Compiled from the California History Social Science Framework and Standards Document
Learning and Working Now and Long Ago
K.1 Students understand that being a good citizen involves acting in certain ways.
1. Follow rules, such as sharing and taking turns, and know the consequences of
2. Learn examples of honesty, courage, determination, individual responsibility,
and patriotism in American and world history from stories and folklore.
Know beliefs and related behaviors of characters in stories from times past
and understand the consequences of the characters’ actions.
K.2 Students recognize national and state symbols and icons such as the national and state
flags, the bald eagle, and the Statue of Liberty.
A Child’s Place in Time and Space
Students describe the rights and individual responsibilities of citizenship.
Understand the rule-making process in a direct democracy (everyone votes on the rules) and in a representative democracy (an elected group of people make the rules), giving examples of both systems in their classroom, school, and community.
Understand the elements of fair play and good sportsmanship, respect for the rights and opinions of others, and respect for rules by which we live, including the meaning of the “Golden Rule.”
Students know and understand the symbols, icons, and traditions of the United States that provide continuity and sense of community across time.
Recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing songs that express American ideals (e.g., “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”).
Understand the significance of our national holidays and heroism and achievements of the people associated with them.
Identify American symbols, landmarks, and essential documents, such as the flag, bald eagle, Stature of Liberty, U.S. Constitution, and Declaration of Independence, and know the people and events associated with them.
People Who Make a Difference
2.3 Students explain governmental institutions and practices in the United States and other
Explain how the United States and other countries make laws, carry out laws,
determine whether laws have been violated, and punish wrongdoers.
Describe the ways in which groups and nations interact with one another to try
to resolve problems in such areas as trade, cultural contacts, treaties, diplomacy,
and military force.
Continuity and Change
3.4 Students understand the role of rules and laws in our daily lives and the basic structure of
the U.S. government.
Determine the reason for rules, laws, and the U.S. Constitution; the role of citizenship in the promotion of rules and laws; and the consequences for people who violate rules and laws.
Discuss the importance of public virtue and the role of citizens, including how to participate in classroom, in the community, and in civic life.
Know the histories of important local and national landmarks, symbols, and essential documents that create a sense of community among citizens and exemplify cherished ideals (e.g., the U.S. flag, the bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, the U.S. Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Capitol).
Understand the three branches of government, with an emphasis on local government.
Describe the ways in which California, the other states, and sovereign American Indian tribes contribute to the making of our nation and participate in the federal system of government.
Describe the lives of American heroes who took risks to secure our freedoms (e.g., Anne Hutchinson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr.)
California the Changing State
Students understand the structures, functions, and powers of the local, state, and federal governments as described in the U.S. Constitution.
Discuss what the U.S. Constitution is and why it is important (i.e., a written document that defines the structure and purpose of the U.S. government and describes the shared powers of federal, state, and local governments.)
Understand the purpose of the California Constitution, its key principles, and its relationship to the U.S. Constitution.
Describe the similarities (e.g. written documents, rule of law, consent of the governed, three separate branches) and differences (e.g. scope of jurisdiction, limits on government powers, use of the military) among federal state and local governments.
Explain the structures and functions of state governments, including the roles and responsibilities of their elected officials.
Describe the components of California’s governance structure (e.g. cities and towns, Indian rancherias and reservations, counties, school districts).
United States History and Geography: Making a New Nation
5.7 Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the
U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the
List the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as set forth by their critics.
Explain the significance of the new Constitution of 1787, including the struggles over its ratification and the reasons for the addition of the Bill Rights.
Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government drives it power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty.
Understand how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both empowering and limiting central government and compare the powers granted to citizens, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court with those reserved to the states.
Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution.
Know the songs that express American ideals (e.g., “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner”).
World History and Geography: Ancient Civilizations
6.4 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures
of the early civilizations of Ancient Greece.
2. Trace the transition from tyranny and oligarchy to early democratic forms of
government and back to dictatorship in ancient Greece, including the significance of
the invention of the idea of citizenship (e.g. from Pericles’ Funeral Oration).
3. State the key differences between Athenian, or direct, democracy and representative
6.7 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures during
the development of Rome.
2. Describe the government of Roman Republic and its significance (e.g., written
constitution and tripartite government, checks and balances, civic duty).
Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of China in the Middle Ages.
6. Describe the development of the imperial state and the scholar-official class.
7.4 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the sub-Saharan civilizations of Ghana and Mali in Medieval Africa.
3. Describe the role of the trans-Saharan caravan trade in the changing religious and cultural characteristics of West Africa and the influence of Islamic beliefs, ethics, and law.
7.5 Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the civilizations of Medieval Japan.
6. Analyze the rise of a military society in the late twelfth century and the role of the samurai in that society.
United States History and Geography: Growth and Conflict
8.1 Students understand the major events preceding the founding of the nation and relate their significance to the development of American constitutional democracy.
2. Analyze the philosophy of government expressed in the Declaration of Independence, with an emphasis on government as a means of securing individual rights (e.g., key phrases such as "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights").
4. Describe the nation's blend of civic republicanism, classical liberal principles, and English parliamentary traditions.
8.2 Students analyze the political principles underlying the U.S. Constitution and compare the enumerated and implied powers of the federal government.
Discuss the significance of the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, and the May-flower Compact.
Analyze the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution and the success of each in implementing the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.
Evaluate the major debates that occurred during the development of the Constitution and their ultimate resolutions in such areas as shared power among institutions, divided state-federal power, slavery, the rights of individuals and states (later addressed by the addition of the Bill of Rights), and the status of American Indian nations under the commerce clause.
Describe the political philosophy underpinning the Constitution as specified in the Federalist Papers (authored by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay) and the role of such leaders as Madison, George Washington, Roger Sherman, Gouverneur Morris, and James Wilson in the writing and ratification of the Constitution.
Understand the significance of Jefferson's Statute for Religious Freedom as a forerunner of the First Amendment and the origins, purpose, and differing views of the founding fathers on the issue of the separation of church and state.
Enumerate the powers of government set forth in the Constitution and the fundamental liberties ensured by the Bill of Rights.
Describe the principles of federalism, dual sovereignty, separation of powers, checks and balances, the nature and purpose of majority rule, and the ways in which the American idea of constitutionalism preserves individual rights.
8.3 Students understand the foundation of the American political system and the ways in which citizens participate.
Analyze the principles and concepts codified in state constitutions between 1777 and 1781 that created the context out of which American political institutions and ideas developed.
Explain how the ordinances of 1785 and 1787 privatized national resources and transferred federally owned lands into private holdings, townships, and states.
Enumerate the advantages of a common market among the states as foreseen in and protected by the Constitution's clauses on interstate commerce, common coinage, and full-faith and credit.
Understand how the conflicts between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton resulted in the emergence of two political parties (e.g., view of foreign policy, Alien and Sedition Acts, economic policy, National Bank, funding and assumption of the revolutionary debt).
Know the significance of domestic resistance movements and ways in which the central government responded to such movements (e.g., Shays' Rebellion, the Whiskey Rebel-lion).
Describe the basic law-making process and how the Constitution provides numerous opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process and to monitor and influence government (e.g., function of elections, political parties, interest groups).
Understand the functions and responsibilities of a free press.
8.4 Students analyze the aspirations and ideals of the people of the new nation.
Describe the country's physical landscapes, political divisions, and territorial expansion during the terms of the first four presidents.
Explain the policy significance of famous speeches (e.g., Washington's Farewell Address, Jefferson's 1801 Inaugural Address, John Q. Adams's Fourth of July 1821 Address).
Analyze the rise of capitalism and the economic problems and conflicts that accompanied it (e.g., Jackson's opposition to the National Bank; early decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that reinforced the sanctity of contracts and a capitalist economic system of law).
8.6 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced, with emphasis on the Northeast.
4. Study the lives of black Americans who gained freedom in the North and founded schools and churches to advance their rights and communities.
5. Trace the development of the American education system from its earliest roots, including the roles of religious and private schools and Horace Mann's campaign for free public education and its assimilating role in American culture.
6. Examine the women's suffrage movement (e.g., biographies, writings, and speeches of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Margaret Fuller, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony).
8.8 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the West from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.
Discuss the election of Andrew Jackson as president in 1828, the importance of Jacksonian democracy, and his actions as president (e.g., the spoils system, veto of the National Bank, policy of Indian removal, opposition to the Supreme Court).
8.9 Students analyze the early and steady attempts to abolish slavery and to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.
Describe the leaders of the movement (e.g., John Quincy Adams and his proposed constitutional amendment, John Brown and the armed resistance, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass).
Discuss the abolition of slavery in early state constitutions.
Describe the significance of the Northwest Ordinance in education and in the banning of slavery in new states north of the Ohio River.
Discuss the importance of the slavery issue as raised by the annexation of Texas and California's admission to the union as a free state under the Compromise of 1850.
Analyze the significance of the States' Rights Doctrine, the Missouri Compromise (1820), the Wilmot Proviso (1846), the Compromise of 1850, Henry Clay's role in the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision (1857), and the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858).
Describe the lives of free blacks and the laws that limited their freedom and economic opportunities.
8.11 Students analyze the character and lasting consequences of Reconstruction.
5. Understand the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution and analyze their connection to Reconstruction.
World History, Culture, and Geography: The Modern World
World History, Culture, and Geography: The Modern World
10.1 Students relate the moral and ethical principles in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, in Judaism, and in Christianity to the development of Western political thought.
Analyze the similarities and differences in Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman views of law, reason and faith, and duties of the individual.
Trace the development of the Western political ideas of the rule of law and illegitimacy of tyranny, using selections from Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics.
Consider the influence of the U.S. Constitution on political systems in the contemporary world.
10.2 Students compare and contrast the Glorious Revolution of England, the American Revolution, and the French Revolution and their enduring effects worldwide on the political expectations for self-government and individual liberty.
Compare the major ideas of philosophers and their effects on the democratic revolutions in England, the United States, France, and Latin America (e.g., John Locke, Charles-Louis Montesquieu, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Simón Bolívar, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison).
List the principles of the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights (1689), the American Declaration of Independence (1776), the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789), and the U.S. Bill of Rights (1791).
Understand the unique character of the American Revolution, its spread to other parts of the world, and its continuing significance to other nations.
Explain how the ideology of the French Revolution led France to develop from constitutional monarchy to democratic despotism to the Napoleonic empire.
Discuss how nationalism spread across Europe with Napoleon but was repressed for a generation under the Congress of Vienna and Concert of Europe until the Revolutions of 1848.
10.3 Students analyze the effects of the Industrial Revolution in England, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States.
6. Analyze the emergence of capitalism as a dominant economic pattern and the responses to it, including Utopianism, Social Democracy, Socialism, and Communism.
10.4 Students analyze patterns of global change in the era of New Imperialism in at least two of the following regions or countries: Africa, Southeast Asia, China, India, Latin America, and the Philippines.
2. Discuss the locations of the colonial rule of such nations as England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Portugal, and the United States.
3. Explain imperialism from the perspective of the colonizers and the colonized and the varied immediate and long-term responses by the people under colonial rule.
4. Describe the independence struggles of the colonized regions of the world, including the roles of leaders, such as Sun Yat-sen in China, and the roles of ideology and religion.
10.5 Students analyze the causes and course of the First World War.
5. Discuss human rights violations and genocide, including the Ottoman government's actions against Armenian citizens.
10.10 Students analyze instances of nation-building in the contemporary world in at least two of the following regions or countries: the Middle East, Africa, Mexico and other parts of Latin America, and China.
3. Discuss the important trends in the regions today and whether they appear to serve the cause of individual freedom and democracy.
United States History and Geography: Continuity and Change in the 20th Century
11.1 Students analyze the significant events in the founding of the nation and its attempts to realize the philosophy of government described in the Declaration of Independence.
Describe the Enlightenment and the rise of democratic ideas as the context in which the nation was founded.
Analyze the ideological origins of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers' philosophy of divinely bestowed unalienable natural rights, the debates on the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and the addition of the Bill of Rights.
Understand the history of the Constitution after 1787 with emphasis on federal versus state authority and growing democratization.
Examine the effects of the Civil War and Reconstruction and of the industrial revolution, including demographic shifts and the emergence in the late nineteenth century of the United States as a world power.
11.3 Students analyze the role religion played in the founding of America, its lasting moral, social, and political impacts, and issues regarding religious liberty.
5. Describe the principles of religious liberty found in the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment, including the debate on the issue of separation of church and state.
11.6 Students analyze the different explanations for the Great Depression and how the New Deal fundamentally changed the role of the federal government.
4. Analyze the effects of and the controversies arising from New Deal economic policies and the expanded role of the federal government in society and the economy since the 1930s (e.g., Works Progress Administration, Social Security, National Labor Relations Board, farm programs, regional development policies, and energy development projects such as the Tennessee Valley Authority, California Central Valley Project, and Bonneville Dam).
5. Trace the advances and retreats of organized labor, from the creation of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations to current issues of a postindustrial, multinational economy, including the United Farm Workers in California.
11.10 Students analyze the development of federal civil rights and voting rights.
6. Analyze the passage and effects of civil rights and voting rights legislation (e.g., 1964 Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act of 1965) and the Twenty-Fourth Amendment, with an emphasis on equality of access to education and to the political process.
Principles of American Democracy
12.1 Students explain the fundamental principles and moral values of American democracy as expressed in the U.S. Constitution and other essential documents of American democracy.
Analyze the influence of ancient Greek, Roman, English, and leading European political thinkers such as John Locke, Charles-Louis Montesquieu, Niccolò Machiavelli, and William Blackstone on the development of American government.
Discuss the character of American democracy and its promise and perils as articulated by Alexis de Tocqueville.
Explain how the U.S. Constitution reflects a balance between the classical republican concern with promotion of the public good and the classical liberal concern with protecting individual rights; and discuss how the basic premises of liberal constitutionalism and democracy are joined in the Declaration of Independence as "self-evident truths."
Explain how the Founding Fathers' realistic view of human nature led directly to the establishment of a constitutional system that limited the power of the governors and the governed as articulated in the Federalist Papers.
Describe the systems of separated and shared powers, the role of organized interests (Federalist Paper Number 10), checks and balances (Federalist Paper Number 51), the importance of an independent judiciary (Federalist Paper Number 78), enumerated powers, rule of law, federalism, and civilian control of the military.
Understand that the Bill of Rights limits the powers of the federal government and state governments.
12.2 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the scope and limits of rights and obligations as democratic citizens, the relationships among them, and how they are secured.
Discuss the meaning and importance of each of the rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights and how each is secured (e.g., freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition, privacy).
Explain how economic rights are secured and their importance to the individual and to society (e.g., the right to acquire, use, transfer, and dispose of property; right to choose one's work; right to join or not join labor unions; copyright and patent).
Discuss the individual's legal obligations to obey the law, serve as a juror, and pay taxes.
Understand the obligations of civic-mindedness, including voting, being informed on civic issues, volunteering and performing public service, and serving in the military or alternative service.
Describe the reciprocity between rights and obligations; that is, why enjoyment of one's rights entails respect for the rights of others.
Explain how one becomes a citizen of the United States, including the process of naturalization (e.g., literacy, language, and other requirements).
12.3 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on what the fundamental values and principles of civil society are (i.e., the autonomous sphere of voluntary personal, social, and economic relations that are not part of government), their interdependence, and the meaning and importance of those values and principles for a free society.
Explain how civil society provides opportunities for individuals to associate for social, cultural, religious, economic, and political purposes.
Explain how civil society makes it possible for people, individually or in association with others, to bring their influence to bear on government in ways other than voting and elections.
Discuss the historical role of religion and religious diversity.
Compare the relationship of government and civil society in constitutional democracies to the relationship of government and civil society in authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.
12.4 Students analyze the unique roles and responsibilities of the three branches of government as established by the U.S. Constitution.
Discuss Article I of the Constitution as it relates to the legislative branch, including eligibility for office and lengths of terms of representatives and senators; election to office; the roles of the House and Senate in impeachment proceedings; the role of the vice president; the enumerated legislative powers; and the process by which a bill becomes a law.
Explain the process through which the Constitution can be amended.
Identify their current representatives in the legislative branch of the national government.
Discuss Article II of the Constitution as it relates to the executive branch, including eligibility for office and length of term, election to and removal from office, the oath of office, and the enumerated executive powers.
Discuss Article III of the Constitution as it relates to judicial power, including the length of terms of judges and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
Explain the processes of selection and confirmation of Supreme Court justices.
12.5 Students summarize landmark U.S. Supreme Court interpretations of the Constitution and its amendments.
Understand the changing interpretations of the Bill of Rights over time, including interpretations of the basic freedoms (religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly) articulated in the First Amendment and the due process and equal-protection-of-the-law clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Analyze judicial activism and judicial restraint and the effects of each policy over the decades (e.g., the Warren and Rehnquist courts).
Evaluate the effects of the Court's interpretations of the Constitution in Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, and United States v. Nixon, with emphasis on the arguments espoused by each side in these cases.
Explain the controversies that have resulted over changing interpretations of civil rights, including those in Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, and United States v. Virginia (VMI).
12.6 Students evaluate issues regarding campaigns for national, state, and local elective offices.
Analyze the origin, development, and role of political parties, noting those occasional periods in which there was only one major party or were more than two major parties.
Discuss the history of the nomination process for presidential candidates and the increasing importance of primaries in general elections.
Evaluate the roles of polls, campaign advertising, and the controversies over campaign funding.
Describe the means that citizens use to participate in the political process (e.g., voting, campaigning, lobbying, filing a legal challenge, demonstrating, petitioning, picketing, running for political office).
Discuss the features of direct democracy in numerous states (e.g., the process of referendums, recall elections).
Analyze trends in voter turnout; the causes and effects of reapportionment and redistricting, with special attention to spatial districting and the rights of minorities; and the function of the Electoral College.
12.7 Students analyze and compare the powers and procedures of the national, state, tribal, and local governments.
Explain how conflicts between levels of government and branches of government are resolved.
Identify the major responsibilities and sources of revenue for state and local governments.
Discuss reserved powers and concurrent powers of state governments.
Discuss the Ninth and Tenth Amendments and interpretations of the extent of the federal government's power.
Explain how public policy is formed, including the setting of the public agenda and implementation of it through regulations and executive orders.
Compare the processes of lawmaking at each of the three levels of government, including the role of lobbying and the media.
Identify the organization and jurisdiction of federal, state, and local (e.g., California) courts and the interrelationships among them.
Understand the scope of presidential power and decision making through examination of case studies such as the Cuban Missile Crisis, passage of Great Society legislation, War Powers Act, Gulf War, and Bosnia.
12.8 Students evaluate and take and defend positions on the influence of the media on American political life.
Discuss the meaning and importance of a free and responsible press.
Describe the roles of broadcast, print, and electronic media, including the Internet, as means of communication in American politics.
Explain how public officials use the media to communicate with the citizenry and to shape public opinion.
12.9 Students analyze the origins, characteristics, and development of different political systems across time, with emphasis on the quest for political democracy, its advances, and its obstacles.
Explain how the different philosophies and structures of feudalism, mercantilism, socialism, fascism, communism, monarchies, parliamentary systems, and constitutional liberal democracies influence economic policies, social welfare policies, and human rights practices.
Compare the various ways in which power is distributed, shared, and limited in systems of shared powers and in parliamentary systems, including the influence and role of parliamentary leaders (e.g., William Gladstone, Margaret Thatcher).
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of federal, confederal, and unitary systems of government.
Describe for at least two countries the consequences of conditions that gave rise to tyrannies during certain periods (e.g., Italy, Japan, Haiti, Nigeria, Cambodia).
Identify the forms of illegitimate power that twentieth-century African, Asian, and Latin American dictators used to gain and hold office and the conditions and interests that supported them.
Describe the ideologies that give rise to Communism, methods of maintaining control, and the movements to overthrow such governments in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland, including the roles of individuals (e.g., Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel).
Identify the successes of relatively new democracies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the ideas, leaders, and general societal conditions that have launched and sustained, or failed to sustain, them.
California Content Standards - Civics Page
Compiled by California On My Honor: Civics Institute for Teachers