MABM201 The United States - from World Periphery to World Power


COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course consists of 30 academic hours, organized as follows:

* Lectures – 24 hours

* Discussions on the papers, presented by the students – 4 hours;

* Quiz – 2 hours.

Grade is based on students’ participation in class throughout the semester, mid-term essay, quiz and/or final exam.

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American and British Studies. Comparative Approaches.


Prof. Rumen Genov, PhD

Course Description:



* to provide the students with knowledge about the development of the United States of America from a British colony to an independent country and, finally, to world power;

* to provoke students’ critical thinking and to make them compare the role and place of the United States in the fragmented 18th-19th century world and in the globalizing world of today.

RESULTS EXPECTED: After completing the course the students should:

* have good knowledge about the history of the United States within European and world context;

* have developed a critical view on the secondary sources about the history of the United States.

PRELIMINARY REQUIREMENTS: English language proficiency; a minimum of knowledge about the political and diplomatic history of the United States.

Full-time Programmes

Types of Courses:

Language of teaching:



Borkin, C. Making America: A History of the United States. Vols.1-2.

Caddis, J.L. The United States and the End of the Cold War.

Tzvetkov, Pl.S. A History of the Balkans: A Regional Overview from a Bulgarian Perspective. Vols.1-2. San Francisco, The Edwin Mellen Press, 1993.

Цветков. Пл.С. Европа през ХХ век. Ч.1-2. София, Нов български университет, 2002-2003.


The final grade is based on participation in the seminars, on debate on the essays, and on the results of the quiz.

Active and regular participation in the MOODLE forum brings a bonus of one unit, added to the final grade.

Each student is supposed to choose one assignment, from those listed below, for his or her essay.

Essays should not exceed 100Kb or one printed page. It should be sent to the course in the MOODLE system, where indicated as "Please, send your essays here".

The essay should be defended, which means that the student should answer questions, asked by the professor about the text.


1.Was the US an anti-colonial power until the mid 19th century? Can we consider that the US was an anti-colonial or a colonial power at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century? Can we consider that the US is an anti-colonial power now?

2.To what extent the American Revolution or the War of Independence was an anti-colonial war?

3.What is the difference between a federal and a unitary country? Which system, in your opinion, is preferable from the viewpoint of democracy and human rights?

4.Can we claim that the US system of checks and balances is perfect? In your opinion, which are its assets and liabilities?

5.Bearing in mind that the Americans are among the most religious nations in the world, how would you comment the First Amendment, forbidding Congress to set up or provide for an established church?

6.What do you think about the right of US citizens to bear arms? Which are the good and which are the bad aspects of such a right?

7.What, in your opinion, is the effect of Amendment 9 on the evolution of the human rights issue in the history of the United States? Is the enlargement of human rights a constant feature of American history?

8.The first ten amendments of the US constitution formed the Bill of Rights but from 1787 to 1971 there were another 16 amendments. In your view, which of these amendments was the most important and why?

9.Describe briefly isolationism as mentality and isolationism as a political doctrine.

10.Are the Americans a nation of citizens and nothing else but a nation of citizens or do they have a specific ethnic core?

11.Are the Americans a “melting pot” or a “Greek salad”? Which is the better solution for the future of the United States: multiculturalism or rather a culture, centered on a particular ethnic and religious core?

12.In your view, which is the strongest basis of loyalty among Americans: the country, the ethnicity, or the race?

13.What was the impact of US economy on the world at the end of the 18th century, at the end of the 19th century, and at the end of the 20th century?

14.Do you see a relationship between mentality and economy in the case of the United States? If you do, try to explain why.

15.When the United States entered the First World War in April 1917, it declared war on Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey, but not on Bulgaria. Why did the US government refrain from declaring war on Bulgaria?

16.In January 1918 US president Woodrow Wilson announced a peace program of 14 points. How realistic do you think these 14 points were?

17.Why did the United States side with Stalin against Hitler during the Second World War and not the other way around?

18.Who was the immediate and who was the strategic winner of World War II?

19.As a result of World War II the United States and Communist Russia emerged as the only two superpowers. Which was the more aggressive one? What was the strategic aim of the US and what was the strategic aim of the Soviet Union?

20.Is the United States in favor or against European integration? What makes you think so?

21.Why did the United States lose the Vietnam War?

22.What is liberalism in Britain and what is liberalism in the United States?

23.What did Ronald Reagan achieve as President of the United States and what did he fail to do?

24.Is globalization a form of Americanization? If you think it’s a form of Americanization, to what extent?

25.How do you see the new world order: as a ruthless clash of civilizations or as a constant, although dramatic expansion of democracy? Where do you see the place and the role of the United States in either alternative?