United States History

The high school United States history course provides students with a comprehensive,

intensive study of major events and themes in United States history. Beginning with

early European colonization, the course examines major events and themes throughout

United States history. The course concludes with significant developments in the

early 21st century.

SSUSH1 The student will describe European settlement in North America during

the 17th century.

  1. Explain Virginia’s development; include the Virginia Company, tobacco cultivation, relationships with Native Americans such as Powhatan, development of the House of Burgesses, Bacon’s Rebellion, and the development of slavery.
  2. Describe the settlement of New England; include religious reasons, relations with Native Americans (e.g., King Phillip’s War), the establishment of town meetings and development of a legislature, religious tensions that led to colonies such as Rhode Island, the half-way covenant, Salem Witch Trials, and the loss of the Massachusetts charter.
  3. Explain the development of the mid-Atlantic colonies; include the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam and subsequent English takeover, and the settlement of Pennsylvania.
  4. Explain the reasons for French settlement of Quebec.

SSUSH2 The student will trace the ways that the economy and society of British

North America developed.

  1. Explain the development of mercantilism and the trans-Atlantic trade.
  2. Describe the Middle Passage, growth of the African population, and African-American culture.
  3. Identify Benjamin Franklin as a symbol of social mobility and individualism.
  4. Explain the significance of the Great Awakening.

SSUSH3 The student will explain the primary causes of the American Revolution.

  1. Explain how the end of Anglo-French imperial competition as seen in the French and Indian War and the 1763 Treaty of Paris laid the groundwork for the American Revolution.
  2. Explain colonial response to such British actions as the Proclamation of 1763, the Stamp Act, and the Intolerable Acts as seen in Sons and Daughters of Liberty and Committees of Correspondence.
  3. Explain the importance of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense to the movement for independence.

SSUSH4 The student will identify the ideological, military, and diplomatic aspects

of the American Revolution.

  1. Explain the language, organization, and intellectual sources of the Declaration of Independence; include the writing of John Locke and Montesquieu, and the role of Thomas Jefferson.
  2. Explain the reason for and significance of the French alliance and foreign assistance and the roles of Benjamin Franklin and the Marquis de Lafayette.
  3. Analyze George Washington as a military leader; include the creation of a professional military and the life of a common soldier, and describe the significance of the crossing of the Delaware River and Valley Forge.
  4. Explain Yorktown, the role of Lord Cornwallis, and the Treaty of Paris, 1783.

SSUSH5 The student will explain specific events and key ideas that brought about

the adoption and implementation of the United States Constitution.

  1. Explain how weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation and Daniel Shays’ Rebellion led to a call for a stronger central government.
  2. Evaluate the major arguments of the anti-Federalists and Federalists during the debate on ratification of the Constitution as put forth in The Federalist concerning form of government, factions, checks and balances, and the power of the executive, including the roles of Alexander Hamilton and James Madison.
  3. Explain the key features of the Constitution, specifically the Great Compromise, separation of powers, limited government, and the issue of slavery.
  4. Analyze how the Bill of Rights serves as a protector of individual and states’ rights.
  5. Explain the importance of the Presidencies of George Washington and John Adams; include the Whiskey Rebellion, non-intervention in Europe, and the development of political parties (Alexander Hamilton).


SSUSH6 The student will analyze the nature of territorial and population growth

and the impact of this growth in the early decades of the new nation.

  1. Explain the Northwest Ordinance’s importance in the westward migration of Americans, and on slavery, public education, and the addition of new states.
  2. Describe Jefferson’s diplomacy in obtaining the Louisiana Purchase from France and the territory’s exploration by Lewis and Clark.
  3. Explain major reasons for the War of 1812 and the war’s significance on the development of a national identity.
  4. Describe the construction of the Erie Canal, the rise of New York City, and the development of the nation’s infrastructure.
  5. Describe the reasons for and importance of the Monroe Doctrine.

SSUSH7 Students will explain the process of economic growth, its regional and

national impact in the first half of the 19th century, and the different responses to


  1. Explain the impact of the Industrial Revolution as seen in Eli Whitney’s invention of the cotton gin and his development of interchangeable parts for muskets.
  2. Describe the westward growth of the United States; include the emerging concept of Manifest Destiny.
  3. Describe reform movements, specifically temperance, abolitionism, and public school.
  4. Explain women’s efforts to gain suffrage; include Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls Conference.
  5. Explain Jacksonian Democracy, expanding suffrage, the rise of popular political culture, and the development of American nationalism.

SSUSH8 The student will explain the relationship between growing north-south

divisions and westward expansion.

  1. Explain how slavery became a significant issue in American politics; include the slave rebellion of Nat Turner and the rise of abolitionism (William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglas, and the Grimke sisters).
  2. Explain the Missouri Compromise and the issue of slavery in western states and territories.
  3. Describe the Nullification Crisis and the emergence of states’ rights ideology; include the role of John C. Calhoun and development of sectionalism.
  4. Describe the war with Mexico and the Wilmot Proviso.
  5. Explain the Compromise of 1850.

SSUSH9 The student will identify key events, issues, and individuals relating to the

causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War.

  1. Explain the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the failure of popular sovereignty, Dred Scott case, and John Brown’s Raid.
  2. Describe President Lincoln’s efforts to preserve the Union as seen in his second inaugural address and the Gettysburg speech and in his use of emergency powers, such as his decision to suspend habeas corpus.
  3. Describe the roles of Ulysses Grant, Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, William T. Sherman, and Jefferson Davis.
  4. Explain the importance of Fort Sumter, Antietam, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and the Battle for Atlanta.
  5. Describe the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
  6. Explain the importance of the growing economic disparity between the North and the South through an examination of population, functioning railroads, and industrial output.

SSUSH10 The student will identify legal, political, and social dimensions of


  1. Compare and contrast Presidential Reconstruction with Radical Republican Reconstruction.
  2. Explain efforts to redistribute land in the South among the former slaves and provide advanced education (e.g., Morehouse College) and describe the role of the Freedmen’s Bureau.
  3. Describe the significance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.
  4. Explain Black Codes, the Ku Klux Klan, and other forms of resistance to racial equality during Reconstruction.
  5. Explain the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in relationship to Reconstruction.

SSUSH11 The student will describe the growth of big business and technological

innovations after Reconstruction.

  1. Explain the impact of the railroads on other industries, such as steel, and on the organization of big business.
  2. Describe the impact of the railroads in the development of the West; include the transcontinental railroad, and the use of Chinese labor.
  3. Identify John D. Rockefeller and the Standard Oil Company and the rise of trusts and monopolies
  4. Describe the inventions of Thomas Edison; include the electric light bulb, motion pictures, and the phonograph, and their impact on American life

SSUSH12 The student will analyze important consequences of American industrial


  1. Describe Ellis Island, the change in immigrants’ origins to southern and eastern Europe and the impact of this change on urban America.
  2. Identify the American Federation of Labor and Samuel Gompers.
  3. Describe the growth of the western population and its impact on Native Americans with reference to Sitting Bull and Wounded Knee.
  4. Describe the 1894 Pullman strike as an example of industrial unrest.

SSUSH13 The student will identify major efforts to reform American society and

politics in the Progressive Era.

  1. Explain Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle and federal oversight of the meatpacking industry.
  2. Identify Jane Addams and Hull House and describe the role of women in reform movements.
  3. Describe the rise of Jim Crow, Plessy v. Ferguson, and the emergence of the NAACP.
  4. Explain Ida Tarbell’s role as a muckraker.
  5. Describe the significance of progressive reforms such as the initiative, recall, and referendum; direct election of senators; reform of labor laws; and efforts to improve living conditions for the poor in cities.

SSUSH14 The student will explain America’s evolving relationship with the world

at the turn of the twentieth century.

  1. Explain the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and anti-Asian immigration sentiment on the west coast.
  2. Describe the Spanish-American War, the war in the Philippines, and the debate over American expansionism.
  3. Explain U.S. involvement in Latin America, as reflected by the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine and the creation of the Panama Canal.

SSUSH15 The student will analyze the origins and impact of U.S. involvement in

World War I.

  1. Describe the movement from U.S. neutrality to engagement in World War I, with reference to unrestricted submarine warfare.
  2. Explain the domestic impact of World War I, as reflected by the origins of the Great Migration, the Espionage Act, and socialist Eugene Debs.
  3. Explain Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the proposed League of Nations.
  4. Describe passage of the Eighteenth Amendment, establishing Prohibition, and the Nineteenth Amendment, establishing woman suffrage.

SSUSH16 The student will identify key developments in the aftermath of WW I.

  1. Explain how rising communism and socialism in the United States led to the Red Scare and immigrant restriction.
  2. Identify Henry Ford, mass production, and the automobile.
  3. Describe the impact of radio and the movies.
  4. Describe modern forms of cultural expression; include Louis Armstrong and the origins of jazz, Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance, Irving Berlin, and Tin Pan Alley.

SSUSH17 The student will analyze the causes and consequences of the Great


  1. Describe the causes, including overproduction, underconsumption, and stock market speculation that led to the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
  2. Explain the impact of the drought in the creation of the Dust Bowl.
  3. Explain the social and political impact of widespread unemployment that resulted in developments such as Hoovervilles.

SSUSH18 The student will describe Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal as a response

to the depression and compare the ways governmental programs aided those in


  1. Describe the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority as a works program and as an effort to control the environment.
  2. Explain the Wagner Act and the rise of industrial unionism.
  3. Explain the passage of the Social Security Act as a part of the second New Deal.
  4. Identify Eleanor Roosevelt as a symbol of social progress and women’s activism.
  5. Identify the political challenges to Roosevelt’s domestic and international leadership; include the role of Huey Long, the “court packing bill,” and the Neutrality Act.

SSUSH19 The student will identify the origins, major developments, and the

domestic impact of World War II, especially the growth of the federal government.

  1. Explain A. Philip Randolph’s proposed march on Washington, D.C., and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response.
  2. Explain the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the internment of Japanese- Americans, German-Americans, and Italian-Americans.
  3. Explain major events; include the lend-lease program, the Battle of Midway, D-Day, and the fall of Berlin.
  4. Describe war mobilization, as indicated by rationing, war-time conversion, and the role of women in war industries.
  5. Describe Los Alamos and the scientific, economic, and military implications of developing the atomic bomb.

SSUSH20 The student will analyze the domestic and international impact of the

Cold War on the United States.

  1. Describe the creation of the Marshall Plan, U.S. commitment to Europe, the Truman Doctrine, and the origins and implications of the containment policy.
  2. Explain the impact of the new communist regime in China and the outbreak of the Korean War and how these events contributed to the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
  3. Describe the Cuban Revolution, the Bay of Pigs, and the Cuban missile crisis.
  4. Describe the Vietnam War, the Tet offensive, and growing opposition to the war.

SSUSH21 The student will explain economic growth and its impact on the United

States, 1945-1970.

  1. Describe the baby boom and its impact as shown by Levittown and the Interstate Highway Act.
  2. Describe the impact television has had on American culture; include the presidential debates (Kennedy/Nixon,1960) and news coverage of the Civil Rights Movement.
  3. Analyze the impact of technology on American life; include the development of the personal computer and the cellular telephone.
  4. Describe the impact of competition with the USSR as evidenced by the launch of Sputnik I and President Eisenhower’s actions.

SSUSH22 The student will identify dimensions of the Civil Rights Movement,


  1. Explain the importance of President Truman’s order to integrate the U.S. military and the federal government.
  2. Identify Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball.
  3. Explain Brown v. Board of Education and efforts to resist the decision.
  4. Describe the significance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and his I have a dream speech.
  5. Describe the causes and consequences of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

SSUSH23 The student will describe and assess the impact of political developments

between 1945 and 1970.

  1. Describe the Warren Court and the expansion of individual rights as seen in the Miranda decision.
  2. Describe the political impact of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; include the impact on civil rights legislation.
  3. Explain Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society; include the establishment of Medicare.
  4. Describe the social and political turmoil of 1968; include the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and the events surrounding the Democratic National Convention.

SSUSH24 The student will analyze the impact of social change movements and

organizations of the 1960s.

  1. Compare and contrast the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) tactics; include sit-ins, freedom rides, and changing composition.
  2. Describe the National Organization of Women and the origins and goals of the modern women’s movement.
  3. Analyze the anti-Vietnam War movement.
  4. Analyze Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers’ movement.
  5. Explain Rachel Carson and Silent Spring, Earth Day, the creation of the EPA, and the modern environmentalist movement.
  6. Describe the rise of the conservative movement as seen in the presidential candidacy of Barry Goldwater (1964) and the election of Richard M. Nixon (1968).

SSUSH25 The student will describe changes in national politics since 1968.

  1. Describe President Richard M. Nixon’s opening of China, his resignation due to the Watergate scandal, changing attitudes toward government, and the Presidency of Gerald Ford.
  2. Explain the impact of Supreme Court decisions on ideas about civil liberties and civil rights; include such decisions as Roe v. Wade (1973) and the Bakke decision on affirmative action.
  3. Explain the Carter administration’s efforts in the Middle East; include the Camp David Accords, his response to the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and the Iranian hostage crisis.
  4. Describe domestic and international events of Ronald Reagan’s presidency; include Reaganomics, the Iran-contra scandal, and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  5. Explain the relationship between Congress and President Bill Clinton; include the North American Free Trade Agreement and his impeachment and acquittal.
  6. Analyze the 2000 presidential election and its outcome, emphasizing the role of the electoral college.
  7. Analyze the response of President George W. Bush to the attacks of September 11, 2001, on the United States, the war against terrorism, and the subsequent American interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.