US/VA History Standards

Early America: Early Claims, Early Conflicts

VUS.2     The student will describe how early European exploration and colonization resulted in cultural interactions among Europeans, Africans, and American Indians.

VUS.3     The student will describe how the values and institutions of European economic and political life took root in the colonies and how slavery reshaped European and African life in the Americas.


Revolution and the New Nation

VUS.4     The student will demonstrate knowledge of events and issues of the Revolutionary Period by

  1. a) analyzing how the political ideas of John Locke and those expressed in Common Sense helped shape the Declaration of Independence;
  2. b) evaluating how key principles in the Declaration of Independence grew in importance to become unifying ideas of American democracy;
  3. c) describing the political differences among the colonists concerning separation from Great Britain;
  4. d) analyzing reasons for colonial victory in the Revolutionary War.


VUS.5     The student will demonstrate knowledge of the issues involved in the creation and ratification of the Constitution of the United States and how the principles of limited government, consent of the governed, and the social contract are embodied in it by

  1. a) explaining the origins of the Constitution, including the Articles of Confederation;
  2. b) identifying the major compromises necessary to produce the Constitution, and the roles of James Madison and George Washington;
  3. c) examining the significance of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in the framing of the Bill of Rights;
  4. d) assessing the arguments of Federalists and Anti-Federalists during the ratification debates and their relevance to political debate today;
  5. e) appraising how John Marshall’s precedent-setting decisions established the Supreme Court as an independent and equal branch of the national government.


Expansion and Reform: 1788 to 1860

VUS.6     The student will demonstrate knowledge of the major events from the last decade of the eighteenth century through the first half of the nineteenth century by

  1. a) explaining the principles and issues that prompted Thomas Jefferson to organize the first opposition political party;
  2. b) identifying the economic, political, and geographic factors that led to territorial expansion and its impact on the American Indians;
  3. c) examining the reasons why James Madison asked Congress to declare war on Great Britain in 1812 and how this divided the nation;
  4. d) relating the changing character of American political life in “the age of the common man” (Jacksonian Era) to increasing popular participation in state and national politics;
  5. e) describing the cultural, economic, and political issues that divided the nation, including tariffs, slavery, the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements, and the role of the states in the Union.



Civil War and Reconstruction: 1860 to 1877

VUS.7     The student will demonstrate knowledge of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era and their importance as major turning points in American history by

  1. a) evaluating the multiple causes of the Civil War, including the role of the institution of slavery as a principal cause of the conflict;
  2. b) identifying the major events and the roles of key leaders of the Civil War Era, with emphasis on Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, and Frederick Douglass;
  3. c) analyzing the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation and the principles outlined in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address;
  4. d) examining the political and economic impact of the war and Reconstruction, including the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States;
  5. e) examining the social impact of the war on African Americans, the common soldier, and the home front, with emphasis on Virginia;
  6. f) explaining postwar contributions of key leaders of the Civil War.


Reshaping the Nation and the Emergence of Modern America: 1877 to 1930s

VUS.8     The student will demonstrate knowledge of how the nation grew and changed from the end of Reconstruction through the early twentieth century by

  1. a) explaining the relationship among territorial expansion, westward movement of the population, new immigration, growth of cities, the role of the railroads, and the admission of new states to the United States;
  2. b) describing the transformation of the American economy from a primarily agrarian to a modern industrial economy and identifying major inventions that improved life in the United States;


  1. c) analyzing prejudice and discrimination during this time period, with emphasis on “Jim Crow” and the responses of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois;
  2. d) identifying the causes and impact of the Progressive Movement, including the excesses of the Gilded Age, child labor and antitrust laws, the rise of labor unions, and the success of the women’s suffrage movement.


VUS.9     The student will demonstrate knowledge of the emerging role of the United States in world affairs by

  1. a) explaining the changing policies of the United States toward Latin America and Asia and the growing influence of the United States in foreign markets;
  2. b) evaluating United States involvement in World War I, including Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the Treaty of Versailles, and the national debate over treaty ratification and the League of Nations.



VUS.10   The student will demonstrate knowledge of key domestic events of the 1920s and 1930s by

  1. a) analyzing how radio, movies, newspapers, and magazines created popular culture and challenged traditional values;
  2. b) assessing the causes and consequences of the stock market crash of 1929;
  3. c) explaining the causes of the Great Depression and its impact on the American people;
  4. d) describing how Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal relief, recovery, and reform measures addressed the Great Depression and expanded the government’s role in the economy.

Conflict: The World at War: 1939 to 1945

VUS.11   The student will demonstrate knowledge of World War II by

  1. a) analyzing the causes and events that led to American involvement in the war, including military assistance to the United Kingdom and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor;
  2. b) describing and locating the major battles and turning points of the war in North Africa, Europe, and the Pacific, including Midway, Stalingrad, the Normandy landing (D-Day), and Truman’s decision to use the atomic bomb to force the surrender of Japan;
  3. c) describing the role of all-minority military units, including the Tuskegee Airmen and Nisei regiments;
  4. d) examining the Geneva Convention and the treatment of prisoners of war during World War II;
  5. e) analyzing the Holocaust (Hitler’s “final solution”), its impact on Jews and other groups, and the postwar trials of war criminals.


VUS.12   The student will demonstrate knowledge of the effects of World War II on the home front by

  1. a) explaining how the United States mobilized its economic, human, and military resources;
  2. b) describing the contributions of women and minorities to the war effort;
  3. c) explaining the internment of Japanese Americans during the war;
  4. d) describing the role of media and communications in the war effort.


The United States since World War II

VUS.13   The student will demonstrate knowledge of United States foreign policy since World War II by

  1. a) describing outcomes of World War II, including political boundary changes, the formation of the United Nations, and the Marshall Plan;
  2. b) explaining the origins of the Cold War, and describing the Truman Doctrine and the policy of containment of communism, the American role in wars in Korea and Vietnam, and the role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Europe;
  3. c) explaining the role of America’s military and veterans in defending freedom during the Cold War;
  4. d) explaining the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, including the role of Ronald Reagan in making foreign policy;
  5. e) explaining the impact of presidents of the United States since 1988 on foreign policy.



VUS.14   The student will demonstrate knowledge of the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s by

  1. a) identifying the importance of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, the roles of Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Hill, and how Virginia responded;
  2. b) describing the importance of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the 1963 March on Washington, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


VUS.15   The student will demonstrate knowledge of economic, social, cultural, and political developments in recent decades and today by

  1. a) examining the role the United States Supreme Court has played in defining a constitutional right to privacy, affirming equal rights, and upholding the rule of law;
  2. b) analyzing the changing patterns of immigration, the reasons new immigrants choose to come to this country, their contributions to contemporary America, and the debates over immigration policy;
  3. c) explaining the media influence on contemporary American culture and how scientific and technological advances affect the workplace, health care, and education;
  4. d) examining the impact of the “Reagan Revolution” on federalism, the role of government, and state and national elections since 1988;
  5. e) assessing the role of government actions that impact the economy;
  6. f) assessing the role of the United States in a world confronted by international terrorism.