish Studies at UC-Santa Cruz, and also teaches at the Institute. He received his Ph.D. in History from Stanford; his areas of scholarly research include European intellectual and cultural history, French history, British Isles history, American history, American Jewish intellectual and cultural history, the history of cinema, and the history of espionage.
Class begins at 7:00PM
and is always preceded by a fun gathering hour
of wine, goodies, and dessert.
Institute for the Study of Western Civilization
10060 Bubb Road, Cupertino CA 95014
The Institute’s summer 2018 programs are supported by a generous grant from The Valley Foundation.