Maryland Standards

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Enduring Understandings:

  • The Cold War set the framework for global politics for 45 years after the end of World War II. It also influenced American domestic politics, the conduct of foreign affairs, and the role of the government in the economy after 1945.

  • The Cold War was essentially a competition between two very different ways of organizing government, society, and the economy: the American-led western nations’ belief in democracy, individual freedom and a market economy, and the Soviet belief in a totalitarian state and socialism.

  • The U. S. government’s anti-Communist strategy of containment in Asia led to America’s involvement in the Korean and Vietnamese Wars. The Vietnam War demonstrated the power of American public opinion in reversing foreign policy.

  • African Americans, women, and other minority groups, worked through the court system and used mass protest to promote political, economic and social change.

  • Involvement in conflicts in other areas of the world has been an integral part of United States foreign policy in the modern era.

  • Rising immigration has increased American diversity and redefined American identity.

  • Dramatic advances in technology have affected society, culture, the arts, and business practices.

  • Ronald Reagan’s policies had an impact on the relationship between the federal and state governments.

  • The United States formulates domestic and international policy in an effort to confront terrorism.

Essential Questions:

  • How did American foreign policy change after WWII?

  • To what extent and in what ways did the “domino theory” accurately account for American foreign policy in the immediate post-World War II period?

  • How did American foreign policy contribute to the end of the Cold War?

  • Were the methods used by African-Americans, women, and Hispanics in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s successful in achieving equal rights?

  • Was the 1950s a time period of conformity or rebellion?

  • To what extent did the domestic programs of Kennedy and Johnson accomplish the fundamental goal of expanding the responsibilities of the federal government for the general social welfare of all Americans?

  • How has the Immigration Act of 1965 and other immigration policies successfully created a diverse and inclusive American society?

  • Analyze the relevant importance of economic and political factors in shaping America’s foreign policy from the 1970s to present day.

  • Do elections always reflect the will of the people?

  • Is it appropriate to limit civil liberties in order to protect national security?

  • In what ways has the battle about having a robust versus a diminished role of the federal government continued into the 21st Century?

Curriculum Framework


Learning Outcomes


Key Concepts

The continuing Cold War and Détente to the dissolution of the USSR

  1. Identify the various phases in the dynamic relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union from the end of the Korean War to the breakup of the U.S.S.R.

(H) Explain how the S.A.L.T. talks brought about détente between the United States and Russia after the Korean War.

  • Diplomacy

  • Sputnik

  • Détente

  1. Fidel Castro led a communist revolution that took over Cuba in the 1950s.

  2. The attempt to overthrow Castro in the “Bay of Pigs” invasion resulted in humiliation for the United States.

  3. During the Cuban Missile Crisis the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

  4. Nixon worked to reduce tensions between the United States, China, and the Soviet Union by normalizing relations with China and signing agreements with the Soviet Union, including SALT I.

  5. Reagan took a strong stance against communism.

  6. The Soviet Union broke apart in 1989.


  1. Analyze the origins, events, and consequences of U.S. participation in the war in Vietnam.

(H) Justify the policy of Vietnamization as a way of atatempting a “peace with honor.”

  • Domino Theory

  • Vietnamization

  • Vietcong

  • War Powers Act

  • Draft Resistance

  1. The American military buildup in Vietnam began under President John Kennedy. After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the buildup was intensified under President Lyndon Johnson.

  2. The Vietnam War divided the American public and showed the limitations of the containment policy.

The Middle East

  1. List the strategic, political and economic factors in American’s policy towards the Middle East, including the Gulf War.

  • Embargo

  • OPEC

  • Cartel

  • Camp David Accords

  1. Conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors led to rising oiling prices.

  2. In the Middle East, Carter saw his greatest achievement and worst setback: he brokered the Camp David Accords, but then had to face the Iran Hostage Crisis.

  3. In 1991, Iraq invaded Kuwait. This started an international effort to stop Iraq, led by George H.W. Bush and the U.S.

Domestic Trends, 1952-1968

  1. Describe the origins, major developments, controversies, and consequences of the African-American civil rights movement.

(H) Analyze the various philosophical differences among African American civil rights groups, and how this affected differing forms of protest.

  1. Discuss the cultural, economic, and political changes in the United States from 1952 to 1968.

  2. Discuss how the advancements in the African-American civil rights movement influenced the agendas and strategies in the quest of other groups of Americans for civil rights and equality of opportunities.

  3. Describe the origins, major developments, controversies, and consequences of the post-war women’s movement.

(H) Compare expectations of women’s roles in society during and after World War II with those of women participating in support of war efforts today.

  • Civil Rights Organizations

  • Civil Disobedience

  • Militancy

  • New Frontier

  • Great Society

  1. In the postwar period, the US economy transformed from one geared toward the production of military supplies to one that was consumer-oriented

  2. The civil rights movement of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s provided a model that other groups have used to extend civil rights and equal justice.

  3. Women broke into many places formerly reserved for men. This was true for jobs, colleges, and military schools.

Domestic Trends, 1969-present

  1. Explain how the federal, state, and local governments have responded to political, economic, social, and cultural patterns from the Great Society to the Reagan Revolution.

  2. Analyze patterns, trends and projections of population growth with particular emphasis on how the Immigration Act of 1965 and successor acts have affected American society.

  3. Justify the use of natural resources and the trade-offs between environmental quality and economic growth since the 1960s.

  4. Examine the reasons behind the “Contract with America” during the 1990’s and how they reshaped politics.

(H) Analyze the impact of religious conservatism on the transformation of public policy in the 21st century.

  1. Explain how the Clinton presidency attempted to re-shape the goals of the U.S. government yet served as a lightning rod for neo-conservative response.

  2. Investigate the controversies surrounding the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.

  3. Explain how the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center re-shaped the United States politically, socially, and economically.

(H) Justify or critique how personal liberties changed in the United States in wake of the 9/11 attacks.

  1. Examine the foreign policy decisions of George W. Bush during the post-9/11 era and their long term impact on the American economy and international relations.

  2. Analyze the implications of the election of Barrack Obama as American’s first African American president.

  • School Busing

  • Affirmative Action

  • Equal Rights Amendment

  • Service Economy

  • Stagflation

  • Watergate

  • Deficit Spending

  • Conservatism

  • Welfare


  • Impeachment

  • Homeland Security

  • Patriot Act

  • Tea Party

  1. New and increasing immigration to the United States has been taking place from many diverse countries, especially Asian and Latin American countries.

  2. The Watergate scandal undermined the American people’s trust in their political system.

  3. President Reagan and conservative Republicans advocated for: tax cuts, transfer of responsibilities to state government, reduction in the number and scope of government programs and regulations, and strengthening of the American military.

  4. The “Reagan Revolution” extended beyond his tenure in office with: the election of George H.W. Bush; the election of centrist Democrat, William Clinton; the Republican sweep of congressional elections and statehouses in the 1990s; and the election of George W. Bush

  5. The 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore was controversial and opened debate about the electoral college system.

  6. In response to September 11, 2001, the United States Government heightened security in the country, with the Patriot Act.

  7. The Bush administration enacted robust and aggressive foreign policy actions in respons to the 9/11 attacks.

  8. Barrack Obama’s election as president represented a milestone in American history and culture.

Text Resources:



Cold War

  • Range of Soviet Missiles and US photograph of SS-4 Missile Site in Cuba

  • Central Intelligence Agency


  • Martin Luther King Jr., Beyond Vietnam

  • Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

  • Nixon’s “Vietnamization” Speech

  • Kent State University Shootings Oral History Collection

  • Article, “Vietnamese say G.I.s Slew 567 in Town”

  • Article,, 4 State Students Killed by Troops”

  • Pentagon Papers

  • American Rhetoric

  • Our Documents, National Archives and Records Administration

  • From Revolution to Reconstruction, University of Gronigen

  • Kent State University

  • New York Times

  • New York Times

  • Mount Holyoke College


  • Ronald Reagan’s address in Berlin, 1987

  • National Archives and Records Administration

Dissolution of the USSR

  • The Berlin Wall Comes Down (Eyewitness Accounts)

  • BBC

The Middle East

  • Jimmy Carter’s Address to the Nation on Energy Crisis (April 18, 1977) Transcript and Video

  • OPEC: Brief History

  • Iran Hostage’s Diary

  • Tehran Students Seize U.S. Embassy and Hold Hostages: Ask Shah’s Return and Trial

  • Interview with Colin Powell about the Gulf War

  • Miller Center, University of Virginia

  • OPEC

  • Jimmy Carter Library

  • Digital History, University of Houston

  • PBS

Civil Rights Movement

  • Letter from a Birmingham Jail

  • “Ballot or the Bullet” Speech by Malcolm X

  • The Panthers’ Ten-point platform

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964

  • Two Societies, Separate and Unequal, Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders

  • MLK Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

  • Teaching American History

  • PBS

  • Our Documents, National Archives and Records Administration

  • PBS

Domestic trends 1952- 1968

  • “Equal rights for women” Shirley Chisholm addressing the House of Representatives

  • Equal Rights Amendment

  • “Equal Rights Amendment is Passed in Congress,” Article

  • New Frontier Speech

  • Great Society Speech

  • “Equal Opportunity is Not Enough;” Lyndon Johnson on affirmative action

  • Regents of University of California v. Bakke

  • Duke University, Special Collections

  • National Organization for Women

  • New York Times

  • JFK Library

  • PBS

  • PBS

  • Digital History

Domestic trends 1969- present

  • Nixon’s Statement on Watergate

  • Justice Department Memo Considering Impeachment of Nixon

  • Articles of Impeachment (Nixon)

  • “Asians Outnumber Hispanics Among New Immigrants,” Article

  • “Reagan Proposes U.S. Seek New Ways to Block Missiles,” Article

  • Reagan’s First Inaugural Address 1981

  • Contract with America

  • Welfare Reform Act of 1996

  • “Clinton Impeached,” Article

  • “The Senate Acquits President Clinton,” Article

  • “Clinton’s economic legacy,” Article

  • The Disputed Election of 2000

  • “How we got here: A timeline of the Florida recount” by Jeb Bush

  • Patriot Act

  • Department of Homeland Security (History)

  • American Presidency Project, University of California Santa Barbara

  • National Archives and Records Administration

  • University of Colorado, Boulder

  • Washington Post

  • New York Times

  • Avalon Project, Yale University

  • United States House of Representatives

  • Digital History, University of Houston

  • Washington Post

  • Washington Post

  • BBC

  • Digital History, University of Houston

  • CNN

  • Library of Congress, Thomas

  • Department of Homeland Security

Suggested Media:



  1. Bay of Pigs Invasion Picture

  1. Ashland University

  1. Pictures of Nixon in China/Moscow

  1. Flickriver

  1. Mapping the Fall of Communism, Interactive

  1. BBC

  1. Kent State University Shootings, Images

  • Kent State University

  1. Antiwar Photographs and Newspaper articles

  • Antiwar and Radical History Project, University of Washington

  1. Map of Freedom Rides

  • Library of Congress

  1. “Immigration and Jobs: Where U.S. Workers Come From,” Interactive

  • New York Times

  1. 9/11 Interactive Timeline

  • National 9/11 Memorial

Suggested Resources



  1. “The Cold War,” Lesson Plans with Primary Sources

  1. Stanford History Education Group

  1. “Cold War Culture/Civil Rights,” Lesson Plans with Primary Sources

  1. Stanford History Education Group


Suggested Activities for Honors Objectives

  • Evaluate to what extent post-Civil War southern political, economic, and social policies attempted to create a permanent black underclass. (901.01H)

Suggested Strategy (PROCESS/PRODUCT): Have students brainstorm social, economic, and potical policies that were in effect in the South after the Civil War in an attempt to create a permanent black underclass. Students will describe the immediate impact those policies had upon African Americans. Divide students into groups. Assign each group a policy to research. Groups are to investigate any evidence of lingering effects of these policies today. Suggested policies are voting,sharecropping, Jim Crow laws, Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), miscegenation laws, andproperty ownership.

  • Analyze varying historical interpretations of the impact of political and social

changes on the U.S. stemming from Reconstruction. (H 901.02)

Suggested Strategy (PROCESS/PRODUCT): Have students read the historical interpretations of Kenneth Stampp and Eric Foner. Have students use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast the two viewpoints, and then construct an argumentative essay, may then be used as a bases for a class debate on the merits of each historian’s arguments given the students’ knowledge of the Reconstruction era. Suggested Resources: Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History (Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc.) Issue 17: “Was Reconstruction a Success?”
Analyze the issues surrounding the range wars of the late 1800’s as they relate to the controversy surrounding urban sprawl and “Smart Growth” today. (902.04H)

Suggested Strategy (PRODUCT) Create a visual metaphor reflecting the similarities between the range wars and current day urban sprawl.
Justify the necessity for government regulation of private business enterprise at the turn of the 19th century. (902.09H)

Suggested Strategy (PROCESS) Have students research the views of the following historical or contemporary figures regarding government regulation of big business: (historical)—J.D. Rockefeller and Senator John Sherman (Sherman Anti-trust Act); (contemporary)—Bill Gates and Ralph Nader. Students will conduct a mock debate defending or opposing laissez-faire economic policies. They should argue the question: Should there be governmental controls on big business? Why or why not? (Note: Other historical or contemporary figures may be added or substituted.)
Trace the factors that lead to urban growth in the late 19th century, urban decline of the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s to urban revitalization of the late 20th century. (902.11H)

Suggested Strategy (CONTENT/PROCESS/PRODUCT) Have students research the growth patterns of three northeast metropolitan cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, New York, or Baltimore. Students are to create charts or graphs showing changes in population, per capita income, housing, growth in business development, mass transportation, new jobs and employment figures, and the number of people receiving public assistance from the late 19th century, 1960’s and 70’s, to the late 1990’s. Keeping in mind the historical events that occurred during the time span, have students analyze the trends in each of the charts or graphs and predict what factors led to the changes over time that reflected urban growth, decline, and/or revitalization.

Analyze the gold versus silver standard controversy of the Populist era through a literary context. (903.01 H/GT)

Suggested Strategy (PROCESS): After studying the Populist movement and the gold and silver controversy, have students read excerpts of the text The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum, which is purported to be an allegory of the currency problems and agrarian issues of the 1890s. Distribute a list of various elements from books and have students determine the historical references based on their knowledge of the time. Once students have developed their list of historical influences, conduct a class discussion comparing and justifying their ideas and interpretations. Examples include: Scarecrow –- farmers

  • Flying monkeys—Native Americans

  • Lion—William Jennings Bryan

  • Tin Man—Factory workers

  • Dorothy’s Silver Slippers—silver standard

  • Yellow Brick Road—gold standard

  • OZ—abbreviation of ounces

  • Wicked v. Good Witches and their geographic relationship to regions of our nation

Compare the principles of American foreign policy in an era of imperialism in the late 19th and early 20th century to American foreign policy in the 21st century. (903.07H)

Suggested Strategy (CONTENT/PROCESS): Research various U.S. foreign policy decisions in the 20th/21st centuries. Determine the purpose of these actions, and rate whether they represent acts of imperialism, or if they are justifications to protect economic interests, national security, or human rights.
Identify, analyze, and evaluate current political, social, and economic issues that
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