Tenth Grade United States Studies examines the evolution of the U.S. Constitution as a living document and the role of participatory democracy in the development of a rapidly changing technological society. This study of the United States is an examination of the formative years from the colonization of what would be the United States to its transformation as a dominant political and economic influence in the world at the beginning of the twentieth century. Special emphasis is placed on how the challenges of settling expansive and diverse physical environments were met by a culturally diverse population.


Evaluate, then defend, the importance of the fundamental democratic values and principles of U.S. constitutional democracy. Consider conflicts between individuals, communities and nations, liberty and equality, individual rights and the common good, majority rule and minority rights, and the rule of law vs. ethics (e.g., civil disobedience).


Define the duties of citizens that are necessary to preserve US democracy (e.g., become informed and active in a democracy-through jury duty, paying taxes, public forums (local, state, and/or federal), voting and conscription.).


Identify the issues regarding the evolution of United States citizenship and evaluate responsibilities and rights of United States citizens (e.g., landownership, race, gender and age).


Examine, select and participate in a volunteer service or project.


Trace economic development throughout U.S. history (e.g., Colonial period, Revolutionary War, Westward Expansion, Civil War and late 19th /early 20th Centuries) and identify the role of market factors in the settlement of the United States and the development of the free enterprise system.


Explain the ideas, values and practices in the Federalist-Anti-Federalist debate, Bank of the U.S. issue, and evaluate their effects on the formation and direction of the nation’s economy.


Differentiate economic policy in the United States during each era (e.g., Colonial period, Revolutionary, Westward Expansion, Civil War and late 19th /early 20th Centuries) through types of taxes, taxation controversies, the effects of foreign trade and tariff policies.


Critique the cause and effect relationship between the labor movement, industrialization and urbanization in the United States.


Analyze the effects of mercantilism and triangular trade on the emergence of colonial economies (e.g., goals of mercantilism, the mother country’s interests vs. colonial interests, regional economies, agriculture vs. manufacturing, colonial products and raw materials, and transition from mercantilism to free enterprise capitalism).


Explain the concept of capitalism and compare the basic components of other economic systems.


Apply correct vocabulary and geographic tools to determine and illustrate geographic concepts (e.g., major meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude, physical features, landforms, bodies of water, climatic regions, states and their capitals and relative and exact location).


Determine the most appropriate maps and graphics in an atlas for analyzing geographic issues regarding the growth and development of the United States (e.g., topography, movement of people, transportation routes, settlement patterns, growth of population and cities, etc.).


Interpret how people express attachment to places and regions (e.g., by reference to essays, novels, poems, short stories, feature films and songs)


Evaluate the impact of health and cultural considerations on the quality of life over different historical time periods (e.g., Colonial America, westward movement, late 19th and early 20th centuries and impact of epidemics).


Analyze the characteristics of cultural contributions of Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and all immigrants (e.g., Germans, Italians, Irish, etc.) to the new nation.


Analyze the impact of the environment, including the location of natural resources, on immigration and settlement patterns throughout U. S. history.Explain the concept of capitalism and compare the basic components of other economic systems.


Analyze the ways in which physical and cultural geography have influenced significant historic events and movements.


Demonstrate an understanding of the European settlement of North America.

  • Trace the emergence of England as a global colonial power beginning in 1588.
  • Compare the progress of Jamestown and Plymouth colonies.
  • Identify and examine European colonial rivalries (e.g., conflicting land claims, empire building, etc.).
  • Summarize the distinct characteristics of each colonial region in the settlement and development of America, including religious, social, political and economic differences.


Demonstrate an understanding of the establishment of the United States as a new nation.

  • Explain the impact of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution on the American colonies and the world.
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of government under the Articles of Confederation
  • Summarize events leading to the creation of the U. S. Constitution (e.g., country’s economic crisis, Shay’s Rebellion and purpose outlined in the Preamble).
  • Explain fundamental principles and purposes of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights (e.g., through the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, colonial charters and the political philosophies of the Enlightenment).
  • Trace the emergence of the American two party political system (Federalists-Anti-Federalists, election of 1800, etc.).
  • Compare and contrast the position of the political parties and leaders on a variety of issues (e.g., economic development, territorial expansion, political participation, individual rights, states’ rights, slavery and social reforms).
  • Analyze the impact of United States Supreme Court decisions (e.g., Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Dred Scott v. Stanford and Plessy v. Ferguson).


Demonstrate an understanding of westward movement and the resulting regional conflicts that took place in America in the nineteenth century.

  • Explain the impact and challenges of westward movement, (e.g., people’s motivations for moving west, railroad construction and the displacement of Native Americans).
  • Trace land acquisitions and their significance as the U. S. expanded.
  • Summarize United States relations with foreign powers (e.g., Louisiana Purchase, Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny and the Mexican War).
  • Compare economic development in different regions of the country during the early nineteenth century (e.g., agricultural South, industrial and financial North, and the development of new resources in the West).
  • Examine and evaluate the reform period prior to the U.S. Civil War (e.g., abolition, women’s suffrage, religious principals, etc.).


Demonstrate an understanding of the causes and the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction in America.

  • Analyze the social, political and cultural characteristics of the North, the South and the West before and after the Civil War (e.g., the lives of African Americans, social reform, Patriotism, Nationalism, labor force, etc.).
  • Explain how the political events and issues that divided the nation led to civil war (e.g., compromises reached to maintain the balance of free and slave states, successes and failures of the abolitionist movement, conflicting views on states’ rights and federal authority, emergence of the Republican Party and election of 1860).
  • Examine and identify the cause and effect of the formation of the Confederate States of America.
  • Outline the course and outcome of the Civil War (e.g., the role of African American military units, the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation, and the social, political and economic impact on the South following the Civil War).
  • Evaluate effects of Reconstruction on the nation (e.g., the roles of the Civil War Amendments, Radical Republicans, etc.).
  • Summarize the progress and impact made by various groups in society (including African-Americans, women, immigrants, etc.) during Reconstruction.
  • Trace societal changes in the United States brought about by the end of Reconstruction (the Freedmen’s Bureau, educational reform, political opportunity, new trends in legislation, Jim Crow laws and the rise of anti–African American factions).


Demonstrate an understanding of changes that took place at the end of the 19th Century in the United States.

  • Analyze the developments in business and industry including the emergence of new industries and the rise of corporations through monopolies and mergers.
  • Examine the effects of technological change on the United States (e.g., agriculture, transportation, industry, labor and society).
  • Investigate the various periods and movements at the end of the nineteenth century. (e.g., the Gilded Age, the Populist movement, the Progressive Era, labor movement, continuation of the women’s suffrage movement, etc.).
  • Examine and identify the goals and accomplishments of reformers and reform movements (e.g., women’s rights, minorities, temperance, prisons, hospitals, schools, etc.).
  • Explain the transformation of America from an agrarian to an industrial economy, including the effects of mechanized farming and the expansion of international markets.
  • Assess the impact of urbanization and immigration on social, economic and political aspects of society in the United States in the late nineteenth century. (e.g., labor, agriculture, ethnic neighborhoods, African Americans, immigrants, women and children).


Demonstrate an understanding of global developments that influenced the United States’ emergence as a world power in the early twentieth century.

  • Evaluate the impact of United States foreign policy on global affairs (e.g., Open Door Policy and presidential programs of Taft, Roosevelt, and Wilson, such as Big Stick Diplomacy, Dollar Diplomacy and Moral Diplomacy).
  • Analyze the development of American expansionism, including the shift from isolationism to intervention and the economic and political reasons for imperialism.
  • Investigate and explain the impact of the Spanish-American War on the United States as a world power, including locations of expansion and the changing image of the United States by the global community.
  • Investigate the impact of technological advances and innovation in the early twentieth century both in the United States and the world (e.g., telephone, automobiles, flight, transportation, weapons and medical advances).
  • Analyze and explain how political, social and economic factors influenced American involvement in World War I (e.g., treaties, alliances and nationalism).