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US History Overview

AMERICAN HISTORY TECH II UP

MRS. JAKUBCZAK 2017-2018

This course examines the history of the United States of America from 1877 to the present. The federal republic has withstood challenges to its national security and expanded the rights and roles of its citizens. The episodes of its past have shaped the nature of the country today and prepared it to attend to the challenges of tomorrow. Understanding how these events came to pass and their meaning for today’s citizens is the purpose of this course. The concepts of historical thinking introduced in earlier grades continue to build with students locating and analyzing primary and secondary sources from multiple perspectives to draw conclusions.

Topic 1: Historical Thinking and Skills: Students apply skills by using a variety of resources to construct theses and support or refute contentions made by others. Alternative explanations of historical events are analyzed and questions of historical inevitability are explored.

1. Historical events provide opportunities to examine alternative courses of action.

· By examining alternative courses of action, students can consider the possible consequences and outcomes of moments in history. It also allows them to appreciate the decisions of some individuals and the actions of some groups without putting 21st century values and interpretations on historic events.

· How might the history of the United States be different if the participants in historical events had taken different courses of action? What if Democratic Party officeholders had not been restored to power in the South after Reconstruction, the U.S. had not engaged in the Spanish-American War or the U.S. had joined the League of Nations? What if the federal government had not used deficit spending policies during the Great Depression, Truman had not ordered atomic bombs dropped on Japan or African Americans had not protested for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s?

2. The use of primary and secondary sources of information includes an examination of the credibility of each source.

· The use of primary and secondary sources in the study of history includes an analysis of their credibility – that is, whether or not they are believable. This is accomplished by checking sources for:

o The qualifications and reputation of the author;

o Agreement with other credible sources;

o Perspective or bias of the author (including use of stereotypes);

o Accuracy and internal consistency; and

o The circumstances in which the author prepared the source.

3. Historians develop theses and use evidence to support or refute positions.

· Historians are similar to detectives. They develop theses and use evidence to create explanations of past events. Rather than a simple list of events, a thesis provides a meaningful interpretation of the past by telling the reader the manner in which historical evidence is significant in some larger context.

· The evidence used by historians may be generated from artifacts, documents, eyewitness accounts, historical sites, photographs and other sources. Comparing and analyzing evidence from various sources enables historians to refine their explanations of past events.

· Historians cite their sources and use the results of their research to support or refute contentions made by others.

4. Historians analyze cause, effect, sequence and correlation in historical events, including multiple causation and long- and short-term causal relations

· When studying a historical event or person in history, historians analyze cause-and-effect relationships. For example, to understand the impact of the Great Depression, an analysis would include its causes and effects.

· An analysis also would include an examination of the sequence and correlation of events. How did one event lead to another? How do they relate to one another?

· An examination of the Great Depression would include the Federal Reserve Board’s monetary policies in the late 1920s as a short-term cause and the decline in demand for American farm goods after World War I as a long-term factor contributing to the economic downturn.

Topic 2: Historic Documents: The Declaration of Independence reflects an application of Enlightenment idea to the grievances of British subjects in the American colonies.

5. The Declaration of Independence reflects an application of Enlightenment ideas to the grievances of British subjects in the American colonies

· The Declaration of Independence opens with a statement that the action the American colonies were undertaking required an explanation. That explanation begins with a brief exposition of Enlightenment thinking, particularly natural rights and the social contract, as the context for examining the recent history of the colonies.

· The document includes a list of grievances the colonists have with the King of Great Britain and Parliament as a justification for independence. The grievances refer to a series of events since the French and Indian War which the colonists deemed were tyrannical acts and destructive of their rights.

· The Declaration of Independence ends with a clear statement that the political bonds between the colonies and Great Britain are ended. Independence is declared as an exercise of social contract thought.

6. The Northwest Ordinance addressed a need for government in the Northwest Territory and established precedents for the future governing of the United States.

· As Ohio country settlement progressed in the Connecticut Western Reserve and the Virginia Military District, and with the enactment of the Land Ordinance of 1785, the Congress of the United States recognized a need for governing land acquired in the Treaty of Paris. The Northwest Ordinance provided the basis for temporary governance as a territory and eventual entry into the United States as states.

· The Northwest Ordinance also set some precedents that influenced how the United States would be governed in later years. New states were to be admitted “into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original States.” This provision was continued in later years and it meant that there would be no colonization of the lands as there had been under Great Britain. “Schools and the means of education” were to be encouraged. This wording reinforced the provision in the Land Ordinance of 1785 allocating one section of each township for the support of schools and established a basis for national aid for education. Basic rights of citizenship (e.g., religious liberty, right to trial by jury, writ of habeas corpus) were assured. These assurances were precursors to the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Slavery was prohibited in the Northwest Territory. This provision was later included in the Constitution as Amendment 13. State governments were to be republican in structure. This provision was repeated in the U.S. Constitution.

7. Problems facing the national government under the Articles of Confederation led to the drafting of the Constitution of the United States. The framers of the Constitution applied ideas of the Enlightenment in conceiving the new government.

· The national government, under the Articles of Confederation, faced several critical problems. Some dealt with the structure of the government itself. These problems included weak provisions for ongoing management of national affairs (a lack of a separate executive branch), a limited ability to resolve disputes arising under the Articles (a lack of a separate judicial branch) and stiff requirements for passing legislation and amending the Articles. National issues facing the government included paying the debt from the Revolutionary War, the British refusal to evacuate forts on U.S. soil, the Spanish closure of the Mississippi River to American navigation and state disputes over land and trade. Economic problems in the states led to Shays’ Rebellion.

· The Constitution of the United States strengthened the structure of the national government. Separate executive and judicial branches were established. More practical means of passing legislation and amending the Constitution were instituted. The new government would have the ability to address the issues facing the nation. Powers to levy taxes, raise armies and regulate commerce were given to Congress. The principle of federalism delineated the distribution of powers between the national government and the states.

· The Constitution of the United States was drafted using Enlightenment ideas to create a workable form of government. The Preamble and the creation of a representative government reflectthe idea of the social contract. Articles I – III provide for a separation of powers in government. Article I also provides some limited protection of rights.

8. The Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers structured the national debate over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

· The Constitution of the United States represented a significant departure from the Articles of Confederation. The document required ratification by nine states for the national government to be established among the ratifying states.

· Proponents and opponents of the Constitution attempted to sway the deliberations of the ratifying conventions in the states. The proponents became known as Federalists and the opponents as Anti-Federalists.

· New York was a pivotal state in the ratification process and Federalists prepared a series of essays published in that state’s newspapers to convince New York to support the Constitution. These essays have become known as the Federalist Papers and they addressed issues such as the need for national taxation, the benefits of a strong national defense, the safeguards in the distribution of powers and the protection of citizen rights. What has become known as the Anti-Federalist Papers is a collection of essays from a variety of contributors. While not an organized effort as the Federalist Papers were, the Anti-Federalist Papers raised issues relating to the threats posed by national taxation, the use of a standing army, the amount of national power versus state power and the inadequate protection of the people’s rights.

9. The Bill of Rights is derived from English law, ideas of the Enlightenment, the experiences of the American colonists, early experiences of self-government and the national debate over the ratification of the Constitution of the United States.

· The Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States is derived from several sources. These range from the English heritage of the United States to the debates over the ratification of the Constitution.

· English sources for the Bill of Rights include the Magna Carta (1215) and the Bill of Rights of 1689. The Magna Carta marked a step toward constitutional protection of rights and recognized trial by jury. The English Bill of Rights affirmed many rights including the right to habeas corpus and it protected against cruel punishments.

· Enlightenment ideas about natural rights of life, liberty and property were becoming widespread as American colonists were experiencing what they saw as infringements upon their rights. The Quartering Act of 1765 was seen as an infringement on property rights. The Massachusetts Government Act placed severe limitations on the colonists’ ability to assemble in their town meetings. The Enlightenment ideas and British policies became focal points of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

· As the American people began to govern themselves, they incorporated individual rights in governing documents. TheVirginia Declaration of Rights (1776) included protections for the press, religious exercise and the accused. Other colonies also included individual rights as part of their constitutions. The national government, under the Articles of Confederation, enacted the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which provided for religious liberty, due process, protections for the accused and property rights.

· One of the key issues in the debate over the ratification of the Constitution concerned individual rights. The strength of Anti-Federalist arguments that the original Constitution did not contain adequate protections for individual rights led to the introduction in the First Congress of nine amendments devoted to rights of individuals

Topic 3: Industrialization and Progressivism (1877-1920): Ignited by post-Civil War demand and fueled by technological advancements, large-scale industrialization began in the United States during the late 1800s. Growing industries enticed foreign immigration, fostered urbanization, gave rise to the American labor movement and developed the infrastructure that facilitated the settling of the West. A period of progressive reform emerged in response to political corruption and practices of business.

10. The rise of corporations, heavy industry, mechanized farming and technological innovations transformed the American economy from an agrarian to an increasingly urban industrial society.

· Industrialization in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was characterized by the rise of corporations and heavy industry, which transformed the American economy. It marked a shift from a predominance of agricultural workers to a predominance of factory workers. It marked a shift from rural living to urban living, with more people living in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

· Mechanized farming also transformed the American economy. Production was made more efficient as machines replaced human labor.

· New technologies (e.g., mechanized assembly line, electric motors) made factory production more efficient and allowed for larger industrial plants. Some of the technological innovations that transformed the American economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries include the telephone, phonograph, incandescent light bulb, washing machine, skyscraper, automobile and airplane.

11. The rise of industrialization led to a rapidly expanding workforce. Labor organizations grew amidst unregulated working conditions and violence toward supporters of organized labor.

· The rise of industrialization in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries increased the demand for workers. With this demand, immigrants came from other countries and Americans migrated from other parts of the United States to take jobs in industrial centers.

· As a result of the changing nature of work, some members of the working class formed labor organizations (e.g., American Railway Union, American Federation of Labor, Industrial Workers of the World, United Mine Workers of America) to protect their rights. They sought to address issues such as working conditions, wages and terms of employment.

· Labor organizations also grew due to the violence toward supporters of organized labor (e.g., Great Railroad Strike, Haymarket Riot, Homestead Strike, Pullman Strike).

12. Immigration, internal migration and urbanization transformed American life.

· Mass immigration at the turn of the 20th century made the country more diverse and transformed American life by filling a demand for workers, diffusing new traits into the American culture and impacting the growth of cities.

· Many people left their farms for the cities seeking greater job opportunities. The Great Migration marked the mass movement of African Americans who fled the rural South for the urban North. They sought to escape prejudice and discrimination and secure better-paying jobs. They helped transform northern cities economically (e.g., as workers and consumers) and culturally (e.g., art, music, literature).

· Urbanization transformed the physical nature of cities. Central cities focused on industry and commerce. Buildings became taller and tenement buildings provided housing for working families. Cities acquired additional land as they expanded outward.

· The crowding of cities led to increased crime with the development of gangs. Improvements in transportation (e.g., trolleys, automobiles) facilitated the development of suburbs. A growing middle class could easily commute between residential areas and the central cities for business and recreation.

· The demand for resources and land in the West changed the life of the American Indians, who through a series of treaties and government actions continued to be displaced from their ancestral lands.

13. Following Reconstruction, old political and social structures reemerged and racial discrimination was institutionalized.

· The removal of federal troops from the South accompanied the end of Reconstruction and helped lead to the restoration of the Democratic Party’s control of state governments. With the redemption of the South, many reforms enacted by Reconstruction governments were repealed.

· Racial discrimination was institutionalized with the passage of Jim Crow laws. These state laws and local ordinances included provisions to require racial segregation, prohibit miscegenation, limit ballot access and generally deprive African Americans of civil rights.

· Advocates against racial discrimination challenged institutionalized racism through the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed segregation in the Plessy v. Ferguson decision.

· The rise of the Ku Klux Klan and other nativist organizations brought increased violence against African Americans

14. The Progressive era was an effort to address the ills of American society stemming from industrial capitalism, urbanization and political corruption.

· Industrial capitalism, urbanization and political corruption contributed to many of the problems in American society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Organized movements, such as the Farmers’ Alliances and the Populist Party, were reactions to the effects of industrialization and created a reform agenda which contributed to the rise of Progressivism. Journalists, called muckrakers, exposed political corruption, corporate and industrial practices, social injustice and life in urban America.

· Progressives introduced reforms to address the ills associated with industrial capitalism. Their efforts led to anti-trust suits (e.g., Northern Securities Company), antitrust legislation (Clayton Antitrust Act), railroad regulation (Hepburn Act), and consumer protection legislation (e.g., Pure Food and Drug Act, Meat Inspection Act). The Federal Reserve Act was passed to control the nation’s money supply and regulate the banking system. Conservation reforms included the creation of the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and the passage of the Newlands Act.

· Progressives fought political corruption and introduced reforms to make the political process more democratic (e.g., initiative, referendum, recall, secret ballot, new types of municipal government, civil service reform, primary elections).

· Other progressive reforms included:

o 16th Amendment (power of Congress to levy an income tax);

o 17th Amendment (direct election of U.S. Senators);

o 18th Amendment (prohibition of alcoholic beverages);

o 19th Amendment (women’s suffrage).

Topic 4: Foreign Affairs from Imperialism to Post-World War I (1898-1930): The industrial and territorial growth of the United States fostered expansion overseas. Greater involvement in the world set the stage for American participation in World War I and attempts to preserve post-war peace.

15. As a result of overseas expansion, the Spanish-American War and World War I, the United States emerged as a world power.

· With the closing of the western frontier, Americans developed favorable attitudes toward foreign expansion. Pushed along by global competition for markets and prestige, an expanded navy and a sense of cultural superiority, the United States engaged in a series of overseas actions which fostered its move to global power status. The annexation of Hawaii followed by a successful conclusion to the Spanish-American War allowed the United States to join other nations in imperialist ventures.

· With its entry into World War I, the United States mobilized a large army and navy to help the Allies achieve victory. After the war, European countries were forced to concentrate their resources on rebuilding their countries. However, the United States enjoyed a brief period of economic prosperity.

16. After WWI, the United States pursued efforts to maintain peace in the world. However, as a result of the national debate of the Versailles Treaty ratification and the League of Nations, the United States moved away from the role of world peacekeeper and limited its involvement in international affairs.

· After WWI, the United States emerged as a world leader and pursued efforts to maintain peace in the world. President Wilson’s efforts partially helped shape the Treaty of Versailles, but debate over its terms and efforts to avoid foreign entanglements led to its defeat in the Senate and the United States’ decision not to join the League of Nations.

· Desires to avoid another major war led to treaties addressing arms limitation and territorial expansion (Four-, Five- and Nine-Power Treaties). In 1928, the United States signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact to prohibit war as “an instrument of national policy.” In taking a leading role in these later treaties, the United States sought to limit its involvement in international affairs.

Topic 5: Prosperity, Depression, and the New Deal (1919-1941): The Post-World War I period was characterized by economic, social and political turmoil. Post-war prosperity brought about changes to American popular culture. However, economic disruptions growing out of the war years led to worldwide depression. The United States attempted to deal with the Great Depression through economic programs created by federal government.

17. Racial intolerance, anti-immigrant attitudes and the Red Scare contributed to social unrest after World War I.

· The Great Migration of African Americans to northern cities heightened racial tensions there and led to a series of urban race riots in 1919. Lynchings and the enforcement of Jim Crow legislation continued in the South during the post-war era. Racial intolerance also was seen in the revival of the Ku Klux Klan across the United States.

· An increase in immigration to the United States from southern and eastern Europe preceded World War I. Nativism after the war was reflected in the passage of immigration quotas. Intolerance toward immigrants, Catholics and Jews was exhibited by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan.

· The success of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia followed by post-war labor strikes and a series of bombs sent to public and business officials in the United States stirred fears of revolution among Americans. The Red Scare of 1919-1920 was a reaction to these perceived threats and led to the incarceration and deportation of many aliens.

18. An improved standard of living for many, combined with technological innovations in communication, transportation and industry, resulted in social and cultural changes and tensions.

· Following World War I, the United States experienced a period of successful advances in industry and an economic boom that improved the standards of living for many Americans. Technological innovations in communication included commercial radio broadcasts, talking motion pictures, and wider circulation of newspapers and magazines. These innovations influenced the development of a popular culture and mass advertising.

· Advances in transportation during this era include the Model A Ford and the airplane. In industry, mass production techniques continued to make factory production more efficient. These developments also contributed to an improved standard of living.

· These innovations brought change. But some changes challenged conventional social mores and created tensions. For example, increased automobile ownership contributed to the growth of suburbs, the creation of new businesses (e.g., motels, gas stations) and the expansion of others (e.g., rubber, plate glass, petroleum, steel). New surfaced roads were constructed to accommodate increased traffic. But use of the automobile also challenged traditional family values and tried the patience of travelers. Young people used cars to exercise freedom from parental rules. Increased numbers of commuters had to face the problems of traffic congestion.

19. Movements such as the Harlem Renaissance, African-American migration, women’s suffrage and Prohibition all contributed to social change.

· The Harlem Renaissance was a celebration of African American culture and contributed to social change. The themes of African American art and literature gave pride to people of African heritage and increased awareness of the struggles related to intolerance and life in large urban centers. Jazz flourished during the Harlem Renaissance and became an established American music genre.

· The large numbers of African Americans moving to northern cities during the Great Migration increased competition for jobs, housing and public services.

· The movement to give women suffrage saw the fruition of its goal with the passage of the 19th Amendment. The change brought more women into the political process, eventually including women running for public office.

· Prohibition had mixed results. Establishments that openly sold liquor closed their doors. Prohibition lacked popular support. It further divided the nation along secularist/ fundamentalist, rural/urban and modern/traditional lines. It led to speakeasies and increased organized crime. The law was difficult to enforce and was repealed with the 21st Amendment.

Topic 6: Foreign Affairs from Imperialism to Post-World War I (1898-1930): The industrial and territorial growth of the United States fostered expansion overseas. Greater involvement in the world set the stage for American participation in World War I and attempts to preserve post-war peace.

20. The Great Depression was caused, in part, by the federal government’s monetary policies, stock market speculation and increasing consumer debt. The role of the federal government expanded as a result of Great Depression.

· One of several factors leading to the Great Depression in the United States was the excessive amount of lending by banks. This fueled speculation and use of credit. The Federal Reserve attempted to curb these practices by constricting the money supply. The effect was to worsen economic conditions by making it harder for people to repay debts and for businesses, including banks, to continue operations.

· Another factor leading to the Depression was stock market speculation. Many investors were buying on margin with the hope of making huge profits. But the collapse of the stock market led many to lose their investments and fortunes. The closing of many factories led to the rise of consumer debt as workers lost needed income.

· During the 1930s, the role of the federal government was greatly expanded with the New Deal. This occurred through its efforts to help the economy recover, with programs such as the National Recovery Administration, to provide relief to the unemployed by creating jobs and to institute reforms for the protection of the elderly, farmers, investors and laborers.

Topic 7: From Isolation to World War (1930-1945): The isolationist approach to foreign policy meant U.S. leadership in world affairs diminished after World War I. Overseas, certain nations saw the growth of tyrannical governments that reasserted their power through aggression and created conditions leading to the Second World War. After Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War II, which changed the country’s focus from isolationism to international involvement.

21. During the 1930s, the U.S. government attempted to distance the country from earlier interventionist policies in the Western Hemisphere as well as retain an isolationist approach to events in Europe and Asia until the beginning of WWII.

· Following World War I, the United States was reluctant to become entangled in overseas conflicts that would lead to another war. Although it had used the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary to justify intervention into Latin American affairs, the U.S. retreated from these policies during the1930s with the Good Neighbor Policy.

· The Neutrality Acts of the 1930s were attempts to isolate the country from the problems erupting in Asia and Europe.

· The United States tried to maintain its isolationist approach when war broke out in Europe. But to aid countries fighting against fascist aggression, the United States introduced the cash-and-carry policy, negotiated the destroyer-for-bases agreement and enacted the Lend-Lease Policy. It also helped write the Atlantic Charter. The expansionist policies of Japan and the bombing of Pearl Harbor ended U.S. isolationist policies.

22. The United States mobilization of its economic and military resources during World War II brought significant changes to American society.

· The mobilization of the United States to a wartime economy during World War II was massive. The federal government reorganized existing plants to produce goods and services for the war effort and instituted policies to ration and redirect resources.

· Mobilization caused major impacts on the lives of Americans. A peacetime draft was instituted in 1940 to supplement military enlistments. Scrap drives were conducted to reallocate materials for war goods. Regulations were imposed on some wages and prices. Some products were subjected to rationing. Citizens raised victory gardens to supplement food supplies and purchased war bonds to help fund the war. Some labor unions signed no-strike pledges.

· Job opportunities in the civilian workforce and in the military opened for women and minorities. African Americans organized to end discrimination and segregation so that they could contribute to the war effort. Although Japanese Americans were interned in relocation camps by the U.S. government, many enlisted in the armed services.

Topic 8: The Cold War (1945-1991): The United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) emerged as the two strongest powers in international affairs. Ideologically opposed, they challenged one another in a series of confrontations known as The Cold War. The costs of this prolonged contest weakened the USSR so that it collapsed due to internal upheavals as well as American pressure. The Cold War had social and political implications in the United States

23. Use of atomic weapons changed the nature of war, altered the balance of power and began the nuclear age.

· The dropping of the atomic bombs on Japan hastened the end of World War II and is considered the beginning of the nuclear age. The use of these bombs introduced a new type of weapon capable of mass destruction.

· In the four-year period following World War II, the United States was the only country in possession of atomic bombs and this contributed to its status as a superpower. The threat of using this weapon was seen as a deterrent to the ambitions of the Soviet Union.

· The testing and explosion of the atomic bomb by the Soviets in 1949 established the Soviet Union as a second superpower. It also began a nuclear arms race that continued for decades and threatened world peace.

24. The United States followed a policy of containment during the Cold War in response to the spread of communism.

· The policy of containment began in the late 1940s to halt the spread of communism in Europe and Asia. It became the policy of the United States for decades.

· Following World War II, most of the Eastern Europe countries had communist governments and were under Soviet control. The Chinese Revolution ushered in a communist government.

· In Europe, the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were efforts to contain communism. In Asia, the policy of containment was the basis for U.S. involvement in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

25. The Second Red Scare and McCarthyism reflected Cold War fears in American society.

· The actions of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the spread of communism in Asia sparked fears among many Americans. A second Red Scare focused attention on the media, labor unions, universities and other organizations as targets of communist subversion.

· Like the first Red Scare following World War I, civil liberties were again challenged. The investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) prompted employers to blacklist suspected communists, including actors and writers.

· Senator Joseph McCarthy played on fears of subversion with his charges of communists infiltrating the U.S. government. The McCarthy hearings and HUAC investigations held the attention of the American people through the middle 1950s.

26. The Cold War and conflicts in Korea and Vietnam influenced domestic and international politics.

· The Cold War dominated international politics and impacted domestic politics in the United States for almost 45 years. The intense rivalry between the U.S. and the Soviet Union led to the creation of alliances, an arms race, conflicts in Korea and Vietnam and brought the world close to nuclear war with the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Cold War affected international politics in the Middle East and Latin America.

· The Cold War affected domestic politics. It led to the Second Red Scare and the rise of McCarthyism. A space race impelled the U.S. to increase spending on science education.

· The Korean War also fed into the communist hysteria of the late 1940s and 1950s. The United States was able to secure support from the United Nations for the defense of South Korea while the Soviet Union was boycotting the Security Council.

· The Vietnam War divided the country and sparked massive protests. Spending for the war came at the expense of the domestic programs launched by President Johnson. This led to urban unrest in the 1960s. The Vietnam War was a dominant issue in the presidential campaigns of 1968 and 1972. The difficulties and eventual withdrawal from Vietnam led to concerted efforts on part of the U.S. to find allies in future conflicts.

27. The collapse of communist governments in Eastern Europe and the USSR brought an end to the Cold War.

· There were multiple causes for the collapse of communist governments in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The effect of these was the reduction of the tensions between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. that characterized the Cold War period. Several communist governments in Eastern Europe gave up power following mass demonstrations for democracy. The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in independent republics that moved to institute democratic reforms and introduce free-market economies. This brought an end to the Cold War era.

· The political and economic turmoil occurring in some of the new governments posed new challenges for the United States. The U.S. supported economic and education reforms by providing assistance to some of the former communist countries.

Topic 9: Social Transformations in the United States (1945-1994): A period of post-war prosperity allowed the United States to undergo fundamental social change. Adding to this change was an emphasis on scientific inquiry, the shift from and industrial to a technological/service economy, the impact of mass media, the phenomenon of suburban and Sun Belt migrations, and the expansion of civil rights.

28. Following World War II, the United States experienced a struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil rights.

· African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians and women distinguished themselves in the effort to win World War II. Following the war, movements began to secure the same freedoms and opportunities for these Americans that other Americans enjoyed.

· African-American organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the National Urban League (NUL) struggled for equal opportunities and to end segregation. They demonstrated and sought redress in the courts to change long-standing policies and laws.

· Mexican Americans organized through the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) to improve the conditions of migrant workers.

· American Indians organized to improve conditions on reservations, protect land rights and improve opportunities in education and employment. They formed groups such as the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) and the American Indian Movement (AIM).

· Women made progress toward equal opportunities through demonstrations, lawsuits and the National Organization for Women (NOW).

29. The postwar economic boom, greatly affected by advances in science, produced epic changes in American life.

· The United States experienced an era of unprecedented prosperity and economic growth following World War II. Contributing to this prosperity was public demand for goods and services. The demand for housing and automobile ownership spurred the growth of suburbs. Economic opportunities in defense plants and high-tech industries led to the growth of the Sunbelt.

· Postwar prosperity produced some other epic changes (e.g., baby boom, increased consumerism, increased mobility via automobiles, pop culture, franchising and longer life spans).

· Advances in science following the war also impacted American life. Examples include:

o Medicine (e.g., polio vaccine, birth control pill, artificial heart valve, open-heart bypass, organ transplant, genetic engineering);

o Communication (e.g., transistor, television, computers, Internet, mobile phones);

o Nuclear energy (e.g., atomic weapons, nuclear power plants); and

o Transportation (e.g., passenger jet airplanes, catalytic converters in cars).

30. The continuing population flow from cities to suburbs, the internal migrations from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt and the increase in immigration resulting from the passage of the 1965 Immigration Act have had social and political effects.

· The postwar movement from cities to suburbs had social and political effects. The cities became predominately black and poor, and strongly Democratic. The suburbs were mainly white and leaned Republican. The decaying environment and the low employment opportunities in large cities contributed to urban riots in the 1960s.

· The employment opportunities in defense plants and high-tech industries located in the South and California led to the growth of the Sunbelt. This development contributed to a political power shift in the country as reflected in the reapportionment of congressional districts.

· The 1965 Immigration Act allowed more individuals from Asia, Africa and Latin America to enter the United States. The resulting immigration impacted the country’s demographic makeup. Hispanics became the fastest growing minority in the U.S. which led to an increase in Spanish language media and funding for bilingual education programs. As these new immigrants became citizens, their voting practices impacted the balance of power between the major political parties.

31. Political debates focused on the extent of the role of government in the economy, environmental protection, social welfare and national security.

· The 1930s and early 1940s witnessed a great expansion in the role of the federal government in various policy areas. This expanded role continued to be the focus of political debates in the postwar period. For the economy, the debates were between those who favored a more activist role of the government to correct inequities and those who felt that the government should lessen its involvement and let the marketplace work. Public opinion on this issue was often influenced by the current state of the economy.

· The debate on the government’s role to protect the environment in the postwar period increased during this period due to research on the effects of pesticides, pollution and waste disposal, and concerns about conservation and global warming. Demands from environmentalists led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

· The government’s role on social welfare issues attracted intense debates, particularly relating to poverty, unemployment and national health insurance.

· The controversies surrounding the federal government’s role in protecting the country recurred during times of perceived threats. Fears concerning communist infiltration of the government during the 1940s and 1950s, and anti-war protests during the Vietnam Era, led to debates over national security.

Topic 10: United States and the Post-Cold War World (1991-present): The United States emerged from the Cold War as a dominant leader in world affairs amidst a globalized economy, political terrorism, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

32. Improved global communications, international trade, transnational business organizations, overseas competition and the shift from manufacturing to service industries have impacted the American economy.

· The American economy has been impacted by many influences since the early 1990s. Global communication has rapidly increased use of technologies such as the personal computer, Internet and mobile phone.

· Business organizations that operate internationally with production facilities in more than one country have grown exponentially. For example, an American automobile might have parts imported from several countries and be assembled in yet another country.

· Overseas competition has challenged American producers and local communities. The U.S. trade deficit has increased with the value of goods and services imported exceeding those that are exported. This has led to a decrease in manufacturing jobs and closing of plants. It also has contributed to a shift toward service industries and a growth in lower-paying jobs in fast food and sales.

33. The United States faced new political, national security and economic challenges in the post-Cold War world and following the attacks on September 11, 2001.

· The post-Cold War period and the attacks on September 11, 2001, presented new challenges for the United States, including:

o Instability produced by the demise of balance-of-power politics;

o Changing role of the United States in global politics (e.g., preemptive wars);

o Issues surrounding the control of nuclear weapons;

o Broadening of terrorism; and

o Dynamic of balancing national security with civil liberties.

· Economic challenges for the country included operating within a globalized economy. The country witnessed the change from the prosperity of the 1990s to the recession that began in 2007. Reductions in defense spending due to the end of the Cold War led to the loss of millions of U.S. jobs in defense plants.

· The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, presented national security challenges for the country. Debates over two wars (i.e., Iraq and Afghanistan) that were launched in response to the September 11 attacks, the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act and the detainment and torture of enemy combatants divided the country.

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