Us 2 Course Description



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11th grade

IB/AP 20th Century United States History

US 2

  1. Course Description

IB/AP US History II courses assume a mastery of the fundamentals of an historian, an understanding of the Vital Themes of History and the Historical Habits of the Mind that a historian uses in the pursuit of knowledge. Students will continue to practice identification of historical concepts, create answers to document based questions and reliance on primary source analysis. The focus of this course relies both on a chronological, as well as thematic approach to teaching American history from the Progressive Movement to the present. Assessment focuses on developing writing and reading skills and document based analytical skills, with the use of traditional assessments based on presentations, research based papers and projects, debates and a variety of other approaches.




  1. Course Objectives

The student will be able to:



  1. Analyze various forms of documentary evidence with an emphasis on written document analysis.

  2. Write a persuasive argument following accepted rules for historians.

  3. Describe and Develop History’s Habits of the Mind and relate them to the skills that historians use.

  4. Explain History’s Vital Themes and Narratives and describe their use in discovery of concepts.

  5. Explain the steps to the research process and complete a research paper.

  6. Draw conclusions form a variety of source materials.

  7. Develop a discriminating Historical perspective.

  8. Focus on Analysis and Interpretation of Historical Evidence.




  1. Course Content



The Emergence of Modern America (1880 to 1929)


    1. Populism, Progressivism and Reform

      1. Analysis of the economic, social and political impact of the Gilded Age on America

      2. The Origins and Impact of Populism

      3. Analysis of the Turner Thesis

      4. The Roots and Results of the Progressive Movement

        1. Women’s suffrage, regulations on industry, political reforms, worker’s rights and the Muckrakers

        2. Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson as Progressive Presidents

    2. The United States Becomes a World Power: The Era of Imperialism

      1. The Causes and Motivations of US Imperialism

      2. The Consequences of US Imperialism

      3. The Imperialist Debate: Isolation vs. Intervention

    3. The Causes of World War One

      1. The European Cauldron (the varied causes of the war-pre 1914)

      2. Wilson’s Policies (1914 to 1917)

      3. How US isolationism lead to the eventually entry of the US into the First World War

      4. Isolation vs. Intervention

    4. World War One

      1. The Role of the United States in the First World War

      2. Wilson’s “14 Points”

      3. The Treaty of Versailles

    5. The Domestic Impact of World War One

      1. Mobilization for war

      2. Suspension of civil liberties during the war

      3. Social, economic and political impact of the war

    6. The United States in the 1920’s

      1. The Roaring Twenties (Social History)

        1. the moral, social and cultural changes in America during the 1920’s)

          1. Popular Culture

          2. New trends, ideas and innovations of the 1920’s

          3. Literary movement that reflected the social dynamics of the 1920’s

          4. New forms of media, art and technology

          5. The Harlem Renaissance




      1. The Politics of Boom and Bust (Political and Economic History)

        1. American Isolationism as a reaction to the international dynamics spawned from the First World War

        2. Laissez faire policies of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover

        3. the Republican ascendancy

        4. the long term effects of laissez faire and isolationism



The Great Depression and World War II (1930 to 1945)


  1. The Causes of the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression

    1. The economic cycle in capitalism (positive and negative)

    2. The Impact of Laissez Faire politics

    3. The changes in social and cultural life in America caused by the depression

  2. Hoover and Rugged Individualism (1929 to 1933)

  3. Roosevelt and the New Deal (1933 to 1945)

    1. The evolution of the New Deal and the opposition to it

  4. The Causes of World War 2

    1. The impact of the Versailles Treaty

    2. The rise of political extremism, totalitarianism, fascism, communism and anti-Semitism in Europe between 1920 and 1939

    3. The impact of US isolationism (1920 to 1941)

    4. Appeasement as a policy of convenience

  5. The United States and the Second World War

    1. Pearl Harbor to VJ Day (US participation in the Second World War)

      1. The Pacific Theatre

      2. The European Theatre




    1. The Manhattan Project and the Atomic Bomb

      1. A military or political decision?

  1. The Homefront during the Second World War

    1. The changing dynamic of American life during the war

    2. The impact of the war on women and minorities



Post War America (1945 to 1980)


  1. The Origins of the Cold War (1945 to 1947)

  2. The Battles of the Cold War (1947 to 1975-end of Vietnam War)

    1. Truman Doctrine and the Cold War

      1. Marshall Plan, Berlin Crisis of 1947, National Security Act of 1947, Executive Order 9835, Korea, etc.

    2. Eisenhower Doctrine and the Cold War

      1. Korea, Cuba, Sputnik and the Space Race, Brinksmanship, Massive Retaliation, Rollback policy, etc.

    3. Kennedy Doctrine and the Cold War

      1. Flexible response, Cuban Missile Crisis, Test Ban treaty, Vietnam policy, etc.

    4. Johnson Doctrine and the Cold War

      1. Vietnam and the escalation of US involvement in Southeast Asia

    5. Nixon Doctrine and the Cold War

      1. Vietnamization, Détente, China Policy, etc.

  3. Affluent American Society and Conformity in the Post-war Years

    1. McCarthyism, fear, conformity, counter-culture, generation gap, highway system, consumerism

    2. The social inequities of post war America

    3. Socio-economic impact of cold war on the post war “baby boomer” generation

    4. America’s dynamic as a post war “superpower”

    5. Conformity of the 1950s and the social turbulence of the 1960’s

  4. The Modern Civil Rights Movement

    1. The significant events of the civil rights movement

      1. Little Rock, Montgomery, Freedom summer, Birmingham, lunch counters, Ole Miss, March on Washington, Civil Rights acts, Great Society

    2. The significant personalities of the civil rights movement

Emmitt Till, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael and others

c. Black Power Movement



Contemporary United States (1969 to the Present)


  1. The Computer Age and the “New Economy”

  2. Immigration and Migration Patterns

  3. Contemporary Politics

    1. Richard Nixon

    2. Gerald Ford

    3. Jimmy Carter

    4. Ronald Reagan

    5. George Bush

    6. Bill Clinton

    7. George W. Bush

  4. The End of the Cold War

  5. American Foreign Policy After the Cold War

  6. The Impact of Global and Hemispheric Issues on America in the 21st Century


D. Suggested Instructional Resources and Texts
1. Variety of Board approved textbooks

American Pageant text book (12th edition), Fast Track to a 5 (exam prep book)

2. Primary Source Readings / Books

American Spirit, Why Nations Go to War, The Reckless Decade

3. Case Studies

4. Supreme Court Cases

5. Multi-media materials

6. Maps and geography resources


E. Suggested Teaching Strategie/Activites
1. Class discussion based on document reading and historical concept

2. Lectures

3. Critical Analysis

4. Research based papers/projects

5. Individual/Group Presentations

6. Creative projects

7. Essays on assigned topic focusing on analysis, comparisons and Vital Themes

8. Audio-Visual Materials - student and teacher presentation

9. Guest Speakers

10. Field Trips

11. Synthesis and comparison of multiple primary sources – varied perspectives

12. Panel Discussions/Debates



F. Methods of Evaluating and Testing


  1. Quizzes

  2. Unit tests including objective questions, responses and essays

  3. Final Examination utilizing AP US History format (multiple choice, FRQ and DBQ questions)

  4. Writing Assignments

    1. Document Based Questions

    2. Free Response essays

    3. IB Paper 1, 2 and 3 – type questions

  5. Homework – document based primary and secondary sources

  6. Oral Presentations

  7. Research Paper

  8. Cooperative Learning (Group Projects)

*Students work may be assessed using rubrics. See sample rubrics for the History department.


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