American Studies Social Studies Department 2014-2015 Instructor

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American Studies

Social Studies Department

Instructor: Mr. Vicente R. Morua

Room Number: 2108


Office hours: By Appointment Only
Course Description
The purpose of American Studies is to provide students with the opportunity to understand the complex social, political, economic, technological, and intellectual evolution of the United States within the second half of the 20th Century to current day. Appropriate concepts and skills will be developed in connection with the content.
Specific content to be covered will include, but not be limited to, analysis of the war effort on the home front in World War II; aftermath of the war and beginning of the Cold War; consumerism and the baby boom generation; rise of civil rights issues for minorities, women, and LGBT groups; popularity of music and its general impact and reflection of society; the Vietnam War, counterculture, and protest culture of the 1960s and 1970s; consequences of “free love” of the 1970s, including the AIDS epidemic and the “war on drugs”; foreign policy towards USSR and Warsaw Pact nations through the American perspective; the end of Cold War and the prosperous 1990s; the election of 2000 and its impact of partisan politics; the September 11th attacks and the “war on terror”; and current trends and events impacting modern-day America.
Course Standards: FLDOE Website:

  1. Identity (ID):   How has the American national identity changed over time?

  2. Work, Exchange, and Technology (WXT):  How have changes in markets, transportation, and technology affected American society?

  3. Peopling (PEO): How have changes in migration and population patterns affected American life?

  4. Politics and Power (POL):  How have various groups sought to change the federal government’s role in American political, social, and economic life?

  5. America in the World (WOR):  How has U.S. involvement in global conflicts set the stage for domestic social changes?

  6. Environment and Geography (ENV):  How did the institutions and values between the environment and Americans shape various groups in North America?

  7. Ideas, Beliefs, and Cultures (CUL):  How have changes in moral, philosophical, and cultural values affected U.S. history?

Course Outline
First Nine Weeks




Primary/Secondary Sources

Unit 1: The Home Front – 1940s

  • Comparative Essay

  • Propaganda Poster

  • MC/DBQ Essay Exam

  • Transcript: “To All Persons of Japanese Ancestry”

  • Executive Order 9066

  • Supreme Court Opinion – Korematsu v. United States

  • President Ford’s Proclamation 4417

Unit 2: The 1950s

  • Consumerism and Suburbia

  • The Cold War and McCarthyism

  • Rock ‘n Roll and the Rise of Teen Culture

  • Beginnings of Civil Unrest – Brown v. Board

  • Space Race and Scientific Exploration

  • Lyrical Analysis of 50’s Rock

  • Persuasive Essay

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Various rock ‘n roll lyrics

  • Brown v. Board of Education

  • Southern Manifest

Second Nine Weeks




Primary/Secondary Sources

Unit 3: The 1960s

  • Kennedy & Johnson – Camelot and the Great Society

  • Civil Rights – Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

  • Women’s Rights

  • “Flower Children” and the Rise of Hippie/Protest Culture

  • Analysis of Social Justice Supreme Court Cases

  • Analysis of Minority Struggles

  • Women’s Rights Documents

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Letter from Birmingham Jail

  • I Have a Dream

  • Various Supreme Court cases, such as Engel v. Vitale, Loving v. Virginia, and Miranda v. Arizona

  • Civil Rights Act 1964

  • Voting Rights Act 1965

Unit 4: The 1970s

  • Nixon Presidency and Watergate

  • The Vietnam Conflict and its Impact

  • Disco and the Psychedelic Movement

  • LGBT Rights – Stonewall

  • Roe v. Wade and the ERA – Women’s Rights

  • DBQ Project – Why did the ERA fail?

  • Class Debate – Was Roe v. Wade justified?

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Political Maps

  • All the President’s Men

  • Equal Rights Amendment

Third Nine Weeks




Primary/Secondary Sources

Unit 5: The 1980s

  • Reagan and the Neo-Conservative Movement – The Religious Right

  • The Beginning of the End of the Cold War – Perestroika and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

  • The AIDS Epidemic and the “War on Drugs”

  • Yuppie Culture – “Greed is Good”

  • MTV Culture – Madonna, Michael Jackson

  • Debate – Is HIV/AIDS a response to liberal culture of 60s and 70s?

  • Essay – Impact of MTV on political knowledge of youth

  • Debate – Pros and Cons of Reaganomics

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority

  • Reagan – “Tear Down This Wall” Speech

Unit 6: The 1990s

  • The Persian Gulf War

  • The Clinton Years – Economic Prosperity, Whitewater, and Impeachment

  • Grunge, Urban, and Pop Music

  • Debate – Should a politician’s personal issues mar his or her historical significance?

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Music in the 1990s

  • Bush-Clinton-Perot Debates

Fourth Nine Weeks




Primary/Secondary Sources

Unit 7: The 2000s

  • The Election of 2000 – Bush v. Gore

  • The Bush Years – September 11th and the “War on Terror”

  • Decline of Moderation and Rise of Partisanship

  • Natural Disasters – Katrina, Tornadoes, and Tsunamis

  • The Election of 2008 – Barack Obama

  • Essay – Who really won the Election of 2000?

  • Class Discussion – What is the lasting impact of 9/11?

  • Essay – How historical is the election of Barack Obama?

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Simulcasts of events of 9/11

  • Political analysis of maps of Election

  • First-hand accounts of natural crises victims

  • Patriot Act

Unit 8: The 2010s

  • Muslim/U.S. Relations – Moderates v. Fundamentalism

  • Dissolution of Bipartisanship?

  • Further Rights for Women, Minorities, LGBT citizens

  • A New Modern Family

  • Debate – Is Bipartisanship dead?

  • MC/Short Answer Exam

  • Cumulative Project - TBD

  • Obergefell v. Hodges

  • Election results of Election of 2012

Methods of Assessment
Alongside quizzes and unit exams, the students will participate in various research, technological, and artistic projects in the class. As per the MDCPS Student Progression Plan, students must earn 10 points to pass an annual course, five of which must be earned in the second semester for students in grades 9-12.  
Grading Scale

100-90 = A Summative Assessments - Tests = 40%

89-80 = B Formative Assessments – Quizzes, Projects = 30%

79-70 = C Classwork = 20%

69-60 = D Home Learning – including USA TestPrep: 10%

59-0 = F

This year, we will be utilizing Edmodo for a lot of our communications, including discussion boards and additional handouts. If you do not have one already, create an Edmodo account at and sign up for our group. The class website will also be used for communications as well.

Class Procedures

  1. Every student is expected to arrive in class ready to work as soon as the bell rings. That means:

    1. All pencils must be sharpened before class begins.

    2. Notebooks should be ready for the day’s assignments.

    3. All extraneous conversation should be completed.

    4. All home learning must be turned in to Mr. Morua by the bell. MR. MORUA WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY LATE WORK. NO EXCEPTIONS.

  1. All daily assignments must have your name, date, and period written in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Any assignment turned in without this information written will be subjected to a 10% grade reduction.

  2. Participation is strongly encouraged. Mr. Morua will, at his discretion, call upon any student to answer a discussion question, so be prepared to answer.

  3. During surveys and other activities, be sure to listen attentively to the instructions that Mr. Morua gives. He will only repeat the instructions once at his discretion.

  4. All students will be allowed to have a maximum of 4 bathroom passes during the quarter. Any emergencies will be assessed on an individual basis. Bathroom passes may NOT be used:

    1. To interrupt another instructor’s classroom.

    2. During Mr. Morua’s instructional time (lectures, discussions)

    3. During other classmates’ presentations

Conduct Expectations

  1. Students are expected to respect the faculty, staff, and administration of Pinecrest Prep as well as their fellow students. Any disrespect (verbally, physically, or emotionally) will not be tolerated.

  2. Students are not allowed to have any electronic devices out during Mr. Morua’s class (cell phones, iPods/MP3 players). Having these devices out during class may result in the student surrendering it to Mr. Morua.

  3. Neither food nor drinks will be allowed in class, including gum or candy.

  4. All students are expected to follow the Pinecrest Preparatory Middle High Charter School Code of Conduct. (Link:

  5. Consequences for choosing to disregard these expectations are:

    1. First Offense: Verbal Warning

    2. Second Offense: Parent Notification and/or Detention

    3. Third Offense: Detention and/or Removal from class

    4. Fourth Offense: Administrative Referral

    5. Any of these consequences can be bypassed at Mr. Morua’s discretion.

Academic Dishonesty
Students are expected to be honest and ethical in their academic work. Academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in one of the following areas. Academic dishonesty is an infraction of the MDCPS Code of Student Conduct and disciplinary action will ensue.

  • Cheating – the use or attempted use of unauthorized materials, information or study aids

  • Fabrication – falsification or invention of any information

  • Assisting – helping another commit an act of academic dishonesty

  • Tampering – altering or interfering with evaluation instruments and documents

  • Plagiarism – representing the words or ideas of another person as one’s own.
As a condition of taking this course, all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to for the detection of plagiarism.  All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. 
Attendance Policy
In case of absence, make-up assignments will be given to all students, but only the students with excused absences will receive an academic grade without penalty. The assignment will remain with a letter grade of a “Z” until absence is excused. Students are required to be on time to class and tardies to class will entail disciplinary consequences.
Required Materials

  • Five-Star Spiral Notebook (minimum 200 sheets)

  • Pencils, Pens (blue or black ink), highlighters, loose-leaf college ruled paper

  • Glue Stick

  • Colored Pencils

Recommended Materials
This year, Pinecrest Prep is adopting an inclusive electronics policy for laptops and tablets. The student may choose to bring his or her laptop and/or tablet for class instruction. Mr. Morua recommends that, if the student chooses to bring his or her electronic device for class, he or she should download a free U.S. Constitution app for class. It will allow the student access to a document that will constantly be referenced in class. If the students does not have a tablet, he or she may upload a copy of the U.S. Constitution from the class website.

Parents and Students,

Please sign and return to Mr. Morua by Friday, August 28. It is a required document for student files.

Thank you,

Mr. Vicente R. Morua

  • Films which are rated “R” may be viewed during this course to reinforce content prior to the exam or as post-exam projects. By signing and checking YES you are providing permission to view the films. If you check NO, your child will not be allowed to view the program and will be provided with alternative instruction.

Period _______

We the parent/guardian(s) and the student have fully read, understood, and agree to abide by these expectations.
Permission for Viewing Rated “R” Films _____YES _____NO

STUDENT NAME: ___________________________ Signature____________________________
Date ___/___/2015

PARENT: ________________________________ Signature______________________________
Date ___/___/2015

Cell-_________________________ Home-__________________________

Work-________________________ Email-___________________________

PARENT: _________________________________ Signature_____________________________
Date ___/___/2015
Cell-__________________________ Home-___________________________
Work-_________________________ Email-___________________________

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