As Europe fought a bloody war from 1914 onward, the United States basked in its newfound status of world power and neutrality. In 1916, President Wilson ran for a second term declaring “We will not go to war.” And yet, just a year later, the American Expeditionary Force was training and preparing for its first armed conflict outside of the Western Hemisphere. What were the factors that led to this change? What impact did it have on individuals both at home and abroad? How did it change America’s view of itself and the rest of the world?
This course looks at the everyday lives of ordinary people and of those groups whose activism in war had never before been seen to such an extent. We will use diaries, correspondence, visual representations, as well as fictional accounts to comprehend both their actions and concerns. Participants in the course will be encouraged not only to read sources provided for them but also to find other sources that they might share with the class. Discussion will be the primary activity of the course, but short lectures setting historical context will be used as well.
Instructor Margi Spratt holds three degrees in history. She received her doctorate at the University of Kentucky. She was a full tenured professor at a regional university in Pennsylvania and in addition has taught at colleges in Kentucky and Maine. She has also curated museum exhibits; consulted on film projects; and written or edited journal articles, anthologies, electronic biographical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and book reviews. She is currently reviewing for a WWI blog and is engaged in researching a book on American women in France during war. Margi lives on Southport with her two dogs and has recently begun an online charitable bookstore in her barn.
Members must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to register for this course.
We will follow the current mask policy of the course site.
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