American History

Teacher: Tracey Ehrlich
Date/Time: Monday - 12:45 PM to 2:15 PM
Recommended Grades: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
Department: History & Social Studies
Grade Level: High School (9th-12th)

In 2021 Hillsdale College released a significant portion of The Hillsdale 1776 Curriculum for teaching American history and civics to all grades. The underlying theme throughout the curriculum is that while there are flaws, America is “an exceptionally good country” (Dr. Larry Arnn, President, Hillsdale College). Relying heavily on the Hillsdale curriculum, the course will seek to cover much, but by no means all, of the breadth of American history. In keeping with the curriculum, we will concentrate on the following units: Colonial America (1492-1763); The American Founding (1763-1789); The Early Republic (1789-1848); The American Civil War (1848-1877); The Gilded Age and the Progressive Era (1877-1917); The Great War and the Roaring Twenties (1917-1929); The Great Depression and the Second World War (1929-1945); and The Cold War and Modern America (1945-Present). 

The course will teach the history units already released by Hillsdale and will teach from selected readings, primary source documents, and the Hillsdale recommended textbook, The Land of Hope by Wilfred M. McClay, those units not yet released. The course will also teach much, but not all, of the civics lessons provided in the curriculum. The reason for including the civics lessons is because another underlying principle of the Hillsdale curriculum is that America’s founding documents are remarkable and integral to its history and thus essential to the students’ understanding of American history. The lessons omitted will be those more appropriately taught in a government or civics course. Visit k12.hillsdale.edu/Curriculum/The-Hillsdale-1776-Curriculum/ for more information on the curriculum.

The requirements for a successful course that I hope to fulfill as the teacher are best summed up in the closing words of the curriculum’s introduction: “It requires a care for the well-being of the students, a respect for their inherent dignity and rational yet impressionable hearts and minds, which deserve nothing but the often beautiful but sometimes ugly truth of American history. And it requires an American’s love for his or her country, a love that can see and appreciate the good in America, recognize the bad, and strive always to preserve what is good and condemn what is not—all for the sake of the truths on which America was founded, in honor of those who sacrificed and died to defend them, and for the good of today’s and future generations of young Americans" (Introduction, k12.hillsdale.edu/Curriculum/The-Hillsdale-1776-Curriculum/).

The course grades will be based on class participation, the quality of student thought pieces, homework, projects, quizzes, and exams. The course does not require a term paper, and the skills for writing a term paper will not be taught in this course. This course is also not an AP course and will not cover the necessary material for the AP exam. I will provide a book purchasing list for the students closer to the start of class.  The tuition is $400 a semester or $780 for the year. The course fee is $100, and the minimum class size is six.