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History A Level: Stuart Britain and America                    studied at ABS and LSU


To find out what qualifications are needed for each pathway/entry route click here.

6 or above in history or 6 or above in English lang


Unit 1 Stuart Britain and the Crisis of Monarchy, 1603–1646 Breadth Study

This option examines the reigns of James I and Charles I up to the abolition of the monarchy in 1649. It begins with the problems faced by the ‘foreign’ King James on the death of Elizabeth I and examines the importance of the personality of the monarch in the early modern period. Disputes between King and Parliament over finance, religion and foreign policy are discussed as students examine the events that led to civil war and set the scene for Charles’ execution and a ‘world turned upside down.’

Unit 2 The American Dream: reality and illusion, 1945–1963 Depth Study

This option provides a study of the challenges faced by the USA at home and abroad as it emerged from the Second World War as a superpower. For many Americans, post-war prosperity realised the ‘American dream’ but the prosperity was not shared by all.

Through the presidencies of Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy it explores concepts such as American identity at home and abroad, social equality and civil rights. It also encourages students to reflect on the nature of democracy, protest and the power of the media.


Unit 1 Stuart Britain and the Crisis of Monarchy, 1603–1702

The full A Level contains the year 12 content but continues by examining the experiments in government after the execution of Charles I and the abolition of the monarchy. Rule by soldiers and ‘saints’, especially Britain’s only non-royal Head of State – Oliver Cromwell – proved deeply unpopular. After his death the returned Stuarts, Charles II and James II, struggled with the issues that had led to their father’s death. While Charles survived for 25 years, James lasted only four, removed by his daughter Mary and her Dutch husband (and cousin) William of Orange. This period sees the birth of modern Britain – growing international influence, party politics and the decline in the power of religion and the monarchy.

Unit 2 The American Dream: reality and illusion, 1945–1980

The full A Level contains the year 12 content and also examines the aftermath of the death of JFK and the unravelling of the American Dream in the 1960s, defined by political assassinations of key figures such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. Social and political unrest at home during the presidency of Johnson were intensified by issues such as America’s role in Vietnam and its relationship with the USSR. Corruption at the heart of government under Nixon, and doubts about the USA’s world role continued under Ford, Carter and Reagan – the Hollywood actor turned politician who appeared to personify the American Dream of the 20th Century.

Unit 3 Historical Investigation: Coursework

Students will embark on a personal investigation of a key theme or issue over 100 years. With teacher support, students produce a 4000 word coursework essay which incorporates all the skills they have developed over the two years. This work is completed in Year 13.


Studying history will enable you to develop your skills in the following:

Independent research

Source comprehension and analysis

Formulating and testing hypotheses

Essay writing

Discussion and debate

Working with others


 Exam Board: AQA





Unit 1

Stuart Britain and the Crisis of

Monarchy 1603-72

1 compulsory source question based on historians’ interpretations 2 essays from a choice of 3

2 hours 30 minutes


Unit 2

The American Dream: reality

and illusion, 1945–1980

 1 compulsory source question based on contemporary sources 2 essays from a choice of 3

 2 hours 30 minutes


Unit 3

Historical Investigation:

Britain and Ireland 1893-1998

 A 4000 word coursework essay




Links well both with arts and social sciences courses. Skills engendered are valued in many field, eg: administration, journalism, publishing, archive work, broadcasting, heritage Industry, museums, but can also lead to careers in law, accountancy, and the voluntary sector (charities).