Instructor: Mr. Bridger Bishop Course Description



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Course Title: Honors U.S. History

Instructor: Mr. Bridger Bishop
Course Description:

We will learn about key periods in U.S. history between Columbus’ arrival in the Americas and the present day. That is a lot to cover so we will focus on key events, individuals, and problems in U.S. history. While that will involve learning about history in a fair amount of detail, our real goal in this class is to go beyond asking “what happened?” and to start asking “why did it happen?”. That is why we will begin our course in the present and move backwards through history.


Course Philosophy:

Fact 1: Everyone in this class is a person.

Fact 2: People are interesting.

Fact 3: History is the study of people.

Based on these three facts I know that history is interesting because it is the study of people and people are interesting. I also know that you are all people and you are capable of relating to and understanding other people, if you only try. So, we are going to understand history by trying to understand people. This course will begin each unit with a brief overview of the major events of the period and then we will turn our attention to some fascinating figures from that period. These people are not always the most prominent or most powerful, but they are interesting and by seeing the world through their eyes we will gain a better understanding of the events that they lived through.
Coursework and Expectations:

We will have two textbooks: A History of the American People by Paul Johnson and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. All assigned readings need to be completed before the class period in which they will be discussed. Students will be expected to participate in in-class discussion. At the end of each unit there will be an exam covering the information from that unit. There will be no comprehensive final. There will also be periodic writing assignments. We will finish the year with our Biography Project.


Schedule of Topics:

(Schedule may change based upon time constraints, snow days, and other issues)


Unit 1- What is history and how do we “do” history? (1 week)

-Reading Documents and dealing with Multiple Perspectives

-Why should we ask why instead of what or when?

Unit 2- What has happened in the last 50 years?

-Period Overview (2 weeks)

-The Iranian Revolution and the United States (1 week)

-Richard M. Nixon (1 week)

-Rachel Carson (1 week)

-Martin Luther King, Jr. (1 week)
Unit 3-World War I, The Great Depression, WWII, and the start of the Cold War

-Period Overview (2 weeks)

-Harry S. Truman (1 week)

-What’s an Okie? (1 week)

-Who made the Roaring Twenties roar? (1 week)

-Jeannette Rankin and the case for peace (1 week)


Unit 4- The United States of America, Take Two

-Period Overview (2 weeks)

-Theodore Roosevelt (1 week)

-Smedley Butler (1 week)

-Jane Addams (1 week)

-Emma Goldman (1 week)

-Booker T. Washington (1 week)
Unit 5- A new nation on the world stage

-Period Overview (2 weeks)

-The Beecher Family (1 week)

-William T. Sherman (1 week)

-John Brown (1 week)

-Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears (1 week)

-Nat Turner (1 week)
Unit 6- The Colonies and the Revolution:

-Period Overview (2 weeks)

-Aaron Burr (1 week)

-The Adams Family (1 week)

-Tecumseh (1 week)

-Martha Ballard (1 week)

-Roger Williams (1 week)
Unit 7- Putting it all Together

-Presentation of Biography projects (2 weeks)


Assessment Plan/ Grading Policy:
30% Unit Exams (There will be an exam at the end of units 2 through 6)
10% Homework
20% Attendance and Class Participation
20% Papers (Short Essays will be assigned concerning a major question from units 2 through 6)
20% Biography
The Biography Project-

Throughout this class, we will use people as a starting point to begin looking more closely at history. At the end of the year each student will pick an individual other than one of the people listed on this syllabus and present a brief biography of that person in front of the class. In addition to including details on that person’s life, be sure to emphasize what impact that individual had on historical events and how historical events shaped that person.


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