U.S. History II Topics
Westward Expansion to the Iraq War

"Bosses of the Senate"

President Richard Nixon and Watergate
President Richard Nixon calls on a reporter during a press conference in the midst of the Watergate scandal, which forces his resignation in 1973.

The Development of Modern America 1865‑1929

This section, covering the period between the late 19th century and the early 20th century, saw forces that transformed the United States. These forces are generally seen as part of “modernization," a process that involved the progressive transformation of the economic, political and social structures of the United States.

• Causes and consequences of railroad construction; industrial growth and economic modernization; the development of international trade
• Causes and consequences of immigration and internal migration, including the impact upon, and experience of, indigenous peoples
• Development and impact of ideological currents including Progressivism, Manifest Destiny, liberalism, nationalism, Social Darwinism, and nativism
• Social and cultural changes: the arts; the role of women
• Influence of leaders in the transition to the modern era: political and economic aims; assessment of the successes and failures of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson
• Social, economic and legal conditions of African Americans between 1865 and 1929; the Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance; the search for civil rights and the ideas, aims and tactics of Booker T Washington, WEB Dubois and Marcus Garvey

Westward Expansion

Industrialization & Labor, 1871 - 1900

Progressive Movements

Immigration and the Growth of Cities

The Roaring Twenties

Emergence of America in global affairs 1880‑1929

This section focuses on modernization in the United States, and its impact on foreign policy. It explores the involvement of the United States in the First World War. Modernization shaped America and its effects created the basis for a major shift its foreign policy. By the end of the century, for example, the United States played a more active role in world affairs, and in the affairs of Latin America in particular, thus transforming inter-American relations. When the First World War broke out in Europe, the U.S. eventually became involved in the conflict. When the war ended, its impact was felt in the economic, social and foreign policies of the United States.

• United States’ expansionist foreign policies: political, economic, social and ideological reasons
• Spanish–American War: causes and effects (1898)
• United States’ foreign policies: the Big Stick; Dollar Diplomacy; Moral Diplomacy; applications and impact on the region
• United States and the First World War: from neutrality to involvement; reasons for US entry into the First World War; Wilson’s peace ideals and the struggle for ratification of the Versailles Treaty in the
United States; significance of the war for the United States’ hemispheric status
• Impact of the First World War on America: economic, political, social, and foreign policies

Imperialistic America - Alaska to Versailles

America and World War I

The Great Depression and America 1929‑39

This section focuses on the nature of the Depression as well as the different solutions adopted by the United States and the impact on society. The Great Depression produced the most serious economic collapse in the history of America. It brought about the need to rethink economic and political systems. The alternatives that were offered and the adaptations that took place marked a watershed in political and economic development in the United States.

• The Great Depression: political and economic causes in America
• Nature and efficacy of solutions in the United States: Hoover; Franklin D Roosevelt and the New Deal; critics of the New Deal
• Impact of the Great Depression on society: African Americans, women, minorities
• The Great Depression and the arts: photography, the movie industry, the radio, literary currents

Great Depression

The Second World War and America 1933‑45

As the world order deteriorated in the late 1930s, resulting in the outbreak of war in Europe, the United States took a cautious, isolationist approach to the challenges presented. This section focuses on the changing policies of the United States as a result of growing political and diplomatic tensions preceding and during the Second World War. It also examines the impact of the war upon the United States.

• Hemispheric reactions to the events in Europe: inter-American diplomacy; cooperation and neutrality; Franklin D Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor policy, its application and effects
• The diplomatic and/or military role of the United States in the Second World War
• Social impact of the Second World War on: African Americans, Native Americans, women and minorities; conscription
• Treatment of Japanese Americans
• Reaction to the Holocaust in America
• Impact of technological developments and the beginning of the atomic age
• Economic and diplomatic effects of the Second World War

World War II, 1939-1945

Political developments in America after the Second World War 1945‑79

This section focuses on domestic concerns and political developments after 1945. The United States experienced social, economic and political changes and challenges. Areas of study include: conditions for the rise to power of new leaders; economic and social policies.

Domestic Post-WWII Trends

Domestic policies of U.S. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and the "Great Society," and Nixon.



Kennedy and the Camelot years

Johnson and the "Great Society"

Richard Nixon

Gerald Ford

Jimmy Carter

The Cold War and America 1945‑1981

This section focuses on the development and impact of the Cold War in the United States and abroad. Most of the second half of the 20th century was dominated by the global conflict of the Cold War. The Cold War had a significant impact on the domestic and foreign policies of the United States.

• Truman: containment and its implications for the Americas; the rise of McCarthyism and its effects on domestic and foreign policies of the United States; the Cold War and its impact on society and culture
• Korean War and the United States and the Americas: reasons for participation; military developments; diplomatic and political outcomes
• Eisenhower and Dulles: New Look and its application; characteristics and reasons for the policy; repercussions for the United States
• United States’ involvement in Vietnam: the reasons for, and nature of, the involvement at different stages; domestic effects and the end of the war
• United States’ foreign policies from Kennedy to Carter: the characteristics of, and reasons for, policies; implications for the region: Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress; Nixon’s covert operations and Chile; Carter’s quest for human rights and the Panama Canal Treaty

The Cold War

The Vietnam War

Civil Rights and Social Movements in America

This section focuses on the origins, nature, challenges and achievements of civil rights movements after 1945. Movements represented the attempts to achieve equality for groups that were not recognized or accepted as full members of society. The groups challenged established authority and entrenched attitudes.

• Native Americans and civil rights
• African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement: origins, tactics and organizations; the US Supreme court and legal challenges to segregation in education; ending of the segregation in the South (1955‑65)
• Role of Dr Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights Movement; the rise of radical African American activism (1965‑8): Black Panthers; Black Muslims; Black Power and Malcolm X
• Role of governments in civil rights movements in the United States
• Youth culture and protests of the 1960s and 1970s: characteristics and manifestation of a counterculture
• Feminist movements in the Americas

Civil Rights


Women's Rights Movement

The Environmental Movement

Into the 21st Century—from the 1980s to 9/11

This section focuses on changing trends in foreign and domestic policies in the United States during the transition to the 21st century. The latter decades of the 20th century also witnessed significant political, social, cultural, economic and technological changes.

• The United States, from bipolar to unilateral power: domestic and foreign policies of presidents such as Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton, Bush (43); challenges; effects on the United States; impact upon the hemisphere
• Globalization and its effects: social, political and economic
• Revolution in technology: social, political and economic impact such as the role of the media and the Internet
• Popular culture: new manifestations and trends in literature, films, music and entertainment
• New concerns: threats to the environment; health

President Ronald Reagan

Persian Gulf War

William Clinton

George W. Bush (43)

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