OSH 177 / Non Credit
Course taught in: English

Course description: Almost every presidential election in US history has involved vigorous, even bitter, competition between the candidates.  While differing views were certainly a factor in some elections, it was political maneuvering that got the victor elected.  In others, personal attacks played a major role.  In this course, we will look at some of the most contentious presidential elections in US history, the personalities of the candidates, the strategies they used, the issues dominating their campaigns, and the role of the Electoral College.


Week 1

The founding fathers- Washington, Adams and Jefferson- had to deal with attacks on their religious faith, their morals and miscellaneous mudslinging.

Week 2

Jackson to Lincoln: The “corrupt bargain,” The Debate over slavery and how “Honest Abe” stole the 1860 Republican nomination.

Week 3

The Presidential election of 1876 was the most contentious in American History- bringing the country to the brink of another civil war.  In 1888, incumbent President, Grover Cleveland won the popular vote by 90,000 votes, but lost the Electoral College vote 233-168! How and why…

Week 4

The “Gilded Age” and Progressive Populism, gold vs. free silver, and the co-existence of great fortunes and grinding poverty made the Presidential elections from 1896 to 1912 particularly bitter.

Week 5

World War I through World War II.  Social strife, fear of Bolshevism, anti-immigrant legislation and “America First” opposition to US participation in both world wars and virulent anti-Catholicism directed at Presidential candidate Al Smith left a permanent mark on American politics.

Week 6

Presidential politics in the era of mass media.  How radio, television and the internet (including social media) have transformed presidential elections.

NOTE: There will be no class on April 8th.  The make-up class will be on April 17, 2020.

Instructor:  Dr. Marsha Cohen

This course is available as part of the following:

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Courses
These courses and programs are available at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Membership is required. Our classes take place in Lau Founders Hall, 1550 Brescia Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33146 unless otherwise noted below.

OLLI 2019-2020 Membership is required to take this course and will be added to your cart upon enrollment. If you already have purchased a membership, you will not be charged for this membership.
OLLI 2019-2020 Membership Added to cart upon enrollment.
Starts: 8/1/2019 Ends: 7/31/2020