U.S. History regents – thematic essays from the past 10 years

8/2013 Thematic:
Foreign Policy (Cold War)
Following World War II, the threat of communist expansion led the United States to take diplomatic, military, and economic actions to limit the global influence of the Soviet Union and China. These Cold War actions met with varying degrees of success.
Examples
Treaty Organization [NATO] (1949), intervention in Korea (1950-1953), the blockade of Cuba (1962), the escalation of the Vietnam War (1964-1973), the visit of President Richard Nixon to China (1972), and the pursuit of the Strategic Defense Initiative [SDI] (1983-1989).
6/2013 Thematic:
Foreign Policy (National Interests)
Throughout the history of the United States, the primary goal of its foreign policy has been to protect the nation’s interests. The United States has taken military and economic foreign policy actions to achieve that goal. These actions have resulted in varying degrees of success.

Examples
President George Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality (1793), congressional declaration of war against Mexico (1846), acquisition of the rights to build the Panama Canal (1901), United States entry into World War I (1917), implementation of the Marshall Plan (1947), United States entry into the Korean War (1950), escalation of the Vietnam War beginning in 1964, and President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to negotiate the Camp David Accords (1978).

1/2013 Thematic:
Government (Congressional Legislation)
Throughout United States history, Congress has passed legislation to address important political, social, or economic issues. These laws have often had a significant impact on American society.

Examples
Embargo Act (1807), Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), Indian Removal Act (1830) Social Security Act (1935), Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) GI Bill/ Servicemen’s Readjustment Act (1944), Interstate Commerce Act (1887), Americans with Disabilities Act (1990).

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8/2012 Thematic:
Reform Movements (Industrialization)
After the Civil War, the United States developed an increasingly industrialized economy. Industrialization provided many benefits for the nation; however, it also created serious problems that required action by the government, groups, or individuals.

Examples
corruption in government, exploitation of workers, overcrowding of cities, establishment of trusts, production of unsafe consumer goods, destruction of the natural environment, and increase in anti-immigrant attitudes

6/2012 Thematic:
Unites States Foreign Policy
United States presidents often make foreign policy decisions in an attempt to deal with international problems. These decisions have had an impact on both the United States and on other countries or regions.

Examples
James K. Polk sending troops to the Rio Grande (1846), William McKinley deciding to annex the Philippines (1898), Woodrow Wilson asking for a declaration of war(1917), Harry Truman deciding to use the atomic bomb (1945), John F. Kennedy quarantining Cuba (1962), Lyndon B. Johnson sending combat troops to Vietnam (1965-1968), Richard Nixon improving relations with China (1972), George H. W. Bush sending troops to Kuwait (1990-1991), and George W. Bush sending troops to Iraq (2003).

1/2012 Thematic:
Supreme Court Decisions
Decisions of the United States Supreme Court have had a significant impact on the nation.

Examples
Marbury v. Madison (1803), Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), Worcester v. Georgia (1832), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Schenck v. United States (1919), Korematsu v. United States (1944), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), Miranda v. Arizona (1966), Roe v. Wade (1973), and New Jersey v. T.L.O. (1985)

8/2011 Thematic:
Geography (Development of the United States)
Many important events in United States history have been influenced by geography. Geographic factors or conditions include location, size, climate, natural resources, and physical features. These events in turn have had political, social, and economic impacts on the development of the United States.

Examples
Louisiana Purchase, the construction of the Erie Canal, migration to California in the late 1840s, the Civil War, the purchase of Alaska, the building of the transcontinental railroad, the acquisition of the Philippines, the building of the Panama Canal, the creation of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the construction of the interstate highway system

6/2011 Thematic:
Change (Constitutional Amendments)
When the Founding Fathers wrote the United States Constitution, they included the amendment process. The amendments that have been passed brought political, social, and economic changes to American society.

Examples
13th amendment (abolition of slavery, 1865), 17th amendment (direct election of senators, 1913), 18th amendment (Prohibition, 1919), 19th amendment (woman’s suffrage, 1920), 22nd amendment (presidential term limits, 1951), 24th amendment (elimination of the poll tax, 1964), and 26th amendment (suffrage for 18-year-old citizens, 1971).

1/2011 Thematic:
Diversity (Constitutional rights)
Throughout United States history, Supreme Court decisions have addressed the issue of the constitutional rights of various groups. These decisions have limited or expanded the rights of members of these groups.

Examples
Worcester v. Georgia (1832), Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), Korematsu v. United States (1944), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), and Roe v. Wade (1973).

8/2010 Thematic:
Presidential Actions
United States presidents have taken actions that have had a significant effect on United States foreign or domestic policies

Examples
George Washington issuing the Proclamation of Neutrality, Abraham Lincoln issuing the Emancipation Proclamation, William McKinley calling for war against Spain, Theodore Roosevelt supporting the Meat Inspection Act, Woodrow Wilson proposing the Fourteen Points, Franklin D. Roosevelt proposing the New Deal, Harry Truman making the decision to drop the atomic bomb, and Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

6/2010 Thematic:
Technology
Technological developments have had both positive and negative effects on the United States economy and on American society.

Examples
the cotton gin, steam-powered engines, the assembly line, nuclear power, the automobile, television, and computers

1/2010 Thematic:
Individuals, Groups, Institutions (Writing and Reform)
Throughout United States history, individuals have used writing as a way to focus attention on issues facing the American people. To resolve the issues raised in these writings, actions have been taken by the government, groups, or individuals.

Examples
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776), Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852), How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis (1890), The Jungle by Upton Sinclair (1906), “I, Too, Sing America” by Langston Hughes (1925), The Other America by Michael Harrington (1962), Silent Spring by Rachel Carson (1962), The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan (1963), and “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1963).

8/2009 Thematic:
Supreme Court Decisions
The United States Supreme Court has played a major role in United States history. The Court’s decisions have had a significant impact on many aspects of American society.

Examples
Worcester v. Georgia (1832), Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), Northern Securities Co. v. United States (1904), Korematsu v. United States (1944), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964), Miranda v. Arizona (1966), Roe v. Wade (1973), and United States v. Nixon (1974).

6/2009 Thematic:
Constitutional Principles (Individual Rights)
Throughout United States history, many different groups have faced discrimination. The federal and state governments have taken actions that have either protected or limited the rights of these groups in American society.
Ex. – Native American Indians, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, women, the elderly, and the disabled
1/2009 Thematic:
Movement of People-Migration
The movement of people into and within the United States has had a significant impact on the nation. These movements have been both voluntary and involuntary.

Examples
colonial settlement (1600s-1700s), westward expansion (1800s), rural to urban migration (1870s-1920s), European immigration(1880-1910), the Dust Bowl (1930s), suburbanization (1950s-1960s), and illegal immigration.

8/2008 Thematic:
Role of Government in Economy
Throughout history, the United States government has taken various actions to address problems with the nation’s economy.

Examples
assumption of Revolutionary War debts, building the transcontinental railroad, passage of tariff laws, passage of the Interstate Commerce Act, creation of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, adoption of the Social Security system, passage of federal minimum wage laws, Reagan Era tax cuts, and ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

6/2008 Thematic:
Change
Throughout United States history, individuals other than presidents have played significant roles that led to changes in the nation’s economy, government, or society.

Examples
Frederick Douglass and slavery, Andrew Carnegie and industrialization, Jacob Riis and urban life, Upton Sinclair and consumer protection, Henry Ford and the automobile industry, Margaret Sanger and reproductive rights, Martin Luther King Jr. and civil rights, Cesar Chavez and migrant farm workers, and Bill Gates and the software industry.

1/2008 Thematic:
Change-War
United States participation in wars has resulted in political, social, and economic changes for various groups of Americans. These changes have had varying impacts on American society both during and after each war.

Examples
enslaved persons during the Civil War, Native American Indians during the Indian Wars, women during World War I or World War II, Japanese Americans during World War II, and American college students or army draftees during the Vietnam War.

8/2007 Thematic:
Contributions of Individuals to American Life
Throughout the 20th century, individuals attempted to address problems within American society. Their efforts have had a significant impact on American life.

Examples
Upton Sinclair, Henry Ford, Langston Hughes, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Betty Friedan, Rachel Carson, Cesar Chavez, and Bill Gates.

6/2007 Thematic:
Change (Industrialization)
During the 19th century, the United States experienced tremendous industrial growth. This industrial growth resulted in many changes in American life.
Ex. – increased immigration, new Inventions or technologies, growth of labor unions, growth of monopolies, growth of reform movements, and increased urbanization.
1/2007 Thematic:
Influence of Geographic Factors on Governmental Actions
Actions taken by the United States government have often been influenced by geographic factors. Some of these factors include location, climate, natural resources, and physical features.

Examples
the Lewis and Clark expedition (1804-1806), issuance of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), Mexican War (1846-1848), Commodore Perry’s opening of Japan (1853), passage of the Homestead Act (1862), purchase of Alaska (1867), construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914), entry into World War II (1941), passage of the Interstate Highway Act (1956), and involvement.

8/2006 Thematic:
Migration of People
Throughout our nation’s history, important migrations or movements of people within the United States have occurred. These migrations have had a significant impact on both the people who moved and on American society.

Examples
the forced migration of Native American Indians (1800-1880), the westward movement (1840-1890), the migration of African Americans from the South to cities in the North (1900-1929), the Puerto Rican migration to the North after World War II (1945-1960), the westward migration from the Dust Bowl (1930s), suburbanization (1945-present), and the migration to the Sun Belt (1950-present).

6/2006 Thematic:
Change(Turning Points)
Major historical events are often referred to as turning points because they have led to important political, social, and economic changes. Identify two major events in United States history that were important turning points and for each:
-Describe the historical circumstances that led to the event
-Discuss the political, social, and/or economic changes that resulted from the event.

Examples
the signing of the Declaration of Independence (1776), end of Reconstruction (1877), Henry Ford’s use of the assembly line (1913), United States entry into World War I (1917), Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964), and the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989).

1/2006 Thematic:
Individual, Groups & Institutions/Controversial Issues
Many controversial domestic issues have divided the American people. The United States government has taken actions to address these issues.

Examples
placing Native American Indians on reservations, slavery, women’s suffrage, Prohibition, the use of child labor, and the policy of unlimited immigration.

8/2005 Thematic:
Cold War
Following World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union were engaged in a conflict that became known as the Cold War. The Cold War created problems that the United States addressed with specific actions. These actions had varying degrees of success.

Examples
the postwar economic upheaval in Western Europe (1945-1947), Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe (1945-1948), threat of Communist takeover in Greece (1947), Soviet blockade of Berlin (1948), nuclear arms race (1950s-1970s), and placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba (1962).

6/2005 Thematic:
Reform Movements in the United States
Reform movements are intended to improve different aspects of American life. Through the actions of individuals, organizations, or the government, the goals of these reform movements have been achieved, but with varying degrees of success.
Ex. – the abolitionist movement, woman’s suffrage movement, temperance movement, Progressive movement, civil rights movement, women’s rights movement, and environmental movement.
1/2005 Thematic:
Foreign Policy
Since 1900, United States foreign policy actions have often been based on national self-interest. These actions have had immediate and long-term results.

Examples
Theodore Roosevelt’s Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine (1904), Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points (1918), the Lend-Lease Act (1941), the Marshall Plan (1947), the blockade of Cuba (1962), the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) agreements (1972), and the Persian Gulf War (1991).

8/2004 Thematic: Reform Movements
Reform movements have been an important part of United States history. Ex.- the abolitionist movement, Populist movement, Progressive movement, women’s rights movement, civil rights movement, and the labor movement.
6/2004 Thematic:
Geography and United States Government Actions
Geographic factors often influence United States government actions, both foreign and domestic. Some of these factors include location, physical environment, movement of people, climate, and resources.

Examples
Louisiana Purchase (1803), issuance of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), passage of the Homestead Act (1862), decision to build the transcontinental railroad (1860s), acquisition of the Philippines (1898), decision to build the Panama Canal (early 1900s), and passage of the Interstate Highway Act (1956).

1/2004 Thematic:
Constitutional Change
Amendments to the United States Constitution have changed our government and our society.

Examples
1st Amendment — personal freedoms (1791), 15th amendment — right to vote (1870), 16th Amendment — income tax (1913), 17th Amendment — election of senators (1913), 18th Amendment — Prohibition (1919), 19th Amendment — suffrage (1920), or 22nd Amendment — term limits (1951).

8/2003 Thematic:
Foreign Policy
During the course of its history, the United States has taken foreign policy actions that have been consistent with the national interest.

Examples
President George Washington’s Proclamation of Neutrality (1793), congressional declaration of war against Mexico (1846), acquisition of the rights to build the Panama Canal (1901), United States entry into World War I (1917), implementation of the Marshall Plan (1947), United States entry into the Korean War (1950), escalation of the Vietnam War beginning in 1964, and President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to negotiate the Camp David Accords (1978).

6/2003 Thematic:
Social Change
Events have influenced social change in American society.

Ex. – passage of the Civil War amendments; development of the automobile; passage of the 18th Amendment [national Prohibition]; passage of the 19th Amendment [women’s suffrage]; passage of the Social Security Act (1935); President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s decision to send troops to Little Rock, Arkansas; and the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade

1/2003 Thematic:
Constitutional Principals
United States Supreme Court cases have dealt with a variety of important issues that have affected American society.

Examples
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) — federal supremacy, Schenck v. United States (1919) — freedom of speech, Korematsu v. United States (1944) — equal protection under the law, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) — equal protection under the law, Engel v. Vitale (1962) — separation of church and state, Miranda v. Arizona (1966) — rights of the accused, Roe v. Wade (1973) — right to privacy, Vernonia School District v. Acton (1995) — search and seizure.

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