HST316: Modern U.S. History

This list is representative of the materials provided or used in this course. Keep in mind that the actual materials used may vary, depending on the school in which you are enrolled, and whether you are taking the course as Independent Study.

For a complete list of the materials to be used in this course by your enrolled student, please visit MyInfo. All lists are subject to change at any time.

Scope & Sequence : Scope & Sequence documents describe what is covered in a course (the scope) and also the order in which topics are covered (the sequence). These documents list instructional objectives and skills to be mastered. K12 Scope & Sequence documents for each course include:

Course Overview

Students are able to gain credit if they have previously completed this course but did not successfully earn credit. For each unit, students take a diagnostic test that assesses their current knowledge of fundamental content. The results of these tests help students create individualized study plans.

Students review American history from the industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century to recent events. They review how the American system of government works under the United States Constitution; federalism; settlement of the Great American West; issues of immigration and urban life; and the hopes, demands, and challenges African Americans and women faced as they sought equality. Other topics include: the World Wars; the American Dream; the Civil Rights movement; Vietnam; Watergate; Reaganomics; the collapse of the Soviet Union; immigration trends; the Clinton years; and the new millennium.

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Course Length

Two Semesters

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Student completed the course or its equivalent, but did not receive credit; teacher/school counselor recommendation required

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Course Outline


Unit 1: Founding a Nation

Students review the origins of the United States from the founding of the English colonies through the increased tensions and Enlightenment thought that led to the American Revolution. They explore the issues the new nation faced in forming a government, and reinforce their knowledge of how the American system of government works under the United States Constitution.

  • Semester Introduction
  • The New England Colonies
  • The Middle and Southern Colonies
  • New Ideas
  • The Road to Revolution
  • Toward Independence
  • Independence
  • Governing the New Nation
  • Creating a More Perfect Union
  • Our Constitution

Unit 2: Defining a Nation

Early presidents, George Washington in particular, set the nation on a sound course. The country grew in area, population, diversity, and industry. But that growth, and questions about federalism and the institution of slavery not answered by the Constitution, led eventually to the horror of civil war. The Civil War kept the nation whole— though at a terrible cost— ended slavery, and pushed the United States into the modern era.

  • Setting a Course
  • Visions for a Nation
  • Growing in Area
  • Growing in Power
  • New Politics
  • Reforming
  • Expanding
  • Growing Apart
  • Debate and Division
  • Disunion
  • Terrible War
  • Reconstructing a Nation

Unit 3: Entering the Modern Era

During the late 1800s, the nation experienced tremendous growth in many areas. Students follow the enormous migration across the Great Plains and its impact on Native Americans, and the rise of new ways of manufacturing and doing business. They see the hardships factory and mine workers faced, and the demands for reform that came from diverse segments of society.

  • Settling the Great American West
  • The Changing West
  • The End of a Way of Life
  • New Industries Emerge
  • Meeting Challenges
  • Inventors and Industrialists
  • How Big is Too Big?
  • The Price of Industrialization
  • Seeking a Better Way
  • What to Do?

Unit 4: A New Century

The arrival of millions of immigrants and the rapid growth of cities in the late 1800s changed the face and landscape of the United States. Students study the early years of the modern age, our modern political system, and a modern approach to reform.

  • Beacon of Hope
  • The Immigrant Experience
  • A Different Experience
  • Cities Grow
  • Urban Issues
  • Cities Life
  • Populists
  • Progressives
  • Confronting Reality
  • Taking on Power
  • The Power of One

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Unit 5: New Directions

During the last years of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth century, the United States stepped onto the world stage. In this unit, students trace the rise of the nation's power from the emergence of American imperialism just before 1900 through the end of the Great War and beyond. They examine as well, the hopes, demands, and challenges African Americans and women faced as they sought equality at home.

  • Less Than Equal
  • Different Visions
  • Demanding a Voice
  • An American Empire
  • Presidents and Policies
  • American Giant
  • Shaping a Nation
  • The Great War
  • The War at Home
  • Assessing the Great War

Unit 6: Turning Points

The United Sates emerged from World War I a major world power. The horror of the war left many people around the world disillusioned and bitter, while others reveled in the music, fads, and fashions of a new age. Students will complete a research project in this unit and then continue their study of the inter-war era as the economic bubble of the 1920s gave way to the Great Depression.

  • Embracing the Peace
  • A New Culture
  • Action and Reaction
  • The Harlem Renaissance
  • Choosing a Research Project
  • Choosing a Presentation Format
  • The Annotated Bibliography
  • The Process Paper
  • Conducting Research
  • Continuing Research
  • Completing the Project
  • The Bubble Bursts
  • Depression
  • Seeking Solutions

Unit 7: Semester Review and Test

Students prepare for and take the semester test.


Unit 1: Facing Crisis and War

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's recovery plan, the New Deal, forever changed the way Americans thought about government. But his programs didn't end the Great Depression. Only when World War II began in Europe and the United States joined the Allies after the attack at Pearl Harbor did the economy fully recover. Students will trace FDR's presidency through the Great Depression and World War II. They will see the hardship of the 1930s and the heroic efforts from men and women of all races and backgrounds that finally brought victory in Europe and Japan.

  • Semester Introduction
  • Confronting the Crisis
  • New Strategies
  • Reflections
  • Lasting Programs
  • War Clouds
  • Going to War
  • The War at Home
  • Fighting on Two Fronts
  • Horror Uncovered
  • War's End

Unit 2: Postwar America

World War II transformed the United States into the world's wealthiest and most powerful nation. That position brought new responsibilities. Students will witness the dangers of the atomic age and the tension between communist and democratic countries that threatened the very existence of humankind. They will explore life in the United States during the 1950s as television and the automobile transformed American society. They will demonstrate their understanding of the era by producing an online magazine reflecting the news and the new trends of the times.

  • A War of Words and Ideas
  • Confronting Communism
  • The Cold War Abroad
  • Eisenhower at the Helm
  • From War to Peace
  • New Places to Live
  • A New American Dream
  • A New Frontier
  • Your Magazine Project

Unit 3: Trauma at Home and Abroad

In 1961, John F. Kennedy told the world Americans would "assure the survival and the success of liberty." The 1960s tested that resolve. Students will explore the complexity of U.S. engagement in Southeast Asia, the hopes and hardships of the civil rights movement, the triumphs of greater liberty and democracy, and the thrill of seeing an American walk on the moon.

  • The Beginning of Change
  • Demanding Change
  • How to Achieve Equality?
  • I Have a Dream
  • New Directions
  • Other Paths
  • Crisis
  • War in Vietnam
  • Escalation
  • A Different Kind of War
  • Those Who Served
  • Reflections on War

Unit 4: Turmoil

The Cold War nearly erupted in nuclear war in the early 1960s as the superpowers faced off in Cuba. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, fears of communist expansion led the United States into its longest war, a war that would tear the nation apart and take a terrible toll in lives and in the country's image abroad and at home. Students will meet the people and groups who emerged during these tumultuous years, some demanding an end to war, some demanding civil rights for every group in the American mosaic, and some demanding answers to White House secrecy, corruption, and scandal.

  • Culture and Counterculture
  • Tragedies
  • Women on the Move
  • Voices for Change
  • Complex Times
  • The Watergate Scandal
  • Transition

Unit 5: Modern Turning Points

Students will choose a topic from any period in American history between 1930 and about 1980 and produce a project in one of four formats. The theme of the project, regardless of topic or format, will be "turning points in American history, 1930 -1980." Then, they will study the end of the twentieth century as the United States rose to the position of a superpower militarily and economically, and faced social, cultural, and political challenges.

  • The Research Project, Part 1
  • The Research Project, Part 2
  • The Research Project, Part 3
  • The Research Project, Part 4
  • A Changing Mood
  • Reaganomics
  • Cold War Warriors
  • Legacies
  • The Research Project, Part 5
  • The Post-Cold War World, Part 1
  • The Post-Cold War World, Part 2
  • The Post-Cold War World, Part 3

Unit 6: Toward a New Millennium

In this last unit of Modern U.S. History, students will study the events of the very recent past. As they do, they must keep in mind that historians will continue to study and debate these events for decades before they can draw conclusions. This is a "first rough draft" of our nation's most recent chapter.

  • A New Age
  • Demographics Close to Home
  • The Clinton Years
  • Divisions
  • Looking at North America, Part 1
  • Looking at North America, Part 2
  • Looking at North America, Part 3
  • Looking at North America, Part 4
  • The Research Project, Part 6
  • The Research Project, Part 7
  • Challenges at Century's End
  • Entering a New Millennium
  • New Realities
  • War and Disaster
  • Looking Ahead

Unit 7: Semester Review and Test

Students prepare for and take the semester test.

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Lesson Scheduling

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K12 Scope & Sequence documents for each course include:

  • Course Overview (as seen above)
  • Course Outline
  • Lesson Time and Scheduling