Core Documents Collection: The Cold War

This collection of documents on the Cold War continues TeachingAmericanHistory.org’s extended series of document collections covering major periods, themes and institutions in American history and government. The volume covers American aid to Europe in the early years of the Cold War and American intervention in subsequent years in conflicts around the world to contain the spread of Soviet power. Its documents also explore the dometic effects of the Cold War, chronicling how national security concerns affected relations between American citizens and between Americans and their government. Each volume includes:

  • Key documents on the period, theme or institution, selected by an expert and reviewed by an editorial board
  • A thematic table of contents, showing the connections between various documents
  • Study questions for each document as well as questions that refer to other documents in the collection
  • Notes on each document to identify people, events, movements, or ideas to improve understanding of the document’s historical context
  • Resource Type: Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 10, 11, 12

Foundations of Democracy

This collection gives teachers access to foundational principles of democracies including rule of law, limited government and checks and balances. It can be used to build background knowledge to analyze the health of our democracy over time and in today’s environment.

Essential Questions include:

  • What systems attempt to limit government power?
  • Where does the government gain its authority in a democracy?
  • What is the rule of law and how does it play out in democracies?
  • What are ways of measuring the health of a democracy?
  • What recourses are in place to ensure the health of democracy?
  • Resource Type: Lesson Plans, Modules (Teaching Unit)
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12

The Earliest Americans (CKHG Unit)

Across 17 lessons, this unit introduces some of the different peoples who populated America many years before the arrival of European explorers—some as early as thirty thousand years ago along the Pacific Coast, and others who traveled from Asia across Beringia, the land bridge. Students explore how these early peoples spread across North and South America, adapted to their environments and developed unique cultures.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Native Americans: Cultures and Conflicts (CKHG Unit)

Across 7 lessons, this unit explores the ways of life of diverse Native American peoples and how their cultures were disrupted, displaced, and profoundly altered by westward expansion and American government policies and practices in the 1800s. Some of the content of this unit is tied to the “Pathway to Citizenship,” an array of civics-focused knowledge, questions, and activities.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Westward Expansion After the Civil War (CKHG Unit)

This unit focuses on the westward movement of Americans in the later 1800s, which often led to conflict with Native Americans displaced from long inhabited lands. Across 7 lessons, students learn about the lure of gold or silver, or the land offered through the Homestead Act. Students explore the transcontinental railroads, the “Wild West,” the purchase of Alaska, and the “closing of the American frontier.”

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

The Civil War (CKHG Unit)

This unit explores the political, historical and cultural causes and consequences before, during and after the Civil War, one of our nation’s greatest crises. Across 24 lessons, students engage with the material through primary sources and consider the influence of abolitionists and other intellectual as well as military and political figures.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

Westward Expansion Before the Civil War (CKHG Unit)

The unit explores the westward movement of Americans in the nineteenth century: the early explorers, effects of new developments in transportation, Native American resistance to settlers, and the treaties broken by government officials. Across 10 lessons, students explore the use of Manifest Destiny to promote the acquisition of US territory, the annexation of Texas, the Oregon Trail, and the California gold rush.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

The Age of Exploration (CKHG Unit)

This unit introduces students to European exploration and trade from 1400 to the 1600s. Across 12 lessons, students learn about motivations for European exploration and study specific explorers, learning about their encounters with indigenous peoples. Students are introduced to the early slave trade and the beginnings of slavery in the Americas.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources, Timelines
  • Subject: History
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

The Geography of the United States (CKHG Unit)

This unit reinforces map and globe skills as students learn about the geographic characteristics of different regions of the United States: New England, Mid-Atlantic, South, Midwest, Great Plains, Rocky Mountain, Southwest, and West Coast. Across 13 lessons, students explore the climate, natural resources, culture, and other distinctive characteristics of each region.

  • Resource Type: Assessments, Books, Descriptive Text, Lesson Plans, Media, Modules (Teaching Unit), Primary Sources
  • Subject: Foundations of Democracy
  • Grades: 5, 6, 7, 8

How Do We the People Influence and Monitor the Government?

This resource provides students with an English language video and associated student friendly readings (in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole), as well as reading and video guides and self assessment tools. Using these, students will consider the different ways that citizens, interest groups, and the media can influence and monitor government.
Free registration is required to use the resource.

  • Resource Type: ESL Appropriate, ESL Materials, Quizzes, Translated Materials, Video
  • Subject: Voting, Elections, Politics
  • Grades: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12