À propos de ce cours
As Donald Trump takes office as the forty-fifth president of the United States, this course explores presidential elections in historical perspective, via five case studies. It tells the story of key campaigns in US history, and by doing so it investigates how politics changed over time—and how understanding the past sheds light on the current campaign. From the arrival of "dirty politics" to the impact of the "digital revolution," the course looks at the historical background to some of the key phenomena that shaped the controversy-laden campaign of 2016. The five elections that we'll investigate are among the most significant in American political history. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson won the presidency in a contest that encouraged politicians to reform the electoral college, the system by which presidents are still chosen. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 prompted the outbreak of the Civil War. It's an election that helps us to understand the development of political parties. In 1968, the Vietnam War was a dominant concern for Americans, and yet foreign policy played a secondary role in Richard Nixon's victory. Twelve years later, in 1980, Ronald Reagan won an election that initiated a new era of conservatism. Finally, we'll turn our attention to the election that took Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, to the White House in 2008. Many saw the Obama's success not only as revealing the impact of the digital revolution on campaign politics, but also as signaling a turn to progressivism. Image credits: Course logo - "Former President Truman holds a copy of the famous Chicago Daily Tribune paper declaring 'Dewey Defeats Truman'" Harry S. Truman Library & Museum (https://www.trumanlibrary.org/photographs/view.php?id=38592). Course banner - "US Flag Backlit" by Joshua Nathanson, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Flag_Backlit.jpg).

Cours en ligne à 100 %

Commencez dès maintenant et apprenez aux horaires qui vous conviennent.
Beginner Level

Niveau débutant


Approx. 10 heures pour terminer

Recommandé : Three weeks of study, 3-4 hours/week.
Comment Dots


Sous-titres : English

Cours en ligne à 100 %

Commencez dès maintenant et apprenez aux horaires qui vous conviennent.
Beginner Level

Niveau débutant


Approx. 10 heures pour terminer

Recommandé : Three weeks of study, 3-4 hours/week.
Comment Dots


Sous-titres : English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course


3 hours to complete

The Election of 1800

The stormy election of 1800 culminated in the election of Thomas Jefferson as president, but it also played an important role in encouraging American politicians to reform the electoral college, which remains the system by which presidents are chosen....
19 videos (Total 96 min), 5 readings, 1 quiz
Video19 videos
Setting the Scene 2: Issues--Hamilton vs. Jefferson; the French Revolution6m
Setting the Scene 3: The Election of 1796; the Quasi-War5m
Adams and Pinckney4m
Jefferson and Burr4m
The Electoral College6m
The 1800 Campaign 16m
The 1800 Campaign 23m
The Press and the 1800 Campaign2m
The Electoral College Meets3m
Deadlock in Congress4m
Jefferson's Deal?2m
The Inauguration1m
The Revolution of 1800?6m
Interview: Annette Gordon-Reed and Peter S. Onuf7m
Interview: Joanne B. Freeman5m
Interview: Gaye Wilson11m
Reading5 readings
The New Nation10m
Joanne B. Freeman, "The Presidential Election of 1800: A Story of Crisis, Controversy, and Change."10m
[Optional Reading] Alexander Hamilton's attack on John Adams, October 24, 180010m
Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 180110m
Interviews with Historians10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Practice Quiz – The Election of 18006m
3 hours to complete

The Election of 1860

With four candidates seeking the White House in 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln prompted South Carolina's secession, the establishment of the Confederate States of America, and the Civil War. Exploring the 1860 election helps us to understand the development of political parties, voting, and radicalism in American politics....
6 videos (Total 28 min), 7 readings, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
Parties and Voting6m
Conventions and Platforms9m
Outcomes and Consequences3m
Roundtable: The impact of the 1860 election4m
Round-up discussion: Friday, October 28, Was the 1800 presidential election the 'nastiest' in American history?2m
Reading7 readings
The Pre-Civil War Era & the Sectional Crisis10m
Caleb Bingham (1853-1854)20m
“Political Parties in the United States, 1820–1860”10m
Abraham Lincoln and the Election of 186030m
1860 Republican Platform10m
Primary Sources: Secession20m
“Presidential Election of 1860: A Resource Guide,” Library of Congress.10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Practice Quiz – The Election of 18606m
Week 1 Quiz - Nineteenth-Century Elections10m


3 hours to complete

The Election of 1968

The problems that America faced in fighting the Vietnam War forced Lyndon Johnson to withdraw his candidacy for reelection, and the war would be seen as a leading factor in the victory of Richard Nixon. But how important was, and is, foreign policy in American domestic politics?...
9 videos (Total 46 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz
Video9 videos
The Impact of Tet6m
The New Hampshire Primary5m
Presidential Primaries4m
Democratic Primaries 19685m
Issues I: Law and Order6m
Issues II: The Impact of Vietnam4m
The Results7m
Reading7 readings
The Sixties, the 'Unraveling', and 196830m
Primary Sources – Responses to Vietnam: Walter Cronkite and the 'Wise Men'20m
Primary Source – President Johnson's March 31st Speech10m
Primary Sources about the 1968 Election – Party Platforms, Humphrey's Campaign, and Riots in Chicago30m
Primary Sources: Humphrey/Johnson Discuss Vietnam, LeMay/Wallace Press Conference, and LBJ Halts Bombing in Vietnam30m
Voting Map, Statistics, and Results10m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Practice Quiz - The Election of 19686m
3 hours to complete

The Election of 1980

The election of 1980 is often seen as marking modern America's embrace of conservatism, in a manner that still shapes the nation and the world today. Examining the 1980 election helps us to understand why conservative ideas on the economy and foreign policy gained popularity, and why Reagan proved a powerful salesperson for the Right....
6 videos (Total 54 min), 8 readings, 2 quizzes
Video6 videos
The history of presidential debates8m
The Carter-Reagan presidential debate6m
Conservative ascendancy and electoral eras7m
The gender gap8m
Roundtable Discussion: Week 216m
Reading8 readings
Secondary reading on liberalism's travails and the 1980 election40m
Primary sources on the 1980 presidential campaign10m
The development and significance of presidential debates on television3m
Optional primary source: the Carter-Reagan debate10m
Turning points and "realignments" in electoral history3m
Exploring the "gender gap" in voting3m
Data on the gender gap10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Practice Quiz – The Election of 19806m
Week 2 Quiz – Twentieth-Century Elections10m


2 hours to complete

The Election of 2008

At the end of our course, we look back to the election of Barack Obama in 2008. This is explored through the testimony and perspectives of a practitioner who took part in the Obama campaign, of a journalist who traveled across America in fall 2008, and of a political scientist who has written about the election. Did Obama's victory signal a turn to progressivism, and how did digital technologies transform electoral politics?...
4 videos (Total 56 min), 7 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Jon Kelly on the making of the US president in 200817m
Nicol Rae on the making of the US president in 200814m
Roundtable on 2008 election8m
Reading7 readings
Exploring the election of Barack Obama5m
"Barack Obama: Campaigns and Elections"10m
Background reading (optional): The American Yawp on recent US history30m
Primary Sources – Campaign Commercials10m
About Mike Moffo1m
About Jon Kelly1m
About Nicol Rae2m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Practice Quiz – The Election of 20086m
3 hours to complete

The Election of 2016

It is too soon to tell the history of the 2016 presidential election (and so last year's election is not one of the five that are at the heart of our course), but how does does history help us to understand the Clinton-Trump contest and its outcome? By way of concluding "The Making of the US President," we reflect on historical parallels (and discontinuities)....
2 videos (Total 87 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
Video2 videos
Discussing Donald Trump's inaugural address18m
Reading3 readings
Exploring the political battle via campaign commercials15m
Roundtable discussion after the 2016 election10m
Exploring Donald Trump's inaugural address in historical perspective15m
Quiz1 practice exercises
Week 3 Quiz – The Election of 2016 and Historical Parallels10m

Top Reviews

By JQFeb 12th 2017

Great Review. I am active in politics and still found there were things I'd forgotten. Thanks for the fun and the review.



Frank Cogliano

Professor of American History

Fabian Hilfrich

Senior Lecturer in American History

Robert Mason

Professor of Twentieth-Century U.S. History

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