Making Modern America

How has the past century of American history shaped the political and economic landscape of the early twenty-first century? What are the historical roots of contemporary political and social movements, business practices, and global flows of people, capital, and ideas? How can we use our historical knowledge to understand and address present-day challenges? With these questions in mind, this course explores key moments and people in the history of the United States from the end of World War I to the present.

The course is organized both chronologically and thematically, performing a deep, evidence-based study of particular events and people in recent US history. The broader topics featured in this course include: 

  • The Evolving Role of Government 
  • Grassroots Activism 
  • Partisan Political Change 
  • Technology as a Product and Shaper of Society 
  • Changing Patterns of Production and Consumption 
  • Migration and Immigration, 
  • Financial Systems and Global Markets

Read the course outline here and listen to a history teacher introduce the course below.


Please create a free K–12 student account. Note: Only K–12 logged-in students will be able to access the registration form.


  • Twenty four videos led by Professor Margaret O'Mara
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

Readings: Recommended readings related to the course are listed in the Resources link on the course page. You are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the content of the recordings rather than the readings.

Course Access: After registering, you may access your course by logging in and going to My Courses under My Account.


Margaret O’Mara is a professor of history at the University of Washington. O'Mara is a scholar of the modern United States with a specific focus on the intersection between the development of modern technology and politics. She has published two critically-acclaimed monographs that examine the development of the modern technology industry through a historical lens: Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search For The Next Silicon Valley (published in 2005) and The Code: Silicon Valley the Remaking of America (published in 2019). O'Mara also specializes in the history of the American presidency and in 2015 published Pivotal Tuesdays: Four Elections That Shaped the Twentieth Century.

The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. Margaret O'Mara.