In United States History, which is the second part of a two-year study that begins in grade 8, students study the period from Reconstruction to the present. Historical content focuses on political, economic, and social events and issues related to industrialization and urbanization, major wars, domestic and foreign policies of the Cold War and post-Cold War eras, and reform movements including civil rights. Students examine the impact of geographic factors on major events and analyze causes and effects of the Great Depression. Students examine the impact of constitutional issues on American society, evaluate the dynamic relationship of the three branches of the federal government, and analyze efforts to expand the democratic process. Students describe the relationship between the arts and the times during which they were created. Students analyze the impact of technological innovations on the American labor movement. Students use critical thinking skills to explain and apply different methods that historians use to interpret the past, including points of view and historical context.
Teachers will incorporate a variety of historical sources into their classroom instruction, including biographies and autobiographies; landmark cases of the Supreme Court; novels; speeches, letters, and diaries; and poetry, songs, and artworks. Selections may include a biography of Theodore Roosevelt, Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and Martin Luther King's letter from the Birmingham City Jail. Motivating resources are also available from museums, historical sites, presidential libraries, and local and state preservation societies.