Mr. Isaac's Social Studies Site

8th Grade Social Studies: A Thematic Exploration  of Modern American History

There are many ways to approach the study of history. Some believe that history is simply the story of eternal struggle between rich and poor, or those with power and those without it. Others feel that history is best experienced through art, or music, or literature. Some say that “truth” can be discovered only through the study of wars and great leaders, while others believe that it is found in the lives of everyday people. Simply put, there is no right answer.


This year, you will explore the past one hundred and twenty years of America’s history. When this time period began, the United States was a relatively minor regional power. Today, the United States is without question the most influential nation on Earth. Your job this year is to begin to understand how this change occurred, and how the lives of the American people changed along the way.


In order to accomplish this goal, we will proceed through the timeline of American history four separate times. Each time, we will examine a different side of the story, and each time, you will see more patterns, make more connections, and better understand why things happened as they did.


You will be asked to think deeply about our nation. You will not be permitted to base your opinions on feeling alone. Rather, you will be called upon to make sense of the beliefs and actions of many people in many circumstances, and then to evaluate these for yourself. Along the way, you will hone your skills as a reader, writer, researcher, and critical thinker. In short, you will become an historian.


 Each quarter, we will examine a different theme of modern American history, as follows:


Theme 1 - Economic Policy and the American Dream (First Quarter)

Theme 2 - War and Peace: Armed Conflict and International Diplomacy (Second Quarter)

Theme 3 - Reform Movements: Goals, Cultural Outputs, and Impacts (Third Quarter)

Theme 4 - Liberty, Security, and Identity in America (Fourth Quarter)



8th Grade US History Extra Help day: WEDNESDAY (available by appointment at many other times)

8th Grade US History Primary testing day: THURSDAY        Secondary testing day: MONDAY


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