Conformity and Rebellion Theme

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Class Grades for Fourth / Fifth

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This theme will focus on the important ways conformity (going with the mainstream values of society) and rebellion (fighting against the mainstream values and power in society) have shaped United States History and Literature.  Major areas of focus include:
  • Puritans and the Great Awakening
  • Social Reform movements of the early 1800's
  • Sources of religious and political conformity
  • The Labor Movement from its origins through the 1950's
  • Conformity and rebellion in the 1920's, especially as it relates to prohibition, women's liberation, new mass media, and the Harlem Renaissance
  • Conformity in the Post-WWII United States, especially as it relates to the fear of Communism (HUAC, McCarthyism, etc.) and the growth of suburbs and mass culture through TV

Here are the specific State Standards we will cover in this unit:

  • Describe the Enlightenment and the rise of democratic ideas as the context in which the nation was founded.

  • Analyze the ideological origins of the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers’ philosophy of divinely bestowed unalienable natural rights, the debates on the drafting and ratification of the Constitution, and the addition of the Bill of Rights.

  • Analyze the great religious revivals and the leaders involved in them, including the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, the Civil War revivals, the Social Gospel Movement, the rise of Christian liberal theology in the nineteenth century, the impact of the Second Vatican Council, and the rise of Christian fundamentalism in current times.

  • Cite incidences of religious intolerance in the United States (e.g., persecution of Mormons, anti-Catholic sentiment, anti-Semitism).

  • Analyze the political, economic, and social ramifications of World War I on the home front.

  • Analyze the international and domestic events, interests, and philosophies that prompted attacks on civil liberties, including the Palmer Raids, Marcus Garvey’s “back-to-Africa” movement, the Ku Klux Klan, and immigration quotas and the responses of organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Anti-Defamation League to those attacks.

  • Examine the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution and the Volstead Act (Prohibition).

  • Describe the Harlem Renaissance and new trends in literature, music, and art, with special attention to the work of writers (e.g., Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes).

  • Discuss the rise of mass production techniques, the growth of cities, the impact of new technologies (e.g., the automobile, electricity), and the resulting prosperity and effect on the American landscape.

  • Trace the advances and retreats of organized labor, from the creation of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations to current issues of a postindustrial, multinational economy, including the United Farm Workers in California