Maryland Standards

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Enduring Understandings:

  • America’s intervention in World War I ensured her role as a world power for the remainder of the century.

  • While American entry into World War I ensured Allied victory, the failure to conclude a lasting peace left a bitter legacy.

  • The growing role of the United States in international trade displayed the American urge to build, innovate, and explore new markets.

  • The stock market boom and optimism of the 1920s were generated by investments made with borrowed money.

  • When businesses failed, the stocks lost their value, prices fell, production slowed, banks collapsed, and unemployment became widespread.

Essential Questions:

  • Was the United States justified in entering World War I? Why or why not?

  • Is it appropriate to limit civil liberties during wartime?

  • Was the Treaty of Versailles a fair, effective settlement for world peace?

  • Was the 1920s a radical or reactionary time to live?

  • Assess the validity of this statement: “Laissez-faire” policies bring about economic prosperity.

  • Did the Great Depression affect all groups equally?

Curriculum Framework:


Learning Outcomes


Key Concepts

World War I

  1. Explain the reasons for and the effect of the European alliance system leading up to 1914.

  2. Discuss what led to US entry into WWI.

  3. Compare the debates for and against American involvement in WWI.

  4. Analyze the impact WWI had on individuals, groups and institutions in the United States.

  5. Describe how Wilson’s Fourteen Points impacted post-war relations.

(H) Analyze and critique to

what extent the Treaty of

Versailles succeeded or

failed to live up to the

expectations mapped out in

Wilson’s Fourteen Points.

  1. Interpret the reaction to the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations within the US.

  • Isolationism

  • Militarism

  • Nationalism

  • Espionage

  • Armistice

  • Reparations

  • Neutrality

  • Zimmerman telegram

  • Advancements in warfare

  • Selective Service Act

  • Fourteen Points

  • League of Nations

  1. The reasons the war started in Europe were not the same reasons that the United States got involved.

  2. There were many new technologies used during World War I that changed the way war was waged.

  3. The government formed organizations and sent out propaganda to help the country mobilize for war.

  4. Women and African Americans played a vital role in the war effort.

  5. Laws were passed limiting citizens’ liberties during the war and the Supreme Court upheld these limitations in Schenck v United States.

  6. The United States never signed the Treaty of Versailles due to the debate over joining the League of Nations.

Cultural Trends of the 1920s

  1. Describe the causes and characteristics of the cultural, political and economic changes during the 1920s.

  2. Analyze the effects of the cultural, political and economic changes during the 1920s.

  • Xenophobia

  • Communism

  • Nativism

  • Great Migration

  • Harlem Renaissance

  • Prohibition

  • Fundamentalism

  • Consumerism

  • Credit

  • Red Scare

  1. After WWI a Red Scare took over the country in which people were fearful of communism.

  2. The surge in nativism impacted political and economic decisions of the 1920s.

  3. The culture of the 1920s shifted dramatically with resistance to Prohibition, a new role for women, and new types of music and entertainment.

  4. The Great Migration represented a population shift of African Americans from the South to the North resulting in cultural, political and economic changes.

  5. The Harlem Renaissance saw the blossoming of African American art, music and literature.

  6. Conflicting beliefs over science and religion led to the debate over teaching creationism versus evolution in public schools.

  7. Mass production and a shift in advertising and marketing contributed to the rise of consumerism.

Rising Expectations and Market failure

  1. Discuss the increasing power of big business and the reemergence of laissez-faire as a economic and political force in the 1920s.

  2. Summarize the immediate and long-range causes for the stock market crash in 1929.

  3. Analyze the social and economic impact of the stock market crash and the resulting economic collapse.

  • Laissez-faire

  • Market economy

  • Speculation

  • Buying on the margin

  • Bull market

  • Bank run

  1. Lenient monetary policy and an overall optimism towards the government during the 1920s lead to a boom in the economy.

  2. Buying on the margin and other unwise practices led the stock market to inflate and was one of the causes of the stock market crash.

  3. The immediate effects of the stock market crash helped contribute to the Great Depression.


  1. Describe the short term and long term causes of the Great Depression.

  2. Appraise the steps taken by the President, Congress and the Federal Reserve to combat the economic crisis.

  3. Describe the effects of the Great Depression on various groups in the United States.

  • Over production

  • Buying on credit

  • Tariffs

  • Dust Bowl

  • Public works

  • Rugged individualism

  • Bonus Army

  1. Overproduction, use of credit, tariffs, taxes, and the uneven distribution of wealth were all causes of the Great Depression.

  2. The Great Depression touched other parts of the world, specifically Europe.

  3. President Hoover utilized a conservative approach based on a Laissez, faire philosophy.

  4. During the Great Depression manufacturing slowed, the banking system all but collapsed and unemployment was extremely high.

  5. The Dust Bowl led to a massive migration of farmers to the West.

  6. Hoover lost the election of 1932 to Roosevelt due to overall pessimism by Americans about the economy.

Text Resources:



World War I

  • “ Why the IWW is Not Patriotic to the United States “

  • Fourteen Points, Woodrow Wilson

  • Zimmermann Telegram (as received by the German Ambassador to Mexico, 01/19/1917)

  • The Sedition Act of 1918

  • Schenck v. United States, Majority Opinion by Oliver Wendall Holmes

  • Propaganda Leaflets: Dropped behind enemy lines

  • University of Houston, Digital History

  • AMCOCS- Documents for the Study of American History

  • Brigham Young University: World War One Document Archive

The 1920’s

  • Seven Letters from the Great Migration (From African-Americans to the Chicago Defender Newspaper)

  • 18th Amendment

  • "The Case Against the 'Reds,'" Forum (1920), 63:173- 185, A Mitchell Palmer

  • The Scopes Trial Excerpts from the textbook John Scopes used in class

  • “A Dream Deferred,” (Harlem) Langston Hughes

  • Immigration Restriction Act of 1924

  • Gitlow v. New York, Majority Decision

  • George Mason University: History Matters

  • National Archives and Records Administration

  • Poetry Foundation

  • University of Houston: Digital History

  • University of Houston: Digital History


  • Letters from Children to the President and the First Lady for Help

  • Writer Louis Adamic (describes two hungry children who came by his door in 1932.)

  • "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," lyrics by Yip Harburg,

  • Fernando Liborio, Interview

  • John Takman, Interview

  • University of Houston: Digital History

  • University of Houston: Digital History

  • City University of New York

  • PBS, Breadline Series

  • PBS, Breadline Series

Suggested Media:



  1. Your car; A Magazine of Romance, Fact and Fiction” (selected issues from 1925)

  1. Library of Congress, American Memory

  1. Image of Ku Klux Klan Parade, Washington D.C., On Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

  • University of Houston: Digital History

  1. Photograph From Migrant Mother Series, Dorothea Lange

  • University of Houston: Digital History

  1. Photograph of "Hooverville" on the Seattle waterfront, ca. 1930's

  • University of Washington: King County Collects

Suggested Resources



  1. “World War I and the 1920’s,” Lesson Plans with Primary Sources

  1. Stanford History Education Group

  1. “The New Deal and World War II,” Lesson Plans with Primary Sources

  1. Stanford History Education Group

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