Course code:



I - Introductory

Meets the following requirements:

  • HY - History
  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:


This online course will provide a survey of American Presidential elections dating back to the rise of televised advertising in 1952. We will cover each campaign since, looking at the candidates, the issues, the major campaign themes, messaging, and persuasion vehicles. There will be a heavy emphasis placed on unpacking the various forms of mass communication that each candidate employed. This might mean television, radio, direct mail, social media, etc. The class will be taught entirely online in a primarily asynchronous format. Students will watch short videos from the instructor accompanied by secondary readings and a host of digitized primary artifacts for them to explore. The goal of the course is to acquaint students with the history of presidential elections in the United States while also giving them the opportunity to critically evaluate how political communication and messaging is expressed through various mass communication mediums. In addition, there will be regularized real time virtual discussion sessions with the instructor and other members of the class, as well as a more asynchronous message board for group posting. There will be multiple such sessions per week, and the timing will vary in order to accommodate student scheduling. Students will be expected to participate in a minimum number of these sessions. There will be a midterm and final analytical essay assignment, both of which will synthesize themes across the various campaigns we will be studying.  Evaluation will be based on completion of the midterm and final essay, engagement with the discussion sections, and a final virtual “debriefing” with the instructor. No prior knowledge of U.S. political history is required. This class is ideal for students who are looking for a “crash course” in the history of American politics and  Presidential elections more specifically.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.