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Learner Reviews & Feedback for The Making of the US President: A Short History in Five Elections by The University of Edinburgh

37 ratings

About the Course

As Donald Trump takes office as the forty-fifth president of the United States, this course explores presidential elections in historical perspective, via five case studies. It tells the story of key campaigns in US history, and by doing so it investigates how politics changed over time—and how understanding the past sheds light on the current campaign. From the arrival of "dirty politics" to the impact of the "digital revolution," the course looks at the historical background to some of the key phenomena that shaped the controversy-laden campaign of 2016. The five elections that we'll investigate are among the most significant in American political history. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson won the presidency in a contest that encouraged politicians to reform the electoral college, the system by which presidents are still chosen. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 prompted the outbreak of the Civil War. It's an election that helps us to understand the development of political parties. In 1968, the Vietnam War was a dominant concern for Americans, and yet foreign policy played a secondary role in Richard Nixon's victory. Twelve years later, in 1980, Ronald Reagan won an election that initiated a new era of conservatism. Finally, we'll turn our attention to the election that took Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, to the White House in 2008. Many saw the Obama's success not only as revealing the impact of the digital revolution on campaign politics, but also as signaling a turn to progressivism. Image credits: Course logo - "Former President Truman holds a copy of the famous Chicago Daily Tribune paper declaring 'Dewey Defeats Truman'" Harry S. Truman Library & Museum ( Course banner - "US Flag Backlit" by Joshua Nathanson, CC BY-SA 3.0 (

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1 - 6 of 6 Reviews for The Making of the US President: A Short History in Five Elections

By Thornzy

May 15, 2019

Wagwan, very enjoyable speaking to Obama himself. this better be worth at least 30 UCAS points and 2 freddos or i will be coming back and retracting my 5 star rating. big shoutout to the profs who educated me.

By Louis R

Aug 24, 2019

Very informative and thorough

By Michael L

Oct 25, 2016

Very disappointed in this course. Light on content and heavy (especially in week 3) on political bias towards one political persuasion. Highly biased and controversial statements by those in videos are taken as fact without any attempt to question it. I expected a course to talk about elections and apply it to 2016. Instead what is here is a course that not so subtly seems to have an agenda. Not good for academic discourse. I believe this is my first negative review in my 3(?) or so years on Coursera.


Feb 12, 2017

Great Review. I am active in politics and still found there were things I'd forgotten. Thanks for the fun and the review.

By WuWanru

Apr 6, 2019

I like the professor!

By Joy S

Feb 19, 2017

This has some good history in it. But short for sure.