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High School Social Studies

Objectives/ Alabama State Standards

Our social studies curriculum continues to build on prior knowledge gained in earlier grades. High school students study history, geography, civics, government and economics in grades 9-12. The overarching goal of the high school social studies curriculum is to develop the knowledge and critical thinking skills needed for active civic engagement.

World History: 1500 to the Present

Course Description

The 9th grade Social Studies curriculum focuses on the time period from the 1500s to present day. Students will master the skills necessary to think critically about the events of the past that influenced the development of today’s world.This course is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for World History.

  • Describe developments in Italy and Northern Europe during the Renaissance period with respect to humanism, arts and literature, intellectual development, increased trade, and advances in technology.    
  • Describe the role of mercantilism and imperialism in European exploration and colonization in the sixteenth century, including the Columbian Exchange. 
  • Explain causes of the Reformation and its impact, including tensions between religious and secular authorities, reformers and doctrines, the CounterReformation, the English Reformation, and wars of religion.    
  • Explain the relationship between physical geography and cultural development in India, Africa, Japan, and China in the early Global Age, including trade and travel, natural resources, and movement and isolation of peoples and ideas.   
  • Describe the rise of absolutism and constitutionalism and their impact on European nations.
  • Identify significant ideas and achievements of scientists and philosophers of the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment. 
  • Describe the impact of the French Revolution on Europe, including political evolution, social evolution, and diffusion of nationalism and liberalism. 
  • Compare revolutions in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Haiti, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. 
  • Describe the impact of technological inventions, conditions of labor, and the economic theories of capitalism, liberalism, socialism, and Marxism during the Industrial Revolution on the economies, societies, and politics of Europe.  
  • Describe the influence of urbanization on the Western World during the nineteenth century. 
  • Describe the impact of European nationalism and Western imperialism as forces of global transformation, including the unification of Italy and Germany, the rise of Japan’s power in East Asia, economic roots of imperialism, imperialist ideology, colonialism and national rivalries, and United States’ imperialism. 
  • Explain causes and consequences of World War I, including imperialism, militarism, nationalism, and the alliance system. 
  • Explain challenges of the post-World War I period.     
  • Describe causes and consequences of World War II.     
  • Describe post-World War II realignment and reconstruction in Europe, Asia,and Latin America, including the end of colonial empires. 
  • Describe the role of nationalism, militarism, and civil war in today’s world, including the use of terrorism and modern weapons at the close of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries.     
  • Describe emerging democracies from the late twentieth century to the present.

United States History I: Beginnings to the Industrial Revolution

Course Description

The 10th grade Social Studies curriculum begins with the early exploration of America through the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Students will learn about events, issues, movements and individuals in the United States that created the environment for the Revolution to take place. This course is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for United States History.

  • Compare effects of economic, geographic, social, and political conditions before and after European explorations of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries on Europeans, American colonists, Africans, and indigenous Americans.
  • Compare regional differences among early New England, Middle, and Southern colonies regarding economics, geography, culture, government, and American Indian relations.  
  • Trace the chronology of events leading to the American Revolution, including the French and Indian War, passage of the Stamp Act, the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Massacre, passage of the Intolerable Acts, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the publication of Common Sense, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 
  • Describe the political system of the United States based on the Constitution of the United States.
  • Explain key cases that helped shape the United States Supreme Court, including Marbury versus Madison, McCulloch versus Maryland, and Cherokee Nation versus Georgia. 
  • Describe relations of the United States with Britain and France from 1781 to 1823, including the XYZ Affair, the War of 1812, and the Monroe Doctrine. 
  • Describe causes, courses, and consequences of United States’ expansionism prior to the Civil War, including the Treaty of Paris of 1783, the Northwest Ordinance of 1785, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the Louisiana Purchase, the Indian Removal Act, the Trail of Tears, Manifest Destiny, the Mexican War and Cession, Texas Independence, the acquisition of Oregon, the California Gold Rush, and the Western Trails. 
  • Compare major events in Alabama from 1781 to 1823, including statehood as part of the expanding nation, acquisition of land, settlement, and the Creek War, to those of the developing nation. 
  • Explain dynamics of economic nationalism during the Era of Good Feelings, including transportation systems, Henry Clay’s American System, slavery and the emergence of the plantation system, and the beginning of industrialism in the Northeast. 
  • Analyze key ideas of Jacksonian Democracy for their impact on political participation, political parties, and constitutional government.
  • Evaluate the impact of American social and political reform on the emergence   of a distinct culture. 
  • Describe the founding of the first abolitionist societies by Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin and the role played by later critics of slavery, including William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Angelina and Sarah Grimké, Henry David Thoreau, and Charles Sumner. 
  • Summarize major legislation and court decisions from 1800 to 1861 that led to increasing sectionalism, including the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Acts, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision. 
  • Describe how the Civil War influenced the United States, including the Anaconda Plan and the major battles of Bull Run, Antietam, Vicksburg, and Gettysburg and Sherman’s March to the Sea.
  • Compare congressional and presidential reconstruction plans, including African-American political participation.

United States History II: The Industrial Revolution to the Present

Course Description

The 11th grade Social Studies curriculum is a continuation of the material covered in 9th and 10th grade. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, students will be introduced to major events, issues, movements and individuals which shaped the twenty-first century. This course is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for United States History.

  • Explain the transition of the United States from an agrarian society to an industrial nation prior to World War I. 
  • Evaluate social and political origins, accomplishments, and limitations of    Progressivism. 
  • Explain the United States’ changing role in the early twentieth century as a     world power.
  • Describe causes, events, and the impact of military involvement of the United States in World War I, including mobilization and economic and political changes. 
  • Evaluate the impact of social changes and the influence of key figures in the United States from World War I through the 1920s, including Prohibition, the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, the Scopes Trial, limits on immigration, Ku Klux Klan activities, the Red Scare, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, the Jazz Age, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, W. C. Handy, and Zelda Fitzgerald. Describe social and economic conditions from the 1920s through the Great Depression regarding factors leading to a deepening crisis, including the collapse of the farming economy and the stock market crash of 1929. 
  • Explain strengths and weaknesses of the New Deal in managing problems of the Great Depression through relief, recovery, and reform programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and the Social Security Act. 
  • Summarize events leading to World War II, including the militarization of the Rhineland, Germany’s seizure of Austria and Czechoslovakia, Japan’s invasion of China, and the Rape of Nanjing. 
  • Describe the significance of major battles, events, and consequences of World War II campaigns, including North Africa, Midway, Normandy, Okinawa, the Battle of the Bulge, Iwo Jima, and the Yalta and Potsdam Conferences. 
  • Describe the impact of World War II on the lives of American citizens, including wartime economic measures, population shifts, growth in the middle class, growth of industrialization, advancements in science and technology, increased wealth in the African-American community, racial and ethnic tensions, Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (G. I. Bill of Rights), and desegregation of the military. 
  • Describe the international role of the United States from 1945 through 1960 relative to the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Blockade, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 
  • Describe major initiatives of the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson     Administrations. 
  • Trace the course of the involvement of the United States in Vietnam from the 1950s to 1975, including the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the Tet Offensive, destabilization of Laos, secret bombings of Cambodia, and the fall of Saigon. Trace events of the modern Civil Rights Movement from post-World War II to 1970 that resulted in social and economic changes, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, the March on Washington, Freedom Rides, the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, and the Selma-to-Montgomery March.
  • Describe changing social and cultural conditions in the United States during     the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. 
  • Describe significant foreign and domestic issues of presidential administrations from Richard M. Nixon to the present.

United States Government

Course Description

United States Government is a one-semester course designed for students in the 12th grade. In this course, students will do a deep dive into the US Constitution and the democratic principles that our nation was founded on. Content focuses on intellectual, political and economic factors that influenced the development of our country. This course is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for United States Government.

  • Explain historical and philosophical origins that shaped the government of the United States, including the Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, the English Bill of Rights, the Mayflower Compact, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and the influence of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, JeanJaques Rousseau, and the Great Awakening.    
  • Summarize the significance of the First and Second Continental Congresses, the Declaration of Independence, Shays’ Rebellion, and the Articles of Confederation of 1781 on the writing and ratification of the Constitution of the United States of 1787 and the Bill of Rights of 1791.   
  • Analyze major features of the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights for purposes, organization, functions, and principles, including rule of law, federalism, limited government, popular sovereignty, judicial review, separation of powers, and checks and balances.   
  • Explain how the federal system of the United States divides powers between    national and state governments. 
  • Compare specific functions, organizations, and purposes of local and state governments, including implementing fiscal and monetary policies, ensuring personal security, and regulating transportation.   
  • Analyze the expansion of suffrage for its effect on the political system of the United States, including suffrage for non-property owners, women, African Americans, and persons eighteen years of age.   
  • Describe the process of local, state, and national elections, including the     organization, role, and constituency of political parties. 
  • Describe functions and the development of special interest groups and    campaign contributions by political action committees and their impact on state and national elections. 
  • Trace the impact of the media on the political process and public opinion in the United States, including party press, penny press, print media, yellow journalism, radio, television, and electronic media.    
  • Evaluate roles political parties play in the functioning of the political system of the United States. 
  • Evaluate constitutional provisions of the legislative branch of the government of the United States, including checks by the legislative branch on other branches of government.  
  • Evaluate constitutional provisions of the executive branch of the government of the United States, including checks by the executive branch on other branches of government and powers, duties as head of state and head of government, the electoral process, and the Twenty-fifth Amendment.   
  • Evaluate constitutional provisions of the judicial branch of government of the United States, including checks by the judicial branch on other branches of government, limits on judicial power, and the process by which cases are argued before the United States Supreme Court.   
  • Describe the role of citizens in American democracy, including the meaning, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship; due process and other rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States; and participation in the election process.   
  • Explain the role and consequences of domestic and foreign policy decisions, including scientific and technological advancements and humanitarian, cultural, economic, and political changes.


Course Description

Economics is a one-semester course designed for students in the 12th grade.Students will be introduced to both macroeconomics and microeconomics including; scarcity, supply and demand, market structures, the role of government, national income determination, money and the role of financial institutions, economic stabilization, and trade. This course is aligned to the Common Core State Standards for Economics.

  • Explain why productive resources are limited and why individuals, businesses,  and governments have to make choices in order to meet needs and wants. 
  • Explain how rational decision making entails comparing additional costs of   alternatives to additional benefits. 
  • Describe different economic systems used to allocate scarce goods and services. 
  • Describe the role of government in a market economy, including promoting and securing competition, protecting private property rights, promoting equity, providing public goods and services, resolving externalities and other market failures, and stabilizing growth in the economy.   
  • Explain that a country’s standard of living depends upon its ability to produce goods and services. 
  • Describe how specialization and voluntary exchange between buyers and sellers lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. 
  • Describe the organization and role of business. 
  • Explain the impact of the labor market on the United States’ economy.   
  • Describe methods used to measure overall economic activity, including the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the Consumer Price Index (CPI), inflation, and unemployment.   
  • Explain the structure, role, and functions of the United States Federal Reserve   System. 
  • Explain how the government uses fiscal policy to promote the economic goals of price stability, full employment, and economic growth. 
  • Explain why individuals, businesses, and governments trade goods and services in the global economy.