Contemporary Studies examines the interactions between the United States and the world from 1914 to present day. Teachers will engage students in critical thinking and problem-solving skills as students learn and work with factual historical content, geography, civics, economics and other social studies concepts. Maps, spreadsheets, charts, photographs, the arts, music, graphs, primary source documents, textbooks and data from a variety of credible electronic and non-electronic sources will be used to synthesize, analyze, interpret and predict outcomes. The concept of globalization is explored and evaluated through the careful analysis of the interactions (between or among) the United States and other nation states, helping students recognize the interdependencies of the United States and other countries. Teachers will provide a venue for students to examine factors that influence changing political and economic relationships and foreign policies between the United States and its world neighbors. The impact of world events on the individual citizen and the reciprocal impact of an individual citizen’s actions, in the democratic process, on world events will be emphasized.


Evaluate, then defend, the importance of the fundamental democratic values and principles of U.S. constitutional democracy in a global context including conflicts between individuals, communities and nations.

  • liberty and equality
  • individual rights and the common good
  • majority rule and minority rights
  • Rule of Law and ethics (e.g., civil disobedience)
  • patriotism


Justify the duties of citizens that are necessary to preserve global democracy.

  • public forums (local, national, and/or global)
  • analysis of voting apathy and resulting consequences
  • personal freedoms throughout the world
    • role of international government and non-government organizations (e.g., League of Nations and U.N.)


Analyze and apply ways U.S. and world conflicts can be resolved in a cooperative and peaceful manner.


Evaluate court cases essential to fundamental democratic principles and values (e.g., amendments since 1920, Brown v. BOE Topeka, Miranda v. Arizona, Roe v. Wade and the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act).


Select and participate in a volunteer service or project with a community or Veteran’s organization (e.g., American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Women Veterans of America, Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics, 4-H, etc.).


Analyze the industrial organization of the American economy and connect its effects on the outcome of World War I and subsequent wars (e.g., loans, Lend/Lease Act, Marshall Plan and nuclear arms race).


Assess how various executive initiatives and legislative acts influence the United States economy (e.g., Fourteen Points, New Deal, Domino Theory, Great Society, Space Race and Strategic Defense Initiative).


Apply the concept of supply and demand in various historic events as a cause of economic turmoil (e.g., Prohibition, O.P.E.C, etc.).


Cite evidence of the economic and cultural impact of advertising and the growth of consumerism (e.g., differentiate between wants and needs).


Critique the competing ideologies of various economic systems (e.g., Capitalism, Socialism and Communism) and resulting world conflicts.


Analyze the causes and consequences of the United States’ national debt and their effect upon world economic systems.


Identify various developed countries (MDC) and developing countries (LDC) and evaluate their GDP to determine the standard of living of their citizens (e.g., health care, education, military, industrial and agricultural capabilities).


Analyze and evaluate the changing boundaries of world maps as a result of wars (e.g., Europe World War I, World War II, Cold War Era and Middle East conflicts).


Identify and locate the countries that enjoy topographical protection from invasion as opposed to countries that rely on political boundaries.


Use census data to analyze the demographics of population growth that lead to the exhaustion of resources and cultural conflict (e.g., water, agricultural land, energy and food supplies).


Connect how natural resources of various world regions impact foreign and economic policy decisions (e.g., Middle Eastern oil supplies and United States coal deposits, etc.).


Hypothesize how human and environmental interactions pose a threat to mankind and the environment.


Demonstrate an understanding of the events that illustrate the United States’ emergence as a world power beginning in 1914.

  • Analyze United States isolationism, neutrality and entanglement in world affairs.
  • List and explain underlying causes, major players and the effects of World War I.
  • Explain the connection between the advancement of military technology and the massive casualties in World War I
  • Compare and contrast idealism and realism by analyzing the Treaty of Versailles, Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the subsequent failure of the League of Nations.
  • Make connections between relief efforts and interventions of the 1918 pandemic to modern global health concerns.


Demonstrate an understanding of society in the Roaring 20’s by examining the changing cultural, economic, and political philosophies, and the ensuing consequences.

  • Outline activities and irregularities of both Wall Street and United States banking practices followed by attempted reform legislation.
  • Analyze the impact that the emerging independence of women (e.g., suffrage, double standard, flappers and employment opportunities) and immigration issues had on society.
  • Research the social issues that led to the passage of the 18th Amendment and the establishment of Prohibition, and discuss the factors that led to its repeal in the 21st Amendment (e.g. organized crime, Great Depression and changing social values).
  • Investigate literary, musical and artistic movements (e.g., Harlem Renaissance, jazz and the Lost Generation).


Demonstrate an understanding of the immediate and lasting economic, social and political effects caused by the Great Depression in the United States and throughout the world.

  • Assess the prolonged effects of the stock market crash upon the social and economic activities of the U.S. and the world.
  • Investigate the expansion of government with New Deal legislation and resulting deficit spending.
  • Explain how the world economic crisis enabled the growth of totalitarian governments (e.g., Fascism and Nazism).
  • Critique the role of sports, movies, radio and other forms of entertainment in the development of a new culture in America.


Demonstrate an understanding of the events surrounding World War II.

  • Explore how appeasement efforts such as the Munich Agreement (1938) failed to prevent war.
  • Examine and evaluate the suffering and human cost of the propaganda and genocide of the Nazi Holocaust.
  • Assess the Japan’s motives for attacking Pearl Harbor and the attack’s effect on the outcome of WWII.
  • Examine and identify the penalties of war faced by the Japanese in the United States and their homeland.
  • Identify the contributions from the home front during the war (e.g. Rosie the Riveters – “Rosies”, victory gardens, war bond sales, wartime propaganda and opportunities for minorities).
  • Investigate and cite evidence about the significance of the events in the European and Pacific Theaters.
  • Hypothesize America’s reasons for rebuilding war torn countries and trace the rationale and origins of cooperation that led to the creation of the United Nations.


Demonstrate an understanding of the competing ideologies of communism and democracy and the conflict between the United States and Soviet Union superpowers from the post WWII era through early 1990’s.

  • Assess the destructive capability of atomic and hydrogen weaponry.
  • Trace the expansion of Soviet and Chinese communism to satellite nations.
  • Explore the motivation and legacy of the Truman Doctrine and containment policy through different presidential administrations.
  • Outline and discuss major confrontations between the United States and Soviets and explain the fears of American society related to communism and the Race to Space.
  • Analyze and explain the political, social and economic causes and consequences of American involvement in the Korean Conflict and Vietnam.
  • Connect the United States’ governmental policies of the 1980s to the economic collapse of the Soviet Union.


Demonstrate an understanding of the origins, struggle and progress of racial minorities seeking social, economic and political equality in the United States.

  • Examine and identify the foundations of the Civil Rights Movement through documents (e.g., Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, etc.) and Supreme Court decisions (e.g., Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. BOE Topeka).
  • Investigate and cite examples of intolerance, prejudice, persecution, discrimination and segregation (e.g., Black Codes and Jim Crow laws).
  • Debate the role of activists for and against the Civil Rights Movement (e.g., KKK, Black Panthers, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., SCLC, Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, AIM, Chicano Movement and UFWOC).
  • Design a timeline of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States that includes key people, places and events.


Demonstrate an understanding of the social conflicts that challenged traditional values in the second half of the twentieth century.

  • Investigate and identify the effects of Americans migrating to the suburbs after World War II.
  • Identify and examine changes brought about by media sources to American cultural, economic and political behavior. (e.g., television, Rock ‘n’ Roll, protest songs, etc.).
  • Summarize the various counterculture movements and their effect on American society.
  • Connect events to continued questions of trust in federal government (e.g., Watergate, Iran Contra and Pentagon Papers).


Demonstrate an understanding of United States foreign policy and global economic issues since 1990.

  • Evaluate American foreign policy concerning abuses of human rights.
  • Critique the domestic and military policies of the 1990’s.
  • Determine the motivation for adopting NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), then assess their effects on the American and world economies.
  • Evaluate acts of terrorism before and after 9/11.


Demonstrate an understanding of America’s continued role in shaping the complex global community since September 11, 2001.

  • Assess the results of American foreign policy relating to Middle Eastern countries.
  • Outline provisions of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) and assess the necessity of such infringements on American civil rights.
  • Critique the effectiveness of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the war against terror.
  • Analyze both the positive and negative aspects of the Internet and social networking in revolutionizing popular thought, and organizing people throughout the world (e.g., Tea Party, Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Wi-Fi, Google and Facebook).
  • Research and analyze U.S. and World responses to ISIS’s (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) rise in Iraq and Syria.