Thematic Guidelines For The Thematic Approach to U.S. History
1492 Columbus, 1607 Jamestown, 1620 Mayflower, 1630 Puritans, 1763 End of French-Indian War, 1775-1783 American Revolution, 1776 Declaration of Independence, 1789 Constitution adopted and Washington inaugurated, 1803 Louisiana Purchase, 1812 War of 1812, 1812-1861 Growth of manufacturing ,1825 Erie Canal ,1830s Jackson's presidency ,1846-1848 Mexican War, 1861-1865 Civil War, 1865-1877 Reconstruction, 1861-1900 Industrial Revolution, 1898 Spanish-American War, 1901-1917 Progressive Era, 1917-1918 U.S. in WWI,1920s Roaring 20s, 1930s Great Depression, 1941-1945 WWII, 1945-1989 Cold War, 1950-1953 Korean War, 1961 JFK, 1968 Tet Offensive, 1973 Armistice Vietnam, 1975 Fall of Vietnam, 1980s Reagan Era, 1989 End of Cold War, September 11, 2001.
THEME #1 - The American Character and The American Belief System
1620 Mayflower Compact, 1630 Winthrop's "City on a Hill," 1776 Declaration of Independence, 1789 Constitution, 1830s Tocqueville, 1863 Gettysburg Address, 1961 Kennedy's Inaugural Address, and 1963 King's "I Have a Dream" speech.
In presidential election years I include the inaugural address.
THEME #2 - Immigration
1492 Columbus, 1607 Jamestown, 1620 Pilgrims, 1630 Puritans, 18th century Africans, English, Scots-Irish, Scots, and German immigrants, 1798 Alien and Sedition Acts, 1830s-1840s Irish, German, and Mexican "immigrants," 1860s Know Nothing Party, mid to late 19th century Chinese, Japanese, Southern and Eastern European, Mexican immigrants, 1882 Chinese Exclusion Acts, late 19th/early 20th century settlement houses, 1907 Gentleman's Agreement, 1920s Red Scare and National Origins Act, 1942-1945 Japanese internment, 1950 McCarron Act, 1965 Immigration Act, 1980s Immigration Control and Reform Act, 1994 California's Proposition 187.
THEME #3 - Women's History
1607-1776 Women legally dead, 1776-1820 education improves during the Young Republic, 1820-1860 Cult of True Womanhood, 1830s women active in the Abolitionist Crusade, 1848 Seneca Falls Declaration, late 19th/early 20th women's suffrage movement, 1920 19th Amendment, 1923 Equal Rights Amendment, 1930s-1940s Eleanor Roosevelt, 1941-1945 Rosie the Riveter, 1955-1968 women active in Civil Rights movement, 1963 Feminine Mystique and beginnings of women's movement, 1964 Civil Rights Act, 1966 NOW, 1970s split in movement.
THEME #4 - African-American Studies
1619- First Africans, 1787 3/5 Compromise, 1793 cotton gin, 1808 No importation of slaves, 1816 American Colonization Society, 1820 Missouri Compromise, 1830s Abolitionist Crusade, 1850 Compromise, 1854 Kansas Nebraska Act, 1857 Dred Scott Decision, 1859 John Brown's raid, 1861-1865 Civil War, 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, 1865 13th Amendment, 1860s/1870 14th and 15th Amendments, 1865-1877 Reconstruction, 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson, late 19th/first half 20th century Jim Crow laws, Booker T. Washington's Atlanta Compromise and W.E.B. DuBois and Niagara Movement, 1917-1918 exodus from South, 1920s race riots in North and Harlem Renaissance, 1930s mixed progress for African Americans, 1940s major exodus from South, race riots, important role in military during WWII, but segregated units, 1954 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 1954-1968 Civil Rights Movement, 1963 March on Washington, 1965 Death of Malcolm X, 1968 Death of Martin Luther King, Jr. and end of Civil Rights Movement, 1965 Watts Riot, 1992 Rodney King and L.A. Riots.
THEME #5 - Native American History/Mexican-American Studies/Asian-American Studies
Native American: 1607 Powhatan, Pocahontas, 1620 Squanto/Massasoit, 1754-1763 French and Indian War, 1795 Treaty of Greenville, 1804-6 Sacajawea, 1811 Tippicanoe/defeat Tecumseh, 1830s Cherokee Nation v. Georgia/Trail of Tears, 1860s-1880s Reservation policy, 1876 Little Bighorn, 1887 Dawes Act, 1890 Wounded Knee, 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, 1950s Termination, 1960s/1970s Red Power Movement, AIM, 1960s/1970s Progress in some court cases.
Mexican-American: 1819/1820 Mexico independent from Spain, 1836 Alamo, 1845 Annexation of Texas by U.S., 1846-8 Mexican American War, 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 19th century/Mexicans become landless laborers instead of land owners, 1920s Mexicans excluded from discriminatory legislation of the National Origins Act, 1930s Depression/Mexicans encouraged to go back to Mexico, 1940s Bracero program, 1943 Zoot Suit riots, 1950s Operation Wetback, 1960s/1970s Brown Power, 1963 Cesar Chavez/United Farm Workers, 1970s/1980s Students push for Chicano Studies in the universities, 1986 Immigration and Control Act, 1990s Proposition 187, Proposition 209 (California).
Asian-American: 1868 Burlingame Treaty, 1860s Chinese laborers work on Central Pacific Railroad, 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, 1880s/1890s Japanese picture brides, 1906 San Francisco School Segregation, 1907 Gentleman's Agreement, 1924 National Origins Act restricts the immigration of Asians, 1942-1945 Internment, 1943 China-U.S. alliance and Chinese immigration possible, 1965 Immigration Act, 1988 Reagan apology for internment.
THEME #6 - Boom and Bust: Economic Development and Its Issues
Economics (general): 17th century mercantilism; joint stock company; 1776 Adam Smith and Wealth of Nations; 18th/early 19th self-sufficient farms; 1812-1861 growth of manufacturing/textile mills; 1825 Erie canal; canals, railroads and steamboats; 1861 Beginning of Civil War and Industrial Revolution; late 19th century increased boom and bust cycles; ruthless competition, monopolies, exploitation of workers and the beginning of labor organization, government pro-business, inequality of income; farmers suffer; late 19th/early 20th century reforms such as Interstate Commerce Act, Sherman Antitrust Act, and Federal Reserve System; the prosperous "Roaring Twenties;" 1929 Crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s; mobilization for WWII, 1945-1960s The Post-War Economic Boom; 1963-1969 Great Society/War on Poverty; 1970s inflation and Nixonomics; Arab Oil Embargo 1973; 1980s Reaganomics, growth of national debt, trade imbalance, and increased global competition; 1998-1999 Global Economic Slump?
A possible way to approach the theme of economics is to first focus on the farmer, then labor, and business.
The Farmer: Colonial period, headrights, indentured servants, the growth of the plantation system, growth of slavery; 18th/19th century the agrarian ideal; mid-19th century farmers begin to specialize and mechanize, late 19th century farmers suffer; the Grange and Farm Alliances; Bryan's Cross of Gold speech; farmers prosper during WWI, farmers suffer in 1920s and 1930s; Agricultural Marketing Act of Hoover's administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Act of the New Deal; WWII good for farm incomes; post-WWII the growth of agribusiness and the continuation of parities and subsidies; the decline of the family farm; 1960s Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers.
Labor: Early 19th century "the putting out system;" War of 1812 and the growth of manufacturing; the Lowell Textile Mills; 1842 Commonwealth v. Hunt (labor unions are legal); 1860s Knights of Labor; 1870s AFL and Gompers; 1877 Year of Strikes, 1886 Haymarket Square Riot, 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act adopted and used against labor; early 20th century Teddy Roosevelt and the coal miner's strike; Wilson's Adamson Act/pro-child labor laws; 1920s Red Scare and decline power of labor; 1930s Wagner Act/CIO forms and significant gains for labor; 1947 Taft Hartley Act; 1955 AFL-CIO merge; 1970s recession, global economy, loss of blue collar jobs and decline of power of labor; 1980s/1990s labor abuses.
Business: 17th century joint stock company; 1776 Adam Smith; late 18th/early 19th century Hamilton's economic program; 19th century government/courts encourage business growth; War of 1812 encourages the growth of manufacturing; the Lowell or Waltham system; incorporation laws/free banking; 1820s/1860s canals, railroads, and steamboats; 1861-1900 Industrial Revolution, growth of monopolies, extreme competition, and boom and bust cycles; 1880s/1890s Sherman Antitrust and Interstate Commerce Act, E.C. Knight Case; Progressive Era reforms to check the power of business; the causes of prosperity in the 1920s and the cause of the crash in 1929, the Great Depression of 1930s, New Deal attempts to help business, Keynesian economics; the revitalization of business with World War II demands; 1945 to early 1970s the Post War Economic Boom; 1950s/1960s growth of conglomerates; 1970s end of Post War Boom and the rise of the global economy; inflation and Vietnam War; Reaganomics; 1998 the Asian and Russian economic crisis.
THEME #7 - Leadership and The American Presidency
A time chart of all the presidents and major developments by era and presidential administration are distributed.
THEME #8 - American Cultural Developments
Some of the topics covered are the Spanish, French, and English colonial legacy; the Enlightenment; the growth of a distinct American culture in the early years after the American Revolution; the First and Second Great Awakenings; Ben Franklin; the major American painters and key architectural styles from the colonial period to Pop and Op art of the 1960s and Frank Lloyd Wright; Social Darwinism of the late 19th century; the Social Gospel; Horace Mann and John Dewey; the Harlem Renaissance; student protest and the counter-culture movement of the 1960s.
THEME #9 - War, Peace, and The Responsibilities of Global Leadership
Outlines are distributed for all of the major wars in U.S. history. The Civil War, WWII, the Cold War, and the War in Vietnam are studied in detail.
Notes on World War I : Chronology for the Road to War