Description (syllabus) for 2011

“Critical Connections” is a professional development curriculum for elementary, middle and high school teachers designed to improve their knowledge and appreciation of traditional American history by focusing on critical connections in America’s past.  The curriculum emphasizes the comparative nature of American history by examining twelve intersections in which universal influences combined to help define the development of the United States as a nation and change the course of world history.  These twelve intersections illustrate the relevance and global importance of American history while providing teachers with an organizational structure to help students understand—and get excited about—the universal ideas and issues running through America’s past.  In short, “Critical Connections” provides teachers with a thematic construct around which to frame questions and organize their thinking and teaching about American history in a global context.    

The American Century

Unit/day 1:  Woodrow Wilson and American internationalism

Unit/day 2:  “Freedom from Fear”: the Depression, “The Good War,” and American memory

Unit/day 3   “Age of Anxiety”: the Cold War, civil rights, and social protest

Unit/day 4:  “The World is Flat”: the United States and globalization

Unit/day 5:  Documents and artifacts session


did you know?

Wilson was president throughout World War I. He attempted to keep America out of the war and even won reelection with the slogan "He kept us out of war." Nonetheless, after the sinking of the Lusitania, continued run-ins with German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram, America became involved. with the Lusitania, the continued harassment of American ships by German submarines, and the release of the Zimmerman Telegram meant that America joined the allies in April, 1917.

Woodrow Wilson was President when the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920 giving women the right to vote.

Wilson piloted the ship that brought America onto the world stage. He made the first steps of leading us out of isolationism, violating Washington's tenet of avoiding foreign entanglements.

He led America during World War I. His fervent hope was for the US to join a League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations.

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "Life does not consist in thinking, it consists in acting."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "The Constitution was not made to fit us like a straitjacket. In its elasticity lies its chief greatness."

A Woodrow Wilson Quote: "I believe in democracy because it releases the energies of every human being."

The Seventeenth Amendment was formally adopted on May 31, 1913. Wilson had been president for almost three months at the time. The amendment provided for the direct election of senators. Prior to its adoption, Senators were chosen by state legislatures.

Wilson was the first president to receive a PhD which he got in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. He had received his undergraduate degree from the College of New Jersey, renamed Princeton University in 1896.

Woodrow Wilson could not read during the first decade of his life. Though undiagnosed, he may have suffered from a learning disability

Woodrow Wilson was known as "Tommy" until his college years.

Woodrow Wilson during his boyhood, helped establish the "Lightfoot Baseball Club" with his friends. Wilson played second base and was an avid sport fan throughout his adult life.

Woodrow Wilson was the first president to attend the Major League Baseball Fall Classic. He saw the debut of a young 20 year old pitcher by the name of George Herman "Babe" Ruth.

Woodrow Wilson was a graduate of Princeton University and Johns Hopkins University and the only president to hold an earned doctoral degree.

Woodrow Wilson image is on the $100,000 bill although it is no longer in circulation