Insistent Change: Columbia’s Core Curriculum at 100


1930s: The New Deal & CC-B

In 1928, the success of Contemporary Civilization in its first decade led to the course's expansion into a second year. Henceforth, the freshman "CC-A" would focus on "the making of the present," i.e., the history of Western civilization from the year 1200 to the 1920s. The sophomore segment, by contrast, would continue to treat "the character of the present."  

After the Stock Market Crash of 1929, however, the "CC-B" staff focused the second-year course narrowly on the problem of economic security, taking students deep into such matters as corporate structure, finance and the welfare state. These were all issues that preoccupied economist and veteran CC instructor Rexford Tugwell. In 1932 Tugwell would leave Columbia to become a founding member of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Brain Trust" and an architect of the New Deal. Both years of CC would remain strongly oriented towards progressive political-economic reform efforts through World War II.

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