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Archived Information

History and Social Science
Curriculum Framework

V. Commonly taught subtopics related
to core knowledge in United States
and world history, geography,
economics, and Civics and Government

Grade Spans 5-8 And 9-10: The World

1. Human Beginnings and Early Civilizations (Prehistory to 1000 B.C.)

a. Human origins and early life; the work and findings of archaeologists

  • African origins; work of the Leakeys and others
  • Fishing, hunting, and gathering
  • Lascaux to Stonehenge

b. Earth's geography: climate, soil, waters, topography, and human migration

  • Recapitulation and extension of geography learning in PreK-4
  • Motives for moving elsewhere; the great treks
  • The Bering bridge from Asia to North America

c. The agricultural revolution; Neolithic technology and its effects on human life

  • Tools of the New Stone Age
  • Geographical conditions; survival and work; from roving to settled life
  • Localized fishing, hunting, gathering; herders and farmers

d. Early civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, India

  • River valley civilizations; water, climate, location
  • First urban societies; literacy and its significance
  • Economic and military functions of cities

2. Classical Civilizations of the Ancient World (1000 B.C. to c. 500 A.D.)

a. The origins, central teachings, and legacies of Judaism

  • The Torah; the people of Israel
  • Monotheism; Abraham, Moses, the Commandments
  • The Hebrew prophets; Amos, Jeremiah, Isaiah
  • Individual and social responsibility; spiritual equality before God

b. Greek civilization: literature, philosophy, arts, and science

  • Homer, Iliad, Odyssey; the ethic of the hero
  • Classicism in art, architecture, and behavior; moderation, balance
  • Philosophers of human life and society: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle
  • The theatre as social and moral commentary; Sophocles, Aristophanes

c. Athenian democracy; principles, practices, and legacy

  • Athens and Sparta; contrasting views of the citizen
  • Aristotle's six forms of government
  • Strengths and limits of Athenian democracy
  • The Persian and Peloponnesian wars; Athenian empire and decline

d. Alexander the Great and the spread of Hellenism

  • Geographical and military basis of Alexander's empire
  • Alexandria: center of Hellenistic and Jewish culture; the great libraries
  • Science and medicine; Hippocrates
  • Philosophical currents; Epicureans, Stoics

e. Institutions, culture, and legacies of the Roman Republic and Empire

  • The republican constitution; Senate, separation of powers
  • Weaknesses and fall of the Republic; Cicero
  • Imperial Rome; geography, armies, peoples, citizens, slavery
  • Roman law, administration; architecture; engineering: roads and aqueducts
  • Literature: Virgil, Aeneid; histories: Livy, Tacitus

f. The classical civilization of India; Hinduism, Buddhism

  • Hinduism; karma, reincarnation; epic of Ramayana
  • Origins, teachings of Buddhism; Siddhartha, Nirvana
  • Buddhism as reform of Hinduism; the Emperor Ashoka
  • Buddhism's expansion to Southeast Asia, China, Korea, and Japan

g. The classical civilization of China; Confucianism, Taoism

  • Two shaping traditions; teachings of Confucius and Lao-tse
  • Centrality of the family; the Mandate of Heaven
  • Crafts and trades; paper; the Silk Road across Asia to Middle East
  • Comparisons and contrasts; fall of Roman and Han empires

h. Origins, central teachings, and spread of Christianity

  • Sources and teachings from Judaism
  • Jesus of Nazareth; the Gospels; Sermon on the Mount
  • Preachers and organizers; Sts. Peter and Paul; St. Augustine; St. Patrick
  • From Roman persecution to official religion; Emperor Constantine
  • Church doctrine; the Nicene Creed; monasticism

i. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire; historians' debates

  • Economic and social crises; ecology, class chasms, fear and alienation
  • Political and military instability; corruption, assassination, palace coups
  • Exterior forces; provincial disorder, loss of trade, invaders
  • The debate over the effects of Christian beliefs and behavior
  • The fall of Rome as object lesson; enduring historical questions

3. Growth of agricultural and commercial civilizations (c. 500 A.D. to 1500)

a. The Byzantine Empire; institutions, religion, and culture

  • Empire shifts to the East; Constantinople; Code of Justinian
  • Preservation of heritage of antiquity
  • Establishment of Eastern Orthodox Church; conversion of the Slavs
  • The arts: Hagia Sophia; mosaics; icons
  • Weaknesses; ultimate fall of Constantinople to the Turks

b. The origins and principles of Islam; spread of Muslim power

  • Mohammed, the Koran; relations to Judaism and Christianity
  • The Five Pillars of Islam; Mecca and Medina
  • Islamic expansion; caliphs; religious toleration and its limits
  • Preservation and transmittal of ancient Greek and Indian works
  • Advances in science, mathematics, and medicine

c. Components of early European civilization: Roman, Christian, invaders

  • Conditions following the collapse of Roman authority in Europe
  • Invading German peoples: Huns, Franks, Angles, Saxons
  • Early medieval church; allegiance to Rome; monasteries
  • Charlemagne; Carolingian Empire
  • Viking invasions; Norman Conquest (1066)

d. Western feudalism, manorialism, religion; the three social estates

  • Early medieval agricultural inventions; plough, mill, crop rotation
  • Feudal contract; lord and vassal; fiefs and obligations
  • Manorialism; self-sufficient units of production; manorial contract; lord and serf
  • Parallel systems of justice: civil and ecclesiastical
  • The estates, or statuses: clergy, nobility, commoners

e. The Middle Empire in China; trade and arts; Chinese Buddhism

  • Unbroken continuity of civilization; contrast with West after Rome's fall
  • Great dynasties: T'ang, Sung; economic and technological advances
  • Golden age of arts and culture; painting, porcelain, poetry
  • Expansion of trade, domestic and foreign; place of the merchant class
  • Mongol invasion; Kublai Khan; Marco Polo; importance of geography

f. Japan's classical age; Shintoism, Buddhism, Sino-Japanese culture

  • China's influence on Japan; Buddhism, writing, law, civil service, the arts
  • Early development of feudalism; daimyo and samurai
  • Unification under the Kamakura; Mongol invasion fails; the "divine wind"
  • Shinto, native Japanese religion; coexistence with Buddhism, Confucianism
  • Japanese art, architecture, drama, literature; Noh plays; Lady Murasaki

g. Kiev and Muscovy; Russia and the Mongol Empire

  • Kiev; conversion to Eastern Orthodox Christianity
  • Geography and peoples of Central Asia
  • Mongol conquest; Russia under the "Tartar Yoke"
  • Muscovy; Ivan the Great; Moscow as the "third Rome"
  • Early transcontinental trade systems

h. Africa; cities and states; gold, salt, and slave trade; Muslim expansion

  • Varied geography; varied societies: village, city, states, and empires
  • Economics factors: trans-Saharan camel trade; gold, salt, and slaves
  • Spread of Islamic religion into Africa; Christianity in Ethiopia
  • Empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai
  • Great Zimbabwe; Bantu settlement and languages; Swahili

i. Societies of pre-Columbian America: Mayan, Incan, Aztec

  • Geography and climates of Central and South America
  • Mayan civilization: crops, trade, architecture, the zero, astronomy, calendar
  • The Aztec empire; public works, status of women, warriors; slavery
  • Incan empire of the Andes; Machu Picchu; architecture, textiles
  • Comparisons of Aztec and Incan civilizations; roles of family, class, priests, warriors and governors

j. Europe in the high Middle Ages; monarchs, parliaments, church, and culture

  • France: kingship, the Estates, Parlements; St. Louis IX as model monarch
  • England: Norman kings; Magna Carta as feudal contract; Model Parliament
  • Church doctrine on war: Truce and Peace of God; on economics: the "just price"
  • Rivalries and struggles; Church and state; Church and emerging "middle" class
  • Gothic art, cathedrals; schools, universities; philosophy; St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Christendom and Islam; coexistence and exchanges; Crusades and consequences

4. Emergence of a Global Age (1450 to 1750)

a. The Italian Renaissance; economic, social, and political bases

  • Backgrounds: rise of European agricultural productivity and trade
  • Importance of geography; the relative security of Italy in the era
  • Positive economic effects of the Crusades; prosperity of Italian peninsula
  • Church preservation of Roman learning; Islamic science and culture
  • Politics and patronage of culture; city-states, magnates, and Papacy

b. Works and legacies of Renaissance artists and humanists, South and North

  • Arts and literature; Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Petrarch, Rabelais
  • Machiavelli as historian and political reformer; The Discourses, The Prince
  • Humanism's two faces: study of the ancients; individualism and innovation
  • Christian humanism: Erasmus, Thomas More
  • The Elizabethan Renaissance; William Shakespeare

c. Leaders, ideas, contending forces, and religious change in the Reformation era

  • Worsening conflicts between religious and secular authorities; decline of the Papacy
  • Martin Luther: salvation by faith; break with Rome; the Lutheran church
  • John Calvin: predestination; puritanism; austerity of church and rites
  • Reformation in the Roman Catholic church; Ignatius Loyola; Teresa of Avila
  • The English Reformation; Henry VIII; Elizabeth I
  • The European wars of religion; ideas and beginnings of religious toleration

d. China under Ming and Manchu dynasties; agriculture, trade, and cities

  • Growth of commerce, cities, and merchant class in China
  • Great Ming naval expeditions and expansion of trade across Indian Ocean
  • Chinese turn inward; restriction of expeditions, trade, and merchants
  • Conquest of Ming by Manchu dynasty, 1644; survives until 1911
  • Traditional Chinese civilization under challenge; European influences

e. Japanese unity under the Tokugawa Shogunate; the closing inward

  • After feudal disorder, Japan reunified under Tokugawa Shogunate
  • Hostility to Western influences; Japanese Christians persecuted
  • Trade and travel cut; ban on seagoing vessels; single port open to Dutch alone
  • Rising internal production in agriculture and commerce
  • Continued development of uniquely Japanese art and literature; kabuki theatre

f. European expansion and exploration; economic and technological forces

  • Commercial revolution and early capitalism
  • Growth of trade; the search for routes to East Asia
  • Borrowings and innovations: maps, compass, astrolabe, ship and sail design
  • Routes of explorers; Prince Henry, Vasco da Gama, Columbus, Magellan, Cartier

g. European conquests, colonization, and consequences in the Americas

  • Mercantilism in theory and practice
  • The intercontinental exchange of plants, animals, technology, diseases
  • Extension of African slavery to the Western hemisphere
  • Spanish America; Cortes and Montezuma; las Casas; the search for gold
  • French America; fur traders, merchants, missionaries
  • British America; the diverse motivations of the Atlantic coast colonizers

h. Absolute monarchies and constitutional governments

  • Scale of armies and economy demand centralized administrations
  • Theory and practice of divine right monarchy: Louis XIV at Versailles
  • Russia and Prussia; Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; Frederick the Great
  • England: 17th century revolution; Stuart kings lose power to Parliament
  • The "Glorious Revolution" of 1688-89; English Bill of Rights

5. The Age of Revolutionary Change (1750 to 1914)

a. The Scientific Revolution; earlier discoveries; new "laws" of nature

  • Prior advances in theory: Copernicus, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, Newton
  • Technological advances; microscopes, telescopes, laboratory equipment
  • Spread of knowledge; advances in publishing since Gutenberg
  • Patronage of scientists; royal science societies of Europe
  • New faiths in scientific observation, reason, laws of nature, harmony, progress; the Newtonian view of the universe as peaceful, balanced, predictable

b. The Enlightenment in Europe and America

  • Ideas of "natural laws" in politics and economics; Hobbes, Locke, Adam Smith
  • The "Philosophes" in France; Voltaire, Rousseau; the salon and roles of women
  • Neo-classicism in music, art, and architecture; harmony, balance, restraint
  • Negative effects of the Enlightenment on older, traditional faiths and religion
  • New religious currents; Deists, Quakers, Methodists

c. Origins, stages, and consequences of the American and French Revolutions

  • Anglo-American political heritage and experience
  • Leaders and stages of the American Revolution; constitutional settlement
  • In contrast: causes, setting, and factions of the French Revolution; class and religious hatreds; economic crises; foreign invasions; Terror and Thermidor
  • The call for order; Napoleon: the first modern-style dictator?
  • Lasting world wide effects of the two revolutions: universal drives to national independence, liberty, political democracy, social and economic justice

d. Latin America; wars for independence; economic and social stratification

  • Haitian revolution; Toussaint L'Ouverture; Napoleon abandons the Americas
  • Colombia and Venezuela; Simon Bolivar the "Liberator"
  • Argentina, Chile, Mexico: San Martin, O'Higgins, Hidalgo, Morelos
  • Abiding power of church, landlords, caudillos, racial and social inequalities
  • 19th century shift to cash, export crops; growth of commerce and cities
  • The Mexican Revolution, 1910-20: Madero, Zapata, Obregon

e. Agricultural and Industrial Revolution in the Western world

  • Rural preconditions in England and Europe; the enclosure movement
  • Inventions, technological advances; steam, factory and mining machinery, machine tools, canals, roads and railroads
  • Transformation of daily life for men, women, and children in conditions of work, housing, diet, health, illness, and old age
  • Class changes: new upper-middle class of industrialists, bankers, merchants; new factory working masses, the "proletariat"
  • Resistance to industrialization and its effects; landed gentry, Luddites, Romantics

f. Cities and urban life of the 19th century

  • Factory city: Manchester, Lowell; growing metropolis: London, Paris, New York
  • Tenements crowded, cold, damp, dark; dirty streets and water; disease, crime
  • Toward public health and modernization; water, sewers, lights, parks, police
  • Contrasting conditions among social classes; housing, education, recreation
  • Leadership of women in social services; Florence Nightingale, Jane Addams
  • Subjects for Romantics and Realists; Wordsworth, Delacroix, Dickens, Daumier

g. Democratic and social reform in Europe; evolutions and revolutions

  • 19th century ideologies and social movements: Liberalism, Conservatism, radical republicanism, socialism, Marxism, labor unionism, social democracy
  • Europe-wide revolutions in 1848; failed, from classes and ideologies in conflict
  • Irish famine, German revolutions, Russian pogroms, poverty in Southern and Eastern Europe press millions to emigrate to the United States and Canada
  • Czarist emancipation of Russian serfs, 1861, with access to land
  • Universal manhood suffrage common by 1900
  • Struggle for women's rights; the suffragettes; the Pankhursts in England
  • Legalization of unions and strikes, social legislation for workers in Germany, England, and Scandinavia--in contrast to France, Italy, Russia, United States

h. Rising European nationalism; motives for new European imperialism

  • Unification of Italy; of Germany: Bismarck and the policy of "Blood and Iron"
  • Nationalist agitation and violence in Eastern Europe and the Balkans
  • Imperialist ideology: national pride, military power, profits, Social Darwinism
  • European colonialism and growing rivalries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East
  • Imperialism's consequences for both the colonized and the colonizers

i. Chinese resistance to colonialism; the Chinese Revolution

  • Defeat and humiliation in the Opium War
  • The Taiping Rebellion; egalitarian, anti-Manchu, anti-foreign
  • Defeat and humiliation in Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95
  • Sun Yat-sen; campaign for national unity, democracy, economic security
  • 1911 Nationalist revolution ends the Manchu dynasty; fails to unite China

j. Japan's modernization and rise to world power

  • Commodore Perry "opens" Japan in the 1850s
  • The Meiji "Restoration": the drive to modern industry
  • New army and constitution based on German imperial model
  • The urbanization of Japan; government-business corporatism
  • Russo-Japanese War; the first Asian victory over a European power
  • The Emperor as the nation's unifying figure and head of government

k. Dawn of the 20th century; Western optimism and counter-currents

  • Measurable progress in medicine, health, infant survival, life expectancy
  • Progress and promises of science and technology for easing human labor
  • Progress in living standards: diet, clothing, public schools, recreation
  • Progress of democracy, social reform, peace efforts; the Hague Tribunal
  • Optimism: Enlightenment faith in reason, education, possibility of human harmony still dominant, alongside continuing religious practice and tradition
  • The dark side: abiding destitution, disease, imperial clashes, armaments races, terrorism and assassinations; the Armenian genocide
  • Dark visions of human nature: Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Ibsen, Nietzsche, Freud

6. The World in the Era of Great Wars (1900 to 1945)

a. Causes, military course, and consequences of World War I

  • Balkan nationalism; Sarajevo; Franz Ferdinand assassinated; the Black Hand
  • Long-range causes; national fears, memories, and interests; alliances, arms races, economic and imperialist rivalries; the military dominates "autocrats" in Vienna, Berlin, and St. Petersburg
  • Geography and the new technologies of war; the grandiose plans for victory
  • Failure of all plans; stalemate at the Marne; trench warfare of attrition ensues
  • Total war; slaughter of a generation; trauma on the home front
  • Memoirs, poetry, novels; Owen, Graves, Vera Brittain, Remarque

b. The Russian Revolutions of 1917; ideas and practices of the Bolsheviks

  • Russian humiliation in Japanese war; revolution of 1905; the Duma
  • Defeat, carnage, economic and political disability during World War I
  • Spring revolution of 1917; moderate leaders caught between Right and Left
  • Bolshevik revolution of October; Russian Marxism; Lenin promises "bread, peace, land" and freedom for the Baltic states
  • January 1918; crushing of elected assembly; armed dictatorship of Communist party; civil war; emergence of terror

c. Paris Conference, Versailles Treaty; aims and conflicts of divided allies

  • American army and economic support of the Allies; Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points
  • Brief Allied intervention against Bolsheviks in the Russian civil war
  • American, British, and French in conflict at Paris: fears, wants, and interests
  • Treaty of Versailles; promises, problems, consequences; historians' debates
  • The struggle over the League of Nations, in Paris and Washington
  • Geography and politics; new, exhausted nations in Eastern and Central Europe

d. After-effects of war and colonialism, West and East

  • Economic supremacy passes to the United States; economic instability and social unrest throughout Europe; legacies of war: widows, orphans, the disabled
  • Weimar Republic; weak democracy; defeat and inflation drain morale
  • 1920s culture of disillusion; Brecht, Grosz; Berlin of the 1920's
  • Colonial rebellions in the Middle East, North Africa, South Africa
  • China: Kuomintang vs. Communists, Chiang Kai-shek; Indo-China: Ho Chi Minh
  • Indian nationalism; the Congress party; Gandhi; Muslim Pakistan

e. The Great Depression: causes and worldwide consequences

  • The effects of prolonged war; dislocation of trade, investment; war debts
  • United States stock market crash of 1929 opens a widening crisis
  • Different policies of democracies: British retrenchment; American New Deal; French Popular Front; German inflation/depression assault working and middle classes
  • Mass unemployment; despair, family breakdowns, postwar burdens on women
  • Depression-era arts, literature: Kollwitz, Shahn, Lange, Orwell, Steinbeck; popular culture: radio, movies, spectator sports, dance
  • Stagnation and destitution in non-industrial societies

f. International Communism; Leninist/Stalinist totalitarianism in Russia

  • Lenin and the Third International; doctrine of violent world revolution
  • World leftist parties and labor both divided by internal communist/socialist conflict
  • In the Soviet Union, Stalin takes power; forced industrialization; agriculture collectivized; "liquidation" of kulak farmers
  • Stalinist terror and mass purges of the 1930s; Siberia and the Gulags

g. International Fascism; Italy, Spain, Nazi totalitarianism in Germany

  • Fear of the left drives many to choose fascism as "lesser evil"
  • Mussolini imposes one-party military dictatorship of Italy
  • Franco and army attack Spanish Republic; Civil War; Picasso's Guernica
  • German democrats, socialists, trade unions divided, demoralized by depression; rightists and nationalists open Hitler's way to power, 1933
  • Hitler and Nazis promise to restore German prosperity, power, and pride
  • German Nazism; economic control; one-party terror; anti-Semitism, pogroms, concentration and death camps

h. Liberal democracies in danger; economic, social, political crises

  • Continuing depression socially demoralizing; joblessness, poor diet and health, class resentments in Britain
  • In France, labor violence, right/left street riots; apparent failure of democratic parties pushes voters to parties of left and right
  • Abiding disillusion, distrust of leaders blamed for catastrophes of 1914-18
  • British and French drift apart since Paris Conference: quarrels over military cooperation, over treatment of Germany, Italy, Spain, League of Nations

i. Origins and responsibilities for World War II in Europe and Asia

  • Programs of conquest in Tokyo, Rome, Berlin
  • Democracies' failure to use League of Nations; Manchuria, Ethiopia
  • Hitler's violations of Versailles unanswered: re-armament, seizure of Austria, Munich crisis and seizure of Czechoslovakia
  • Appeasement's roots: trauma of World War; domestic distractions; distrust of military, fear of communism; fear of inflation; disbelief in Hitler's intentions
  • The turn to war: Hitler's invasion of Poland; Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
  • The Allies, Churchill and Roosevelt; the Atlantic Charter

j. World War II: geography, leaders, military factors; turning points

  • Nazis take Poland, Low Countries, Norway; fall of France; Japanese sweep through Southeast Asia, Philippines
  • Life in Nazified Europe; deportation of Jews; resistance movements distract German military; German resistance: among some churchmen; the officers' plot
  • Turning-points: battles of Britain and the Atlantic, El Alamein, Stalingrad, Leningrad, the Normandy invasion, air superiority
  • Victory in the Pacific; Midway, the relentless, sanguinary island campaigns; Leyte Gulf, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

k. The human toll of 20th century wars and genocides; the Holocaust

  • The Armenian genocides, mid-1890s and 1915
  • World War I: 20 million soldier and civilian deaths; 20 million more from flu
  • World War II: new weapons and disease, scale of fighting in Russia and Asia bring soldier and civilian deaths near 40 million; first use of atomic bomb
  • The Holocaust; Nazi racism and eugenics; the Warsaw ghetto; mass plunder and destruction of European Jews; postwar Nuremberg trials

7. The World from 1945 to the Present

a. Origins of the Cold War; the divided victors of World War II

  • Communism replaces fascism as main world rival of democracy and economic freedom
  • Yalta and Potsdam agreements reflect end-of-war troop deployment; Soviets eliminate non-communist parties in their zones of occupation
  • Communist threats to Greece and Turkey; the Truman Doctrine
  • The "Iron Curtain" comes down as Soviet regimes are installed in Central and Eastern Europe; mass Communist parties in France and Italy

b. Rebuilding and reform in postwar Europe and Japan

  • Post-World War I American policies reversed; the United Nations; Marshall Plan; NATO military alliance; military preparedness at home
  • Economic recovery leads to political stability in Western Europe; first steps to European union; Monnet, Adenauer, de Gaulle
  • Reconstruction and a new constitution for Japan
  • Struggles for democracy in the Philippines and India

c. New nations in Africa and Asia; the end of European colonialism

  • European authority dissolves in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East
  • Leaders and conditions in the new nations: India; Gandhi and the Nehrus; Muslim Pakistan; Indonesia; economic straits; religious wars
  • Ghana's independence leads the way for new African nations constructed, often constricted, along boundaries of former European colonies
  • Creation of Israel; Israeli-Arab wars; Arab refugees; Golda Meir

d. Cold War in Europe: Marshall Plan, NATO, Iron Curtain, Warsaw Pact

  • Czech Communist coup
  • Berlin blockade, American-led airlift and the Wall
  • Polish, Hungarian, and Czech revolts crushed by Soviet forces, 1956-1968
  • Spread of nuclear weapons; the "balance of terror"
  • The Cuban missile crisis; Kennedy and Kruschchev

e. Cold War in Asia: Chinese Communist Revolution, wars in Korea and Vietnam

  • Maoism triumphant in China, 1949; Nationalists pushed to Taiwan
  • Invasion of South Korea by Communist North; Americans fight Korean War; intervention by Chinese ends in stalemate between North and South Korea
  • The Vietnam War; massive American effort; losses, defeat, and withdrawal

f. East/West duels for the non-aligned; Asia, Africa, and South America

  • Soviet campaigns for communist influence in developing societies
  • American military and economic aid to anti-communist parties and regimes
  • Covert operations of both sides; case studies of Iran, Chile, Central America

g. The Soviet Empire collapses; post-Cold War locales of disorder

  • Soviet economic failures; pressures of arms race with the United States
  • Economic superiority of Western Europe erodes Soviet authority in East; modern media penetrate closed borders
  • Resistance and new leaders: in Poland, Lech Walesa, the church, and the unions; in Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel
  • Gorbachev; glasnost; the reunification of Germany
  • Russia's struggle for democracy and free economic development; emergence of organized crime

h. Persistent nationalism; militarism; conflicts of race, religion, and ethnicity

  • The Middle East; religion, oil, dictatorships; the Gulf War
  • Collapse of Yugoslavia into civil wars, "ethnic cleansing"; the Dayton accords
  • Civil wars and genocide in Rwanda and Zaire
  • New forms of terrorism; continued arms races; proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons
  • American, Russian steps toward reduction of nuclear arms

i. Democracy and human rights; advances and retreats since 1945

  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights; role of Eleanor Roosevelt
  • A divided United Nations; economic and humanitarian achievements and their limits; peacekeeping efforts lost and won; case study of Crete
  • Expansion of women's rights and responsibilities; near-universal suffrage; women legislators and prime ministers, East and West
  • Contrasting cases: South Africa; de Klerk and Nelson Mandela; China: militarism, persecution of neighbors and dissenters; prison labor
  • Democratic gains and continuing struggles; Eastern Europe, South Asia, Russia, Central and South America, the Caribbean

j. The changing world economy; limits on national sovereignty and priorities

  • The effects of worldwide technology and communications
  • The workings of multinational corporations and financial markets
  • Search for cheaper labor shifts manufacture from former industrial societies to other areas of the world; case studies: Indonesia, China, India, Mexico
  • Developing crises in European welfare states; problems for European unity

k. New boundaries and issues in science, technology, and culture

  • Genetic engineering; cloning; DNA; epidemics and responses
  • Tensions between production and environment; air, soils, forests, waters
  • World population growth; dislocation of agriculture in developing areas
  • Space and oceanographic explorations; 1969 Moon landing
  • Cosmopolitan currents of ideas and literature since 1945: Wiesel, Solzhenitsyn, Achebe; Existentialism: Camus, Sartre; Nobel laureates Pasternak, Neruda, Soyinka, Milosz, Brodsky, Gordimer, Walcott
  • Challenges to liberal education, and thereby to self-government: the information flood, workplace specialization; mass amusements and pop culture commonly taught subtopics


Last Updated: September 1, 1997
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