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U.S. History Curriculum

Grades 11 or 12

A New Initiative In Education

The word curriculum has been expanded in recent years to include many things.  Some educational providers use it to mean a complete set of course material (all the lessons, books, assessments, etc).  In truth, however, a curriculum is meant simply to be a guide. It is meant to outline the knowledge and understandings the student is expected to acquire in the course.  The level of detail can vary.

As you have no doubt discovered already, we do things a little differently over here at The True Corrective.  For our Fire & Thunder full courses, we release lessons and materials each week over the duration of the school year (Sept-May).  Therefore, our curricula do not contain the all things you might get in a "curriculum" from a provider who sells you everything all at once.  The curriculum below for our high school level full U.S. History course will give you a clear indication of the kind of education your child will receive at The True Corrective.  Lessons and materials are separate.  The first module below relates directly to the sample for this course.  

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U.S. History Curriculum Map

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Line of Inquiry: To what extent has America fulfilled its founding principles? 

List of Units

Unit I: Colonial America (6 Modules)

 

Unit II: Road to Revolution (6 Modules)

 

Unit III: Founding Principles (6 Modules)

 

Unit IV: The U.S. Constitution (7 Modules)

 

Unit V: Finding Our Way (6 Modules)

 

Unit VI: Sectionalism (6 Modules)

 

Unit VII: Reconstruction (4 Modules)

 

Unit VIII: Becoming A World Power (4 Modules)

Unit IX: Boom ( 7 Modules)

Unit X: Bust (3 Modules)

Unit XI: Confronting Communism (7 Modules)

 

Unit XII: Cultural Shifts (3 Modules)

Unit XIII: Facing The Future (6 Modules)

Notes To Parents & Students

  • Courses are divided into Units (topics). Units are divided into Modules (subtopics).  Modules contain the individual lessons.

 

  • Every course begins with a Line of Inquiry (see above). The entire course is then written as a vehicle to answer that overarching question. At the conclusion of the course the student will address the Line of Inquiry in an argumentative essay as their summative assessment for the course.

  • To help the student write the end-of-course essay, the Line of Inquiry is broken down into smaller more digestible chunks called Scaffolding Questions.  Every unit has its own Scaffolding Question.

  • Answering the Scaffolding Questions builds a foundation of knowledge and understanding for the student to draw on to address the Line of Inquiry at the end of the course. 

 

  • Our courses are very primary source intensive. For more information on why primary source material is important, see here. However, remember that just because something is a primary source, that does not mean it is the truth.  You have to practice your skills of source analysis to determine how trustworthy a source is. This is why historians use many sources before drawing a conclusion.  You will practice primary source analysis regularly throughout this course.

Unit I: Colonial America

Scaffolding Question: To what extent did colonists abandon or retain their European ways and beliefs?

                                                                                                                                                

Module 1: British Foundations                            

The British colonists in the New World were molded over generations by European thought, customs, and beliefs.  These foundations would inevitably be a powerful force in the paths taken by the new societies they built.       

TOPICS: British religious persecution, King Henry VIII, the Church of England, Divine Right Absolutism, The Act of Supremacy, the Treason Act of 1534

 

Module 2: City Upon A Hill                               

Early colonial leaders like John Winthrop and William Bradford had a vision for their futures that was bold and laser focused.  They desired to make something new, something unique in the world.

TOPICS: Puritans, Pilgrims, Jamestown, Mayflower Compact, Model of Christian Charity, Thanksgiving, Covenants

 

Module 3: Freedom of Conscience                  

Being in a foreign land, so far removed from the binds of traditional European thought, the colonists had a unique opportunity in the history of mankind.

TOPICS: Indentured Servitude, Anthony Johnson, New England Confederation, Quakers, Abolition, What is significant about the year 1619?

 

Module 4: Neglected But Free                         

In the time before the British engaged in the French and Indian War, the colonies experienced a period of “salutary neglect”.  During this time the foundations of liberty and democratic representation grew roots that refused to be pulled up. The idea of self-governance would have sounded crazy to people of the world in the 1700’s, especially to those with power.  Yet in the colonies, Legislatures and Town Meeting Halls began their slow growth into the republic that exists today.

TOPICS: French and Indian War, Salutary Neglect, Virginia General Assembly, William Bradford’s Of Plymouth Plantation, Pennsylvania Frame of Government, Bacon’s Rebellion

 

Module 5: Freedom of Religion                        

Religious liberty was not something the world was familiar with.  People like Anne Hutchinson and Roger Williams stood up for the idea, and were willing to sacrifice everything to make it a permanent fixture of colonial societies.      

TOPICS:  Anne Hutchinson, Roger Williams, Separation of Church and State, Divine Right

 

Module 6: Indian Relations                                 

The history of civilization is replete with struggles between cultures over land, resources, and conflicting goals. The relationship between any two groups is very complex, since it hinges upon hundreds of thousands of disconnected actors, making millions of individual decisions that effect the relationship between the two groups.

TOPICS: Saint Kateri, The Epidemic of 1617, Land Acknowledgments, Warfare in Pre-Columbia America, Massacre at Wessagusset, Pilgrims Treaty with Massasoit, Pequot War

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

Unit II: Road to Revolution

Scaffolding Question: Why were so many colonists willing to give everything to be independent from Britain?

Module 1: Tyranny of the British Crown           

Colonists had many issues with their treatment by King George of England.  They considered laws such as the Stamp Act and the Quartering Act as acts of tyranny against them.

TOPICS: Acts of Parliament, Boycotts, Continental Congress, Sons of Liberty, Colonial Resolutions, Taxation

 

Module 2: Sons of Liberty                                   

Tough. Boisterous. Disorderly. The Sons of Liberty could be called the heart of the Revolution.  People like Thomas Jefferson may have brought the brains to the table, but the Sons of Liberty brought the heart.  Secret and subversive, this group of true believers in liberty were THE thorn in Britain’s side. 

TOPICS: Sons of Liberty, Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Daughters of Liberty, tar and feather

Module 3: Founding Fathers                              

We talk a lot about the Founding Fathers in this country, and for good reason.  They were the force driving the ideas that created the United States.  We could also call them architects; designing a new nation out of intangible philosophies that had never really been tried before.

TOPICS: the lives of the Founding Fathers

Module 4: Revolutionary Mothers                    

It is important to remember that any great movement in history requires the participation of an entire society of people, and every single patriot in British North America played a part in bringing this great country into existence.   

TOPICS: Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley, Deborah Sampson, Mercy Otis Warren

 

Module 5: “We will surely hang separately”     

Unity is a powerful thing.  The men of the Continental Congress agreed on very little.  The land area covered by the 13 colonies was vast and diverse.  Their needs and desires were also varied, and often in conflict with each other.  What kept them all hanging together, so they did not hang separately?

TOPICS: Colonial geography and economies, Continental Congress, Olive Branch Petition, Declaration of Independence

Module 6: Shot Heard Round the World         

No one in the world gave the scrappy bunch of farmers and craftsmen a chance in hell against the most powerful nation on earth.  Why would they?  The Continental Army often had no uniforms or shoes, were poorly nourished, barely trained, and sometimes unpaid for months.  And somehow…they were triumphant.

TOPICS: The Revolutionary War and its heroes

Unit III: Founding Principles

Scaffolding Question: Is it correct to say that America was founded on equality and liberty, when so many Americans were still not free, nor considered equal? 

Module 1: Theory of Natural Rights                   

There is no more important concept as integral to the foundation of America than the concept of natural rights.  However, human beings lived without this “natural” idea for 10,000 years before the Founders used it to create a new nation.

  

Module 2: Social Contract                                  

Natural Rights are only half of the freedom pie.  A government can just as easily take away your natural rights as quickly as it can take away man-made rights.       

Module 3: Role of Judeo-Christian Ethics      

Although not all the Founders were practicing Christians, they were nonetheless keenly aware that a nation built upon individual freedom cannot be sustained without virtue and morality.

Module 4: The Document That Holds Up A Nation  

This is a deep dive into the Declaration of Independence, possibly the most important document ever written.  Certainly the most influential.  There is a reason why the American flag is waved at protests against oppression around the world, from Beijing to Tehran to Hong Kong.  And it’s not because America invented McDonalds.   

Module 5: The Question Of Slavery                 

Many of the Founders were slave owners.  That is to say, they purchased and owned human beings.  To our modern sensibilities, it makes us squirm to even admit that out loud.  Does this make them inherently unworthy of our praise?  Were the ideas asserted in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution false because many of the men who wrote them were slave owners?  

Module 6: Coming To Terms With the Past    

In 2020, we witnessed groups of rioters around the country tear down statues of people whom the majority of Americans view as heroes. This destruction swept across the nation.  Literally, no statue was safe if the angry mob deemed it unworthy.  This brings to mind the following questions: What exactly is the purpose of history?  What role does the past play in our lives today? 

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

Unit IV: The U.S. Constitution

Scaffolding Question: In what ways is the United States an "experiment" in governance?

Module 1: Articles of Confederation                 

The Founders first attempt at a national government.  Written during the American Revolution and heavily weighted to leaving power in the hands of the states. 

 

Module 2: Federalism                                          

How to create a nation with a strong centralized power, yet still enough local power to keep the federal government in check?  This was a difficult challenge for the Founders.  In fact, we are still trying to find that perfect balance today.     

 

Module 3: Factions                                              

James Madison’s Federalist Paper #10 warns us of the dangers of mob rule because mobs are singularly fueled by passion, without reason.  According to Madison, since mobs are a heart without a mind, they are “adverse to the rights of other citizens”. 

Module 4: Convention Clashes                         

There were many compromises that had to be made in order to arrive at our current Constitution.  The nature of compromise is that no one actually gets everything they want. 

Module 5: “Congress shall make no law…”       

One could claim that these five simple words, the opening to the Bill of Rights, have protected more Americans from oppression and tyranny than any others.  Individual freedoms are the foundation of the American Experiment.  You might be surprised to know that many of the Founders didn’t think we even needed a Bill of Rights.     

 

Module 6: “A republic, if you can keep it”        

These words, uttered by Ben Franklin when asked what kind of government had been designed for the people, are a reminder of the uniqueness of self-governance, and its fragility.  The U.S. Constitution is the longest lasting constitution in human history.  What makes it so strong?  

Module 7: Civic Virtue                                         

What is the relationship between freedom and duty?  2,500 years ago Pericles of Athens laid the foundation of civic virtue emulated by democracies ever since. In our current climate, when everyone is clamoring for his or her own "rights", and new rights seem to be created daily, it is important to remember that every right carries with it a corresponding duty.

Unit V: Finding Our Way

Scaffolding Question: In what ways can the struggles of the young U.S. be compared to yourself as an adolescent becoming independent from your parents?

Module 1: Balancing Power                                 

The battle between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists was one of the first and most fiercely fought battles of the young Republic. It created a political fault line that would challenge the polity through at least the first seven presidencies. 

Module 2: George Washington                          

The man.  The myth.  The legend.

Module 3: The Young Republic Is Tested         

The loss in the Revolutionary War never really sat well with Britain.  The War of 1812 would settle that issue once and for all. 

Module 4: Manifest Destiny                               

The U.S. expanded extremely rapidly.  The first nation of its kind in history, people from all over the globe rushed to it.  And they took full advantage of its freedom to make something of themselves.  Expansion was self-sustaining, but it was also destructive to anything or anyone that stood in its way.    

Module 5: Andrew Jackson                                 

Andrew Jackson is one of those presidents that people love to hate.  President Biden removed his portrait from the oval office, his likeness is being replaced on the $20 bill, and protesters unsuccessfully tried to tear down his statue in Washington DC in 2020.  Historians make interpretations for us about historical figures, and too often we just accept those interpretations as fact.  Andrew Jackson’s life and presidency present us with a good opportunity to practice our own skills of analysis and interpretation.    

Module 6: The Supremes Start Singing            

The U.S. has three branches of government.  Although the focus always seems to be on the Executive and Congress, John Marshall was not going to let you forget about the power of the Judicial Branch.  Being the longest serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, he laid the foundation for the power that the Supreme Court has in our lives today.

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

Unit VI: Sectionalism

Scaffolding Question: Was there any way that the Civil War could have been avoided?

Module 1: Abolition Movement                          

The Abolitionists used the foundations of the Declaration of Independence and the Bible to fight for the ending of slavery in America.  There were millions of Americans who wanted to end slavery, and some who were willing to risk everything to make that happen.   

Module 2: “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one.”  ~ C.S. Lewis        

The fight to end slavery raged in courthouses and legislatures.  As the country grew, the question of whether to permit slavery in newly acquired lands brought the fight right to people’s doorsteps. 

 

Module 3: Who Is King?  Cotton Is King.         

If we are going to understand how entrenched slavery became in the South, we have to understand the importance of cotton not just in the U.S., but throughout the world.  On the coattails of the Industrial Revolution, cotton was the undisputed King. 

 

Module 4: A House Divided                               

The time of compromise was over.  The struggle to end slavery culminates in the election of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, and the dividing of the country.  What was it about Lincoln that brought everything to a head?  What reasons for secession were given by those states that chose to leave the Union?

Module 5: States’ Rights                                     

We need to take some time here and examine the idea of state’s rights.  Protecting the rights of states is fundamental to our form of government.  Where should the line be drawn?

 

Module 6: Brother Against Brother                  

The Civil War began on April 12th 1861 when Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina.  Four years and 620,000 deaths later it ended with the surrender of General Lee in Virginia.  A Northern win, and therefore the perpetuation of the United States, was not at all certain.

Unit VII: Reconstruction

Scaffolding Question: Was the country more unified, or less, after the Civil War?

Module 1: Forgiving Those Who Trespass Against Us    

Everyone has faced at some point in their life the choice between forgiveness and retribution.  The United States had to make that choice after the Civil War.  Should the South be forgiven and welcomed back into the Union, or should those who fought against their own country be punished for their transgressions? The era known as Reconstruction brought many changes including three constitutional amendments in five years. 

 

Module 2: Democrats Cling To Their Racism  

The Democratic South was not going to let go of their racist tendencies easily.  You cannot change hearts and minds with the barrel of a gun.  New policies, such as Black Codes, went into effect in the South to maintain power for whites and to limit that of newly freed blacks.     

 

Module 3: Exodusters                                          

Taken from the name of the second book of the Bible, Exodusters was the name given to the first large scale migration of black Americans from the South, escaping the new forms of racism that were being ensconced in law in many Southern states. 

Module 4: Separate But Equal                           

Every time you tell someone that they must accept something just because the Supreme Court said so…remember that the Supreme Court once said slaves had no rights, that it was ok to keep blacks separate from whites, and American citizens can be confined without due process if they have Japanese ancestry.

                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

                                                                                                                                                

Unit VIII: Becoming A World Power

Scaffolding Question: What advantage is there to the U.S. involving itself in foreign disputes?

Module 1: America Exerts Its Influence            

The Spanish-American War cements the Unites States as a major player on the world stage.  However, it was not the first time, nor the last that it would flex its muscles. 

  

Module 2: Yellow?  Who Are You Calling Yellow?     

The term “yellow journalism” originated in the 1890’s concerning the events surrounding the start of the Spanish-American War.  Is yellow journalism an occasional shortcoming of the media, or is it a primary feature?  In what ways does the media use its power to manipulate us?  How can we prevent it?

 

Module 3: Isolation vs Intervention                   

How much should the world’s only superpower get involved in affairs around the world?  George Washington warned us against the perils of foreign entanglements, but we have rarely headed that advice. 

 

Module 4: The Great War                                   

America tried desperately to stay out of WWI, but ultimately had no choice but to intervene.  What did the U.S. bring to the table, both during and after the war?

Unit IX: Boom

Scaffolding Question: What is the power of individual agency in a free society?

Module 1: Explosion of American Culture        

America begins defining itself.  The individualism that runs through the veins of Americans unleashes a torrent of cultural progress in music, movies, art, sports, and adventurism.

Module 2: On The Shoulders Of The Declaration   

The time period between the 1890’s and the 1920’s has become known as The Progressive Era.  It was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States, fulfilling yet more promises of the Declaration of Independence.

 

Module 3: The Invisible Hand                             

Capitalism exploded in the U.S. with the “second” Industrial Revolution.  Although the Industrial Revolution originally hit America shortly after its founding, it skyrocketed to new heights after the Civil War.  The United States would also transition from a largely agrarian society to an increasingly urbanized one, bringing along with it a steep learning curve about the positives and negatives of unrestricted capitalism.    

 

Module 4: Captains & Barons                            

Rockefeller, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Ford.  These names are recognized by almost all Americans.  Not everyone knows who they are, but everyone’s heard of them. The question of whether wealth is a net good or a net evil in society is still being argued in the halls of Congress and presidential campaigns today.  That debate starts with these guys.        

 

Module 5: Melting Pot                                        

Immigrants have flooded to America in many waves since its founding. In one way or another, every American began as an immigrant.  How do so many disparate people become one nation?

Module 6: The Role of Government                 

Since the early disagreements between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists, the U.S. has been engulfed in an ideological war over the proper size and scope of government.  If truth be told, the entire “experiment” of America revolves around this very question.  The battle still rages today.  

 

Module 7: Woodrow Wilson – Racist and Progressive     

Under Woodrow Wilson, the great social and political changes brought about by free individuals standing astride the shoulders of America’s founding ideals would now be twisted into becoming the job of the state.  The Progressive Era is when one American political party begins to see how the state’s mechanisms of power could be used as the “savior of the common man”; a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue of the poor, the weak, and the victimized.

                                                                                                                                                

Unit X: Bust

Scaffolding Question: To what extent was the Great Depression a problem of government, or a problem of people?

Module 1: Capitalism Runs Amok                      

In this first module we will uncover what led up to the crash.  What went wrong?  We will explore how much of what occurs in the U.S. economy is actually within our control. 

 

Module 2: Pop Goes The Balloon                      

Everything new has a learning curve.  Unfortunately, humans often don’t see the problems that their actions may cause in the long term until it’s too late.  Originating in the U.S. and affecting the entire world, the Great Depression led to a tremendous amount of human suffering and indirectly aided in the rise of Adolph Hitler. 

 

Module 3: Is Government the Solution Or The Problem?    

The New Deal has been often heralded as the savior of the Republic.  The government swoops in to save the day.  Many scholars are now singing a different tune.  Did government save the people from themselves, or did it simply exacerbate the problem?  In a free society, who wields the real power in the nation’s economy: the people, or the government?

Unit XI: Confronting Communism

Scaffolding Question: Did the threat from communism justify our response to it?

Module 1: Korematsu v. United States              

The Japanese Internment Camps created during WWII would stand for almost three years, and house 120,000 Japanese.  Around 62% of those interred were American citizens.     

 

Module 2: Fat Man and Little Boy                     

These were the names given to the two bombs that were dropped on Japan to bring an end to WWII.  These weapons ushered the nuclear age, forever changing the balance of power on the world stage.  Was this drastic action necessary?  Did the U.S. really warn the Japanese people to evacuate before dropping the bombs?

 

Module 3: The Devil And Karl Marx                  

We are a nation largely based on freedom of individual thought and expression.  In the safety of our internet information bubbles, it is important to remember that only by understanding opposing viewpoints and values can we truly solidify our own.  This is why we must study Marxism.      

 

Module 4: Containment                                      

In an attempt to contain the spread of communism, the U.S. and its allies involved itself indirectly in conflicts all across the planet.

 

Module 5: Pay Any Price, Bear Any Burden        

We may not have been as close to nuclear world war as we thought during the Cuban Missile Crisis, or...we may have been seconds from the destruction of the planet. Who can say?

 

Module 6: What Are We Fighting For?                

What really is socialism?  How is it different from the traditional U.S. belief in capitalism?  Is one or the other inherently more moral?   

 

Module 7: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”    

With this famous demand from Ronald Reagan, the Cold War effectively comes to an end.  But Reagan wasn’t alone.  It took the commitment of leaders from all around the world more than 40 years to do it.  And it took one unexpected ally in the communist Soviet Union.

Unit XII: Cultural Shifts

Scaffolding Question: To what extent are the 1960’s still reverberating in the lives of Americans today?

Module 1: I Have Been To The Mountaintop   

Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous words were spoken one day before he was shot to death.  The Civil Rights movement brought about truly monumental change in the U.S. .  The kind of vicious racism that existed in parts of the U.S. at that time may be hard to fathom today, but we cannot overlook it. 

Module 2: For Better or For Worse                  

The Great Society continued the trend that began with Woodrow Wilson; the trend of the state playing savior. With only a few minor attempts to stop it over the years, that pendulum continues to swing in the same direction. What are the results of the war on poverty?  Is government the solution?

Module 3: The Media Learns They Can Control The Narrative     

Television had a powerful impact on the way opinion was formed.  The media learned to use that power to dictate the narrative that a particular set of facts would take.  Nowhere can this be better displayed than in the narratives drawn of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and the Vietnam War.

Unit XIII: Facing The Future

Scaffolding Question: How secure, or how fragile, is this experiment we call “America”?

Module 1: A Line In the Sand                              

When Saddam Hussein invaded the small but oil rich country of Kuwait, President George H. Bush drew what was called a “line in the sand”.  The Gulf War was the first war that Americans would watch practically live on their televisions, as it happened.  They became much more aware of military tactics and the force of American might.  It also led to the bigger question of America’s foreign policy.  Is it the responsibility of the world’s only superpower to be the policeman of the world?

Module 2: The Bush/Gore Tug-O-War           

This one was a doozy.   Americans waited for a month in 2000 to find out who their next president was going to be, as the candidate who lost on election night pursued recounts and lawsuits.  The Supreme Court ended up making the final decision.  Was democracy served?  Does the election of 2000 show a fault in our democracy, or does it provide an example of its strength?  

Module 3: Liberty vs Safety                                

The attacks of 9-11 not only effected every American, but the entire world.  What lessons can we learn from it?  What is the proper balance between liberty and safety?

Module 4: When Government Intervenes       

The 2008 financial crisis was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression of 1929.  Was it caused, as President Obama claimed, by “the Wall Street executives whose greed and irresponsibility got us into this mess”?  Or did decades of government intervention in the economy create the conditions for collapse? 

 

Module 5: Going Global                                      

Another growing debate, which came more fully into the light during the Trump administration, is globalization.  How much do countries benefit from the ever increasingly connected world?  How much do individuals benefit?

Module 6: The Chinese Virus                             

Covid-19 devastated the world, and still is as of this writing.  Countries around the world developed varying ways to fight it.  In the United States, it led to even deeper divides between people.  What can we learn from the effects of the pandemic, and more importantly, what can we learn from our response to it?

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