History Department

The release of the national CommonCore Standards for English Language Arts includes standards for Literacy in History /Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects for grades 6-12. While they are not intended to replace the current NYS History/Social Studies content standards (pages 102-109 in this document), they can however, serve as a bridge that connects content knowledge to literacy skills for the 21St century learner.

Reading historical texts proficiently requires the reader to understand the nuances and features specific to the discipline of history/social studies.

Students of history in grades 9-12 will interact with a variety of historical text types from a wide range of complexity levels. By the end of grade 12, these students should be able to:

  1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
  2. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
  3. Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
  4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refiners the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No.10)
  5. Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
  6. Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the author’s claims, reasoning and evidence.
  7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  8. Evaluate an author’s premises, claims and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
  9. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
  10. Read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 11-12 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

AP World History

The AP World History course content is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in six different chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present.

The Four Historical Thinking Skills
The framework defines a set of shared historical thinking skills, which allows teachers to make more informed choices about appropriate ways of linking content and thinking skills.

Key Concepts and Themes
The use of key concepts and themes to organize the course facilitates both chronological and thematic approaches to teaching AP World History. Given the vast nature of the subject matter, using both approaches — even alternating between the two — often aids instruction.

The key concepts support the investigation of historical developments within a chronological framework, while the course themes allow students to make crucial connections across the six historical periods and across geographical regions.

The concepts are designed to provide structure for teaching the course, serving as instructional units that can be addressed separately or in conjunction with other key concepts within any given period. By framing historical processes and developments beyond a perceived list of facts, events, and dates, the key concepts help teachers and their students understand, organize, and prioritize historical developments within each period. So the framework provides a comprehensive content outline organized by key concepts.

Overall, the framework gives teachers the flexibility to teach each key concept in a variety of ways, providing greater options for designing instruction. The AP World History course develops students’ capacity and ability to think and reason in a deeper, more systematic way, better preparing them for subsequent college courses. The skills, course themes, periodization, and key concepts are explained in detail in the curriculum framework that follows.

AP U.S. History

The AP program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and enduring understandings necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students should learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. An AP United States History course should thus develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in an essay format.

AP Seminar

​​Develop and practice the skills in research, collaboration, and communication that you’ll need in any academic discipline. You’ll investigate topics in a variety of subject areas, write research-based essays, and design and give presentations both individually and as part of a team. AP Seminar is an interdisciplinary course that encourages students to demonstrate critical thinking, collaboration, and academic research skills on topics of the student’s choosing. To accommodate the wide range of student topics, typical college course equivalents include

U.S. History

From Pre-Columbian to the New Millennium

The word history comes from the Greek word historía which means "to learn or know by inquiry." In the pieces that follow, we encourage you to probe, dispute, dig deeper — inquire. History is not static. It's fluid. It changes and grows and becomes richer and more complex when any individual interacts with it.

Knowledge of history is empowering. An event is but the furthest ripple of an ever-expanding wave that may have started eddying outward hundreds of years ago. One who "sees" history is able to harness the power of that wave's entire journey.

Finally, the best history has at its foundation a story. A printer challenges a King and so is laid the foundation of the first amendment; a New Jersey miner finds gold in California and sets off a torrent of movement westward; a woman going home from work does not relinquish her seat and a Civil Rights movement explodes.

These stories all help to ask the question, "What is an American?" You'll help to answer that question.

Specific Topics Covered:

Native American Society on the Eve of British Colonization

Diversity of Native American Groups
The Anasazi
The Algonkian Tribes
The Iroquois Tribes

Britain in the New World

Early Ventures Fail
Joint-Stock Companies
Jamestown Settlement and the "Starving Time"
The Growth of the Tobacco Trade
War and Peace with Powhatan's People
The House of Burgesses

The New England Colonies

The Mayflower and Plymouth Colony
William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving
Massachusetts Bay — "The City Upon a Hill"
Puritan Life
Dissent in Massachusetts Bay
Reaching to Connecticut
Witchcraft in Salem

The Middle Colonies

New Netherland to New York
Quakers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
City of Brotherly Love — Philadelphia
The Ideas of Benjamin Franklin

The Southern Colonies

Maryland — The Catholic Experiment
Indentured Servants
Creating the Carolinas
Debtors in Georgia
Life in the Plantation South

African Americans in the British New World

West African Society at the Point of European Contact
"The Middle Passage"
The Growth of Slavery
Slave Life on the Farm and in the Town
Free African Americans in the Colonial Era
"Slave Codes"
A New African-American Culture

The Beginnings of Revolutionary Thinking

The Impact of Enlightenment in Europe
The Great Awakening
The Trial of John Peter Zenger
A Tradition of Rebellion
"What Is the American?"

America's Place in the Global Struggle

New France
The French and Indian War
George Washington's Background and Experience
The Treaty of Paris (1763) and Its Impact

The Events Leading to Independence

The Royal Proclamation of 1763
The Stamp Act Controversy
The Boston Patriots
The Townshend Acts
The Boston Massacre
The Tea Act and Tea Parties
The Intolerable Acts

E Pluribus Unum

Stamp Act Congress
Sons and Daughters of Liberty
Committees of Correspondence
First Continental Congress
Second Continental Congress
Thomas Paine's Common Sense
The Declaration of Independence

The American Revolution

American and British Strengths and Weaknesses
Loyalists, Fence-sitters, and Patriots
Lexington and Concord
Bunker Hill
The Revolution on the Home Front
Washington at Valley Forge
The Battle of Saratoga
The French Alliance
Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris

Societal Impacts of the American Revolution

The Impact of Slavery
A Revolution in Social Law
Political Experience
"Republican Motherhood"

When Does the Revolution End?

The Declaration of Independence and Its Legacy
The War Experience: Soldiers, Officers, and Civilians
The Loyalists
Revolutionary Changes and Limitations: Slavery
Revolutionary Changes and Limitations: Women
Revolutionary Limits: Native Americans
Revolutionary Achievement: Yeomen and Artisans
The Age of Atlantic Revolutions

Making Rules

State Constitutions
Articles of Confederation
Evaluating the Congress
The Economic Crisis of the 1780s

Drafting the Constitution

Shays' Rebellion
A Cast of National Superstars
The Tough Issues
Constitution Through Compromise

Ratifying the Constitution

The Ratification Process: State by State
After the Fact: Virginia, New York, and "The Federalist Papers"
The Antifederalists' Victory in Defeat

George Washington

Growing up in Colonial Virginia
The Force of Personality and Military Command
The First Administration
Farewell Address
Mount Vernon and the Dilemma of a Revolutionary Slave Holder

Unsettled Domestic Issues

The Bill of Rights
Hamilton's Financial Plan
Growing Opposition
U.S. Military Defeat; Indian Victory in the West
Native American Resilience and Violence in the West

Politics in Transition: Public Conflict in the 1790s

Trans-Atlantic Crisis: The French Revolution
Negotiating with the Superpowers
Two Parties Emerge
The Adams Presidency
The Alien and Sedition Acts
The Life and Times of John Adams

Jeffersonian America: A Second Revolution?

The Election of 1800
Jeffersonian Ideology
Westward Expansion: The Louisiana Purchase
A New National Capital: Washington, D.C.
A Federalist Stronghold: John Marshall's Supreme Court
Gabriel's Rebellion: Another View of Virginia in 1800

The Expanding Republic and the War of 1812

The Importance of the West
Exploration: Lewis and Clark
Diplomatic Challenges in an Age of European War
Native American Resistance in the Trans-Appalachian West
The Second War for American Independence
Claiming Victory from Defeat

Social Change and National Development

Economic Growth and the Early Industrial Revolution
Cotton and African-American Life
Religious Transformation and the Second Great Awakening
Institutionalizing Religious Belief: The Benevolent Empire
New Roles for White Women
Early National Arts and Cultural Independence

Politics and the New Nation

The Era of Good Feelings and the Two-Party System
The Expansion of the Vote: A White Man's Democracy
The Missouri Compromise
The 1824 Election and the "Corrupt Bargain"
John Quincy Adams
Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America

The Age of Jackson

The Rise of the Common Man
A Strong Presidency
The South Carolina Nullification Controversy
The War Against the Bank
Jackson vs. Clay and Calhoun
The Trail of Tears — The Indian Removals

The Rise of American Industry

The Canal Era
Early American Railroads
Inventors and Inventions
The First American Factories
The Emergence of "Women's Sphere"
Irish and German Immigration

An Explosion of New Thought

Religious Revival
Experiments with Utopia
Women's Rights
Prison and Asylum Reform
Hudson River School Artists
Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy

The Peculiar Institution

The Crowning of King Cotton
Slave Life and Slave Codes
The Plantation & Chivalry
Free(?) African-Americans
Rebellions on and off the Plantation
The Southern Argument for Slavery

Abolitionist Sentiment Grows

William Lloyd Garrison and The Liberator
African-American Abolitionists
The Underground Railroad
Harriet Beecher Stowe — Uncle Tom's Cabin

Manifest Destiny

The Lone Star Republic
54° 40' or Fight
"American Blood on American Soil"
The Mexican-American War
Gold in California

An Uneasy Peace

Wilmot's Proviso
Popular Sovereignty
Three Senatorial Giants: Clay, Calhoun and Webster
The Compromise of 1850

"Bloody Kansas"

The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Border Ruffians
The Sack of Lawrence
The Pottawatomie Creek Massacre
Canefight! Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner

From Uneasy Peace to Bitter Conflict

The Dred Scott Decision
The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
John Brown's Raid
The Election of 1860
The South Secedes

A House Divided

Fort Sumter
Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South
First Blood and Its Aftermath
Sacred Beliefs
Bloody Antietam
Of Generals and Soldiers
Gettysburg: High Watermark of the Confederacy
Northern Plans to End the War
The Road to Appomattox

The War Behind the Lines

The Emancipation Proclamation
Wartime Diplomacy
The Northern Homefront
The Southern Homefront
The Election of 1864
The Assassination of the President


Presidential Reconstruction
Radical Reconstruction
A President Impeached
Rebuilding the Old Order

The Gilded Age

Binding the Nation by Rail
The New Tycoons: John D. Rockefeller
The New Tycoons: Andrew Carnegie
The New Tycoons: J. Pierpont Morgan
New Attitudes Toward Wealth
Politics of the Gilded Age

Organized Labor

The Great Upheaval
Labor vs. Management
Early National Organizations
American Federation of Labor
Eugene V. Debs and American Socialism

From the Countryside to the City

The Glamour of American Cities
The Underside of Urban Life
The Rush of Immigrants
Corruption Runs Wild
Religious Revival: The "Social Gospel"
Artistic and Literary Trends

New Dimensions in Everyday Life

Sports and Leisure
Women in the Gilded Age
Victorian Values in a New Age
The Print Revolution

Closing the Frontier

The Massacre at Sand Creek
Custer's Last Stand
The End of Resistance
Life on the Reservations
The Wounded Knee Massacre

Western Folkways

The Mining Boom
The Ways of the Cowboy
Life on the Farm
The Growth of Populism
The Election of 1896

Progressivism Sweeps the Nation

Roots of the Movement
Women's Suffrage at Last
Booker T. Washington
W. E. B. DuBois

Progressives in the White House

Teddy Roosevelt: The Rough Rider in the White House
The Trust Buster
A Helping Hand for Labor
Preserving the Wilderness
Passing the Torch
The Election of 1912
Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom

Seeking Empire

Early Stirrings
Hawaiian Annexation
"Remember the Maine!"
The Spanish-American War and Its Consequences
The Roosevelt Corollary and Latin America
Reaching to Asia
The Panama Canal

America in the First World War

Farewell to Isolation
Over There
Over Here
The Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations

The Decade That Roared

The Age of the Automobile
The Fight Against "Demon Rum"
The Invention of the Teenager
The Harlem Renaissance
A Consumer Economy
Radio Fever
Fads and Heroes

Old Values vs. New Values

The Red Scare
The Monkey Trial
Books and Movies
Domestic and International Politics

The Great Depression

The Market Crashes
Sinking Deeper and Deeper: 1929-33
The Bonus March
Hoover's Last Stand
Social and Cultural Effects of the Depression

The New Deal

A Bank Holiday
Putting People Back to Work
The Farming Problem
Social Security
FDR's Alphabet Soup
Roosevelt's Critics
An Evaluation of the New Deal

The Road to Pearl Harbor

1930s Isolationism
Reactions to a Troubled World
War Breaks Out
The Arsenal of Democracy
Pearl Harbor

America in the Second World War

Wartime Strategy
The American Homefront
D-Day and the German Surrender
War in the Pacific
Japanese-American Internment
The Manhattan Project
The Decision to Drop the Bomb

Postwar Challenges

The Cold War Erupts
The United Nations
Containment and the Marshall Plan
The Berlin Airlift and NATO
The Korean War
Domestic Challenges

The 1950s: Happy Days

Suburban Growth
Land of Television
America Rocks and Rolls
The Cold War Continues
Voices against Conformity

A New Civil Rights Movement

Separate No Longer?
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
Showdown in Little Rock
The Sit-In Movement
Gains and Pains
Martin Luther King Jr.
The Long, Hot Summers
Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam
Black Power

The Vietnam War

Early Involvement
Years of Escalation: 1965-68
The Tet Offensive
The Antiwar Movement
Years of Withdrawal

Politics from Camelot to Watergate

The Election of 1960
Kennedy's New Frontier
Kennedy's Global Challenges
Kennedy Assassination
Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society"
1968: Year of Unraveling
Triangular Diplomacy: U.S., USSR, and China

Shaping a New America

Modern Feminism
The Fight for Reproductive Rights
The Equal Rights Amendment
Roe v. Wade and Its Impact
Environmental Reform
Others Demand Equality
Student Activism
Flower Power

A Time of Malaise

Undoing a President
The Sickened Economy
Foreign Woes
Finding Oneself
The New Right

The Reagan Years

"Morning in America"
Foreign and Domestic Entanglements
Life in the 1980s
The End of the Cold War

Toward a New Millennium

Operation Desert Storm
A Baby Boomer in the White House
Republicans vs. Democrats
Living in the Information Age
The End of the American Century

The New Millennium

The Bush Era
911 and the Emergence of Terrorism
Immigration vs. Nativism
The War in Iraq
The War in Afghanistan
The Obama Presidency
Domestic and Foreign Policy Objectives
Obama Care
Post-Racialism in America
The Rise of the Tea Party and the Decline of Bipartisanship
The New Populism and the rise of Donald Trump
The Biden Administration