The Overall Theme of American History:
This course examines the history of the United States of America from 1877 to the present. The federal republic has withstood challenges to its national security and expanded the rights and roles of its citizens. The episodes of its past have shaped the nature of the country today and prepared it to attend to the challenges of tomorrow. Understanding how these events came to pass and their meaning for today’s citizens is the purpose of this course. The concepts of historical thinking introduced in earlier grades continue to build with students locating and analyzing primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives to draw conclusions.
We will cover 9 major topics:
HISTORICAL THINKING AND SKILLS
Students apply skills by utilizing a variety of resources to construct thesis and support or refute contentions made by others. Alternative explanations of historical events are analyzed and questions of historical inevitability are explored.
Some documents in American history have considerable importance for the development of the nation. Students use historical thinking to examine key documents which form the basis for the United States of America.
INDUSTRIALIZATION AND PROGRESSIVISM
Ignited by post-Civil War demand and fueled by technological advancements, large-scale industrialization began in the United States during the late 1800s. Growing industries enticed foreign immigration, fostered urbanization, gave rise to the American labor movement and developed the infrastructure that facilitated the settling of the West. A period of progressive reform emerged in response to political corruption and practices of big business.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS FROM IMPERIALISM TO POSTWORLD
WAR I (1898-1930)
The industrial and territorial growth of the United States fostered expansion overseas. Greater involvement in the world set the stage for American participation in World War I and attempts to preserve post-war peace.
PROSPERITY, DEPRESSION AND THE NEW DEAL
The post-World War I period was characterized by economic, social and political turmoil. Post- war prosperity brought about changes to American popular culture. However, economic disruptions growing out the war years led to worldwide depression. The United States
attempted to deal with the Great Depression through economic programs created by the federal government.
FROM ISOLATION TO WORLD WAR
The isolationist approach to foreign policy meant U.S. leadership in world affairs diminished after World War I. Overseas, certain nations saw the growth of tyrannical governments which reasserted their power through aggression and created conditions leading to the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II, which changed the country’s focus from isolationism to international involvement.
THE COLD WAR
The United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) emerged as the two strongest powers in international affairs. Ideologically opposed, they challenged one another in a series of confrontations known as the Cold War. The costs of this prolonged contest weakened the U.S.S.R. so that it collapsed due to internal upheavals as well as American pressure. The Cold War had social and political implications in the United States.
SOCIAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
A period of post-war prosperity allowed the United States to undergo fundamental social change. Adding to this change was an emphasis on scientific inquiry, the shift from an industrial to a technological/service economy, the impact of mass media, the phenomenon of suburban and Sun Belt migrations, the increase in immigration and the expansion of civil rights.
UNITED STATES AND THE POST-COLD WAR WORLD
(1991 TO PRESENT)
The United States emerged from the Cold War as a dominant leader in world affairs amidst a globalized economy, political terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.