Students learn about the economic, political, and social problems that faced the nation—particularly the South—following the Civil War. Then they learn about the early efforts at Reconstruction, including Andrew Johnson's Presidential Reconstruction period. Finally, they read and evaluate first-person accounts from the period following the end of the war.
Students learn about Abraham Lincoln's reelection in 1864 and the message of his second inaugural address. Then they learn about the assassination of Lincoln and Andrew Johnson's Reconstruction plan. Finally, they study John Wilkes Booth and his motives and methods for assassinating Abraham Lincoln.
Students learn about the Radical Republicans and the steps they took to oppose Andrew Johnson's approach to Reconstruction. Then, students analyze the text of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The Impeachment of Johnson
Students learn about the reasons for the impeachment and trial of President Andrew Johnson. Next they take a stand on whether he should have been removed from office. Then, they explore other federal officials who have been impeached by the House of Representatives.
The Challenges of Reconstruction
Students learn about the social, economic, and political challenges of Reconstruction and the southern resistance to new Reconstruction policies. Then they learn about new forces in southern politics. Finally, students learn about the experiences of African American politicians who served during Reconstruction.
The End of Reconstruction
Students learn about the events that led to the end of the Reconstruction era, including the election of Rutherford B. Hayes and the Compromise of 1877. Then, students evaluate a quote from Fredrick Douglass about the failure of Reconstruction.
African Americans in the South and Sharecropping
Students learn about what life was like for African Americans in the South after Reconstruction and how prejudice, poverty, violence, and segregation affected them. Then they learn about sharecropping and compare this system of farming to slavery.
The “New South”
Students learn about the ideals introduced during the "New South" era. They identify improvements in industry, manufacturing, and production in the post-reconstruction South. Then they research and prepare a report about the effects of the "New South" era on a specific southern state.
Students learn about mining in western states. Then they explain how mining impacted the physical environment. Finally, they map some important mines and explain how mining affected western movement of the population.
Railroads and Economic Development
Students learn about the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad and the effect it had on the American West and the entire country's economy. Students also learn about some of the negative results of the building of the railway system in the western United States.
Plains Indians Way of Life
Students learn about the Plains Indians and their way of life. Then, they learn about the importance of the American bison to the Plains tribes and how the near extinction of the buffalo affected them. Finally, students select a Plains Indian tribe for further research.
Failed Promises for Native Americans
Students learn about the shift in the U.S. government policy toward Native Americans—from a military approach to one of assimilation. The experience focuses on the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and the Dawes Act. Students choose one of these and explore the issue from the perspectives of both the Native Americans and the U.S. government.
Historical Symbols in Modern Culture
Students learn about the controversy surrounding the use of the Confederate flag by governments in southern states. Then they research and write a position paper defending one side of the controversy and proposing a solution to the problem. Finally, they present their position paper and proposed solution to the class.
The Complete List of Units in the Grade 8 U.S. History Course.