U.S. History

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U.S. History Course Outline

What did the Americas, Europe, and Africa look like before 1492?

Concepts Covered:

  • How was life in the Americas?
  • Why was Europe on the brink of change?
  • How did west Africa influence the role of slavery?

What were early movements toward globalization from 1492-1650?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did Portuguese exploration and Spanish conquest change the known world?
  • What were the religious upheavals in the developing Atlantic world?
  • Who challenged Spain’s supremacy at this time?
  • How did the New Worlds contribute to labor and commerce?  What was the Columbian exchange?

How were new social orders created in colonial societies from 1500-1700?

Concepts Covered:

  • What contributions did Spanish exploration make to colonial society?
  • What were Dutch and French colonial ambitions?
  • What were English settlements in the Americas at this time?
  • What was the impact of colonization?

How did the English empire evolve from 1660-1763?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the Restoration colonies?
  • How did the Glorious Revolution affect the English empire?
  • How did the new Consumer Revolution contribute to the slave trade?
  • What defined the periods of Great Awakening and Enlightenment?
  • What wars were fought in the name of empire?

How did Imperial reforms contribute to colonial unrest from 1763-1774?

Concepts Covered:

  • What impact did the French and Indian war have on Britain’s national debt?
  • How did the Stamp Act contribute to the founding of the Sons and Daughters of Liberty?
  • What were the colonial protests against the Townshend Acts?
  • What was the Boston Tea Party? How did it result in the Coercive Acts?
  • How did the First Continental Congress contribute to the beginnings of American Identity?

What people and events defined America's War for Independence from 1775-1783?

Concepts Covered:

  • What helped spark the Revolution?
  • What were the strategies of both sides from 1776-1778?
  • What was the British strategy in the Southern US?
  • What were Loyalists and Patriots? Which groups participated in the American Revolution?

How was the concept of Republican Government debated and revised during 1776-1790?

Concepts Covered:

  • Who was Thomas Paine? What were his thoughts regarding an American Republic?
  • How much revolutionary change occurred?
  • What were the viewpoints around Democracy?
  • How did the Constitutional Convention result in a Federal Constitution?

What were the competing visions of the New Republic from 1790-1820?

Concepts Covered:

  • What was the rivalry between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans?
  • How did the New American Republic eventually emerge?
  • What were the partisan politics of this period?
  • What caused the War of 1812?

How did the Industrial, Market, and Transportation Revolutions change the US from 1800-1850?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did the Northeastern US help begin Industrialization?
  • How did Capitalism evolve during this period?
  • How did the Transportation Revolution spur expansion?
  • What was the new social order created by these changes?

What effects did Andrew Jackson's presidency have on the burgeoning Republic during 1820-1840?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did political style evolve from John Quincy Adams to Andrew Jackson?
  • What factors helped solidify the rise of American Democracy?
  • What was the Nullification Crisis?
  • How did Jackson handle Indian Removal?
  • What was the tyranny and triumph of the majority?

How did the US begin to expand westward from 1800-1860?

Concepts Covered:

  • Who were Lewis and Clark?
  • What was the Missouri Crisis?
  • How was the Republic of Texas formed?
  • Why did the US go to war with Mexico from 1846-1848?
  • What was the dilemma for newly formed states during Westward Expansion?

How did the cotton industry affect the American South from 1800-1860?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the economics of cotton?
  • How were African-Americans treated in the Antebellum South?
  • How did the Southern culture around wealth develop?
  • How was the filibuster used by Southern politicians to perpetuate slavery?

What were the beginnings of reform in the South during 1820-1860?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did religion and individualism help spur reform?
  • What were Antebellum communal experiments?
  • How were approaches to human health reformed?
  • How did the Abolitionist movement begin?
  • What spurred the movement to reform women’s rights?

What made the 1850s particularly tumultuous?

Concepts Covered:

  • What was the Compromise of 1850?
  • What was the Kansas-Nebraska Act? How was the Republican Party formed?
  • How did the Dred Scott decision contribute to sectional strife?
  • Who was John Brown?

How did the Civil War change the American landscape from 1860-1865?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the origins of the war?
  • What were some of the early battles and skirmishes?
  • How did the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863 turn the tide of war?
  • What ultimately led to a Union victory?

What defined the Era of Reconstruction from 1865-1877?

Concepts Covered:

  • How was the Union restored?
  • What influence did Congress have on remaking the South?
  • What was Radical Reconstruction?
  • What caused the policies of Reconstruction to collapse?

What caused the westward migration of Americans during 1840-1900?

Concepts Covered:

  • What defines the “Westward Spirit”?
  • What was homesteading in the West like?
  • How did people make a living through gold and cattle?
  • What were the effects of Westward migration on the Native American population?
  • How were Chinese and Hispanic immigrants affected during this period?

How did Big Business arise during 1870-1900?

Concepts Covered:

  • Who were the well-known inventors of the age?
  • How did inventions evolve into industrial growth?
  • What role did labor play in building industrial America?
  • How did a new American consumer culture arise?

What were the effects of urbanization during 1870-1900?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the challenges of urbanization?
  • What was the African American “Great Migration”? Which European groups were considered “New Immigrants”?
  • How did citizens find relief from the chaos of urban life?
  • How were the changes brought about by urbanization reflected in thought and writing?

What defined the Gilded Age from 1870-1900?

Concepts Covered:

  • What types of political corruption existed in Postbellum America?
  • What were the key political issues of this period?
  • How did Populist thinking lead to a farmers’ revolt?
  • What types of social and labor unrest existed in the 1890s?

What factors gave rise to the Progressive Movement of 1890-1920?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did Progressivism arise at the grassroots level?
  • How did women and African-Americans gain new voices during this era?
  • How did Progressivism find its way into the White House?

How America's foreign policy evolve during 1890-1914?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the roots of the American Empire?
  • What led to the Spanish-American war?
  • How did the US influence East Asia?
  • What was Teddy Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” foreign policy?
  • What was William Howard Taft’s “Dollar Diplomacy”?

What was the American involvement in World War I?

Concepts Covered:

  • What was the initial US stance toward war?
  • How did the US enter the war?
  • What was the reaction to war on the home front?
  • How was World War I resolved?
  • What was the aftermath of “The Great War”?

How did the Jazz Age redefine the nation from 1919-1929?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did American prosperity lead to the production of popular entertainment?
  • What was the backlash during this period?
  • What new generation of Americans arose out of this period?
  • What defined politics in the 1920s?

What were the results of the Great Depression of 1929-1932?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did the Stock Market crash of 1929 precipitate the crisis?
  • What was President Hoover’s initial response?
  • How deep did the Great Depression go?
  • What was Hoover’s legacy?

What was Franklin Roosevelt's effect on the Great Depression?

Concepts Covered:

  • How did FDR first come to power?
  • What defined the First New Deal?
  • What defined the Second New Deal?

How did World War II change the American landscape during 1941-1945?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the origins of World War II?
  • How did citizens rise to meet the demands of World War II at home?
  • What allowed the Allies to claim victory over Hitler?
  • How was victory against Japan achieved?

What led to the Cold War during 1945-1960?

Concepts Covered:

  • What were the challenges of peacetime?
  • What was the Cold War?
  • How was the American Dream defined during this period?
  • How did popular culture and mass media influence this period?
  • What were the origins of the African American struggle for Civil Rights?

What opposing forces helped define America in the 1960s?

Concepts Covered:

  • What was “The Kennedy Promise”?
  • What was President Johnson’s “Great Society”?
  • What successes and failures defined the Civil Rights movement during this period?
  • How was the status quo challenged?

What caused the fracturing of American society during 1968-1980?

Concepts Covered:

  • What are identity politics?
  • How was culture affected during this period?
  • What caused the eventual failure of the operations in Vietnam?
  • How did the Watergate scandal change the political landscape?
  • How did Jimmy Carter weather the aftermath?

How did the Cold War give way to the Culture War during 1980-2000?

Concepts Covered:

  • What was the Reagan Revolution?
  • What were the political and cultural fusions during this period?
  • How did the New World Order arise?
  • What was the legacy of the Clinton presidency?

What have been the greatest challenges of the 21st Century?

Concepts Covered:

  • What is the War on Terror?
  • How have domestic politics evolved?
  • What historic struggles continue to persist?
  • How has the Obama presidency been historic?

About the book

U.S. History 

U.S. History is designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of most introductory courses. The text provides a balanced approach to U.S. history, considering the people, events, and ideas that have shaped the United States from both the top down (politics, economics, diplomacy) and bottom up (eyewitness accounts, lived experience). U.S. History covers key forces that form the American experience, with particular attention to issues of race, class, and gender.

About the authors:

Senior Contributing Authors

P. Scott Corbett, Ventura College
Volker Janssen, California State University, Fullerton
John M. Lund, Keene State College
Todd Pfannestiel, Clarion University
Paul Vickery, Oral Roberts University
Sylvie Waskiewicz

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