Friday, June 11, 2010

Prep for the State Test!


Hi 8th graders!

Your state social studies test is on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday, you will take the first parts of the test: Multiple Choice Questions and Structured Response Questions.
On Tuesday, you will complete the test by answering DBQ questions and writing a DBQ essay.

To help you study, I've posted the review notes on this blog. You can see each of the units on the right.

Here are copies of the most recent state social studies tests.
Day 1: Multiple Choice and Structured Response
Day 2: DBQ with Essay
Day 1: Multiple Choice and Structured Response
Day 2: DBQ with Essay
Day 1: Multiple Choice and Structured Response
Day 2: DBQ with Essay
Day 1: Multiple Choice and Structured Response
Day 2: DBQ with Essay

Here's a good review site, produced by another 8th grade teacher, that has lots of state test review quizzes. Check it out!

As you know, you can e-mail me if you have any other questions. My e-mail address is Good luck with studying!

Mr. Toomajian

Unit 1: Geography and Pre-Columbian America

Geography: Geography is the study of landforms and the way that natural landforms affect the way people live. These are examples of landforms:
Peninsula—land surrounded by water on three sides
Strait—narrow body of water that connects two larger bodies of water (e.g. Bering Strait)
Mountain—tall, peaked landform (e.g. Rockies in the West, Appalachians in the East)
Plains—large area of flat, non-hilly land (e.g. Great Plains in the Midwest)

Culture: a way of life shared by members of a society
Religion, art, architecture, music, and food are all part of a society’s culture.

Archaeologists are scientists who dig to find evidence of past civilizations. They find artifacts, which are manmade objects that give clues about the way people lived. For example, a spear and sharpened stones would be evidence that a cultural group used simple tools to hunt animals.

Primary and Secondary Sources:
Historians study primary and secondary sources to learn about the past. Primary sources are produced by people who experienced a historical event (e.g. newspaper articles and videos made at the time of an event, autobiographies. Secondary sources are produced after an event by people who did not experience it (e.g. encyclopedias, books).

The Land Bridge Theory:
• The first people arrived in America 30,000 years ago during the Ice Age.
• They probably crossed a land bridge from Asia to Alaska across the Bering Strait.
• They were nomadic hunter-gatherers, probably hunting mastodons and other animals.
• They gradually migrated south, following animals across North and South America.
• About 12,000 years ago, the Ice Age ended, the climate became similar to the way it is today, and the first Americans adapted to their environments.
• About 5,000 years ago, they began practicing agriculture, or farming.

Pre-Columbian Civilizations:
• When Native Americans discovered agriculture, they settled in towns and created civilization.
• A civilization is an advanced way of life developed by a particular group of people.
• The Mayas were a civilization in Central America. The Incas were a civilization in South America. The Aztecs were a civilization in what is now Mexico.
• The Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs developed religion, built strong roads, invented calendars, created mathematics, and more.

Native Americans in North America:
• Native Americans adapted to their environments, using natural resources to create what they needed to survive (e.g. fur coats in cold areas, longhouses made of wood in forests)

Examples of Native American adaptations to environments:

• The Iroquois lived in what is now New York State. They lived in longhouses made of wood and hunted and farmed.
• When Europeans attacked the Iroquois, they created the League of Five Nations to cooperate in defending themselves. Each tribe was represented in the league.

Unit 2: Exploration and Colonial America

Columbus’ Arrival Causes the Columbian Exchange
• Columbus, sailing for Spain, was the first European to find AND colonize America.
• Like other explorers, he was seeking a route, called the Northwest Passage, to Asia.
• Many other explorers followed Columbus. As they did, they brought new plants, animals, and other organisms to America, and they brought American life forms to Europe, Asia and Africa. This exchange of plants and animals was called the Columbian Exchange (or the Encounter). You should especially remember:
o Different foods were brought between the continents. Potatoes and tomatoes originally grew only in the Americas; rice and chicken were only in Europe and Asia.
o Europeans brought diseases like smallpox to the Americas. Native Americans didn’t have immunities to these diseases, so they died by the millions.
o Europeans brought African slaves to the Americas to work on plantations.

• A colony is a land settled by a more powerful country from another area.
• European countries including Spain, France, England, and the Netherlands colonized the Americas.
• France settled St. Lawrence River. They made money fishing and selling beaver skins.
• Most Europeans came to the Americas in hopes of making more money.
• However, the founders of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Pennsylvania started their colonies so they could be free from religious persecution.

New Netherland
• The Netherlands was the first European country to settle in what is now New York.
• New Netherland was the original name for New York State; New Amsterdam was the original name for New York City.
• People from the Netherlands are called the Dutch. Don’t ask me why—I don’t know!
• The Dutch settled the Hudson River Valley starting in the 1620s.
• Their governor, Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered to the English in 1664. The English renamed New Netherland and New Amsterdam as New York.

• All thirteen colonies, including New York, had African slaves.
• Slaves came from Africa in crowded ships along a route called the Middle Passage.
• Slaves were part of the Triangular Trade in which slaves were sent to the Americas, crops were sent to Europe, and rum was sent to Africa.

The Geography of the Thirteen English Colonies
• Starting with Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, the English established 13 colonies on the Atlantic Coast of North America.
• All of the biggest colonial cities formed along rivers and oceans, because boats were the most efficient form of transportation back then.
• But different colonies developed differently, mainly because of their geography.
• The northern colonies, known as New England, relied on fishing, trade, and small farms for their economy.
• The Middle Colonies, like New York, had larger farms and excellent trade opportunities.
• The Southern Colonies had huge farms called plantations, where they grew cash crops like tobacco, rice, and cotton.

The Government of the Thirteen Colonies
• All of the British colonies had some form of democracy. This means that citizens had a say in government decisions.
• However, only men who owned property had the right to vote.
• The Virginia House of Burgesses was the first representative government in America.
• The Mayflower Compact declared that the Puritans (Pilgrims) would rule themselves.

Unit 3: American Revolution

• England believed in an economic system of mercantilism. In this system, the key to economic success was for a country to export (sell to other countries) more than it imports (buys from other countries).
• The goal of mercantilism was to benefit the mother country—England—not the colonies.

French and Indian War
• Beginning in the 1750s, England fought a war against the French and Indians.
• Benjamin Franklin, a colonist, suggested that the colonies unite to defend themselves. His plan was called the Albany Plan of Union. His cartoon supporting the plan is here.

British Taxes and Laws after the War
• After the French and Indian War, England was in debt.
• To pay back their debts, they taxed the colonists. The taxes included:
o Stamp Act: tax on paper products (newspapers, playing cards, etc.)
o Sugar Act: tax on sugar and molasses
o Townshend Acts: taxes on many products
• They also passed the Proclamation of 1763, which stated that colonists could not move into the western parts of the colonies. The goal of the proclamation was to avoid conflicts with the Native Americans in the west.
• The Quartering Act declared that British soldiers could be housed in colonists’ homes.

Colonial Reactions to British Taxes
• The colonies protested the British taxes. They organized boycotts (refusing to buy the taxed products) and petitions (writing protest letters to the British government).
• The colonists’ famous slogan was “No taxation without representation.” They insisted that they should have the right to vote on whether they would be taxed.
• Famous protests included the Boston Tea Party.

Revolutionary War
• Eventually, the colonists launched a war against the British.
• The two sides in the war were known as:
o Continentals/Patriots: fought for independence, protested taxes
o Redcoats: British. Colonists who supported the British were Loyalists or Tories.
• Famous events in the war included:
o Lexington (1775): first battle of the war
o Saratoga (1787): turning point of the war
o Valley Forge (1787): winter camp where Patriots faced hardships
o Yorktown (1781): last battle of the war
• The Patriots won the war, earning independence and creating the United States.

Declaration of Independence
• In 1776, the Patriots decided to declare independence from England.
• Thomas Jefferson was chosen to write a document declaring independence.
• The declaration did the following:
o Stated that people have natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
o Stated that the English king, by taxing them, had violated their rights.
o Declared that, because their rights were violated, they were declaring their independence and establishing the United States of America.

Unit 4: Constitution and Government

New York State Constitution
• When the U.S. declared independence, New York wrote its own constitution.
• A constitution describes the basic structure, functions, and powers of a government.
• The New York Constitution eventually became a model for the U.S. Constitution.

Articles of Confederation
• When the United States declared its independence, it needed to set up a new government.
• The first structure of U.S. government was called the Articles of Confederation.
• The Articles of Confederation had many weaknesses:
o The national government was weak; the states had most of the political power.
o Congress could not collect taxes.
o There was no president or national court system.

Constitutional Convention: 1787
• American leaders realized the A.O.C. was too weak, so they met in Philadelphia in 1787 to write a new constitution.

Great Compromise
• The delegates (those who attended the convention) disagreed over representation.
o New Jersey Plan: Small states wanted each state to have an equal vote in Congress.
o Virginia Plan: Large states wanted states to have votes in Congress based on their population—the larger the state, the more votes it would have.
• In the Great Compromise, delegates agreed to create a two-house (bicameral) legislature. In the House of Representatives, votes would be determined by population. In the Senate, each state would have two votes.

Three-Fifths Compromise
• The delegates also disagreed over how slaves should be represented in Congress.
• The Three-Fifths Compromise stated that three-fifths of a state’s slave population would count towards its population based on the House of Representatives.

Ratification Debate: Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists
• The delegates at the convention agreed on a proposed constitution. Then, the states were required to ratify (approve) the Constitution.
• People who favored ratification were called Federalists.
• People who opposed ratification were called Anti-Federalists.
• Anti-Federalists believed that the Constitution gave too much power to the national (federal) government.
• As a compromise, Federalists agreed to add a Bill of Rights to the Constitution in order to gain approval of Anti-Federalists.

Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances
• The Constitution includes the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances.
• Separation of Powers: the U.S. government’s powers are separated into three branches: (1) legislative—makes laws, (2) executive—carries out laws, (3) judicial—interprets laws
• Checks and Balances: One branch of government can check another branch’s power.
o The president appoints new members to the Supreme Court.
o The Senate must approve presidential appointments to the Supreme Court.
o The Supreme Court can declare laws made by Congress unconstitutional.

• The constitution also includes the principle of federalism. Federalism is the idea that some powers are given to the national (federal) government, while others are given to state government.

Bill of Rights
• The Bill of Rights is the name for the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
• The First Amendment protects individuals’ civil liberties: freedom of speech, press, etc.

Electoral College
• The president isn’t directly elected by popular vote. There’s an electoral college system.
• Each state has a set of electoral votes based on the state’s population. All of the state’s electoral votes go to the candidate who earns the most votes in that state.

Other Details
• The Constitution can only be changed through the amendment process.
• Judicial review, created in the case of Marbury v. Madison, gives the Supreme Court the ability to declare laws unconstitutional.
• The powers of the presidency were made clear by George Washington when he worked as president.
• A president can be impeached if he commits crimes.

Unit 5: A New Nation

From the ratification of the Constitution (1780s) to the Civil War (1860s), the United States developed in the following ways:
• Enduring political traditions began.
• Industry and technology grew.
• The U.S. expanded its territory.
• Women and blacks fought for rights.

Political Traditions
• Judicial review, created in the case of Marbury v. Madison, gives the Supreme Court the ability to declare laws unconstitutional.
• As the first president, George Washington made decisions that created many of the traditional roles of the president.
• As the seventh president, Andrew Jackson created the spoils system, in which he gave government jobs to his friends. He defended it by saying it gave common, regular people a chance to work in government.

Industry and Technology
• In the 1790s, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. It provided a faster method of separating seeds from cotton fiber, so cotton could be produced more rapidly.
• The Erie Canal was built in the early 1800s. It stretched across upstate New York from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River, allowing ships to go from the Great Lakes in the West to New York City. It was a major development in transportation.

American Expansion
• Americans came to believe in “manifest destiny.” Manifest destiny was the idea that it was God’s will for the United States to expand westward to the Pacific Ocean.
• In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was America’s first major expansion:
o Thomas Jefferson bought the land, now the Midwestern U.S., from France in 1803.
o It doubled the size of the United States, adding more land than any other expansion.
o It gave the U.S. full access to the Mississippi River and the port of New Orleans.
o The territory was explored by explorers Lewis and Clark.
• The United States also expanded after the Mexican War. The war began after the U.S. annexed Texas. The U.S. annexed California, Arizona and New Mexico after the war.
• After the Mexican War, gold was discovered in California. Thousands of people went west, hoping to get rich in the Gold Rush.
• President James Monroe, in the 1820s, created the Monroe Doctrine, stating that European countries should stop colonizing Latin America.

Rights for Minorities
• Women demanded rights, including suffrage (the right to vote) at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848.
• Native Americans were oppressed during the early 1800s. During the Trail of Tears, President Andrew Jackson ordered Native Americans to leave Florida and the Southeastern U.S. and move to Oklahoma.
• African-Americans were slaves in the early 1800s. People like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe were abolitionists who fought to end slavery. Harriet Tubman led slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Unit 6: Civil War and Reconstruction

Causes of the Civil War
• The Civil War split the U.S.A. in two. Why did it happen?
1. Sectionalism—In the early 1800s, the North and South were very different places. In the North, an industrial society developed. In the South, the invention of the cotton gin led the South to stress an agricultural economy. The two regions had different political wants.
2. Slavery and Abolitionism—Slavery was not necessary in the North, and many people started to fight to end it. People who wanted to end slavery were called abolitionists. They included Harriet Tubman, who led the Underground Railroad, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and Frederick Douglass.
3. States’ Rights—The North and South disagreed on the amount of power that the federal government should have over the states.
4. Lincoln’s Election—Lincoln favored abolition, so when he was elected president, the South seceded, or broke away, from the U.S.A. The South was called the Confederate States of America. The North was known as the Union.

The Civil War
• Here are the major events of the Civil War:
o Fort Sumter (1861)—first battle
o Emancipation Proclamation (1863)—Lincoln proclaims the slaves in the South to be free; broadened the Union’s war goals to include ending slavery
o Gettysburg (1863)—bloodiest battle; Lincoln gives his famous speech here
o Appomattox (1865)—final battle
• The North had many advantages during the war: larger population, more factories to produce war materials, more money. The South’s advantage was its excellent military strategy, led by top generals like Robert E. Lee.

Reconstruction Amendments
• After the Civil War, the U.S. had to decide how to help blacks become full citizens.
• Three constitutional amendments expanded blacks’ rights:
o 13th Amendment—abolished slavery
o 14th Amendment—made all African-Americans full citizens
o 15th Amendment—gave African-Americans the right to vote

Rebuilding the South
• Scalawags were Southern whites who became Republicans, believing that working with the Republicans would lead to progress.
• Carpetbaggers were Northerners who moved south after the war. Some wanted to help blacks, while some wanted to gain power and money in the South.

Mistreatment of Blacks
• Despite the amendments, blacks were still denied their rights.
• The Ku Klux Klan attacked, terrorized, and killed blacks in the South.
• Southern states passed laws called black codes. The laws—including literacy requirements and poll taxes for voting—denied blacks their rights.
• Jim Crow laws segregated blacks and whites in the South, and the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court case stated that “separate but equal” facilities were acceptable.
• Blacks became poor farmers in the South. They rented land from whites in a process called sharecropping. Many blacks went into debt to their former slave masters.

Unit 7: Industrialization and Progressive Movement

• During and after the Civil War, in the late 1800s, the United States industrialized.
• Industrialization is the development of machinery and factories to produce goods.
• Factories use mass production techniques, including an assembly line. These techniques allowed factories to produce goods rapidly.
• Corporations are large companies owned by many, often thousands of, shareholders. Many corporations were founded in the late 1800s.

• New factories were built in cities, using machines to produce steel, oil, and goods.
• As a result, thousands of people moved from farms (rural areas) to cities (urban areas).
• The growth of cities is called urbanization.

• Immigrants came to America in large numbers beginning in the 1840s.
• There were two waves of immigration:
o Old Wave (1840-1880): Most immigrants were from northern and western Europe (Irish, German, English). The Irish faced discrimination because they were Catholic.
o New Wave (1880-1920): Most immigrants were from southern and eastern Europe (Italian, Greek, Russian). Second Wave immigrants faced more discrimination because of their darker skin, varied languages, and different religions.
• Immigrants were inspected at Ellis Island, then usually moved to tenements in cities.
• Immigration was encouraged because factories needed more and more workers.
• The Statue of Liberty, including its poem “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” was a symbol of America’s acceptance of immigrants.

Industrial Problems
• Factory workers faced long hours, poor working conditions, and the threat of being fired if they complained.
• The worst example was the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where dozens of women died in a fire when no fire escapes were available.
• These problems led workers to form labor unions. Unions demanded better conditions and went on strike if employers didn’t accept their demands.
• Unions convinced the government to pass laws that created safer working conditions.

• Problems in society led people to fight for reform. Reformers were called Progressives.
• Muckrakers were Progressive reformers who wrote news articles and books that drew attention to problems in society. For example, Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle about the meatpacking industry.
• Progressives argued that the government should regulate big businesses. For example, the Sherman Antitrust Act kept companies from forming monopolies and eliminating competition.
• Women won the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920.

Unit 8: Imperialism and World War I

Imperialism: What It Is and Why the U.S. Did It
• Imperialism is a policy in which a country tries to take over other, distant lands, creating an empire.
• The United States was not imperialistic during the first 100 years of its history. Instead, it was isolationist—it avoided relationships with other countries.
• But the U.S. became imperialistic in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They wanted to use the natural resources (minerals, crops) in other countries, and they wanted to prove that they were a world power.
• President Theodore Roosevelt strongly supported imperialism. His “Big Stick” Policy showed that he was not afraid to use American force in Latin America.

Spanish-American War
• In the late 1890s, the U.S. fought Spain for control of Spain’s colonies (especially Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines).
• Yellow journalism helped persuade Americans to support the war. Yellow journalism is the publication of exaggerated, sometimes untrue news, in order to sell newspapers.
• When the U.S.S. Maine battleship exploded in Cuba before the war, the newspapers immediately blamed Spain, and the American people called for war.
• The United States won the war and took control of Spain’s colonies.

Other Examples of Imperialism
• Hawaii: The U.S. took over the island nation to control its sugar plantations.
• Panama: The U.S. convinced Panama to declare independence from Colombia. Then they used Panama to build a canal that connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Panama Canal shortened the sea routes between the U.S. and Asia and Europe.
• China: European countries had created spheres of influence in China. Only one European country could trade in each area. The U.S. declared an Open Door Policy, saying that all countries, including the U.S., should be able to trade with all parts of China.

World War I
• Militarism (development of weapons), alliances (defense agreements between countries), imperialism and nationalism (national pride) made Europe extremely tense.
• After the war, President Woodrow Wilson proposed Fourteen Points for peace, including the formation of a League of Nations to allow for talks between countries.

World War I Timeline
1914: Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was murdered by a Serb, so Austria declared war on Serbia. Alliances pulled most European nations into the war. “The Great War” had begun. The U.S.A. stayed out of the war.
1915: Germany began using “U-boats” (sub-marines) to sink ships. They attacked a passenger ship, the Lusitania, killing over 1,000, including 128 Americans. The U.S.A. remained out of the war.
1916: Americans were sympathetic to the Allies, but the U.S.A. did not join the war. President Woodrow Wilson was re-elected by boasting that he had kept the U.S.A. out of war.
1917: Germany sent the “Zimmermann note” to Mexico, asking Mexico to attack the U.S.A. if the U.S.A. joined the war. The U.S.A. declared war and sent its troops to fight in the trenches in Europe.
1918: The U.S.A.’s presence helped the Allies to win the war. Germany collapsed and peace was declared on November 11. President Wilson proposed Fourteen Points for peace, including a League of Nations.

Unit 9: 1920s and 1930s

Roaring Twenties
• After World War I, the U.S. returned to an isolationist foreign policy. They refused to join the League of Nations, worrying they would get involved in European wars again.
• Warren Harding became president, promising a “return to normalcy.”

Nativism and the Red Scare
• In the 1920s, immigrants were blamed for many of America’s problems.
• Opponents of immigration were called nativists.
• Americans feared the spread of communism, so they arrested and deported many immigrants who were suspected of being communist. This was called the Red Scare.
• The U.S. passed a quota law in 1924. A quota limits the number of immigrants from certain countries.

• Reformers blamed alcohol for crime and other social problems. In the 1920s, they convinced Americans to ratify the 18th Amendment, which prohibited alcohol.
• Prohibition led to illegal sale of alcohol by bootleggers (gangsters) in speakeasies (secret bars). Organized crime gangs like the Mafia also developed.

Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance
• Fed up with the South’s racism, blacks moved to northern cities. This movement was called the Great Migration.
• Blacks in Harlem produced poets (e.g. Langston Hughes) and music (jazz) that became popular. The development of black culture was called the Harlem Renaissance.

1920s Economy
• The economy grew as people spent more money on consumer goods like refrigerators, electric stoves, and cars.
• Many people bought products on credit, also known as buying on margin.

Stock Market Crash and the Great Depression
• People also bought stocks on credit. This helped to cause a stock market crash in 1929.
• The stock market crash led to the Great Depression, a time of unemployment and poverty in the 1930s.
• The Dust Bowl added to the problems of the depression. A drought in the Midwest (Great Plains) led to dust storms and farm failures.

Presidents Hoover and Roosevelt Respond
• Hoover didn’t spend federal money to aid the poor. He was blamed for doing too little to fight the depression. Villages of shacks became known as Hoovervilles.
• Roosevelt became president in 1933, promising a New Deal. He convinced Americans he cared by giving reassuring radio speeches called fireside chats.

The New Deal
• Roosevelt decided the government had to help the poor, so he created the New Deal: a set of dozens of federal programs that gave aid and put people back to work.
• The Social Security Act is a New Deal program that still exists. It gives unemployment insurance and pensions for retired workers.

Unit 10: World War II and Cold War

Causes of World War II
• The Germans resented the unfair Treaty of Versailles, which ended World War I. They elected Adolf Hitler as dictator. He promised to make Germany a world power.
• Then Hitler took over part of another country. In response, European leaders appeased him—they gave him what he wanted in hopes of keeping the peace.
• Hitler eventually invaded Poland, leading England and France to declare war in 1939.

U.S. Neutrality
• At first, the United States remained neutral in World War II.
• However, under FDR’s Lend-Lease Program, the U.S. provided weapons and aid to the Allies, including England and France.

U.S. Enters War after Pearl Harbor Attack
• Germany’s ally, Japan, made a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941.
• President Roosevelt, calling it “a day that will live in infamy,” encouraged Congress to declare war on Japan. The U.S. thus entered World War II.

The Home Front
• 16 million American men fought in World War II. There were over 1 million casualties.
• Gasoline and food were rationed (limited) by the government, and people planted “victory gardens” to provide for their families during this time of sacrifice.
• People bought war bonds to fund the American war effort.
• Women took over factory work at home while their husbands were away.
• Japanese-Americans faced discrimination during the war. They were suspected of being spies, so they were evicted from their homes and sent to internment camps during war.

World War II: The Action
• In the war, the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, Japan) fought the Allies (USA, England, France, Soviet Union).
• In Europe, Hitler controlled much of the continent until the Allies launched a surprise invasion of France on D-Day. The war ended in Europe in May 1945.
• In the Pacific, Japan drove the Allies south to Australia before the Allies rallied. They fought back and were preparing to invade Japan in August 1945.

Atomic Bombs
• Harry Truman became president when Roosevelt died in April 1945. He learned that scientists working on the “Manhattan Project” had developed an atomic bomb.
• Truman decided to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
• The bomb killed over 100,000 people, mainly civilians. Truman decided it was a better choice than invading Japan—he believed more people would have died in an invasion.

After the War
• The United Nations formed after the war to allow for international peacekeeping talks.
• In the Nuremberg Trials, Germans were tried for their involvement in the Holocaust.

The Cold War
• Immediately after World War II, the U.S. and Soviet Union became fierce rivals. The U.S. had a democratic government, while the Soviet Union had a communist government. Their rivalry, which almost led to a violent war, was called the Cold War.
• The U.S.’s main strategy during the Cold War was to prevent the spread of communism. This strategy was called containment.
• Early in the Cold War, the U.S. gave economic aid to democratic countries, hoping to prevent them from becoming communist. This aid was called the Marshall Plan.
• During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union installed nuclear weapons in Cuba and aimed them at the U.S. In this crisis, the world came dangerously close to nuclear war.

Vietnam War
• The U.S. fought violent wars in Korea and Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism.
• Many Americans protested the Vietnam War. They said the war was a civil war, and the United States should not have interfered.
• Protests led to the “hippie” peace movement and the Kent State shootings.

Ending the Cold War
• In the 1970s, President Nixon agreed to ease tensions with communist governments in a program called détente.
• The Cold War ended in the early 1990s when the Soviet Union broke up.

Unit 11: 1950s to Today

• After World War II, soldiers came home, married and had many children. The birth of so many new children was called the baby boom.
• In the 1950s, many families moved to the suburbs. Because the economy was prosperous (strong), families could afford to buy their own houses there. The interstate highway system was built, allowing people to easily drive from the suburbs to jobs in the cities.

Fighting Segregation in the Supreme Court
• In the South, blacks had faced segregation since the 1896 Supreme Court case of Plessy v. Ferguson, which declared that “separate but equal” facilities were legal.
• The NAACP and other activist groups filed lawsuits to fight for blacks’ rights.
• In 1954, the Supreme Court decided the case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka which said that public school segregation was unconstitutional and had to end.
• President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to send troops to Arkansas to enforce this decision.

Civil Rights Movement
• Court battles were a part of the Civil Rights Movement.
• The major goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to end racial segregation.
• Rosa Parks helped spark the movement by refusing to move on a segregated bus. Her arrest led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, organized by Martin Luther King, Jr.
• King believed in nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience.
• Civil disobedience is the refusal to follow laws that you consider unjust. King encouraged protestors to break laws and accept arrest. King was often arrested.

Results of the Civil Rights Movement
• The Civil Rights Movement led to laws outlawing poll taxes, literacy tests, and Jim Crow laws.
• Affirmative action programs were designed to provide equal opportunities for minorities.

Nixon and Watergate
• In addition to his Cold War policy of détente, Nixon is remembered for Watergate.
• In the Watergate scandal, Nixon knowingly approved a break-in of his opponent’s campaign headquarters. Then he lied about his involvement in the burglary.
• He resigned from the presidency just before he was to be impeached for his crimes.
Women’s Rights Movement and Native American Rights Movement
• Women fought for equal rights in the 1960s and 1970s during the feminist movement.
• Native Americans have recently fought for the return of lands taken from them by the government earlier in U.S. history.

Recent Events
• In the past 30 years, the U.S. has had a foreign trade deficit. This means that it imports more from other countries than it exports to other countries.
• In 1991, the U.S. fought the Persian Gulf War to end Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and to protect America’s oil supply. In 2003, the U.S. began the current war in Iraq, overthrowing Saddam Hussein and installing a democratic government there.
• On 9/11/2001, al-Qaeda terrorists led by Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In response, the U.S. attacked Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda organized the attacks.
• Industrialization has caused pollution, and the government has been criticized for not doing enough to stop it.