U.S. History

  • Description: 

    This course is designed for small group instruction of struggling readers that require explicit instruction and specialized learning strategies.  Students are encouraged to develop a ‘growth mindset’ and take ever-increasing responsibility for their own learning. Classes will address state objectives in U.S. History (1800-1900) taken from the Essential Elements (modified Common Core Objectives) monthly.  We will cover units including The Revolution, the New Nation and the Constitution, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Reform Movements and Immigration, Economics, and Westward Expansion. Additional units include Our Community and Survival Words for students taking the Supported Independence or Participation level MI Access tests. A Study Guide and Quizlet wil be sent home on the firsty day of each unit with a tentative unit test date.  Interactve notebooks and formative assessments will also be sent home for study prior to the final test.


    December Unit- A New Nation  Tentative Test Date Jan 8

    Students will begin a U.S. History Unit on the struggles of the founding fathers to design a working constitution for the young country.  We will cover the Articles of Confederation, Constitutional Congress, political parties (Federalists and Anti-Federalists), the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and 3 branches of government Lesson will include leveled texts, comprehension questions, diagrams, projects, and discussion.  A study plan, Study Guide, and Quizlet will be sent home on the first day.  There will be formative assessments which can be a useful study tool for the unit test. Tentative Date for the unit test will be: late December.


    The Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Political Parties, and 3 branches of Government


    The Articles of Confederation:

          After winning the American Revolution, the first set of federal laws- the Articles of Confederation -did not work and needed to be revised.  Weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation:

    • No power to raise money through taxes
    • No way to enforce the laws passed by Congress
    • No national court system
    • Each state only had one vote in Congress despite the size of the state

    Strengths of the Articles:


    • They were the first agreement made between the 13 new states
    • Gave the government the power to deal with foreign governments, make war, treaties
    • Gave the government the power to deal with Native Americans
    • Asked states to get along with each other- compromise
    • Issued the Northwest Ordinance for the western lands
    • Created a national post office

    The Constitutional Convention

    Americans held a meeting called the Constitutional Convention and used democratic process (compromise and voting). Purpose:  to solve the young nations problem- the Articles of Confederation were not working- they were TOO WEAK.

     They decided to throw out the Articles and to write new laws for our country. However, it was not easy.  They argued over the amount of power the states should retain, the amount of power the federal government should have, and the issue of slavery.  They took ideas from other sources including a book called Common Sense by Thomas Paine. This book was about the natural rights of man. 

    The first plan was the Virginia Plan. It called for each state to send representatives based on the population of the state- large states had much greater representation in Congress. This made the big states happy.

    The second plan presented was the New Jersey Plan.  It called for each state to send 2 representatives so every state was represented equally.  This made the little states happy.

    After much argument, they settled on a compromise (each side got a little of what they wanted and no side got nothing).  Using the democratic process (voting), the states could settle their problems without fighting. It was called the Great Compromise. This plan set up two lawmaking groups, or "houses," as they are called. One house, called the House of Representatives, was to be based on the number of people who lived in that state. The other house, called the Senate, was to have the same number of members (two) from each state. Laws had to be passed by both houses.  Large states and small states got something they wanted.


    The Constitution and Bill of Rights:


       The new set of law that all citizens of the United States would have to follow were called the Constitution. Some people were still not satisfied with the new set of laws.  They demanded that more individual rights be written into the law of the land.  Therefore, they added 10 changes to the Constitution- they were called the Bill of Rights. Our Individual Rights come from this document. (A change to the Constitution is called an amendment.)

    Focus on these 4 amendments from the Bill of Rights

    The 3 Branches of Government:


       The Founding Fathers divided the government into 3 branches:


    • The Executive Branch- includes the President who is elected by the people and enforces the laws. The President is the Commander in Chief and the head of the army, navy, air force. A president can only run for 2 terms.
    • The Legislative Branch- includes the 2- part Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) who are elected by the people. The Congress writes the laws.
    • The Judicial Branch- includes the Supreme Court- the most powerful court in the land. They decide if the laws are fair and in line with the Constitution.  There are 9 judges appointed for life terms.  Their decisions are usually final.  There is no higher court.
    • Because no one branch of the government has the most power, we say our government has ‘checks-and-balances’.


    Political Parties: Federalists and Anti-Federalists


       A political party is a group of people that think the same way about government. At first there were 2 parties:

    • The Federalists- wanted a strong federal (central) government with a strong president. John Adams and George Washington were Federalists.
    • The Anti-Federalists- wanted strong states rights. They did not was a strong central government. Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were Anti-Federalists.




    In November we will explore The Revolutionary War- tentative test date-  Nov.  22

    Group 2  STUDY GUIDE


         People came to North America to build a colony where they could have economic and religious freedom that they could not have in England.  Some of the first colonists were the Pilgrims that settled in New England. The colony still belonged to England and King George.  We celebrate Thanksgiving every year to remember how grateful the Pilgrims were to have survived in the new land.  5 pts.


         In the mid-1700s, France was at war with Great Britain in Europe.  The fighting spread to North America. Native Americas fought with both the French and the British soldiers.  American colonists fought won the side of the British King George.  After the French and Indian War ended, Great Britain got control of the 13 American colonies and France got Canada.  However, Great Britain was in great debt and taxed the colonists to pay for the war.  The American colonists did not like the taxes and they felt taxation without representation was unfair. They refused to buy British goods- a boycott was placed on tea and other common items sold from England.  This cost England a lot of money.  There were other reasons that colonists were angry at the king.  King George would not let them cross over the Appalachian Mountains into the Ohio Valley.  The king insisted that they get along with the Native Americans and not take any more of their land.    5 pts.


         Many people wanted freedom from Great Britain and were willing to fight a war to get it. They were called Patriots- like John Adams, Paul Revere, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.  The Patriots wanted a representative government where the people voted for their leaders. (The power of the government belongs to the people).


         The Boston Massacre occurred when colonists, angry over British taxes, began attacking British troops with rocks.  The British fired into the crowd, killing 5 colonists. 


         Things got worse as the British imposed more taxes on the American colonists.  There was a big delivery of tea sitting on a British ship in Boston harbor.  It was supposed to be sold to colonists, but the colonist had imposed a boycott on British tea (they refused to buy it and made their own instead).  In an act of rebellion, colonists dressed up as Native Americans snuck aboard the ship and threw all the tea into the harbor water.  This event became known as the Boston Tea Party.


            Fighting broke out in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts.  Trade was interrupted between the colonies and Great Britain.  American colonists organized militias to protect themselves from British soldiers.


       Both sides met in London to try and work out an agreement.  After negotiations failed, the patriots got together to decide what to do.  They did not want to have a king anymore. They wanted to govern themselves. At the meeting, Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence- a document explaining to King George the reasons that the American colonists wanted their freedom.  On July 4, 1776, the Americans declared their independence from Great Britain.   8 pts.


         The Patriots wanted war to end British rule over the colonies. Many people did not want war but wanted to protest peacefully and they were called Loyalists.  One third of the colonists were neutral- they liked ideas from both sides and did not fight.  


        There were many reasons to think that Great Britain would win the war. Their large military was: (strengths)

    • Well-organized
    • Well trained
    • Had arms, ammunition, uniforms etc.

    However, the British were:  (weaknesses)

    • Far from home and supplies
    • Fighting in a unknown land
    • Wore red coats that were easy to see


        No one thought the American militia would win because: (weaknesses)

    • They had no navy
    • They were an army of volunteers and many deserted
    • They were not well-equipped or trained


    However, the American colonists won because: (strengths)

    • they had allies to help them (France sent soldiers and money)
    • they fought on familiar land,
    • and they were fighting to keep their homeland free (highly motivated).

          George Washington was the leader of the American military.  He kept the army together through many unsuccessful battles and a very hard winter at Valley Forge. The volunteer soldiers were cold and hungry.  Many were volunteers and deserted.   Eventually, the Americans won at the battle of Yorktown with help from their allies the French army and the war for independence from Great Britain ended.  The American colonists beat the mighty British military.  George Washington became our first president, although many people wanted to make him a king.  We have a president today because of George Washington.  6 pts.


         We celebrate our independence from Great Britain every 4th of July with picnics, parades and fireworks.

     Vocabulary:  6 pts.


    Colony-A colony is a group of people from one country who build a settlement in another territory, or land. They claim the new land for the original country, and the original country keeps some control over the colony. The settlement itself is also called a colony. 

    Colonist- a person from a colony

    Revolution-a forceful overthrow of a government by the people

    Trade-the exchange of goods or services between parties.

    Slave- a person who is considered property and owned by another person; they have no freedom and work for no pay

    Allies- a relationship between countries who agree to work together and protect each other

    Militia- civilians trained as soldiers but not part of the regular army

    Monarchy -form of government that has a single person known as a monarch at its head. Monarchs use such titles as king or queen. Most monarchies are hereditary. 

    Declaration of Independence- a legal document written by Thomas Jefferson at the Continental Congress and adopted on July 4, 1776.  It states the basic beliefs of the American colonists about the rights of all people and the reasons the American colonies wanted to separate from King George and British rule

    Liberty- freedom from control by another government. The American colonies wanted liberty- to be free of British control

    Massacre-a killing of multiple victims

    Surplus- a quantity much larger than is needed

    Harbor-a sheltered area of water where ships can take on or unload cargo

    Popular Sovereignty- the people are the source of all political power

    Representative government- form of government where citizens vote to elect people to represent their interests and concerns. Those elected meet to debate and make laws on behalf of the whole community or society, instead of the people voting directly on laws and other debates.

    Debt-  owing money to another person or country.

    Boycott- to refuse to buy, use, or go to, in order to make a protest or bring about a change. 


    Triangular Trade  2 pts.

    Quizlet Study tool at https://quizlet.com/321632407/the-revolutionary-war-campbell2018-flash-cards/

    The Revolutionary War

    Study Guide Group 1


    We celebrate the beginning of our nation on the Fourth of July.  The Americans fought against Great Britain and King George. They did not want a king.  They wanted to vote for their leaders.

    On the 4th of July,  we have picnics and watch fireworks.  Our country is the United States of America.  We are a free country – a democracy. We vote for our leaders.