American Studies II ms. Noyes Course Outline Essential Questions I. Post Reconstruction

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American Studies II

Ms. Noyes
Course Outline

Essential Questions
I. Post Reconstruction

A. The Rise of Big Business

Essential Question: Has rapid industrial development been a blessing or a curse for


Essential Question: Were business leaders “captains of industry” or Robber Barons”?

Essential Question: Does Trickle Down Economics work?

B. Immigration and the Organized Labor Movement

Essential Question: Has immigration been the key to America’s success?

Essential Question: Can workers attain economic justice without violence?

Essential Question: Should business be regulated by the government?

Essential Question: Should the United States limit immigration?

C. Impact on Native Americans

Essential Question: Can the “white man’s conquest” of the Native Americans be justified?

Essential Question: Have Native Americans been treated fairly by the United States’ government?

II. The Progressive Era

A. The Muckrakers and the Reform Movement

Essential Question: Is muckraking an effective tool to reform American politics and society?

Essential Question: Can Reform Movements improve American Politics and Society?

B. Progressive Presidents

Essential Question: Does the government have the responsibility to help the needy?

Essential Question: Were the Progressives successful in making government more

responsive to the will of the people?

Essential Question: To what extent had African Americans attained the “American


III. American Imperialism

A. The Roots of Imperialism

Essential Question: Was American expansion overseas justified?

B. The Spanish American War

Essential Question: Did the Press cause the Spanish American War?

Essential Question: Was the United States justified in going to war against Spain in

C. Imperialism in East Asia

Essential Question: Does the need for self-defense give the U.S. the right to interfere in the affairs of other countries?

Essential Question: Do you agree with Teddy Roosevelt that the United States should be the world’s policeman?

Essential Question: Was the acquisition of the Panama Canal Zone an act of justifiable imperialism?

Essential Question: Would you consider Teddy Roosevelt to be a “good” or “bad”


IV. World War I

A. Causes of World War I

Essential Question: What impact did Imperialism have on creating the 1st World


Essential Question: Could World War I have been avoided or was it inevitable?

B. The Home Front

Essential Question: Should the U.S. have entered World War I, or was it impossible

to remain neutral?

C. Wilson, War, and Peace

Essential Question: Was the Treaty of Versailles a fair and effective settlement for lasting world peace?

Essential Question: Should the United States have approved the Treaty of Versailles?

D. Effects of the War

Essential Question: Should a Democratic government tolerate dissent during times of war and other crises?
V. The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression

A. The Twenties

Essential Question: Was the decade of the 1920s a decade of innovation or conservatism?

Essential Question: Did the Nineteenth Amendment radically change women’s roles in America?

Essential Question: Has the women’s movement for equality in the United States become a reality or remained a dream?

Essential Question: Should the United States have enacted Prohibition?

B. Causes of the Great Depression

Essential Question: Does economic prosperity result from tax cuts and minimal

Government intervention?

Essential Question: Was the Great Depression inevitable?

C. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal

Essential Question: Was the New Deal an effective response to the Great Depression?

Essential Question: Did Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, weaken or save Capitalism?

Essential Question: Did the New Deal bring an end to the Depression and restore

prosperity to America?

Essential Question: Has America today abandoned the legacy of the New Deal?

VI. World War II

A. Rise of Totalitarian Governments

Essential Question: What conditions must exist in order for Dictators to rise?

Essential Question: How did the drafting of the Treaty of Versailles after World

War I cause World War II?

B. The Holocaust

Essential Question: Could the U.S. have done more to stop Hitler and possibly prevent the Holocaust?

C. From Isolation to Involvement

Essential Question: Did U.S. foreign policy in the early 1900s contribute to World

War II?

Essential Question: Does American security at home depend on the survival of its


Essential Question: Was war between Japan and the United States inevitable?

D. The Home Front during World War II

Essential Question: How important was the Home Front in the United States’ victory

in World War II?

Essential Question: Was the treatment of Japanese Americans during World War II justified or an unfortunate setback for Democracy?

E. Effects of the War

Essential Question: Was Harry Truman justified in dropping the Atomic bomb on Japan?

Essential Question: Should any country use Atomic (Nuclear) weapons to defeat its

enemies in a post World War II world?

VII. Post World War II America

A. America experiences an Economic Boom

Essential Question: Were the 1950s a period of great peace, progress, and

prosperity for Americans?

B. American Dissent and Discontent

Essential Question: Did minorities achieve the American Dream after World War II?

C. Civil Rights Movement

Essential Question: Did the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s expand democracy for everyone?

Essential Question: Do you believe Martin Luther King’s non-violent approach was effective?

Essential Question: Should Affirmative Action programs be used as a means to make up for past injustices?

Essential Question: Do the inequalities of the 1960s still exist today?
VIII. The Cold War

A. The Cold War Begins

Essential Question: Was Containment an effective policy to thwart Communist


Essential Question: Could the U.S. and U.S.S.R. have avoided the Cold War?

B. The Korean War

Essential Question: Should the U.S. have fought “limited wars” (Korean War) to

contain Communism?

C. The Cold War at Home

Essential Question: Should the United States have feared internal communist

subversion in the 1950s?

VIIII. The Cold War Expands

A. John F. Kennedy and the Cold War

Essential Question: Should President Kennedy have risked nuclear war to remove

missiles from Cuba?

Essential Question: Could the Cuban Missile Crisis been avoided?

Essential Question: Was J.F.K. a great president?

B. Lyndon Baines Johnson Administration

Essential Question: Did American Presidents have good reasons to fight a war in


Essential Question: Should a president be able to wage war without congressional authorization?

Essential Question: Did Johnson’s Great Society Program fulfill its promise?

C. America’s reaction to the Vietnam War

Essential Question: Did the war in Vietnam bring a domestic revolution to the United


Essential Question: Was Lieutenant William Calley justified in the My Lai Massacre?

C. Richard Nixon Administration

Essential Question: Should Richard Nixon have resigned as President?

X. The Reagan Administration

A. Reaganomics

Essential Question: Did the economic policies of Ronald Reagan strengthen or weaken the United States?

B. End to the Cold War

Essential Question: Was President Reagan responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union, bringing an end to the Cold War?

Essential Question: Did the United States win the Cold War?

Essential Question: Is the United States safer after the end of the Cold War?
XI. The Bush Administration

A. War on Terror

Essential Question: Are peace and stability in the Middle East vital to the United States’ economy and national security?

Essential Question: Should it be the obligation of the United States to be the world’s policeman?

Essential Question: Can global terrorism be stopped?

Essential Question: Was the United States justified to fight a war to remove

Saddam Hussein from power?

XII. Present-day America

A. Immigration

Essential Question: Does the United States have a fair and effective immigration


B. Racial Inequality

Essential Question: Has racial harmony and equality been achieved in the 21st


C. Foreign Affairs

Essential Question: Should the United States use force to enforce Democracy throughout the world?

D. America at Home

Essential Question: Should stricter laws regulating firearms be enacted?

Essential Question: Is the death penalty a “cruel and unusual punishment”?

Essential Question: Should Lobbyists and Super Pacts be more strictly regulated?

Essential Question: Does the Media have too much influence over public opinion?

E. Economy

Essential Question: Can the United States maintain its unprecedented prosperity?

Essential Question: Should Americans be optimistic about our future?

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