Course: History of the Americas
EWHS Credit: 1.0 credit (year long)

Course Outline

This is the first year of a two-year course taught as a comparative study of the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America.  The junior year focuses on the 19th century; the senior year focuses on the 20th century and adds Asia and Western and Eastern Europe to the study.  This class is one of the elements that will prepare you to earn a Washington State-IB High School Diploma. 

IB History expects students to make comparisons between different countries in the region, so a significant amount of time will be devoted to comparing and contrasting historical developments in the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

Semester One

  1. American Independence and Early Government Foundations
    1. Political, social and economic causes of change in the US, Canada, and a Latin American nation
    2. New ideas about political and economic structures, rights and responsibilities shape political change in the Americas.
    3. The importance of the founding documents, especially from the US.
    4. The role of outside powers and leaders.
    5. Forces shaping the new governments.
  2. Manifest Destiny & Sectionalism
    1. The causes and effects of expansion
    2. The Missouri Compromise & Balance of Power (Calhoun, Clay & Webster)
    3. European expansions impact on indigenous people in the US, Canada, and Latin America?
    4. The impact of American expansion on US-Mexican relations?
  3. Causes & Conduct of the Civil War
    1. Abolitionism & Social Movements, and conditions of enslavement
    2. State's v. National Power and the break down of party politics
    3. Northern & Southern Military Leadership
    4. Diplomatic Isolation & King Cotton
    5. Geographic Advantages & The War in the North and in West
    6. Northern Demographic/Economic and a War of Attrition
  4. Reconstruction
    1. Radicals v. Moderates -- The role of leadership (Lincoln/Johnson)
    2. Presidential v. Congressional Reconstruction
    3. Land Rights, tenency, & debt peopnage
    4. What Constitutional questions arose? Amendments 13, 14, & 15.
    5. What was the effect on Canadian Confederation?

Semester Two

  1. Rise of Capitalism in the Americas, Immigration and Indigenous Peoples
    1. Technological and social innovations transform tnations.
    2. Railroad development and tieing nations together.
    3. Capitalism and its critics.
    4. Treaties made and partially followed in the US and Canada
    5. Limited Sovergnity for Native peoples
    6. Immigration from Europe & Asia
  2. Progressive Reform, Populism, Laurier, and Diaz
    1. What Agrarian issues led to the rise of the Populist Movement?
    2. How did the Progressives respond to the challenges of the industrial era?
    3. The Porfiriato
    4. Consitutional reforms in Canada
  3. Imperialism
    1. Cultural values and economic interests in US foreign policy.
    2. Variations in exerting US policy in Asia and Latin America.
    3. Colonial relations of Canada and Great Britain
  4. World War I
    1. Political, and economic causes of WWI in the US and Canada.
    2. Political, economic, and social effects of the WWI in the US and Canada.
    3. The role of political and military leadership in the US and Canada.
    4. The effect of the war on US and Canadian nationalism and isolationalism

Essential Questions


This course is designed to prepare students for the International Baccalaureate History. Readings, research, class activities, end of the unit performance tasks and exams are all concept-centered and promote high-level reasoning and critical thinking skills. Essays, critical thinking questions, seminar discussions, debates and simulations will be part of this course to insure that critical content knowledge is understood and retained. Evidence of reading will be collected and assessed regularly.  In addition, some units will include objective, multiple-choice assessments. All extended writing must be submitted to

Grading and Final Exams

Final grades will be a compilation of the following criteria:

Exams – (40%) These are unit tests, quizzes and other formative and summative assessments.
Assignments – (40%) Homework, Class work, and other activities
Participation – (20%) For work which requires substantial inter-student interactions

Total percentages will use the standard school wide grading scales.

Late Work/Make-Up Policy

Late work is accepted at half the value of earned points. Late work deadlines will only be accepted in the term in which it is assigned and must be submitted at least one week prior to the term or semester final exam. All work is due when the first bell rings for class.

Students must schedule make-up quizzes and exams the day they return from an excused absence. It is each student's responsibility to schedule a time to make-up the quiz or exam. If the exam is not completed within 5 school days following an excused absence, a score of zero will be entered and they student may not make up the quiz or exam. Missed quizzes and exams resulting from unexcused absences will be scored as zero.

The EWHS Social Studies department adheres to the philosophy that all courses will promote citizenship and active participation in a democratic society; therefore students are expected to be present and perform in class regularly. It is often difficult to re-create active learning experiences (debates, presentations, simulations, etc) missed in class. Therefore we have agreed that in-class participation will comprise 20% of each student’s grade and particular assignments may not be directly made up. Options for retrival of participatory credit may be provided.

The following are the grading percentages:







A 100%- 93% B+ 89%- 87% C+ 79%- 77% D+ 69%- 67%
A- 92%- 90% B 86%- 83% C 76%- 74% D 66%- 60%
    B- 82%- 80% C- 73%- 70% F 59% and lower

All grading (assignments and tests) is based on the IB 6 Rubric Levels (refer to attached handouts for specific rubric descriptions for reading, writing and performance tasks).  Scores will be weighted to reflect the importance and difficulty of individual assignments.

A 93% - 100%
B+ / A- 87% - 92%
B- / B+ 80% - 86%
C- / C / C+ 70% - 79%
D / D+ 60% - 69%
F >= 59%

Strategies for academic success

  1. Reading for understanding: recall; interpretation; and synthesis
  2. Active Participation in discussion and simulation: preparation; involvement; and application of thoughts and ideas
  3. Carry over evidence of outside reading/research in notes to performance tasks and assessments.
  4. Pride and effort preparing for all assignments, assessments, performance tasks, and simulations
  5. Working effectively and with integrity


To meet the copy expenses of the IB program, all students enrolled in this course will be required to pay a $5.00 copy fee.  Please pay in the main office with a check payable to the Edmonds School District.

The following textbooks:

  1. American History: A Survey, McGraw-Hill (Brinkley)
  2. History of the Americas: Course Companion, Oxford Press (Berliner)
  3. Emergence of the Americas in Global Affairs 1880-1929, Hodder Education (Clements)
  4. Latin America: A Concise Interpretive History, Prentice Hall (Burns)
  5. Canadian History: Patterns and Interactions, Irwin (Hundey)

Academic Honesty

I acknowledge that I am aware of the 2017-18 IB Academic Honesty policy and that I have provided a signed copy of the policy to my instructor or the IB Coordinator.  I affirm that I am aware of the IB definition of plagiarism and academic malfeasance and that I put my course grade, IB certificate and IB diploma in jeopardy by violating the IB Academic Honesty policy.

Additionally, having any electronic device out while an exam is taking place, without specific permission from the instructor, will be considered a violation of this academic honesty policy.