History of Virginia, 1900 to 2018



            History is the study of change over time.  This course will examine change in Virginia from about 1900 to the present. The course will study the creation of the great political machines of the 20th century in Virginia, governmental regulation of race relations, progressive regulatory reform, the eugenics movement, and Virginia’s “massive resistance” to school desegregation. The course will study the making of the modern Republican and Democratic parties in Virginia. The course will consider three major themes: (a) which groups have tried to empower which Virginians, at what times and utilizing which strategies, and which groups have tried to disempower which Virginians; (b) how have Virginians used racism to weave the political, social, moral, and economic fabric of modern Virginia; (c) in which respects were the changes in the political, economic, social and racial landscapes of Virginia during the first 45 years of the 20th century similar to such changes in the years following World War II?


            Readings will average approximately 120 pages per week, and will be drawn from both primary documents and secondary material.  Among the readings will be selections from Ronald L. Heinemann et al., Old Dominion/New Commonwealth: A History of Virginia, 1607-2005; J. Douglas Smith, Managing White Supremacy: Race, Politics and Citizenship in Jim Crow Virginia; Matthew D. Lassiter and Andrew B. Lewis, The Moderates’ Dilemma: Massive Resistance to School Desegregation in Virginia; and J. Harvie Wilkinson, III, Harry Byrd and the Changing Face of Virginia Politics, 1845-1966. The class meets twice per week.  Approximately 2/3 of each class will be spent in lecture and 1/3 in guided class discussion. There will be a short answer mid-term exam, two short, 2-3 page papers, one 8-10 page term paper requiring the use of primary source materials, and an essay-type final examination.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts