Texas Core Curriculum +

AHA History Tuning Project: 2016 History Discipline Core

ACC History Department Common Core (Learning) Objectives:

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: Academic Course Guide Manual
Upon successful completion of HIST 1301 & HIST 1302, students will:
1. Create an argument through the use of historical evidence.
2. Analyze and interpret primary and secondary sources.
3. Analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on this period of United States history.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Core Objectives: US HISTORY Maps to CT, COM, SR, and PR (PDF)

  • Critical Thinking Skills (CT) – creative thinking, innovation, inquiry, and analysis, evaluation and synthesis of information
  • Communication Skills (COM) – effective development, interpretation and expression of ideas through written, oral and visual communication
  • Social Responsibility (SR) – intercultural competence, knowledge of civic responsibility, and the ability to engage effectively in regional, national, and global communities
  • Personal Responsibility (PR) – ability to connect choices, actions and consequences to ethical decision-making
  • Empirical and Quantitative Skills (EQS) – manipulation and analysis of numerical data or observable facts resulting in informed conclusions
  • Teamwork (TW) – ability to consider different points of view and to work effectively with others to support a shared purpose or goal

Critical Thinking Skills
Communication Skills
Social Responsibility
Personal Responsibility

Citizenship: “the ability to see, confront, and navigate the gap between the way the world is and the way it should be, without ever giving up on either one.”—Susan Neiman

Critical Thinking Skills
Broad Elements Combined From In-Class Lecture Courses & Distance Learning Sections:

  • Weekly Writing of Analytical Paragraphs w. Prompt Drawn From Chapter Learning Objectives
  • Argumentative Essay Term Papers & Book Reviews
  • Textbook Reading Focused On Issues Related To Critical Thinking Broken Down Below
  • In-Class Discussions for Lecture Classes
  • Familiarity w. Theory Synced to AHA Tuning Project: History Discipline Core
    • Key “C” Concepts: Context, Causation, Chronology, Change & Continuity
      • Including Distinction Between Multi-Factor Interpretations (“Perfect Storms”) v. Monocausal, Reductionism
    • Importance of Evidence (and Quality), Including Primary Source Documentation
    • Appreciate For Interpretive Debate
      • Arguments Surrounding the Texas State Board of Education
      • Toleration For & Understanding of the Public & Provisional Nature of Knowledge
      • Discussion Board Posts & Follow-Ups Focused On Interpretative Debate
  • Discouraging Beliefs & Assumptions That Are Intellectually Lazy & Foster Apathetic Citizenship, Including But Not Limited To:
    • Belief In Historical Inevitability
    • Belief In Ongoing, Progressive Historical Decline
    • Blanket Cynicism Toward Political Process
    • Inability to Filter Fake News

Communication Skills

  • Weekly Writing of Analytical Paragraphs With Prompt Drawn From Chapter Learning Objectives
  • Argumentative Essay Term Paper
  • Communication With Instructor (Office Hours, Discussion, Emails) & Other Students
  • Re-Writing of Emails Based On How Students Would Address A Potential Employer
  • Encouragement of Learning Vocabulary Through Use Of Dictionary & Links to Online Dictionaries In Textbook

Social Responsibility
— Students Need To Be More Aware Than Ever Of The Provisional Nature Of Historical Knowledge And Interpretation.  Working With A Combination Of Secondary And Primary Sources Is Constructive As They Navigate A Media Environment Filled With Spin And Hearsay.
— Students/Citizens Exposed To Historical Origins, Functions, Impact, Pros/Cons, Importance Of:

  • Connections to Local (Austin/Texas) & Global Contexts, Not Just National
  • Constitution: Law & Interpretations Through Key Court Cases
  • Voting: Suffrage & Electoral Politics
    • Political Spectrums & Third Parties
  • Jury Duty
  • Race & Gender Relations
  • Religion & Religious Freedom
  • War & Diplomacy
  • Economics
    • Taxation
    • Federal Reserve & Interest Rates
    • Federal Budgets
    • Inflation & Deflation
    • Free Markets
    • Stock Market
    • Monopolies
    • Stimuli
    • Unionization
    • Minimum Wage
    • Class Tension
    • Healthcare Insurance
    • Globalization
    • Energy
    • Business, Industry & Technology
      • Key Items:
        • Winchester & Colt .45
        • Edison Ticker
        • Tesla’s AC Motor
        • Wright Flyer & Curtiss Jenny
        • Model T
        • V-8 Engine
        • Microprocessor
        • IBM 360 & Apple II

Personal Responsibility

  • Completion of Assignments, Exams & Papers
  • Using a Calendar & Planning Ahead
  • Reading & Understanding the Syllabus
  • Class Attendance
  • Taking the Initiative to Communicate With the Instructor

More Specific Selected Items Related to Critical Thinking & Social Responsibility
Broken Down By Chapter.  The importance of (the)…

HIST 1301

Paleo-America & Columbian Exchange:

  • Interdisciplinary Scholarship (History as Physical Anthropology + Biology + Linguistics)
  • Distinguishing Between Hard & Soft Evidence
  • Provisional Nature of Knowledge & Interpretation (Re: First Americans)
  • Distinction Between Historical Reality & Hollywood

Age of Exploration:

  • Complicating Broad “Meta-Histories”
  • Importing Technology Across Cultures
  • Connection Between Weaponry & Political Power/Centralization
  • Interest, Usury & Global Trade
  • Emergence of Modern Capitalism

New Spain & New France:

  • Controversies Over Columbus Day
  • Connection Between New World Wealth & European republicanism

Protestant Reformation & America:

  • Christianity & Protestant Reformation in Shaping Early & Modern American History
  • Origins of Anti-Semitism & Christianity’s Early Rivalry w. Islam
  • English Reformation’s Importance to Worldview of Colonial Americans
  • Analyzing True Origins of First Amendment Right to Religious Freedom

Chesapeake & New York:

  • Tangled Relationship Between Slavery & White Democracy (Re: Bacon’s Rebellion)
  • British Parliamentary System’s Impact on American Representative Government

New England, 1620-1691:

  • American Exceptionalism
  • Contrasting Religious Orthodoxy & Libertarianism (Re: Hooker, Williams & Penn)
  • Declinism as an Ongoing Part of the Human Take on History
  • Connection Between Fear & Breakdown of Justice (Re: Salem Witch Trials)
  • Multi-Factor Interpretations v. Monocausal, Reductionism (Re: Salem Witch Trials)

Enlightenment & Great Awakening:

  • Enlightenment Context of America’s Political System
  • Connection Between Great Awakening & American Revolution
  • Origins of Modern American Christianity

Colonial Rebellion:

  • Struggles Between Mercantilism & Free Trade
  • Potential of Passive Resistance (Re: economic boycotts)
  • British Origins of American Whig Radicalism
  • Local Assemblies Influencing Continental Congress
  • Civil Struggle Between Rebel, Neutral & Loyalist Americans
  • Philosophical Background to Declaration of Independence
  • Long-term Global Impact of Declaration of Independence

American Revolution:

  • Foreign Alliances in Warfare
  • Leaders Understanding Strengths & Weaknesses, Learning From Others

Nation Building:

  • Non-Inevitability of America’s Success
  • Forgotten Basics of Starting a Country (e.g. Money, Measurements, Flags, etc.)
  • Inflation & Currency Stabilization
  • Law & Order
  • Founders’ Reasons for Fearing Democracy
  • Federal Model (the Combination of States and National Government)
  • Understanding the Constitution: How it Originated, How it Works & Ongoing Debates
  • Interpretive Controversies Over the 2nd Amendment (e.g. why historical context matters)
  • Distinctions Between Pure Majority Rule & republicanism (Home & Abroad)

Federalist Era:

  • Hamilton & Jefferson’s Great Debate Over America’s Future
  • Problems w. Pro-Business=Anti-Government
  • Taxation to Nationhood / Various Types of Taxes (Regressive v. Progressive)
  • How Bi-Partisanship Can Get Foiled (Re: Adams)
  • How Contemporary & Historical Reputations Can Differ (Re: Adams)

Era of Bad Feelings:

  • Historical Nature of Dirty/Contentious Politics & Character Flaws
  • Connection Between Economic & Military Strength

Jacksonian Democracy:

  • Emergence of Political Parties
  • Tendency of Democracies to Revert to Two-Party Alignments
  • Complicating the Traditional “Whiggish” View of Suffrage Expansion

Market Revolutions:

  • Ways the U.S. Embraced & Excelled at the Industrial Revolution
  • False Dichotomy of Industry & Agriculture
  • How Necessity is the Mother of Invention (e.g. Transportation, Communication)
  • Economic Idea of Multiplier Effect
  • Impact of the “Invention of Time”
  • Ways Political Systems Responded to Emergence of Industrial Working Classes
  • How Economic Change Impacts Moral Change (i.e. Historical Contingency of Morality)


  • True History of Slavery, Not the Idealized Version Spun By Post-Civil War Idealizers of the Antebellum South, Or Those Unaware of its Existence in the North and Africa
  • Stories of Insurrection & Resistance

Westward Expansion:

  • Gold Rush in California & Other Boom Towns in Shaping Urban West
  • Nuancing & Shading the Genocide Question in the West
  • Assessing the Constitutional Grounds for Outlawing Polygamy

Texas & Mexico:

  • Bi-Racial History of the Southwest
  • How & Why Popular Imagination-Hollywood Cherry-Pick History
  • Potential Ramifications of Legal & Illegal Immigration
  • Ways the Mexican War Divided America Politically

Sectional Crisis:

  • How Western Expansion Forced the Slavery Controversy
  • How Northern Racism Helped Forge the Free Soil-Republican Anti-Slavery Alliance

Secession Winter:

  • How the South Fought to Crush States’ Rights Out West & Perpetuate Slavery
  • How & Why We Misremember History
  • Why Lincoln Backed a Constitutional Amendment to Legalize Slavery in the Southeast
  • Why the Confederacy Saw Itself as the True America & the North as Rebels

Civil War, 1861-62:

  • Why Lincoln Suspended the Constitutional Rights of Southern Sympathizers
  • How & Why the Civil War Turned Into an Abolitionist War Midway Through
  • How African-Americans Participated in Their Own Emancipation
  • How & Why European Nations Reacted to the American Crisis
  • Why the Confederacy Struggled to Form a Nation

Civil War, 1863-65:

  • How the Union Got the Upper Hand Militarily
  • How Northern Victory Set the Course for America’s Future Development


  • How Americans Fought Over the Question of Freedmen Integrating Into Society Along a Spectrum Ranging From Quasi-Slavery to Full Citizenship

Great Plains Indian Wars

  • How the U.S. Government Subdued the Last Independent Indians

HIST 1302

Industry & Technology:

  • Consideration of Relative Importance of Different Types of History (Economic, Political)
  • Intersection Between Capital & Technology / Struggle Over Patents
  • Understanding Bidding, Branding & Hype Cycles

Gilded Age:

  • Political Machines
  • Understanding Political Spectrum, Especially Regarding Political Economy
  • Causes & Effects of Inflation & Deflation
  • Potential & Limitations of Grassroots Populism (Re: Populist Party)

Overseas Expansion:

  • Why, Especially After the Panic of 1893, the U.S. Saw Expansion As Crucial To Its Economy
  • How the Spanish-American War of 1898 Provided a Pretext for Expansion
  • America’s Role in Claiming the Western Hemisphere as its Sphere of Influence

Rise of the Nanny State (Progressive Era I):

  • Understanding the Connection Between Regulation & Accountability/Safety
  • How Most Americans Have Resisted Democracy For Most of American History
  • Critiquing Historical Clichés Like Its Impossible to Regulate Morality

Bull Moose In A Bully Pulpit (Progressive Era II):

  • Federal Reserve: Origins & Function
  • Federal Income Tax: Graduated Progressive, Distinction b. Income Tax & Capital Gains
  • Anti-Trust Legislation
  • Labor Laws
  • Importance of Local Politics v. National
  • Complexities of Multi-Candidate Elections
  • Problems w. Projecting Modern Stereotypes Onto Historical Party Alignments

The Great War (WWI):

  • World War I in Shaping 20th Century, Including its Impact on WWII, Remapping the Middle East, and the Decline of Monarchies

Stock Market Crash & Great Depression:

  • Understanding Fluctuations in Free Market Economies — Upward & Downward Spirals
  • Stock Market: Potential Corruption, Valuations (Growth v. Speculation), and the Five Most Dangerous Ideas On Wall Street
  • Connection Between Stock Market, Banking & Rest of the Economy
  • Role of Federal Reserve in Tightening Monetary Policy at the Wrong Time
  • How Smoot-Hawley Tariff (Protectionism) Slowed Trade, Contributing to Global Recession
  • Multi-Factor Interpretations v. Monocausal, Reductionism (Re: Cause of Great Depression)
  • Connection Between Environment & Technology (Re: Dust Bowl)

FDR’s New Deal:

  • How FDR’s Early Platform Overlapped With Herbert Hoover’s
  • Basic Parameters of Political Spectrum (e.g. Social Security, Unions, Minimum Wage, etc.)
  • Complexity of the Question: Was the New Deal Effective?
  • Analyzing Whether Regulation Hurt or Helped Capitalism & Helped Stave Off Communism

Versailles to Pearl Harbor:

  • Lessons from Inter-War Period: Pro-Cons of Interventionism, Isolationism & Protectionism
  • Remembering & Misremembering Munich Pact of 1938
  • Understanding the Nazis’ Rise to Power

World War II, 1942-43:

  • Challenges Confronting America in Fighting a Two-Front War
  • American Manufacturing as a Determining Factor for Allies
  • Understanding the Conflicted Role of Minorities in Contributing to the War
  • Understanding Why Hitler’s Decision to Invade the USSR Shaped the European War
    & Why the Allies Were Slow to Open a Western Front
  • Assessing the Effectiveness of Allied Strategic Bombing On Germany

World War II, 1944-45:

  • American & British Intelligence in Breaking Japanese & German Codes
  • Sacrifice of Allied Troops in Places Like Normandy & Battle of the Bulge
  • Remembering the Scale & Tragedy of the Holocaust
  • Understanding Full Context, Counter-Arguments & Primary Sources in Assessing an Important Decision Like Dropping the Atomic Bombs to End WWII

Cold War, 1945-53:

  • Learning Lessons from Versailles Treaty: United Nations & Marshall Plan
  • Remembering the “Forgotten Way” (Korean Conflict)

Cold War, 1953-61:

  • Complexities & Grey Areas of Democratic Capitalism v. Communist Dictatorships
  • Historical Roots of Pan-Arab, Anti-Western Ideology
  • Steady Statesmanship During Nuclear Age (Re: Cuban Missile Crisis)

Postwar America:

  • Democrats Failing On Offense (Fair Deal) While Still Cementing Gains (New Deal)
  • Connection Between Fear & Breakdown of Civility (Losing Site of American Values)
  • Questioning Idea That Governments Can Only Drag Down Economy
    • Role of Govt. $ During the Cold War

On Fire: 1960s:

  • Origins of Today’s Culture Wars & Political Divide
  • Accomplishments & Failures of the Great Society
  • Electoral Realignment of 1964 > 
  • Tricky Appeal of Conspiracy Theories

Civil Rights:

  • Considering America’s Race Relations In International Context
  • Understanding That Civil Rights Topic Transcends “Montgomery-to-Memphis” (1955-1968)
  • Understanding How Various Groups (e.g. Hispanics, Indians, LGBT, etc.) Co-Opted Techniques Pioneered In Black Civil Rights Movement
  • The 14th Amendment In Constitutional Fight for Equality

Vietnam Wars:

  • Complexity of Limited Warfare In Nuclear Age
  • Complexity of Patriotism: Should Democracies Debate War Committments?
    • Role of Media In, And Importance of Public Sentiment To, Military Causes
  • Nixon & Kissinger’s Framing of Vietnam Conflict in Broader Cold War

Nixon & Kissinger:

  • U.S.-Israeli Alliance & Complexities of the Middle East
  • Energy & the Middle East
  • Energy & the Environment
  • Electoral Realignment of 1964 > Continued
  • Executive/Judiciary v. Congressional Branch, Role of Journalists (Re: Watergate)

Conservative Resurgence:

  • How & Why, In Terms of Overall Momentum — It’s Never Completely One Way or the Other — the Liberal Impulse of the New Deal & Great Society Gave Way to the Reagan Revolution

Gridlock & Globalization:

  • Crime Rates & the Controversies Surrounding Incarceration
  • Knowing Pros & Cons of Globalization
  • Basic Issues Surrounding Healthcare Debate
  • Causes & Attempted Remedies to Financial Meltdown of 2008-09 >
  • Understanding Causes of Amplified Partisanship
  • Citizens Warily Navigating Increasingly Fragmented Media

New World Order:

  • How the End of the Cold War Brought On New Challenges Like Nuclear Proliferation, Instability & War on Terror