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US History Course (Gold Package)

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United States Declaration of Independence on a Betsy Ross flag

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US History Course (Gold Package)

The Standards Plus History Academy United States History course, taught by Barry Jones,  provides a thorough examination of United States history from the days of reconstruction to  modern America. Students will explore significant events, social movements, and political  developments that have shaped the nation’s trajectory. The course begins by studying the end of  the Western frontier, the Industrial Revolution, and America’s imperialistic endeavors during the  Spanish-American War – America’s first foreign war.  

Continuing this journey, students will analyze the impact of WW I, the Roaring Twenties, and the  Great Depression. They will explore the causes and consequences of these transformative  periods, including the rise of industrial tycoons, the fight for civil rights, and the implementation  of FDR’s New Deal policies. 

The latter part of the course features examinations of WW II, the Cold War era, and the Civil  Rights Movement, highlighting significant events, key figures, and societal changes that shaped  these periods. Included specifically in the Cold War era is a study of the Korean War, the  Vietnam War era, including the political assassinations of the 1960’s, the Watergate Scandal, and  the many social changes of the sixties and seventies. 

The course concludes with a study of the foreign and domestic policies of presidents Carter through Obama, addressing the impact of drug abuse, the evolving dynamics of US foreign relations, and the challenges of the post-9-11 War on Terror. By the end of the course, students  will have a comprehensive understanding of the historical forces that have shaped the United  States and its role in the modern world.  

Throughout the course, students will develop critical thinking skills, engage with primary and  secondary sources, and analyze complex historical phenomena. The course aims to foster a  nuanced and fuller understanding of the American backstory, exceeding the minimum required  state standards, enabling students to comprehend the nation’s past, evaluate its present, and  navigate its future.  

Barry Jones

Barry Jones has been a high school history and government teacher in the state of Tennessee  since 1997. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toledo and a Master of  History Education degree from Liberty University. He currently teaches in a high school near  Nashville, TN. Known for his storytelling, Mr. Jones’ trademark JFK Assassination and  Watergate lessons have long been student favorites. Mr. Jones is also an author. Among his  works are several books on the JFK assassination, including Coup d’ Etat (2014), Wilderness of  Mirrors (2017), and Treasonous Cabal (2018). 

Course Guide / Pacing Guide 

Unit 1 – The Rise of Industrialization Weeks 1-3; Unit 2 – The Progressive Era Weeks 4-5; Unit 3 – Imperialism & WW I Weeks 6-7; Unit 4 – The Roaring Twenties Weeks 8-9; Unit 5 – The Great Depression & the New Deal Weeks 10-11; Unit 6 – WW II Weeks 12-14; Unit 7 – Midterm Exam Week 15

Unit 8 – The Fifties Weeks 16-17; Unit 9 – The Sixties: JFK & LBJ Domestic Politics Week 18; Unit 10 – Civil Rights Weeks 19-20; Unit 11 – The Cold War Weeks 21-24; Unit 12 – The Seventies Weeks 25-27; Unit 13 – The Modern-Day United States Weeks 28-30; Unit 14 – The Constitution Week 31; Unit 15 – Final Exam Week 32


  1. SILVER clients: It is recommended that you pace yourself, adhering to this schedule for  each unit. It has been set up in such a way that each day’s lesson (PowerPoint and guided  notes) fills an approximate 60-minute time frame. Additional assignments can be factored  into the end of each unit because extra time has been built into the schedule. 
  2. GOLD clients: This is the overall schedule Mr. Jones will adhere to in his online sessions.  Weekly modules will be posted, pacing the content accordingly.  
  3. SILVER & GOLD clients: The backbone of each lesson is the PowerPoint and the guided  notes outline. Study guides, worksheets, readings, map assignments, bellringers, videos  and accompanying worksheets, political cartoons, etc. are included in some of the units to flesh out the PowerPoint content, providing extra opportunities to support student  learning.

Scope and Sequence 

Unit 1 – The Rise of Industrialization 

This unit begins with an exploration of the closing of the Western frontier in the United States. It  delves into significant events and aspects of this era, including the Dawes and Homestead Acts,  providing insight into the social, political, and economic changes that shaped the end of the  Western frontier. This unit delves into the transformative period known as the Industrial  Revolution, exploring the inventions and innovations that revolutionized industries, leading to  significant societal changes. The inventors and industrial tycoons of this era are studied,  highlighting their contributions and the impact they had on the economy. This unit also examines  the rise of robber barons and trusts, discussing the controversies and consequences of their  business practices. Furthermore, it explores the opportunities for immigrants and women in the  workforce, the dominance of railroads, the formation of unions, and the reasons behind their  emergence. This unit concludes with a focus on the influx of immigrants to the United States and  the subsequent urbanization that occurred during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It  introduces Eugene Debs and the Socialist Party, shedding light on the growing influence of  socialist ideals during this time. Ellis and Angel Islands, as well as the immigration process, are  explored to provide insights into the experiences of immigrants coming to America. The concept  of culture shock is examined, emphasizing the challenges faced by newcomers in adapting to a  new environment.  

Unit 2 – The Progressive Era 

This unit is a study of the Progressive Era, a period characterized by social, political, and  economic reforms in the early 20th century. It examines the presidencies of Teddy Roosevelt,  William Howard Taft, and Woodrow Wilson as well as the muckrakers and Upton Sinclair’s  influential works. This unit also delves into the 1912 presidential election, which was marked by  a lively debate among candidates.  

Unit 3 – Imperialism & WW I 

This unit begins with the Spanish-American War and its consequences. It delves into the causes  and start of the war, the defeat of Spain, and the signing of the Treaty of Paris. This unit  highlights the aftermath of the war, including the lingering anger in Cuba and the Philippines.  The Open Door Policy and the Boxer Rebellion in China are also discussed, emphasizing the  United States’ growing involvement in international affairs. Additionally, the significance of the  Panama Canal and the United States’ role in Central America are examined, along with the  impact of imperialism on the nation. Features and key differences of President Roosevelt’s “Big  Stick Diplomacy”, William Howard Taft’s “Dollar Diplomacy”, and Woodrow Wilson’s “Moral  Diplomacy” are also covered. 

The second half of this unit explores the First World War, providing context and an introduction to the war, its impact on the United States, and its global significance. This part of the unit  focuses on the United States’ entry into the war and its role on the international stage. The home front during World War I is examined, discussing the societal changes, propaganda, and war  efforts. Trench warfare, new weaponry, and defensive strategies that resulted in devastation, and  destruction are explored, providing a comprehensive understanding of the nature of the war. This  part of the unit also highlights the contributions of women during the war and the end of World  War I, as well as President Wilson’s Fourteen Points. 

Unit 4 – The Roaring Twenties 

This unit examines the vibrant and transformative period known as the Roaring Twenties. It  explores the Warren Harding era and civil liberties during this time. This unit also examines  nativism and the Red Scare, which encompassed a wave of fear and suspicion of communism.  This unit further explores the boom in industry, the impact of the 19th Amendment on women’s  rights, influential figures like Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul, educational reforms, new  fashion trends, popular culture, the Calvin Coolidge era, the Harlem Renaissance, prohibition,  and the rise of fundamentalism, emphasizing their cultural and social impacts. Also included in  this unit is a comprehensive look at the roots of country music, merging the Scots Irish heritage  and culture and the Appalachian region with the African American heritage and culture and the  Mississippi Delta (“the Rub”). Nashville, Tennessee’s emergence as “Music City, USA” during  this period is studied as well.  

Unit 5 – The Great Depression & the New Deal 

This unit focuses on the Great Depression and the subsequent New Deal(s) implemented by  President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It examines the emergence of radio and film as important  mediums during this time. This unit delves into the factors that led to the Great Depression, its  impact on Main Street, and the economic ideas that shaped the 1930s. The Hoover  administration’s response to the crisis is discussed, as well as the creation of the Federal Reserve.  This unit further explores Hoovervilles, the Dust Bowl, and the debate surrounding them.  Finally, it discusses the refugee crisis and FDR’s Brain Trust, leading to the introduction of the  New Deal, its impacts, and its opposition. 

Unit 6 – WW II 

This unit focuses on the importance of World War II and its global impact. It examines the rise of  totalitarian dictators in Europe, such as Hitler and the Nazis, and the policy of appeasement that  allowed their aggression to go unchecked. This unit explores the takeover of Europe by Axis  powers and the beginning of the Holocaust. The attack on Pearl Harbor and its consequences for  the United States are discussed, as well as the home front and the impact of the war on industry.  The discriminatory treatment of certain groups, such as Japanese Americans, during the war is  also examined. This unit further explores the Allied efforts to take back Europe, the significance  of V-E Day, and the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. It concludes with the events surrounding  the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the surrender of Japan aboard the U.S.S.  Missouri.

Unit 7 – Midterm Exam Prep 

This unit is a compilation of study guides and exam questions to be used in the preparation for a  cumulative midterm exam covering units 1-6.  

Unit 8 – The Fifties 

This unit explores the aftermath of World War II, beginning with demobilization and its  economic impacts on the United States, the G.I. Bill, the baby boom, the Taft-Hartley Bill, and  Truman’s domestic policy initiatives and the 1948 election. This unit continues with an  examination of migratory patterns inside and outside the United States, the rise of suburbs, the  car culture and its related or “sister” industries, the rise of the service sector and information  technologies, multinational corporations and franchises, the rise of labor unions, Eisenhower’s  domestic policy initiatives, the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, consumerism and worker productivity, the “ideal family” and Dr. Spock’s impact on child rearing, the religious awakening, the “Cutter Incident”, the impact of television, and the roots of  a new music – “rock-and-roll”. This unit concludes with an examination of non-conformists who  rejected materialism and conformity of the fifties culture, including Beatniks, poets and authors,  artists, and feminists. The plight of inner cities, the Appalachian region, the Mississippi Delta,  Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and native Americans is studied, revealing an ugly underside of  America – oftentimes referred to as the “other America”.  

Unit 9 – The Sixties: JFK & LBJ Domestic Politics 

This unit examines Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson and their respective  domestic policy initiatives, including Kennedy’s New Frontier and Johnson’s Great Society. The  Equal Pay Act, the “Freedom Rides”, the desegregation of the University of Mississippi, and his  proposal of the most sweeping civil rights legislation in American history are among the topics covered in the JFK lesson. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the War on Poverty, Medicare and  Medicaid, the Elementary & Secondary Education Act, immigration and environmental policies,  and the Warren Court are among the topics examined in the LBJ lesson.  

Unit 10 – Civil Rights 

This unit studies the civil rights movement in the United States. It examines landmark court  cases such as Plessy vs. Ferguson, which codified racial segregation into law, and Brown vs.  Board of Education, which challenged racial segregation. The impact of World War II on civil  rights is explored, discussing how African American soldiers’ experiences influenced the fight for  equality. This unit delves into other civil rights court cases and highlights the contributions of  figures like Thurgood Marshall. It examines significant events like the Montgomery Bus Boycott  and the struggles in Little Rock and Birmingham. This unit also explores the expansion of civil  rights and the passing of laws aimed at promoting equality. It further examines the domestic civil  rights policies of Presidents JFK and Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Unit 11 – The Cold War

This unit explores the post-WW II beginning of the Cold War. It examines President Roosevelt’s  Four Freedoms speech and the shift of the USSR from ally to enemy. This unit delves into the  post-war international world, discussing the establishment of organizations like NATO and  SEATO. The Marshall Plan, aimed at aiding the economic recovery of war-torn Europe, is  examined. This unit also explores the Red Scare II, which involved heightened fears of  communism and the influence of Senator Joseph McCarthy. This unit focuses on the Chinese and  Korean civil wars and their implications for President Truman and the United States. It examines  Eisenhower-era events like the launch of Sputnik and the U-2 incident, highlighting their impact  on Cold War tensions. Also included in this unit is an examination of the Vietnam War and its  impacts on the United States. It examines the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tense standoff between the  United States and the Soviet Union. This unit also explores the impact of JFK’s assassination on  the nation, the world, and ultimately the Cold War. The Cold War map, NATO and SEATO’s  roles, and the United States’ involvement in Vietnam, including the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the  Living Room War, protests, and the transformative year of 1968 are also examined. Finally, this unit explores the end of the war and the concept of “peace with honor.” The importance of U.S.- USSR Cold War relations influences every aspect of this unit. 

Unit 12 – The Seventies 

This unit focuses on the various challenges and crises faced by the United States in the 1970s. It  examines the Nixon presidency – the ups and the downs. It examines the Watergate Scandal in  depth, digging much deeper into the backstory than the official narrative. It examines the energy  crisis and its effects on the economy. This unit delves into the domestic policy initiatives of  Presidents Ford and Carter. It explores nuclear disarmament policies, the nuclear freeze  movement, the “Me Generation”, and the crisis of confidence relating to Carter’s seeming  inability to solve domestic economic and/or foreign crises, setting the stage for a conservative  revolution and the Reagan Revolution in the eighties. 

Unit 13 – Modern-Day United States 

This unit explores various aspects of the late 20th century and the transition into the 21st century.  It examines the impact of drug abuse in the United States, as well as President George H.W.  Bush’s domestic policy initiatives. Middle East policy and its implications for the United States  are discussed, along with demographic changes in the 20th century. This unit delves into health  care and welfare reforms, technological advancements in the 1990s, and societal changes that  challenged the traditional nuclear family. It also explores President Bill Clinton’s domestic policy  initiatives. 

This unit focuses on the United States’ role in today’s global landscape. It examines U.S.-Mexico  relations and the complexities of immigration policies. This unit delves into the ongoing war on  terror and its impact on national security and foreign policy. It explores the economic crisis that  affected the nation. Additionally, this unit examines the impact of immigration policies on  society and the role of women in 21st-century America. Finally, it explores international conflicts  and their implications for the United States. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and  Donald J. Trump are studied, focusing on their policy initiatives – both foreign and domestic. In conclusion, the controversies of the Covid-19 pandemic and the election of 2020 are examined,  presenting them as cause-and-effect events – the former causing the latter.  

Unit 14 – The Constitution 

This unit is a study of the US Constitution, examining the 5 compromises, 6 big ideas, 6  purposes, and 27 amendments. This unit is preparation for the state-mandated civics test that US  History students are required to take and pass. The Constitution content is supplemented by flash  cards that accompany the US Civics Test. At the conclusion of this unit, students will be able to successfully complete the civics portion of the state requirement.  

Unit 15 – Random History Essays 

This unit is a collection of short essays and research papers prepared by Mr. Jones on a variety of  history topics. Topics are random in nature and intended to serve as additional resource  materials, complimenting this and other history-related coursework for interested students. 

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