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American History Course of Study


1.    Post-Reconstruction Attitudes and Reform

(challenges to existing political and social structures, Jim Crow laws, civil rights, Ku Klux Klan, Plessy v. Ferguson)


*How does a nation recover after civil war?  What short-term and long-term consequences and challenges exist once peace is established? Are we still feeling the effects today?

2.    Industrialization in America

(shift from agriculture, mechanized farming, technological innovations, expanding workforce, unregulated working conditions, laissez-faire, urbanization, immigration, rise of labor organizations, Great Migration, rise of corporations)


*How can technological advancements both benefit and adversely affect a society? What role should government take on—protect workers or protect business? How might those ends be achieved? Are we currently in an economic “shift” and what does that mean for the future?

3.    Progressivism/The Progressive Era

(anti-trust efforts, political and business reforms, muckrakers, consumer protection, Federal Reserve, conservation, Progressive amendments to the Constitution)


*How is political change/reform achieved? How is society affected by such change? What challenges exist today in achieving policy and governmental reform?

4.      American Imperialism and Foreign Policy at the turn of the century

(foreign expansion, becoming a world power, Spanish-American War, White Man’s Burden, annexation of Hawaii, Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt Corollary)


What does it mean to be labeled a world power? What obligations and responsibilities, if any, come along with that label? For what reasons are some nations judged to be superior to others and what are the consequences of such judgments?

5.    Role of the United States in World War I

(Woodrow Wilson, Zimmerman Note, Fourteen Points, Treaty of Versailles, League of Nations)


When should a nation get involved in the conflicts and wars of other countries? How does the President/Congress decide if we should go to war? How were Americans impacted by our involvement in this war?

6.    Post World War I Attitudes and Prosperity

(Women suffrage, isolationism, treaties, racial tensions, nativism, Red Scare, rise in standard of living, technological advances and innovations, Harlem Renaissance, prohibition, Roaring Twenties)


How might stereotypes lead to prejudice and conflict? How did technological advancements in communication, transportation, and industry affect society?  What effects did the rise in the standard of living have on people and on our nation as a whole?

7.    The Great Depression and New Deal

(monetary policies, consumer debt, stock market speculation and collapse, Federal Reserve, role of federal government in the recovery, FDR and New Deal programs)


How could this economic collapse have been avoided or minimized? Did the New Deal philosophy and its programs create a dependence on the government to solve individual economic problems? What should the role of the government be in economic affairs?

8.    Isolationism and outbreak of World War II

(Good Neighbor Policy, Neutrality Acts, fascist aggression, cash-and-carry, Lend-Lease, Atlantic Charter, Pearl Harbor, mobilization, draft, total war efforts, role of women and minorities, internment of Japanese, use of atomic weapons)


Is isolationism a viable foreign policy for America today? Was the internment of Japanese-Americans during the war justified? Should the use of the atomic bomb on Japan have been considered a war crime? When, if ever, should nuclear weapons be used today?

9.    The Cold War

(beginning of nuclear age, balance of power, emergence of U.S. and Soviet Union as superpowers, containment. Marshall Plan, NATO, Korean War, Second Red Scare, McCarthyism, Berlin Airlift, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War)


For what reasons should economic aid be given to other countries? How did the idea of the Soviet Union as a threatening and deadly rival affect the American psyche, governmental policies, its economy, and society in general? What alternatives are there to war as a means to achieve a goal?

10.  Post World War II America--A Changing Society

(economic and social changes in America, suburbanization, baby boom, consumerism, mobility, mass media, Rust Belt to Sun Belt migration, NAACP and other minority-led organizations, United Farm Workers, American Indian conditions and efforts, fight for and expansion of civil rights, MLK Jr., Brown v Board of Education, integration of schools, 1965 Immigration Act, EPA)


How does the social and political climate/culture in which an individual grows up affect him/her? In what ways might political and societal change be achieved? How did America’s diversity affect its development as a nation?

11.  America in the Post-Cold War World

(collapse of the Soviet Union, assistance to former enemies, spread of democracy and free market principles, globalization, overseas competition, decrease in industrialization, 9/11, rise in terrorism, balancing national security and civil liberties, Patriot Act)


        Do we have a rival today? Who are our allies and who are our enemies? Are we still viewed as a superpower? How do American companies compete with cheap foreign labor?

        How much privacy should be given up in the interest of national security? What are America’s most pressing issues, problems, and concerns?

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