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High School — Social Studies

The study of history goes beyond memorizing dates and facts. It involves making connections with students' lives today. We study history to make sense of our past, to make better informed decisions in our present and to make predictions about the future.

Students at this level should be able to recognize cause-and-effect relationships of historical events. They should understand that the roots of one historical time period are often found in the enduring effects of the preceding period. Students should be able to identify with the conditions and ways of thinking of different eras. To that end, they should connect the history and the literature of a distinct time period. The aim is to have students feel a connection between history and their own lives.

Ohio's Academic Content Standards establish the following expectations for student performance in the area of History. Students must be able to explain and identify patterns in the following content areas:

  • The Enlightenment;
  • Industrialization;
  • Imperialism;
  • 20th Century Conflict;
  • The United States in the 20th Century.

The content in this Teaching Tool is based on Ohio's Academic Content Standards: K-12 Social Studies and includes types of questions asked on the Ohio Graduation Test. While various activities are suggested for working with students, this Teaching Tool is designed to complement a rigorous, research-based curriculum, not to substitute for one.


1. History

Click on the following benchmarks for more information and for links to annotated OGT items.


Benchmark A: Explain connections between the ideas of the Enlightenment and changes in the relationships between citizens and their governments.

Benchmark A: Explain connections between the ideas of the Enlightenment and changes in the relationships between citizens and their governments.

The Enlightenment was a time of revolutionary ideas in politics, economics and religion around the world. The Enlightenment period is generally thought to have occurred between 1700 and 1800 in Europe, and it overlaps with an earlier time period known as the Age of Reason.

Identify influential individuals and connect their important ideas -- Enlightenment philosophers and scientists inspired change across the world. Students can identify key figures and connect each figure with an Enlightenment idea that influenced others. Influential individuals in the years leading up to and including the Enlightenment include:

  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679);
  • John Locke (1632-1704);
  • Isaac Newton (1642-1727);
  • Montesquieu (1689-1755);
  • Voltaire (1694-1778);
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778);
  • Adam Smith (1723-1790).

Enlightenment thinkers influenced one another and shaped many future events. Students can trace how one thinker influenced another thinker's work or how one thinker's ideas led to future ideas and societal developments. For example:

Sir Isaac Newton's use of observations and predictions created a scientific method, which suggested that an individual's observations were significant and could lead to change. This new way of thinking caused philosophers and religious scholars to question a divine source of power, and led to greater trust in the experiences of individuals themselves. Newton's practice of applying Natural Law to explain the physical universe became a seed of Enlightenment ideals. Locke and Voltaire in particular applied Natural Law to their political theories, and Adam Smith used the concept in the formation of his economic theories.

One big idea can start a chain of smaller, more specific ones. For example, philosophical thought during the Enlightenment led directly to changes in religion and government in Europe. Students can focus on the big ideas by asking, "What really matters?" For example, divide students into groups and have them discuss different Enlightenment ideas that influenced the French or American Revolution. Discuss the ways in which Enlightenment ideals played out in real-world government practices.

Help students understand the enduring effects of the Enlightenment by classifying and generalizing the changes that occurred -- Students can classify the changes that occurred by organizing them into the following groups:

  • Political Changes:
    1. A belief in the importance of examining all systems, including government;
    2. More calls for changes in government;
    3. A shift from a dynastic form of government that passed from family member to family member, to systems of government in which those governed had some voice in choosing those who governed them.
  • Economic Changes:
    1. A more dynamic economic system, with more wealth earned and created, rather than inherited;
    2. A greater role for education in improving one's economic position;
    3. A growing belief that natural laws could define an economic system;
    4. A growing belief in a "free market" economy with limited government regulation.
  • Changes in Religious Authority:
    1. A shift from the perception that truth is revealed solely through the Bible and the Church to the perception that truth could be learned through experience and investigation;
    2. Rejection of many of the Church's doctrines;
    3. An increased focus on earthly as well as spiritual welfare.
  • Changes in Absolutism and Government:
    1. A shift from forms of government in which power is held by only one or few individuals to forms of government in which many have a say, both directly and indirectly;
    2. Emergence of parliamentary forms of government and government by elected groups.

Students can generalize about the changes that occurred. For example, students should notice that in both religion and government, accepted theories were questioned.

Help students understand how Enlightenment ideals led to other historical events -- The American Revolution, the French Revolution and the Latin American wars for independence were all made possible by the chain of political, economic and social change during the Enlightenment.

Consider the Enlightenment's roots -- Students can use a graphic organizer to trace connections between the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, the American Revolution and the Latin American wars for independence.

Click here for an annotated item from the 2005 Ohio Graduation Test that addresses this benchmark.


Benchmark B: Explain the social, political and economic effects of industrialization.

Benchmark B: Explain the social, political and economic effects of industrialization.

The Industrial Revolution transformed Europe and North America in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Economies based on manual labor became dominated by industry and machine manufacture. Developments in agriculture, transportation and communication created a lasting impact on the way world cultures interacted, and lifestyles changed dramatically. Discuss with students the roots of the Industrial Revolution and how the Industrial Revolution changed the way that people lived.

Europe: Consider life before the Industrial Revolution - In Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution, people's lives were directly tied to agriculture and manipulating animals and crops for food, clothing and other necessary resources. People created goods in their own homes for their own use. Through the growth of "cottage industry," individuals created usable products in their homes, which could be sold to others. These products were sometimes shipped to other markets. In this system, work was done by hand, and the process was laborious and slow. Under these pre-industrial conditions, the creation of products and services was home-based, rather than factory-based.

Consider the following strategies when discussing life in Europe prior to the Industrial Revolution:

  1. Place yourself in history -- Have students outline what a man, woman or child's day was like under pre-industrial conditions. Have students keep their descriptions, and repeat the activity at the end of the unit.
  2. Identify the impact of industrial developments -- Have students research the technological developments that enabled the transition from cottage industries to factory-based industries. Some of these developments are listed below:
    • The development of steam power;
    • Machine tools;
    • Textile mills;
    • Iron smelting;
    • Mechanized farming;
    • Improvements in communication;
    • Improvements in transportation.
  3. Problem-based inquiry -- Help students understand why factories were built close to rivers, and how these factories led to the growth of cities. Put students in the role of factory owners. What resources did textile mills need? Then have them determine a location for a textile mill based on the proximity of those resources. Have students answer some of these questions:
    • Where are the workers coming from?
    • Where are the resources coming from?
    • How can the town be maintained with the least amount of money?
    • What will happen to the town if more factories or mills develop there?
  4. Help students recognize that the cities became overcrowded and living conditions grew terrible. The development of agricultural machinery also led to displaced farm workers who had to migrate to cities to look for factory work. Women and children provided the bulk of the labor force in many industries, since they could be paid less then men. Unemployment became a significant problem. Examples of affected factory towns that students can research include: Bradford and Coalbrookdale in England.

Analyze the effects of industrialization

Migration -- Students can consider possible effects of the migration that occurred with the rise of cities:

  • Migration of people from rural to urban environments;
  • Migration from familiar towns and areas to cities in unfamiliar regions;
  • Migration to new countries to find job opportunities or opportunities for wealth.

Ask students what conclusions they can draw about the effects of migration.

Trace other effects of the Industrial Revolution through a chain of events:

  • Cause: Advances in technology led to steam-powered travel.
  • Effect: People were able to travel more easily, communicate more quickly and reach a larger audience.
  • Further effect: Industrialization spread across the world, particularly in North America.

Effects of industrialization in the United States in the 19th century -- Build on the discussion and strategies presented to help students understand the impact of industrialization on daily life in Europe, to make connections to industrialization in the United States. Students can compare the Industrial Revolution in Europe and the Industrial Revolution in the United States. From these comparisons they can draw conclusions.

  • Similarities:
    1. Similar shift in the economies from a predominance of agricultural workers to a predominance of factory workers;
    2. Similar shift from rural living to urban living, with more people living in crowded and unsanitary conditions;
    3. Similar trends for factory owners to employ women and children.
  • Differences:
    1. The rise of immigration in the United States meant more unskilled adult workers competing for similar positions;
    2. Greater supply of natural resources used for manufacturing in the United States.

Drawing conclusions:

  • In the United States as in Europe, industrialization caused a shift from rural to urban living. This typically led to crowded and unsanitary conditions for the working classes.

Students can draw their own conclusions about what life was like as the U.S. experienced industrialization. Students can consider what they know about industrialization in Europe and how it changed living conditions. Have students answer the following questions:

  • What kinds of jobs were available in the cities?
  • What skills were required for those jobs?
  • What were living conditions like for those who moved to the cities?

Understand the modernization of agriculture -- As agriculture modernized and the production of goods increased, peasant farmers were squeezed off their land and migrated to cities to look for work.

Students can identify and explain how the following developments in technology led to the modernization of agriculture and promoted industrialization. These included:

  • Initially: seed drills, threshers, reapers, plows;
  • Eventually: machine harvesters, binding machines and the combine;
  • Plant breeding;
  • Fertilizers and pesticides;
  • The enclosure movement.

Understand urbanization -- As in Europe, industrialization led to the growth of cities in the United States. Students can identify some of the social effects that these changes created.

  • The population of cities swelled.
  • New modes of transportation allowed goods and people to travel around cities more rapidly.
  • New technologies allowed for motivated individuals to create their own factories.
  • Factory owners made enough money to escape the poor conditions of the cities;
  • Increase in crime in urban areas, development of gangs;
  • Unhealthy living conditions in urban areas (i.e. sanitation problems, dumbbell tenements, fire safety, etc.);
  • As they left the close-knitted environment of rural life, people sought connections in urban communities by living in ethnic neighborhoods, gathering on stoops and meeting in local taverns.

Recognize the changes that led to the rise of the middle class -- As cities grew more crowded, factory owners and others who grew wealthy from industrialization began building homes on larger plots of land outside of cities. Middle class developments included recreational areas of yards or communal green spaces. Middle class families demanded more publicly funded schools and educational programs. As you discuss how new cultural institutions improved the lives of middle class citizens, ask students to trace the demographic shifts and changes in settlement patterns of pre-industrial urban areas versus post-industrial urban areas. In the context of this class discussion, provide an explanation for these changes.

Generalize and infer -- Students can make generalizations about the social effects of industrialization in the United States. They can use these generalizations to make inferences. For example, students can make the generalization that middle class families avoided the hardships of city living by moving outside the crowded cities. They might infer that life for the working class grew harder while life for the middle class improved.

The impact of industrialization and the modern corporation in the United States -- Industrialization in the United States led to changes in businesses and the growth of organized labor. One of the changes in business was the rise of the modern corporation.

Define the terms -- Have students define the terms connected with the rise of corporations, and explain why they had an impact on the further industrialization and development of U.S. history. Ask students to explain the causes and effects behind these new types of business arrangements.

  • Corporation -- A business partnership that exists distinct from the individuals who control it. Losses and liabilities of the corporation are largely restricted to the money the individuals invest in it. The corporation allowed a small group of people to create a large-scale business, from the acquisition of raw materials to the processing of these materials into final products. Corporations sell certificates representing ownership shares of the company. These sales help finance the growth of the business.
  • Trusts -- In a trust a small group of business people acquire enough shares of competing firms within an industry to control those firms, essentially creating a single firm. This allows the trust to control prices and more effectively shut out competition. An example is John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Trust, founded in 1882.
  • Monopoly -- An organization of businesses in which a single seller or producer supplies a commodity or a service. Monopolies limit the amount of free competition by exerting control over specific markets. As monopolies--again like John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil--hindered industrial competition, the U.S. government stepped in attempt to break them up.
  • Laissez-faire policies -- Those who advocated for laissez-faire policies felt that the government shouldn't regulate economies because that could interfere with the industrialists' desire to expand their industries and maximize their profits. Others felt that the government should regulate the rising big business economy to prevent monopolies from controlling a market or to prevent business owners from abusing the rights of their workers.

Consider the results -- Have students consider how people were affected by these industrial developments. How did industrialization influence the standard of living for the different emerging classes? Who benefited from the rise of corporations? Why did they benefit, and to what extent did they benefit? Who did not? Why did they not benefit, and to what extent?

The rise and growth of labor organizations in the United States -- As a result of the changing nature of work, some members of the working class formed labor organizations to protect their rights. Consider the social and economic factors that led to the rise of the labor movement, including unregulated working conditions, unregulated wages, and unregulated terms of employment. .

Social and Economic Factors including:
  • Creation of a working class;
  • Low wages;
  • Difficult, dangerous work;
  • Inability to improve living conditions.
Rise of the labor movement

Know some examples -- For examples of labor organizations, students can research specific organizations such as:

  • Knights of Labor;
  • American Federation of Labor;
  • Congress of Industrial Organizations;
  • International Workers of the World;
  • United Mine Workers of America.

For each labor organization, students can answer the following questions:

  • Under what conditions did each union emerge?
  • What group of workers did the union represent?
  • What specific changes did each seek to achieve?
  • How were the practices of each union different?
  • Which demands made by this union were achieved?
  • How did the government respond to this union?

Tie students' study of labor organizations to the struggles that the unions faced in the business world. When discussing the Haymarket Riot, the Great Railroad Strike, the Pullman Strike or the Homestead Strike, compare and contrast these events and draw conclusions as to how and why each of them failed. Discuss specific examples of violence against and among strikers.

The growth of Populism and Progressivism as a response to industrialization -- As industrialization altered the way Americans lived and worked, the working class grew and the conditions under which they lived worsened. Organized movements developed in response to the conditions that the working class experienced. These groups were also a response to the failure of 19th century labor unions to make lasting gains. The progressive movement ushered in a number of reforms between the 1890s and the 1920s.

Identify key terms -- Help students isolate the important terms, reforms and key individuals:

  • Populism -- The populist movement was an agrarian reform movement. It supported farmers who suffered from policies that benefited big business, such as lack of regulation of the railroads, reliance on "hard-money" policy/the gold standard, indirect election of Senators and monopolies of communication and transportation systems.
  • Progressivism -- The progressive movement was a combination of efforts to limit big business's influence on the government and to wipe out political corruption. Like populists, progressives sought to give more democratic power to--and improve working conditions for--the working class.
  • Muckrakers -- The term "muckrakers" was given to the group of journalists who exposed the political corruption and social injustices that existed. Their work caused many middle class citizens to participate in the progressive movement. Explore the literature of the muckrakers, including the exposes of Ida Tarbell or Lincoln Steffans or the novel The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.

Know key reforms of the era -- Students can research important reforms of the era such as the following:

  • Pure Food and Drug Act;
  • Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (introduction of the income tax);
  • Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (direct election of U.S. senators by vote of the people);
  • Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914;
  • Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914;
  • Regulation of child labor;
  • Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (introduction of Prohibition);
  • Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (extending suffrage to women);
  • Conservation legislation.

Know the important individuals -- Students can research the important individuals of the era and their contributions to the changes that were made:

  • Jane Addams;
  • John Dewey;
  • W. E. B. Du Bois;
  • Ida Tarbell;
  • Jacob Riis;
  • Upton Sinclair;
  • Booker T. Washington;
  • Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson.

Students should be encouraged to compare and contrast the progressive philosophies and the progressive legislation sponsored by these presidents.

Click here for an annotated item from the 2005 Ohio Graduation Test that addresses this benchmark.


Benchmark C: Analyze the reasons that countries gained control of territory through imperialism and the impact on people living in the territory that was controlled.

Benchmark C: Analyze the reasons that countries gained control of territory through imperialism and the impact on people living in the territory that was controlled.

By the late 19th century, many European nations extended their control over other lands and created "empires." Analyze what happened, considering the motives behind these developments by discussion of what students know about Europe economically, politically and socially in the 1800s. As you explore why European nations sought to expand their control of foreign lands, help students classify the motivations as economic, political or social.

  • Economic -- Tied to capitalism: The need for new markets, the need for raw materials (especially true for the British Empire)
  • Political -- The need to compete for power, security and diplomatic advantage (especially true for France after its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War)
  • Social -- Cultural or religious beliefs encouraged imperialism to enable missionary activity. Britain was motivated by what it considered "the white man's burden" to civilize those whom they saw as "backward" peoples.

To understand how this period of imperialism set the stage for later historical events, students must understand the dramatic differences in viewpoints that existed between the European colonizers and those individuals they colonized. In order to do this, have students take on the perspectives of either the colonizers or the indigenous peoples after reading primary source material (i.e., journals, letters, etc.) from both parties. Have them consider the effects of imperialism on:

  • Indigenous language;
  • Natural resources;
  • Labor;
  • Political systems;
  • Religion.

Students can do this twice, so that they can explore both viewpoints.

Reflect and consider the consequences -- After students have considered the different viewpoints of colonizers and the indigenous peoples, they can reflect by answering questions and explaining their answers:

  • Which was harder to get a perspective on, the colonizer's viewpoint or the viewpoint of those who were colonized? Why?
  • Which of the aspects you considered led to the most critical conflicts? Why?
  • What are some of the consequences of the different opinions of the colonizers and the indigenous peoples?

Scholars of imperialism recognize that the reasons behind the increase in imperialism in the late 19th century and the contact it created had definite impacts on the countries of contact. We bring our own viewpoints to these changes, and some may argue that while many of the changes were undeniably harmful to native peoples, other changes may have improved the lives of many.

Analyze examples -- Students can study the global impact of imperialism by considering the following examples:

Modernization of Japan

Understand how:

  • Foreign intervention in Japan threatened and weakened the existing shogunate government.
  • Foreign intervention allowed for the Meiji (Japanese imperial) Restoration, which unified feudal Japanese provinces and sought to create a more modern government by giving some democratic rights to citizens through the creation of a legislature and a constitution.
  • The Meiji Restoration brought economic reforms.
  • Diplomatic ties allowed for Meiji scholars to travel to Western countries and bring new technologies back to Japan, modernizing the country through industrialization.
  • Modernization allowed Japan itself to become an imperial power through the annexation of Korea.

Political and social reform in China

Understand how:

  • Foreign intervention and competition for markets in China threatened the traditional dynastic government. The outbreak of the Opium Wars also weakened Chinese military strength.
  • Opposition forces within China took advantage of the weakened dynasty--though most continued to oppose foreign intervention--and advocated for more democratic forms of government.
  • Eventually under the leadership of Sun Yat-Sen, the imperial Chinese government toppled and a republic was founded.

Exploitation of African resources

Understand how:

  • Foreign powers like the British, French and the Dutch had been invading Africa for many centuries.
  • The greatest example of African exploitation was the exploitation of its people for the transatlantic slave trade.
  • The Gold Coast became a highly contested area of Africa (for control of the gold trade) in the mid to late 1800s and was ultimately dominated by the British.
  • Ivory, cotton, rubber, copper and palm kernels were traded to Europeans in exchange for manufactured goods.
  • The "scramble for Africa" by European nations eager to spread their colonial power was a turning point after which Africans lost political power.

As students explore the Modernization of Japan, political and social reform in China, and exploration of African resources, consider the impact these global changes had on the daily lives of individual's living in these nations. Shift the focus of the discussion from the country to the people living there. For example, ask students to write an account from the perspective of a person living during Japan's Meiji Restoration, under China's Sun Yat-Sen, or in the midst of the African slave trade.

Draw conclusions and think ahead -- Have students draw conclusions about the global impact of imperialism. Who benefited? Who suffered? How was the stage being set for the emergence of worldwide conflict that caused World War I?

Tracing the development of the United States as a world power -- In the late 1800s the United States embarked on imperialist drives of its own. American business leaders wanted foreign markets for their goods and felt they were increasingly losing out to European colonial powers. They sought to gain control of new markets before they were lost to other powers. In addition, the U.S. sought to extend its power and prestige by joining other imperial powers.

Identify U.S. involvement in foreign lands -- Through the Spanish-American War, the United States became involved with aiding Cuba in overthrowing imperial Spanish government. Results of the war and events that followed led to U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. Cuba became a protectorate of the U.S. Other foreign occupations included the annexation of Hawaii.

When discussing occupied territories, ask students to analyze the U.S. goals in acquiring the territory, the methods used to acquire territory, the results of these efforts and the impact on the indigenous residents of the area.

Draw conclusions -- Students can conclude that by occupying, protecting and annexing foreign lands, the U.S. was joining European nations in becoming an imperialist power. They can also draw other conclusions about the U.S. role in worldwide imperialism. Students can ask:

  • Why would the United States get involved in an armed conflict with Spain over unrest in Cuba?
  • How did involvement in a war with Spain lead to U.S. occupation of Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines?
  • How did the Filipinos react to U.S. involvement in their affairs?
  • How did the U.S. benefit from annexing Hawaii and from acquiring Cuba as a protectorate?
  • How did the people of these lands benefit or not from their interactions with the U.S.?
  • What positive and negative changes did the U.S. make on the lives of the people in each of the following territories: Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hawaii, Philippines and Guam?

Click here for an annotated item from the 2005 Ohio Graduation Test that addresses this benchmark.


Benchmark D: Connect developments related to World War I with the onset of World War II.

Benchmark D: Connect developments related to World War I with the onset of World War II.

When World War I came to an end on November 11, 1918, the Central Powers were defeated and the political and social organizations of Europe were forever changed. Students can analyze the impact of the following results of World War I by completing the following chart:

Learn the DetailsUnderstand their ConsequencesDraw Conclusions
The German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman empires collapsed.Their former lands were carved up into new areas.Newly created states and nations would emerge into the world's geopolitical struggles.
The Bolshevik Revolution started in Russia.This ushered in the ideology of state-sponsored communism. 
Germany had to pay immense war reparations.The cost of the war undermined the financial stability of all of the countries involved, particularly Germany. 
Financial losses, battlefield deaths and the destruction of towns, cities and infrastructure. Weakened European powers. 
Battlefield weapons like the machine gun, poison gas, hand grenade and the tank increased the destructive power of war forever.The psychological trauma of surviving soldiers was unprecedented. 
The League of Nations was created.This was an attempt to prevent future conflicts. 
Women entered the workforce to replace men in battle.Women and men faced changing roles. 

Reflect on long-term social effects

  • Artistic works reflected increasing pessimism as those nations who regarded themselves as the most highly civilized societies on Earth slaughtered each other;
  • Psychologists and social scientists studied human aggression to explain the violence.

Have students reflect on how their lives might have changed by the end of the war had they been teenagers at the start of the war.

Connections between World War I and worldwide depression -- Students can trace the connections between the aftermath of World War I and the depression that faced the world in the decades that followed. Ask students to think about each of these elements and draw conclusions about how they might have contributed to a worldwide depression.

  • European countries involved in the war had to pay for the costs of the war through citizen taxes or loans from foreign lenders.
  • Germany had to pay for rebuilding not only its own infrastructure, but also that of other European nations through the war reparations provision of the peace treaty.
  • Newly created Soviet Russia refused to acknowledge any war debt, and thus wiped out the investments that foreign contributors hoped to see returned.
  • New nations created out of the defunct Austro-Hungarian empire weren't given an opportunity to succeed economically: their access to markets that the empire had provided was gone, as was their access to raw materials and resources.
  • Colonies acquired by the dominant European powers resented having to contribute to the war debt for a war that wasn't necessarily fought on their lands. Moreover, they were disappointed by the failure to accomplish self-determination via the Paris Peace Accords. As a result, many of these colonies protested against their dominant powers.

Connections between the troubles facing world nations and the rise of totalitarianism -- Facing economic troubles, some countries found themselves easy prey to nationalistic and militaristic political parties that were quick to point out the failures of the democratic governments in creating economic success. Totalitarian regimes found wide bases of support in several countries. The emergent regimes were:

  • Fascist dictatorship in Italy under Benito Mussolini (1922);
  • Nazi dictatorship in Germany under Adolf Hitler (1933);
  • Militaristic imperialism in Manchuria under the Japanese (beginning in 1932).

Students can research the connections between a dissatisfied populace and the rise of such regimes by asking:

  • Why was the populace dissatisfied?
  • What was the appeal of the regime?
  • To whom did the regime appeal?

Just as there were several underlying causes of World War I, students must understand the factors emerging after the Paris Peace Conference that combined to create the conditions leading to World War II.

Students can define the factors leading up to World War II:

  • Appeasement -- the term given to explain the attitude of Britain and France toward the advancing German aggressions in Czechoslovakia in 1938. In order to avoid more direct conflict with the increasingly militaristic Germany, Britain urged Czechoslovakia to accept German invasion with the Munich Pact of 1938. This attitude of advocating compromise with Germany was known as appeasement.
  • Axis expansion -- ignoring conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany rebuilt its air force and reintroduced conscription, offering support to the right-wing rebels in the Spanish Civil War. Germany was joined in these efforts by Mussolini's Italy. Finally, treaties with Japan led to the creation of the Rome-Tokyo-Berlin Axis, collectively known as the Axis.
  • The role of the Allies -- at first the Allies, in the form of Britain and France, supported a policy of appeasement of Germany. As Germany threatened Poland, however, both France and Britain pledged support if Germany invaded. Since the Allies initially ignored Stalin's offer to support Czechoslovakia, they lost the support of the Soviet Union, and Stalin accepted an offer to remain neutral in exchange for access to bordering lands.

Knowing these terms, have students research and debate their roles in leading to the outbreak of all-out war across Europe.

Help students understand that following World War I, the United States emerged as a growing world power.

Understand President Wilson's Fourteen Points as an influence on the Paris Peace Conference -- In addition to calling for changes to specific boundaries based on the principle of self-determination, the Fourteen Points called for:

  • Abolishing secret diplomacy;
  • Guaranteeing freedom of the seas;
  • Removing international trade barriers;
  • Reducing arms;
  • Considering the interests of colonized peoples;
  • The creation of the League of Nations to arbitrate disputes between nations.

Examine the Paris Peace Conference -- Students can study the decisions of the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles for the impact that these decisions had on Europe. Students can learn the details of the Treaty and draw inferences, or educated guesses, about the consequences of these details. Details to identify and study include:

  • The individual goals of the British, French and American delegates in disarming Germany;
  • The relinquishing of German lands like Alsace-Lorraine, Gdansk and the Polish Corridor (pre-war European territories), and the colonies of the former German empire;
  • The ability of Germany to maintain control over its industrial territories;
  • Forcing Germany to accept responsibility for the war and to pay the cost of repairing wartime damage;
  • The rejection of the treaty by the United States, forcing England and France to enforce the peace provisions on their own.

Understand the impact of the Treaty of Versailles and the refusal of the United States to participate in the League of Nations -- As students learn the facts about the Paris Peace Conference and the Treaty of Versailles, ask students to connect what they know about Wilson's Fourteen Points and how they were received by the other world powers.

Then have them create and defend an opinion: given the rejection of many of his points and the Senate's demand for compromise, would they do as President Wilson did? Would they reject the opportunity to join a limited League of Nations, or would they compromise and accept what was being offered?

Ask students to consider the impact of not joining the League. Have students especially consider the contradictory demonstrations of leadership in the world venue of World War I, and the failure of the U.S. to participate in world diplomatic arenas.

As the United States emerged from World War I as a world power, it enjoyed a success that its European allies could not. While European countries were forced to concentrate their resources on rebuilding their countries and lost lands as a result of the War, the United States was free to enjoy new markets in its own territories overseas without the burden of rebuilding a nation torn by war. The United States experienced a period of boom and bust: a period of successful advances in industry and economic boom followed by the Great Depression in which many lost all their savings and struggled to subsist. As Europe and other regions of the world entered into a new war, Americans hoped to remain neutral and concentrate on rebuilding their economically devastated country. But the United States shifted from a policy of isolationism to one of international involvement, eventually joining European allies in fighting Axis powers during World War II.

Understand the change in U.S. foreign policy from one of isolationism to one of international involvement -- Students can understand the factors involved in this change by identifying important historical markers of foreign policy:

  • Roosevelt's policies of isolationism: recognizing the USSR in 1933, the Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America, the neutrality acts passed in 1935 and 1936 to keep the U.S. out of European conflicts;
  • U.S. public opinion opposed the fascist dictator Franco in Spain, who was supported by Hitler and Mussolini in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39);
  • Japan's invasion of China and creation of Manchuria (1937);
  • Roosevelt delivered the "Quarantine Speech" which makes clear his opposition to aggression while still keeping his antiwar political opponents at bay (October 1937);
  • Hitler's annexation of Austria and seizing of Czechoslovakia (1938);
  • Hitler and Stalin signing a nonaggression pact (1939);
  • Hitler's invasion of Poland and the resulting outbreak of war in Europe (1939);
  • Roosevelt called a special session of Congress to revise the Neutrality Acts and offer the "cash and carry" plan (1939);
  • Germany conquered France and then bombed Britain (June 1940);
  • Roosevelt asked Congress for more funds to support national defense, and Congress also began the first peacetime military draft (June 1940);
  • Roosevelt skirts the Neutrality Act with the "Destroyers for Bases" agreement giving 50 destroyers to Britain and Canada in exchange for base rights in the British Caribbean islands (August 1940);
  • Roosevelt and Winston Churchill announced the Atlantic Charter, which set forth Allied goals for World War II and the postwar period (1941);
  • The Lend-Lease agreement began direct military and economic aid to Britain (March 1941);
  • Japan bombed a U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor and an American military base in the Philippines (December 7, 1941);
  • The U.S. first declared war on Japan, not Germany (December 8, 1941);
  • Germany declared war on the United States;
  • The U.S. found itself committed to fighting the Axis powers as an ally of Britain and France.

Drawing Conclusions

Have students reflect on the historical markers above -- Students can generalize and infer which events seemed to make Roosevelt react with changes in his isolationist policies. They can then go on to draw conclusions about the kind of action he took.

Students can ask:

  • Why might Roosevelt have been hesitant to get involved in the deepening conflict in Europe?
  • What kind of action was Roosevelt willing to take in response to increasing German aggression in Europe?
  • Which events seemed to push Roosevelt to want to get more involved in the conflict in Europe?
  • What did it take for Roosevelt to decisively get involved in the war?

Click here for an annotated item from the 2005 Ohio Graduation Test that addresses this benchmark.


Benchmark E: Analyze connections between World War II, the Cold War and contemporary conflicts.

Benchmark E: Analyze connections between World War II, the Cold War and contemporary conflicts.

Help students understand the human loss in World War II by first identifying and summarizing the events and developments associated with the war. Students can investigate the factors that had an impact on both civilian and military losses as a direct result of the war:

  • Atomic weapons: Students can investigate the motivations, military and political, of Truman's decision to use atomic weapons in bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the impact in terms of lives lost and long-term health risks.
  • Civilian and military losses: Students can investigate the data supporting the 55 million deaths attributed to the war including 25 million in the military and 30 million civilians.
  • The Holocaust and its impact: Students can investigate the 5.6 to 5.9 million deaths of Jews in Europe in the Holocaust. They can research how Nazi Germany almost completely wiped out Jews in Europe, and the psychological impact this had on the Jewish people. They can learn about the Holocaust as the worst genocide in history, how the Holocaust led to international laws against human rights violations, and the creation of the state of Israel.

Step back and reflect -- Help students make sense of the Holocaust and of the other events that caused a stunning loss of life. On the one hand, we want students to understand the grave impact these events had on the world, yet on the other hand we must help them deal with the ways in which this understanding affects us as human beings. A good way to help students reflect on these and other tragic events is to connect the historical understanding with a personal understanding. Many books and movies present personal struggles for survival and moving stories of courage. Some titles include

  • I Lived a Thousand Years: Growing up in the Holocaust, by Livia Bitton-Jackson;
  • Night, by Elie Wiesel;
  • We are Witnesses: Five Diaries of Teenagers Who Died in the Holocaust, by Jacob Boas.

Check out your libraries for more titles to open up class discussion.

Problem-solve -- Help students understand other enduring effects of World War II by identifying the following problems that occurred and having them decide the best actions to be taken. In order to problem-solve, have students identify the elements in the following chart that could lead them to a better understanding of the actions that were ultimately taken:

Problem Solving: The Consequences of World War II

ProblemExplain the ProblemIdentify who should take responsibilityIdentify a possible course of actionIdentify what was actually decidedDetermine your opinion: Was this the best course of action? Why or why not?
Refugees and poverty at the end of World War II   Repatriation of displaced persons, creation of new states and homelands 
Great global insecurity about future political and military threats from hostile nations   Creation of the United Nations 

Through class discussions students can consider the long-term effects that each of these events had on 20th century history.

As with the end of World War I, the end of World War II again saw Europe trying to rebuild while the United States could again focus on strengthening its economy and its worldwide markets. Two major powers emerged from the aftermath of World War II: The United States and its capitalist economy, and the Soviet Union and its communist system. The two powers and their allies represented forces locked in an ideological clash known as the Cold War. Soon after the Cold War began, the two powers aimed to control ever-growing spheres of influence as protection from each other.

Analyze each of the following policies and conflicts, considering how each intensified the expansion of the Cold War. As students identify U.S. foreign policy for each situation, have them ask, "How did this policy advance the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War?"

  • The Marshall Plan was the main strategy of the United States for the rebuilding of Europe, but Stalin saw this as a threat to the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites;
  • The Berlin Blockade represented the emergence of the Soviet sector of Germany and the blockading of Western nations from providing food and other resources to the Western-held sectors of Berlin;
  • The Truman Doctrine promised U.S. aid to help stabilize legal foreign governments threatened by revolutionary minorities and outside pressures;
  • The Korean War began in 1950 when communist North Korean forces invaded South Korea. President Truman reacted quickly, sending U.S. troops under General Douglas MacArthur to contain communist forces. The Korean War represented the threat that communist forces could pose on forces abroad and at home;
  • The Cuban Missile Crisis brought both powers to the brink of nuclear war, and both powers pulled back;
  • The Vietnam War emerged from the commitment of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to the forces of South Vietnam to end communism in North Vietnam.

Help students analyze the growing spheres of influence as the world emerged from the battles of World War II into the stalemate of the Cold War. Students can identify some of the events that moved the U.S. and the Soviet Union into its growing stalemate by considering the impact of each event below:

Historical Event Impact: How this event contributed to the stalemate between the U.S. and the Soviet Union
Soviet expansion in Eastern Europe This created a sphere of influence for the Soviet Union that stretched into lands bordering Western European, non-Soviet nations; expansion essentially created a dividing line between noncommunist Western Europe and Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe.
The division of Germany Gave Western European nations and the United States a small sphere of influence in Germany while also creating a Soviet sphere of influence; The division split Germans whether they wanted to be divided or not, and the border separating West Germany from East Germany became a militarized zone ready to be mobilized when one side took action.
The emergence of NATO and the Warsaw Pact NATO was an organization created for the purpose of providing defense to member nations. Original members included the United States, Canada and nine Western European countries. The Soviet Union responded to the rearming of Germany and its inclusion in NATO by forming its own military alliance, known as the Warsaw Pact (1955). It originally included the Soviet Union and seven Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe.
The Chinese communist revolution This event heightened the concern among Western nations that communism was spreading and had to be contained.

As the Cold War intensified, the independence movements in India, Indochina and Africa became part of the global arena for Cold War power plays. These countries were experiencing the aftereffects of colonialism and imperialism. The Cold War played a huge role in determining the success of the various independence movements as well as in supporting or denouncing the rise of dictatorships in former colonies. The Soviet Union and the U.S. got involved in these independence movements when it became advantageous for each nation to either advance its own sphere of influence or contain the other's.

Students can research the independence movements of colonies such as: Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the former Indochina, and the Republic of Congo and Nigeria in Africa. Students can determine why and how the U.S. or the Soviet Union became involved in such movements.

The fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War -- Help students understand the arms race that existed between America and the Soviet Union, and the leaders who played a role in it. Following World War II, the military industry worked to create more and more devastating weapons. Much of the world's science and technology industries were influenced by military needs. As the Soviet Union and the United States competed to create larger, more powerful weapons, the leaders of these nations eventually began to lose public support for their arms programs. In both nations military budgets exceeded the budgets for domestic social programs. The impact of the budget discrepancies was felt most strongly in the Soviet Union, where socialist economic policies led to economic hardship for many citizens. As a result, there was increasing public demand to curb the arms race.

The decline of the arms race combined with other factors to end the Cold War. Help students identify and understand factors such as:

  • Ethnic unrest in Soviet republics such as Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan;
  • Independence movements in former Soviet satellites like Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia;
  • Global decline in the economic influence of communism.

Regional and ethnic conflict in the post-Cold War era -- Centuries of migration and imperialism led to ethnically diverse populations in many parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the absence of a central authority to control ethnic and nationalist movements led to many violent conflicts.

Students can identify, research and draw conclusions about the regional conflicts and key developments that arose after the Cold War ended:

  • Civil war in Yugoslavia;
  • Ethnic cleansing;
  • Fighting in Kosovo;
  • Struggle in Indonesia;
  • Ethnic tensions in Myanmar;
  • Ongoing conflict over Kashmir;
  • Muslim extremism in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

Students can ask:

  • What was the role of the U.S. or the Soviet Union in these nations/lands during the Cold War?
  • What was the role of the U.S. or the Soviet Union in these nations following the end of the Cold War?

Students may infer that Cold War involvement from the U.S. and Soviet Union created unstable conditions in nations that were left in conflict when these superpowers withdrew their support.

During the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy sought to limit the influence of the Soviet Union around the world, leading to the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and diplomatic actions like the opening of China and the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It also sought to fill the vacuum left by the decline of Britain as a global power.

Click here for an annotated item from the 2005 Ohio Graduation Test that addresses this benchmark.


Benchmark F: Identify major historical patterns in the domestic affairs of the United States during the 20th century and explain their significance.

Benchmark F: Identify major historical patterns in the domestic affairs of the United States during the 20th century and explain their significance.

Students can classify the major developments of the 1920s into political, economic or social developments.


  • A wave of political agitation resulting in the Red Scare;
  • The spread of nativist sentiments resulting in anti-immigration restrictions and sentiments;
  • A favoring of conservative policies that supported big business.
  • Women's right to vote and further women's rights developments;


  • Mass production in the car industry;
  • Widespread availability of durable goods;
  • The struggles of unions against big business abuses;
  • Falling prices of American farm goods;
  • A pattern of mass consumerism;
  • The trend of buying on credit;
  • The trend of speculation and the stock market crash.


  • The growth of mass culture and mass advertising;
  • The flapper as the embodiment of the rise of the "modern women," the Jazz Age, and the age of consumerism;
  • Northward migrations of African Americans in search of work and the resulting cultural contributions such as the Harlem Renaissance literary movement;
  • Prohibition;
  • Revival of the Ku Klux Klan;
  • Loosening of morals, questioning of traditional mores;
  • Birth of organized crime.

Make generalizations -- In learning about these events, students can draw connections with these themes across political, economic, and social considerations. Have students generalize how a political development like anti-immigration sentiments might have fueled the resurgence and the scope of the Ku Klux Klan. They might connect the economic pattern of mass consumerism with the development of the flapper.

Draw conclusions -- Students can consider and explain how the conditions of the 1920s set the stage for the catastrophic effects of the Great Depression in 1929. They can generalize across these developments and infer which of these elements might be problematic. For example, when the trend of mass consumerism combined with falling prices for American farmers, many farmers bought consumer goods on credit, further weakening their economic position.

Understand the impact -- Help students identify and understand the impact of the effects of the Great Depression on the American people:

  • National unemployment reached 25 percent in 1933;
  • Anti-immigrant hostilities grew as competition for jobs increased;
  • There was a rise of shantytowns called "Hoovervilles" where the destitute slept;
  • The devastation of the Dust Bowl;
  • Changes in family life: depression of unemployed breadwinners, decline in marriage and birth rates, the rise in divorce rates;
  • Herbert Hoover believed that the government shouldn't intervene in private business matters, but when conditions worsened, he tried policies that increased government spending and encouraged businesses to maintain workers' wages. He hoped that consumers would maintain confidence in the economy and continue spending. Many of his critics viewed Hoover's efforts as "too little too late."

The pattern/trend that students should focus on is the concept of business cycles of contraction and expansion. Students should make connections between the causes behind periods of economic booms and causes behind periods of economic busts. They should be able to trace an economic cycle from boom to bust.

Outline key elements of the New Deal -- President Roosevelt's New Deal brought many new agencies and their policies into the lives of American citizens. Help students keep track of the important pieces of the New Deal by outlining:

  • Policies and measures of the "First Hundred Days" with the creation of:
    • The Public Works Administration;
    • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
    • The Tennessee Valley Authority;
  • The Second New Deal included:
    • The National Labor Relations Act (the Wagner Act) of July 5, 1935--resulting in growth of membership in unions comprising the American Federation of Labor;
    • Works Progress Administration (WPA)--which brought national unemployment relief;
    • National Youth Administration (NYA)--a WPA branch especially for the youth.

Students can consider the impact that each of these important elements had on the country.

Consider the enduring effects of the New Deal -- Help students identify and understand the legacies of the New Deal on the role of the government:

  • The New Deal gave the government unprecedented powers to intervene in the economy.
  • It presented the government as an institution that stands in protection of its citizens from destruction.
  • Also for the first time it was an example of a government that recognizes a level of subsistence beneath which citizens should not fall.

Students should be able to perceive how these changes, which were necessary to correct the lack of government assistance in the past, set the stage for the expanded role of the government in all areas (economic, military, and social) as the nation moved through the 20th century.

Understand the enduring patterns created by the impact of total mobilization on the home front:

  • Industrial mobilization and the ending of the Depression;
  • New opportunities for prosperity such as demands for increases in wartime production and the development of new technologies;
  • Renewed and increased participation of women in the labor force in the absence of men fighting the war;
  • Opportunities for African Americans in the job force at home and in the armed forces overseas;
  • Population movement toward cities where war industries were based;
  • An acceptance of hard work, cooperation and patriotism.

Have students predict the long-term pattern that would be established by each of the bulleted items above.

Understand the rise of struggles for racial equality -- Students can identify and explain the events involved in the struggles for racial equality at home. They can consider the frustrations of African Americans as they fought in the armed forces against the racist Nazis but returned home to racial discrimination in the workplace and segregation of recreational and social activities.

Students can trace the trend towards racial equality by considering the impact of key events during the early 1940s:

  • The meeting between A. Philip Randolph and President Roosevelt in 1941 where Randolph demanded equal employment for blacks working in industries under defense contracts;
  • Roosevelt's ban of racial discrimination in federal hiring practices and the creation of the Fair Employment Practices Commission;
  • The founding of the Congress of Racial Equality, 1942;
  • Detroit Race riots of 1943.

Consider facts and opinions -- Have students research the facts and opinions surrounding the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Once students have determined which information represents facts and which information represents opinions, students can draw their own conclusions about whether or not they think the government made the right decision in seeking the internment of these citizens.

Students should be asked to connect the treatment of the Japanese-Americans during WW II with the treatment of German-Americans during WW I and immigrants during the 1920s as a way to identify a pattern.

Identify factors influencing postwar prosperity. After World War II, the United States was considered to be the richest country in the world.

Students can identify and discuss such factors as:

  • Consumer demand for goods and services;
  • Foreign aid provided markets for American businesses;
  • Government spending through providing loans, fighting the Cold War and funding social programs.

Students should be asked to trace the patterns of business cycles in the US throughout the balance of the 20th century, to develop explanations for the causes behind these patterns, and to make recommendations to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board about these patterns.

Draw connections -- Help students identify what they know about Cold War hostilities and fears. Then have them investigate McCarthyism as a product of Cold War times.

  • Know who Joseph McCarthy was: A senator who led a campaign against suspected communist subversion in the 1950s, Senator McCarthy became known for his accusations of communist sympathies harbored by government employees, especially in the State Department. McCarthy was particularly active in these accusations as the chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The term McCarthyism describes the resulting intense anti-communist movement that existed between 1950 and 1956, especially that characterized by personal attacks, unsubstantiated charges and indiscriminate allegations.
    • Senator McCarthy called for investigating what he believed was the possibility that high-ranking officials were subverting the government and U.S. security with communist ideals.
  • Know his impact:
    • Took advantage of, and fueled anti-communist sentiment of the 1950s;
    • Threatened freedom of the press;
    • Threatened the civil liberties of those he accused in "witch hunts";
    • Fueled Cold War ideology.
  • Know his methodology: The evidence he used to accuse individuals as well as his methods for gaining that evidence were questionable.
  • Note historical parallels: Where do we see this pattern of political demagoguery in America's past or America's present?

Draw conclusions -- Help students identify what they know about Cold War hostilities and fears. Then have them investigate McCarthyism as a product of Cold War times. Students can ask:

  • Who were the people that Senator McCarthy typically suspected to be communists? What do these people have in common? Are these types of investigations similar to events in America's past?
  • Why might these people have been in a position to make Americans feel threatened by communist ideology?
  • What was the mindset of many Americans during McCarthyism regarding political views? Why might Americans have been vulnerable to suspecting their fellow citizens?
  • What were Senator McCarthy's true motives in investigating individuals in such a public manner? What were his goals? Were these goals necessary?
  • Who benefited from the era of McCarthyism? Who did not?
  • What was the impact of McCarthyism on the government's ability to fight the Cold War domestically?

Students can understand the movement of people and immigration patterns:

  • The McCarren-Walter Act of 1924 allowed religious and political beliefs to factor into admission into the United States--this was intended to prohibit communists;
  • Displaced Persons Act of 1948 allowed people left homeless after the war to come to the United States;
  • The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 expanded immigration quotas;
  • The number of immigrants coming to the United States skyrocketed, especially of those fleeing communist oppression; Cuban immigration after 1959 is another pattern to explore.
  • The 1965 Immigration Act brought an end to quotas based on national origin. One effect was expanded Asian and Latino immigration.

Make generalizations and infer -- Students can consider the factors listed above in the movement of people and immigration patterns of the 20th century. They can make generalizations across the factors and infer that Cold War sentiment led to a general fear of immigrants who might have political beliefs different from those of most Americans. At the same time, the number of immigrants arriving in the United States grew tremendously. Chart and discuss the pattern of these seemingly contradictory trends (an attempt to reduce certain groups of immigrants versus an overall increase in immigration to the United States).

Classify the developments of the space race -- In studying the creation of NASA as a civilian space program to compete with its Cold War opponent, the Soviet Union, students can group Soviet space travel events on one side of a chart, and U.S. space travel events on the other.

Soviet DevelopmentsU.S. Developments
  • Launching of the first satellite, Sputnik, in 1957;
  • Launching of the first astronaut, Yuri Gagarin, into orbit in 1958.
  • Launching of the Explorer satellite, 1958;
  • Launching of astronaut Alan Shepard in 1961;
  • Successfully orbiting astronaut John Glenn around the earth in 1962.

Draw conclusions -- Students should be able to recognize that according to the information in the above chart, the U.S. space program and their Soviet counterparts competed to make advances in space before the other nation. Students can ask:

  • How did the space race further Cold War ideologies?
  • Why would both the U.S. and the Soviet Union feel that successful space ventures made them more successful than the other power?
  • How did the space race create further implications for science, technology and science education that had an impact on the daily lives of American and Soviet citizens?
  • What other effects did the space race have on American culture (i.e. increase in science fiction literature, movies , and television shows)?

Help students understand the tactics of the protest movements -- Taking cues from the civil rights movement, help students understand the importance of social organizing to achieve political change, the rise of political and social activism among previously nonactivist youth and women, the power of consciousness-raising and the effects of the mostly nonviolent protests.

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, the U.S. experienced a great amount of social unrest and protest. Three particular movements had the most impact on the changes that occurred around the country: the antiwar movement, the counterculture movement, and the women's liberation movement.

Outline key factors of the civil rights movement -- The civil rights movement demonstrated the power of organizing to achieve change. The leaders that emerged were committed to their causes and adept at unifying large groups of people. Students need to understand the gains that were achieved during this time period, the tactics that were used to achieve those gains and the leaders that worked to make that change possible.

Investigate the impact -- Help students understand the gains that the civil rights movement achieved and why they matter. Important gains include:

  • Brown v. Board of Education (1954) ending school segregation;
  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;
  • The Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawing the requirement that voters in the United States take literacy tests to qualify to register to vote, and calling for federal registration of voters.

Evaluating the tactics -- In order for students to understand the significance of the tactics used during the civil rights movement, discuss the purposes, advantages, disadvantages, successes and failures of such tactics as:

  • Student organizing and the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee;
  • Sit-Ins;
  • Boycotts;
  • Nonviolent Resistance;
  • Freedom Rides;
  • Marches.

Trace the shift from nonviolence and integration to racial pride and separatism:

  • Violent race riots across the country between 1965 and 1968;
  • Stokely Carmichael's influence on the SNCC (1966);
  • The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968;
  • The rise of Black Power;
  • The appeal of Malcolm X's ideals of black pride and self-sufficiency;
  • Conflict between the goals of different groups.

Identify key figures:

  • Rosa Parks;
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.;
  • George Wallace;
  • Stokely Carmichael;
  • Malcolm X.

Other minority groups that were inspired to organize by the civil rights movement:

  • Native Americans;
  • Mexican Americans;
  • Women.

Students should be asked to research these civil rights movements to determine whether later movements remained consistent with the trends established earlier.

Outline the key events of the antiwar movement -- By 1965 President Johnson began to face serious opposition to the Vietnam War. The first teach-in occurred at the University of Michigan when professors and students sought to spread awareness about the war. Students began to organize campus protests around the country.

  • Key events: Democratic Convention of 1968
    • Impact of the antiwar movement:
      • Loss of morale and support for the war;
      • A clearer division between those considered to be on the right (conservatives and those supporting the war) and those on the left (liberals and those who opposed the war);
      • A dissatisfaction with indecisive politicians;
      • The questioning and subsequent weakening of the president's power;
      • Mounting tension and ultimate violence at antiwar protests.

Outline key factors of the counterculture movement, also known as the youth movement:

  • High number of Baby Boomers reaching college age and attending college, giving them time to question the moral leadership of the country;
  • Ways of life
    • Rebelling against convention and materialism;
    • Making a statement through lifestyle: hippies, communes, etc.;
    • Woodstock--trying to spread love and peace through music.
  • Political manifestos
    • Student organizations on college campuses hoped to force college leadership and national leadership to recognize the voice and power of youth;
    • Student movements and the quest for a stronger voice in their education and in decision-making in general led to many of the antiwar protests on college campuses.

Outline key factors of the women's liberation movement -- The following are among the gains that the feminists have achieved:

  • The challenging of gender stereotypes in Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique;
  • Title IX;
  • Laws banning sex discrimination in the workplace;
  • The National Organization for Women;
  • The spread of consciousness-raising groups for women, and women's studies programs on college campuses.

Help students sort out the details of the various cultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s by discussing the movements' backgrounds, goals, tactics, gains and setbacks. Ask students to find similarities across the movements as a way to see patterns and trends.

Click here for an annotated item from the 2005 Ohio Graduation Test that addresses this benchmark.



Help With Fundamentals

These activities can help you address the fundamentals with your students.

Activity 1

Mapping the Global Reach of Imperialism

Students can use maps as visual tools to help understand the global scope of imperialism.

  • Step 1: Provide students with maps of colonial empires and their lands overseas. Students can work with specific maps of Africa and the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia, as well as maps including North and South America and Australia. Students can also work with maps depicting the whole world.
  • Step 2: Have students shade each imperial power and its colonies in related colors (e.g. dark brown and light brown).
  • Step 3: Have students identify what they know about each imperial power and its colonies, determining whether a colony was established for economic reasons (as a source for raw materials, a labor force, or as a market in which to sell goods), political reasons (used to bargain with other imperial powers), or for military reasons (established for its strategic location and resources that might be necessary in wartime). Students can create a chart for each imperial power:
    Imperial Power Colonies Reason established: economic, political, or military support? How did this colony address the needs of its imperial power (economic, military, or political benefits)? Impact that the colonization efforts had on the native people

  • Step 4: Students can reflect on the map and chart and infer and draw conclusions. Students can ask: Overall, why did imperial powers create colonies in other parts of the world? In which parts of the world did imperial powers seem to create the most colonies? How did these different parts of the world offer the imperial powers opportunities that they didn't have in their home countries? Where might there have been the most conflict between imperial powers regarding the colonies that they were creating?

By completing this activity, students should build an understanding of the vast reaches of empires during the age of imperialism. They should also gain a deeper understanding of the motivations an imperial power had for acquiring a territory.

Activity 2

Connecting the Outbreak of World War II with the Outcome of World War I

To help students better connect the outbreak of World War II with its ties to World War I, have them analyze the historical events that link the two wars together. Students can begin with the consequences of World War I and the Paris Peace Conference and end with the outbreak of World War II in Europe. For each event listed below, students can identify which countries were involved, how it is tied to the outcome of World War I, and how it affected the outbreak of World War II. Direct students to consider how each historical event ties to the outcome of World War I (the third column) and the impact on the outbreak of World War II (the final column). Students can complete the following chart:

Historical Event Countries InvolvedTies to the Outcome of World War I Impact the event might have had on the outbreak of World War II
The Russian Revolution - Bolshevik Revolution, November 1917   
Convening of the Paris Peace Conference - January, 1919   
The Treaty of Versailles - June, 1919   
The rise of Mussolini in Italy - 1922   
Japanese invasion of Manchuria - 1931   
The "Good Neighbor" Policy - March, 1933   
The election of Hitler as German chancellor - 1933   
German annexation of Austria and Czechoslovakia - 1938   
The Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact - August, 1939    
Germany's invasion of Poland - September, 1939   

Activity 3

Building Spheres of Influence in the Cold War

In this activity students can gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which the world began to split into camps representing two different ideologies during the Cold War. Students can consider how each nation benefited from its association with either the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) alliance or with the Warsaw Pact alliance.

Nations to consider: Estonia, Norway, Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, Latvia, Denmark, The Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, West Germany, East Germany, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Turkey, Greece, Albania, Portugal and Yugoslavia.

Ask students to reflect on the following:

  • Which of these countries became part of the Soviet Union and which were allied to the Soviet Union?
  • Which non-European countries became allied with either the United States of America or the Soviet Union? Why?
  • Which European countries did not fall into either of the two camps? Why do you think that happened?

The chart students use to determine spheres of influence might look like this:

NationStatus of nation as a result of WW IIMember of Warsaw Pact alliance or NATO?What was gained from becoming part of this alliance?

Additional Instruction and Practice

These activities may be useful for students who require additional instruction and practice.

Activity 1

Connecting Enlightenment Thinkers to Revolution and Change

Have students consider some of the philosophers or thinkers that you studied and the revolutionary ideas that they put forth:

  • Hobbes -- People are naturally cruel and selfish. Without strict controls from a powerful government, people would fight, rob and oppress one another.
  • Locke -- If a government violates people's natural rights, the people have the right to overthrow that government.
  • Rousseau -- The good of the community as a whole should be placed above individual interests.

Students can connect the thinking of these philosophers with some of the changes that occurred in government structures during the 18th and 19th centuries. Students can explain how each philosopher's thinking had an impact on events like the American Revolution and creation of the U.S. Constitution, the French Revolution and Latin American wars for independence.

For each event, students can draw conclusions by asking:

  • What does the thinking of Rousseau, Locke or Hobbes suggest is necessary in a government?
  • What made the existing government intolerable according to the philosophies of Rousseau, Locke or Hobbes?
  • How did each nation use the philosophy of Rousseau, Locke or Hobbes to inform the creation of new forms of government?

Students can write up their ideas in an essay or present their ideas to the class in an oral presentation.

Activity 2

Create a Presentation on the Effects of Industrialization

Students have learned that industrialization transformed the agricultural, rural-based lifestyle that people lived into one that was more mechanized and urban-based. They learned about different social, political and economic effects of industrialization. Have students create presentations for their classmates in which they explain what they learned about the impact of industrialization.

Divide the class into groups and give each group an assignment: Each group must present on the social effects of industrialization, the political effects of industrialization, or the economic effects of industrialization. Have each group determine if they will focus on the European or American industrialization process.

Groups assigned to explain the social effects of industrialization can consider:

  • How did people's lives change when they moved to urban environments?
  • What was housing like in the cities?
  • How much contact did people have with each other?
  • How did people organize their time? What did they do with their free time?
  • How did women's responsibilities change?
  • How did the lives of children change?
  • What were the social class distinctions that resulted from industrialization?
  • How did these social classes interact with each other?
  • What demographic changes resulted from industrialization?
  • What was the impact on marriage/divorce rates?
  • What happened to life expectancy rates as a result of industrialization?
  • Was the average worker better off after the industrial revolution?

Groups assigned to explain the economic effects of industrialization can consider:

  • How did people get what they needed in order to survive?
  • Who profited during industrialization?
  • How were profits made?
  • How was the nature of work controlled?
  • Who made up the workforce?
  • What were the risks involved in working in factories? Which workers faced the greatest risks?
  • How were individuals able to improve their economic conditions?
  • What happened to real wages as a result of industrialization?
  • How did industrialization create conditions in the U.S. that allowed for the development of corporations and monopolies?
  • What led workers to organize into labor unions?
  • What power did labor unions come to have in the political arena?
  • How did labor unions affect the makeup and role of political parties?
  • What was the relative success of labor unions in achieving their goals?

Groups assigned to explain the political effects of industrialization can consider:

  • What was the relationship between the US government and labor unions?
  • How did politicians adjust priorities to meet the needs of the changing populace?
  • What political policies came about during industrialization?
  • How did immigration affect the makeup and role of political parties?
  • What were the connections between changes in U.S. society caused by industrialization and the rise of new political reformers and new political parties in the late 19th century?
Activity 3

Outline the Goals and Impact of the Protest Movements of the 1960s and 1970s

What causes do students think are worthy of fighting for? In order for students to understand the impact of the protest movements that arose in the 1960s and 1970s in the United States, students can consider how these protests developed into movements and the changes that they brought about. Students can use the chart below to organize their thinking:

Protest Movement What were they protesting?What did they hope to gain? What methods of protest did they use?What were the successes and achievements of the movement? What was the legacy of the movement? (How has the movement remained active or appeared in other forms since its creation?)
Antiwar protest during the Vietnam War      
The Counterculture Movement     
The women's liberation movement     

Students can reflect and draw conclusions:

  • How is life today different because of the impact of these protest movements?

Advanced Work

These activities can help your students reach the next level in their understanding.

Activity 1

Analyzing Wartime Propaganda

Ask students to connect developments related to World War I with the onset of World War II by viewing World War II wartime propaganda, which often took the form of posters and political cartoons. In viewing the propaganda, students can consider:

  • The intended audience and how they were affected by post-World War I developments;
  • The emotional appeal attached to the propaganda;
  • How the propaganda was intended to advance support for the war;
  • The point of view represented.

Students can also use further evaluative skills by answering questions such as the following:

  • Would this have been an effective use of propaganda from its creator's point of view? Why?
  • Which groups of people might this propaganda be attempting to harm?
  • How did this propaganda touch on key issues that emerged from World War I and played a role in the onset of World War II?
Activity 2

Understanding Daily Life During Industrialization Through a Review of Primary Sources

Help students build a complete understanding of the Industrial Revolution through an analysis of primary sources. Challenge students to find primary sources describing the lives and points of view of this period for: farmers, factory workers, reformers, politicians, factory owners, labor organizers and members of the middle class.

In analyzing primary sources, students can draw conclusions about how the writer felt about the changes that took place during the Industrial Revolution. Did the writer consider the changes to be favorable or unfavorable, or both? Have students write up their findings and present what they have learned in class.

Activity 3

Consider the Personal Impact of the Civil Rights Movement

The civil rights movement had a dramatic impact on many individuals who consider the events of the period to be part of their own personal history. Students can identify ways in which life today is different for individuals from American life prior to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Have students research the civil rights movement. Students can identify primary sources that might be available, and might even interview family and community members who were alive during the rallies and sit-ins and marches that took place during this era. Students can consider asking:

  • How was life different for black Americans and white Americans prior to the civil rights movement?
  • What was the impact of speeches, sit-ins and rallies on different individuals during the civil rights movement?
  • What were the struggles of the civil rights movement?
  • What were the controversies of the civil rights movement?
  • How did people feel changed by the efforts of the civil rights movement?
  • What are the struggles for racial equality that were not solved by the civil rights movement?

Students can analyze the results of their interviews and present their findings in class, for the school, or at other public forums.