History is not stuck in the past. Everyday events are influenced by our shared and diverse interpretations of the past. What we believe is true is completely different for someone else. For example, British involvement in the Middle East, from a Western perspective, is a distinct event influenced by the desire for oil, very much a 20th century concept. For those who live in the Middle East, however, Western actions in Iraq and Afghanistan is part of an imperialist narrative which stretches back to the Crusades of the 11th and 12th century. Understanding history from a different perspective is central to our understanding of the world.
You explore why changes occurred and how societies experience change and its aftermath. We will bring History to life through a wide range of interactive teaching methods which will help you develop a good understanding of the topics covered. You will also have opportunities to visit some of the key places which feature in your course. In the past four years students have been on trips to China, Germany and Poland.
The study of History gives you an understanding of events; it also develops important skills such as communication, analysis, arguing and evidencing a case. It is an excellent preparation for university and careers as varied as journalism, politics, law, teaching and management.
You can study History with Economics, Government & Politics, Law, Philosophy, English, Geography, or a language, but it can be studied beneficially alongside almost all subjects.
As part of the full A-Level, you will study 4 subjects:
In Year 1:
Britain Transformed, 1918-1997
The USA, c1920-55: Boom, Bust, and Recovery
In Year 2:
The Witch Craze in Britain, Europe, and North America, c1580-1750.
Historical Interpretations Coursework.
Unit 1: Britain Transformed, 1918-1997 (30% of A-Level)
This unit focuses on the changes in British politics, society, economy, and culture between 1918 and 1997. It is split into two distinct sections. Firstly, a breadth overview of the period 1918 to 1979 and secondly an examination of historical interpretations concerning Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister between 1979 and 1990. For the breadth section between 1918 and 1979, there are four themes:
1. A changing political and economic environment
- Politics between 1918 and 1979, including the National Government, the Second World War, and the rise of Consensus
- The economy between 1918 and 1979, including the Depression and the rise of Keynesian economics.
- Industrial relations and the reasons for their breakdown during the 1970s.
2. Creating a welfare state
- Providing social welfare, including the rise of state welfare and the Beveridge Report
- Public health examining the creation of the NHS.
- The changes to educational policy, including the development of comprehensive education and the decline of grammar schools.
3. Society in Transition
- Changes to ideas of class and the emergence of the liberal society.
- The changing role of women, including the rise of feminism.
- Racial attitudes, including Enoch Powell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech and attitudes towards the Commonwealth.
4. The changing quality of life
- Changing living standards involving the rise of consumerism.
- Popular culture and youth culture.
- Leisure and travel and the rise of sport.
The second section examines historical interpretations during the Thatcher era, in particular looking at:
- The effect of Thatcher’s economic policies.
- The rolling back of state intervention.
- The extent of social and political division in Britain.
- The effect of Thatcherism on politics and party development.
Unit 2: The USA, c1920-1955: Boom, Bust and Recovery (20% of the A-Level)
This depth unit examines the emergence of the United States as a superpower following the ‘Jazz Age’ of the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s. How the United States responded to this crisis forms a central tenet of the entire unit.
It features four distinct sections:
1. Boom and Crash, 1920-1929
- The economic boom of the 1920s, including the rise of mass production and the Model T Ford.
- The 1929 Wall Street Crash
- Changes to US society, including the Ku Klux Klan, the ‘Red Scare’ and organised crime
1920s culture, featuring the Jazz Age, the Harlem Renaissance, and the rise of baseball.
2. Depression and New Deal, 1929-1938
- The spread of the Depression.
- Herbert Hoover’s response to the Depression, including the rise of Hoovervilles.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt and the First New Deal
- The Second New Deal.
3. The Impact of the New Deal and the Second World War
- The New Deal and the economy
- The impact of the New Deal on ethnic minorities, including Native Americans.
- Social and cultural changes including the rise of Disney and popular music.
- The war and the economy.
4. The Transformation of the USA, 1945-1955
- Economic transformation, including the rise of consumerism and the Levittown projects.
- The end of the post-war euphoria, including the rise of McCarthyism and the execution of
- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.
- Cultural changes involving youth culture and the teenager.
- The changing status of minorities, including the desegregation of the army and the Brown v. Board of Education.
Unit 3: The Witch Craze in Britain, Europe, and North America, c1580-1750
This unit examines the prominent cases of witchcraft between the 16th and 18th centuries, in particular examining their decline as a result of the scientific revolution which occurred. The growth of scepticism is investigated, with reference given to Reginald Scot and Thomas Ady. Individual cases are analysed, including the Salem Witch Trials in 1692-1693 and Matthew Hopkins and the East Anglian witch craze.
1. Changing Attitudes to Witchcraft in Britain
- The growth of scepticism, including the rise of fraudulent cases such as the Demon Drummer of Tedworth and the Boy of Burton.
- The publication of sceptic work such as Thomas Ady’s A Candle in the Dark and John Webster’s The Displaying of Supposed Witchcraft.
2. The Coming of the Age of Reason and Science
- The advancement of science with Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton
- The changing approach to human understanding with the introduction of empirical science and the foundation of the Royal Society
1. The North Berwick Witches, 1590-1597
- The origins of the persecution and the impact of James VI voyage from Denmark
- The widening cases of Agnes Sampson and John Fian and the role of torture
- Reasons for persecutions to 1597 and the role of King James.
2. The Lancashire Witches, 1604-1613
- The significance of social, economic, and religious factors of Pendle and the new
- Witchcraft Statute of 1604.
- The origins of the case including Alizon Device and John Law
- The trial of 1612 and the outcome.
3. The Great Witch Hunt in Bamberg, Germany, 1623-1632
- The local area and the impact of the Thirty Years War on Bamberg
- The witch-hunts including the use of torture and the roles of Prince-Bishop von Dornheim and Frederick Forner
- The ending of the craze and the arrival of the Swedish army.
4. Matthew Hopkins and the East Anglian Witch Craze, 1645-1647
- The economic and political context and economic crises.
The geography, numbers, class, and gender of victims and the methods of Matthew Hopkins.
- The ending of the craze and the re-establishment of traditional authority
5. The Salem Witch Trials, 1692-1693
- The context of Salem and the weakened authority following the 1688 Revolution
- The influence of Cotton Mather and the role of Tituba and the children, including trials and executions.
- Reasons for ending the witch hunt and the role of Cotton Mather’s father and the general pardon.
Unit 4: Non-Exam Assessed Coursework (20% of total A-Level)
This unit involves the writing of a 3,000 to 4,000 word essay on a set of 3 historical interpretations on a topic of your own choosing. This can include any topic studied during the first or second year, or one that can be supervised by the teaching staff, which includes the Enlightenment during the 19th and 20th century and the question of genocide towards Native Americans.
Please refer to our entry requirements for the different programmes of study.
Additional entry requirements for this course: English Language GCSE new grade 4 (or old grade C)
C in History GCSE an advantage.
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