Welcome to American History through World War II. As the title suggests, we will study American History from the founding of our country until 1945. Many of the events we will examine you have studied before. So, why do we revisit our country’s history? As juniors in high school, you are more capable of evaluating the significance of our history, and making connections between this history and what is happening in our world today. In addition, you are also capable of thinking about these events on a deeper level to answer some of the essential (timeless) questions in the study of history. We will have the following questions in mind throughout the entire year (with addition questions that are specific to each unit):
Essential US History Questions
- Why study United States history?
- What is the story of American history? diversity – division – progress?
- What are the turning points in United States history?
- To what extent has American lived up to its principles?
- Who is making or has made American history?
- How have the concepts of justice and human rights changed over the course of American history?
As is the case with all your courses, we will focus not only on what you know, but also on what you can do. We will work on your ability to read critically, taking into account an author’s perspective and the purpose of a document while evaluating its usefulness and credibility. We will work on your ability to write clearly, using evidence and argument to make a point. We will also engage in debates that will sharpen your ability to verbally express an opinion and respond to others thoughtfully and respectfully.
In order to focus on particular themes and time periods, we break up the year into units. Below is are the units we will study and a sample of one essential question from each unit (there are more!).
- The Colonial Period: To what extent did colonists establish democratic governments?
- The Revolutionary Period: To what extent was the American Revolution a revolution of principles?
- Early Nation: How unified was the United States from 1789-1824?
- Jacksonian Era: How can we explain the emergence of early reform movements?
- The Civil War Era: Who freed the slaves?
- Gilded Age: Whose interests did the Federal Government serve?
- Progressivism/Imperialism: In what ways were industrialization and imperialism linked?
- 1920s and New Deal: What did the New Deal accomplish?
- World War II: Was the United States involvement in the war based on principles or imperialism?
The grading policy will remain consistent for the year. Late homework will only be accepted during 9th period the day it is due or at the start of class the following day for up to half credit. For all long term assignments, ten points will be deducted for each day it is handed in past the due date. I use a “total points” system. Each assignment will be worth a certain number of points to be specified at the time the assignment is given. Generally, homeworks are worth 5-10 points, while tests, essays and projects will be worth about 50- 100 points. Your letter grade can be determined by dividing the total number of possible points for that assignment by the actual number of points you received.
Your textbook can remain at home for the entire year. Please come to class ready to participate. While it is up to you to decide your method of organization, please be aware that there will be numerous supplemental readings and handouts that must be kept organized throughout the school year. Therefore I highly recommend using a 3-ring binder. It is essential that you come to class with a pen or pencil, highlighter and paper and all current course material. A separate one and a half inch three ring binder will be necessary when we begin economics.
Students are expected to do their own work. Attempting to pass off the work of another as one’s own is plagiarism. Evidence of plagiarism will lead to a zero for the assignment. Other violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to, copying homework and gaining prior knowledge of exam questions and content. Consult the student handbook for a more detailed discussion of violations and consequences. Additionally, cell phone use in the classroom will not be tolerated. Any use of a cell phone will be considered an element of cheating and be handled by administration as such.
I am looking forward to sharing the rest of the year with all of you!