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Massachusetts US History II

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 3 months, 2 weeks ago

United States History II Content Standards


Image from a 1911 IWW publication, Industrial Worker




Topic 1:  The Role of Economics in Modern United States History


Scarcity and Economic Reasoning


  • Supporting Question:  How do individuals and corporations make choices about saving and spending?


1. Describe how resources for the production of goods are limited, therefore people must make choices to gain some things and give up others.





2. Explain that the goals of economic policy may be to promote freedom, efficiency, equity, security, growth, price stability, and full employment and that different economic systems place greater emphasis on some goals over others.




Supply and Demand


  • Supporting Question:  What factors affect the prices of goods and services?


3. Define supply and demand and explain the role that supply and demand, prices, and profits play in determining production and distribution in a market economy.



Financial Investing


  • Supporting Question:  What are the benefits and drawbacks of investments?


4. Explain what a financial investment (e.g., a bank deposit, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate) is; explain why the value of investments can go up or down over time, and track the gains or losses in value of financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds over time.



5. Explain how buyers and sellers in financial markets determine the prices of financial assets and therefore influence the rate of return on those assets.





  • Analyze the role of and rationale for the establishment of the Securities and Exchange Commission of 1934 to regulate financial markets.


Money and the Role of Financial Institutions


  • Supporting Question:  Why are banks and stock markets regulated by the government?


6. Explain the role of banks and other financial institutions in the market economy of the United States, and analyze the reasons for banking crisis, such as the "run on banks" following the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and the banking crisis of 2008.






7. Describe the organization and function of the Federal Reserve System; explain the reason the government established it in 1913 and analyze how it uses monetary tools to promote price stability, full employment, and economic growth.




National Economic Performance


  • Supporting Question:  What factors affect the success of the economy of the United States?


8. Explain how a country's overall level of income, employment, and prices are determined by the individual spending and production decisions of households and firms, and that government measures such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) describe those factors at the national level.


9. Analyze the impacts of events such as wars and technological developments on business cycles.









The Role of Government


  • Supporting Question:  How large a role should government have in regulating the economy?


10. Explain and give examples of the roles that government may play in a market economy, including the provision of public goods and services, redistribution of income, protection of property rights, and resolution of market failures.



11. Analyze how the government uses taxing and spending decisions (fiscal policy) to promote price stability, full employment and economic growth, using historical examples such as the governmental policies established to address the economic crisis of 2008.



  • Analyze the effectiveness of government agencies such as the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and state banking departments in protecting the safety of the banking system and consumer interests.



Topic 2:  American Modernity:  Ideologies and Economics


  • Supporting Question:  How did the United States respond to new ideas about society? 


1.  Analyze primary sources to develop and argument about how the conflict between traditionalism and modernity manifested itself in the major societal trends and events in the first two decades of the 20th century.








 Prohibition Era and Songs of Reform

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick and the Emergence of Early Cinema 





2. Describe the multiple causes and consequences of the global depression of the 1930s.





3. Gather, evaluate and analyze primary sources to create a written report on how Americans responded to the Great Depression.



The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck


4. Analyze the important policies, institutions, trends and personalities of the Depression Era.







5. Evaluate the effectiveness of the New Deal programs enacted during the 1930s and the societal responses to those programs.




Topic 3:  Defending Democracy:  Responses to Fascism and Communism


  • Supporting Question:  What kind of role should the U.S. play in world affairs? 


1. Develop an argument which analyzes the effectiveness of American isolationism after World War I and analyze the impact of isolationism on U.S. foreign policy.



2. Explain the rise of fascism and the forms it took in Germany and Italy, including ideas and policies that led to the Holocaust.



The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood 


3. Explain the reasons for American involvement in World War II and the key actions and events leading up to declarations of war against Japan and Germany.



4. On a map of the world, locate the Allied powers at the time of World War II (Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States) and Axis Powers (Germany, Italy and Japan).


5. Analyze one of the events that led to World War II, one of the major battles of the war and its consequences, or one of the conferences of Allied leaders following the war.







6. Describe the Allied response to the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis before, during and after the war.



7. Explain the reasons the Allies gave for the use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan; analyze the arguments for and against the use of nuclear weapons developed from the late 1940s to the early 1960s.






 So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins  


8. Explain the long-term consequences of important domestic events during the war.







9. Analyze the factors that contributed to the Cold War and describe the policy of containment as America's response to Soviet expansionist policies, using evidence from primary sources to explain the differences between the Soviet and American political and economic systems; Soviet aggression in Eastern Europe; the Truman Doctrine; and Marshall Plan, NATO, and the Warsaw Pact.




10. Explain what communism is an an economic system and analyze the sources of Cold War conflict; on a political map of the world, locate the areas of Cold War conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the 1950s to the 1980s.




11. Analyze Dwight D. Eisenhower's response to the Soviet Union's launching of Sputnik (1957) and the nation's increased commitment to space exploration and science in education.







12. Summarize the diplomatic and military policies on the war in Vietnam of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon and explain the intended and unintended consequences of the Vietnam War for the Vietnamese and Americans.





  Women and the Vietnam War 


In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien



Topic 4:  Defending Democracy:  the Cold War and Civil Rights at Home


  • Supporting Question:  How did the U.S. government respond to the challenges to freedom at home during the Cold War? 


1. Research and analyze one of the following domestic policies of Presidents Truman and Eisenhower:  Truman's Fair Deal, the Taft-Hartley Act (1947), or the Social Security Disability Insurance Act (1956).



2. Analyze the roots of anticommunism in the 1950s and the origins and consequences of McCarthyism.





The Crucible by Arthur Miller


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 


3. Analyze the causes and consequences of important domestic Cold War trends in the United States, including economic growth and declining poverty, the G.I. Education Bill, the baby boom, the growth of suburbs and home ownership, the increase in education levels, and the development of mass media and consumerism.




4. Analyze the origins, goals and accomplishments of the African American Civil Rights Movement.










5. Research and analyze resistance to integration in some white communities, protests to end segregation, and Supreme Court decisions on civil rights.




6. Evaluate short- and long-term accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement.






7. Research Massachusetts leaders for civil rights and the controversies over the racial desegregation of public schools in the 1960s and 1970s.


8. Analyze the causes and course of one of the following social and political movements, including consideration of the role of protest, advocacy organizations and active citizen participation.








9. Research and analyze issues related to race relations in the United States since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.











Topic 5:  Global America:  Conservatism, Terrorism and the Constitution


  • Supporting Questions:  How does globalization affect the United States?  How can Americans use the Constitution to unite the nation?


1. Analyze the important policies and events that took place during the presidencies of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon.




2. Analyze and evaluate the impact of economic liberalism on mid-20th century society.


3. Analyze the presidency of Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) and the rise of the conservative movement in American politics.








4. Analyze how the failure of communist economic policies and U.S.-sponsored resistance to Soviet military and diplomatic initiatives contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Cold War.



5. Analyze some of the major technological and social trends of the late 20th and early 21th centuries.






6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the federal government's response to international terrorism, mass shootings, natural disasters, and computer vulnerability in the 21st century.






Additional Topics


  • Evaluate the merits and contradictions among the various theories and interpretations of the causes of the Great Depression of the 1930s, including Keynesian, monetarist and other perspectives.
  • Make an argument, using historical or contemporary examples and the rationale found in Keynesian, monetarist and other interpretations, about the role that government should play in preventing economic crises in the future.
  • Explain how John Maynard Keynes's theory of the circular flow of money may be used to describe the rise and fall of the American economy during the 1920s and 1930s.



Research and analyze issues related to race relations in the United States in the 21st century.


Research and analyze cycles in United States policies toward immigration from the early 20th to the early 21st centuries.


Explain why the United States Constitution remains relevant in the 21st century as a plan for government founded on the concepts of separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, and the rule of law and support the explanation with examples from recent political history.



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