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U.S. History Teaching Units

Developed by the Organization of American Historians and the National Center for History in the Schools (NCHS) at the University of California, Los Angeles, each U.S. History Teaching unit focuses on a different topic in U.S. History. Written by teams of teachers and historians for U.S. history students at the pre-collegiate level, each unit is based on primary documents and contains reproducible images and lesson plans for use in the classroom.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these teaching units, please contact kbarker@oah.org to inquire about availability.


World’s Fairs and the Dawning of the American Century

Grades: 9-12 | Pages: 74 | Price: $16.95

This unit examines the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago through a variety of primary sources, including guidebooks, pamphlets, speeches, cartoons, and newspaper accounts of the fairs. Materials in this unit are designed to help students consider the role the World’s Fair movement played in reconstructing the American “national” culture after the Civil War, the extent to which the fairs encouraged both American technological progress and an attitude of cultural superiority, and the relationship between the fairs and the growing interest in American overseas expansion.


The Philippine-American WarThe Philippine-American War

Grades: 7-12 | Pages: 66 | Price: $12.50

In 1898 a bloody conflict broke out on the Philippine Islands between Filipino forces battling for independence and American troops sent to quell what they and many other American citizens viewed as a rebellion. This new teaching teaching unit, with its four lesson plans which should be taught as part of your larger unit on United States imperialism in the period from 1890 to 1914, examines the causes of the long and brutal conflict between the U.S. government and the Filipino independence fighters, the arguments for and against annexation of the Philippines, and the nature and impact of the resulting military conflict. This unit should prepare students for examination of American foreign policy during the Progressive Era and World War One.


Early Chinese Immigration and the Process of Exclusion

Grades: 8-12 | Pages: 69 | Price: $11.50

Students use statistics, legislation, personal letters, and political cartoons to examine the challenges that early Chinese immigrants had to overcome in order to make a significant contribution to the industrial development of late nineteenth-century America. Students read translated works of early Chinese immigrants who describe their experience on “Gold Mountain.” Poems and letters express the hope and dreams of immigrants as well as their shock and frustration at their treat meet. Each of the selected documents give students the opportunity to explore the historical context of popular sentiment and local and national policy that isolated and excluded early Chinese immigrants from the mainstream.


Asian Immigration to the United StatesAsian Immigration to the United States

Grades: 8-12 | Pages: 83 | Price: $10

Since 1965 the rapid growth of immigration from Asia has contributed to the tremendous diversity in the racial and ethnic composition of the United States population. In the 1990 census, Asian Americans represented the fasted growing group of immigrants, but the diversity among Asians is even more complex than indicated by the census data. This unit provides a study of the new Asian immigration in historical perspective, an analysis of the forces that have governed U.S. attitudes toward Asian immigration in the past, and an examination of the reasons why Asians immigrate to the United States. Primary and secondary sources presented in this unit will complement U.S. history textbook content on late twentieth-century U.S. history, including Cold Ware competition with the USSR, the impact of U.S. military involvement in Indo-China, and the impact of technological innovation on Asian immigration to the United States.


The Hardest Struggle: Women and Sweated Industrial Labor“The Hardest Struggle:” Women and Sweated Industrial Labor

Grades: 7-12 | Pages: 126 | Price: $13.50

Industrial expansion by 1900 created multiple problems for American wage earners. Women, in particular, were struck the hardest: considered expendable by managers and factory owners, most were employed at unskilled and difficult labor, earning substandard wages, in the sweatshops of the garment industry. Meant to supplement the curricula on the Progressive Movement of 1900–1920, this unit provides critical insights into the period by examining the political, economic, and social aspects of women in the industrial work force in early twentieth-century America.