Exporting the Idea of America

byAmanda Joy Hatcher

Rationale and Objectives

Is Democracy for everyone? Can a population of uneducated people perform the basic functions of a democracy? Should the United States be involved in assisting or promoting democratic movements around the world? Are human rights, equality and economic opportunity dependent on a democratic political system? These questions are not only central to understanding US foreign policy; they are also necessary when analyzing modern political and philosophical movements globally. Recent democratic movements in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia highlight the dramatic changes in political structures and public opinion that have taken place in the last fifty years. Our students need to be able to analyze their own country's involvement in these political revolutions to determine how and when to spread American ideals and values, now and in the future.

I teach at an alternative choice school for nontraditional high schools students. My Advanced Placement World History course is offered to students in tenth through twelfth grades, ages sixteen and up. The makeup of my classes is predominantly minority and economically challenged students with limited support systems and few life experiences beyond their own zip code. This makes teaching the last one hundred years of political change in World History the perfect time to educate students on current events by connecting with their own experiences of democracy.

In past years I have noticed that regardless of how much technology or differentiation I add to this unit, my students disengage easily and feel disconnected from the content. After years of questioning, I believe this is because they do not have a clear concrete idea of what democracy is in America and they lack diverse experiences for comparison. Their knowledge is based on a string of facts memorized, though never learned or understood, from Civics and TV cop dramas. In this unit, my goal is to provide students a clear foundation for their own political beliefs and their views of some of the contemporary global democratic movements that were influenced by the United States.

From Japan to Grenada, from Tiananmen Square to the crises in Egypt and Libya, social and political movements around the world have echoed the ideas that created the United States. Analyzing the United States as an idea instead of a country will help students connect to the ideas that may seem foreign at first, but are intrinsic to American society. This unit will provide the teacher and the students with a background for analyzing modern global movements and activities necessary for students to evaluate the idea of America as both a template for positive change and target of anti-American sentiment.

They say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and since World War I countries around the world have adapted and adopted different aspects of American culture and ideology with varying degrees of success. This raises questions about how the idea of American is being disseminated and why it is attractive to groups trying to recreate or reinvent their societies. The rapid globalization of the last 100 years and the rise in available information due to the internet, as well as the Facebook phenomenon, have greatly influenced the spread of American ideals, from trivialities such as music, celebrities, and fashion to the big ideals of government, democracy, and freedoms.

The ideology of the United States has created a system that encourages "buy in" of American Democracy that results in countries around the world modeling their society in our image. My goal with this unit is to help students understand our unique form of democracy in the United States. This understanding, presented in a way that they can relate to, will allow them to analyze the expansion of America by shifting its borders, as well as US influence and success in exporting American Democracy globally.


The first step in helping students make the connection between their ideas about democracy and American influence in global democratic movements is to allow them the opportunity to define the essential elements that make our political system unique. This is accomplished by allowing students to read the ideological and procedural basis for our country, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, in addition to primary source excerpts from the political, economic, and social realms of American Society. The next part of understanding the spread of democracy is in the westward expansion of U.S. boarders during the ideological period known as Manifest Destiny—where the expansion of our country to include fifty diverse states, while excluding Native Americans, added a level of complexity to the application of the democratic process. Finally, once the U.S. ceased the expansion of borders, it began to export ideas of democracy in various ways around the globe. While one could argue that some of the exportation of democratic ideas occurs by happenstance, there is also the argument to be presented that the U.S. employs various methods of disseminating American Democracy: from ideological, political, and/or economic influence to force.

Building a Unique Democracy

The basic tenants of American Democracy were created during, and shortly after, the American Revolution of 1776. Documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights contain the most basic beliefs that form the foundation for the unique form of democracy that exists in the United States today. Freedom, equality and popular sovereignty are ideas that Americans believe to be basic rights given to every citizen and that our democratic government was created to protect

The Declaration of Independence provides an idealistic goal for our governmental system to achieve. Though it was designed as a statement of explanation for the separation of the colonies from Great Britain and not as a legal document, it enumerates American principles of the equality of all men, rights given at birth, and the belief that government is formed by the people to protect those rights. Jefferson was influenced by John Locke in his explanation of the social contract theory between the government and the people, of what he defines as "inalienable rights."

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… 1

It is important to note that one key difference between Locke and Jefferson is the definition of rights given by birth. Locke believes that natural rights are given by God and included life, liberty and property; whereas, Jefferson writes that inalienable rights are given by a Creator and include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A discussion of the similarities and differences between the nature and inclusion of specific rights is important in creating a basic idea of what Jefferson and the other Revolutionaries were trying to achieve.

Whereas the Declaration of Independence is the ideological basis for the political system of the United States, the Constitution is the living document by which we actively govern the country. The basis for the powers of the federal government is found in the Preamble:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. 2

This document, written in 1787, creates a federalist system that combines designated powers of the federal government with specific powers of state governments. The document provides the tools and procedures that the federal government will use to protect freedom and equality from threats both domestic and foreign.

The issue of individual rights presented itself during the Constitutional Convention. This debate between The Federalists, who supported the Constitution as it was written, led by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, and The Anti-Federalists, who wanted to include a Bill of Rights that offered protection from the government, caused the first fraction of political ideology and a two party system. This debate resulted in the addition of the Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments to the Constitution that guarantee and spell out individual rights and protections from the federal government. Of these amendments, the First Amendment contains the most significant and basic concepts of political rights and freedoms:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. 3

Together, these Revolutionary documents form the basis for American Democracy, yet allow for adaptation and changes to maintain relevance and growth as the U.S. progresses. Three main elements emerge as the core for these beliefs: the protection of rights and freedoms by and from the federal government, public elections, and a two party political system. These are the basic ideas of American Democracy that were transported westward during the country's expansion and that are exported beyond our borders in the modern era.

Expansion of Borders

The desire for westward expansion began even before the thirteen colonies became the United States of America. In a very short time the U.S. had increased its size to stretch from the original Atlantic States, all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The original 13 colonies stretched from Maine to Georgia but as the American Revolution came to a close, the Treaty of Paris in 1783 gave lands that lay east of the Mississippi to the United States as well. Borders expanded again in 1803 with President Jefferson's purchase of the Louisiana Territory, effectively doubling the size of the United States. Finally, in less than ten years from 1845 to 1853, the U.S. gained territory from Texas to California. There were many causes for westward expansion including the desire for property ownership, security, economic opportunity and the growth of the railroads. Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine provided the incentive for expansion and the desire for protection of newly created national borders.

Manifest Destiny

During the 19 th century there was an underlying belief that the United States was fated to expand its territory and spread democracy. This belief is echoed from the point when Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase doubling the size of the U.S. which he called "the Empire of Liberty." This belief was later called Manifest Destiny. The concept of Manifest Destiny is the belief that U.S. expansion was divinely ordained. It helped to justify the growth and influence of pioneers moving westward into territory occupied and controlled by Mexico and Native Americans. The phrase Manifest Destiny was coined by an American columnist, named John O'Sullivan, attempting to justify the annexation of Texas in 1845:

The far-reaching, the boundless future, will be the era of American greatness. In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to the worship of the Most High — the Sacred and the True. Its floor shall be a hemisphere — its roof the firmament of the star-studded heavens, and its congregation a Union of many Republics, comprising hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but governed by God's natural and moral law of equality, the law of brotherhood — of "peace and good will amongst men." 4

The Jacksonian Era, global economic growth, and the Second Great Awakening all fueled American movement westward. After Manifest Destiny spread American ideals across the North American continent, the next logical step was to secure those beliefs from any country which posed a threat.

Monroe Doctrine

President Monroe's annual address to Congress in 1823 contained a message to all European powers that would later be known as The Monroe Doctrine. It served as a statement of intent, to all who would interfere in the Western Hemisphere, that the United States was the dominant power in the area and would not tolerate influence of any kind by other imperialistic powers. It also served as further notice of our independence and asserted:

…as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers… 5

Manifest Destiny and the Monroe Doctrine effectively established the United States' borders across the North American continent, and together, they helped establish us as the most powerful entity in the Western Hemisphere. Though the Monroe Doctrine warned outside influences not to interfere with U.S. affairs, there was only an implied consequence. To ensure protection, an additional statement of international policy toward perceived threats was necessary, and it came from President Theodore Roosevelt.

Roosevelt Corollary

Reinforcement to the protection of American superiority in the Monroe Doctrine came with the Roosevelt Corollary. President Theodore Roosevelt made it clear that the United States would be justified in taking action, if intervention in southern countries became necessary, for the protection of the U.S. and for the sake of stability and order. The Corollary came as a result of an economic crisis in the Dominican Republic that threatened to instigate European creditors to take action in the Americas. In this address, Roosevelt spoke to the nations of South and Central America, as well as European countries, who might consider any kind of aggression:

Chronic wrongdoing, or an impotence which results in a general loosening of the ties of civilized society [however], may in America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some civilized nation, and in the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe Doctrine may force the United States, however reluctantly, in flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an international police power... 6

This passage delineates the lengths to which the U.S. was willing to go to secure peace and minimize any threat to homeland security, long before the Department of Homeland Security was established as a part of the Cabinet. Together, The Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary established the United States as the Supreme authority and ideology in the Western Hemisphere. Similar to using Manifest Destiny to justify westward expansion, successive Presidents would use Roosevelt's Corollary to justify intervention in the countries of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Nicaragua and Mexico. This ideological body of work creates the basis, in this century, for American influence in exporting democracy globally for the good of mankind, perhaps especially in the western hemisphere.

Exporting American Democracy Beyond Borders

In the past 60 years, the world has seen a growing trend of interdependence, transitions toward a global economy, and an increase in the influence of the 'powerful' countries. The U.S., being one of those powerful countries, has involved itself in the affairs of many other countries in order to stimulate economic growth, and promote ideas of freedom and democracy. In response to the Cold War, and the threat of the spread of Communism, President Truman established a policy of Containment that helped to solidify support in the ideological war for democracy by increasing and supporting military intervention into countries that requested help in resisting communist influence. The United States goal was to promote the basic tenants of American democracy in the form of free elections, a multi-party system, and delineating and protecting individual rights. The following excerpt from the Truman Doctrine expresses the belief that democracy must be promoted to be protected:

The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want. They spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. We must keep that hope alive. The free peoples of the world look to us for support in maintaining their freedoms. If we falter in our leadership, we may endanger the peace of the world — and we shall surely endanger the welfare of our own nation. 7

This foreign policy created a basis for U.S. influence and intervention across Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. The United States has used three major types of international policies since World War II to influence global politics: nation building, support of political factions during internal conflict, and the use of economic sanctions. These policies have had varying degrees of success and it remains to be seen if the benefits will outweigh the cost.

Nation Building

Arguably the most direct method for transplanting the American democratic system in another country is to become directly involved in building new governments, a process known today as nation building. The U.S. has engaged in over sixteen instances of nation building around the world. Of these very few were able to sustain a democracy a decade later. There are three reasons identified in determining the success of nation building endeavors. The first factors are the internal characteristics of the target nation. This factor includes characteristics like previous experience with democracy, no major division of inequality and a strong national identity. The second factor is the union of "geopolitical" interests or similar interests between the majority of the public in the target nation and the interests of the occupying force. The final factor is a strong commitment to economic development. 8

The model for the success of American Democracy outside the U.S. was the rebuilding of Japan after World War II. General Douglas MacArthur took almost complete control of Japan for the United States and the Japanese people seemed open to the idea of democracy. In addition, they had a very strong sense of nationalism and desired further economic development. Once the Cold War began, Japan's success was important, not just as proof that the American system worked, but also as an important Asian foothold in an area that was fighting Communism. Japan's continued economic and democratic success stands as evidence that the American model can work, and it has created a powerful global ally.

Whereas Japan is a model for success of U.S. nation building, many more countries failed to maintain democracies. In the instances where nation building has failed, the culprits are usually: deep-seated inequalities and division(s) within society that prevent the ability to create an equality-based government, US alignment with unpopular political elites, and/or a lack of structure to facilitate the effective use of economic assistance.

In terms of financial cost, nation building in a country with a population of approximately five million can range from 1.5 billion dollars for light peace keeping to 15 billion dollars for heavy peace keeping each year. 9 For example, the US was involved in nation building in Haiti on two different occasions. The first instance came in 1915 and lasted nineteen years; however, the second instance, which occurred in 1994, only lasted two years. Ultimately, both attempts at creating a democracy in Haiti were unsuccessful, with an estimated cost between 31.5 and 315 billion dollars.

Support of Political Factions

In countries where a government already exists in a weakened state or there is a real possibility of a change in political power, the United States often chooses to support one political faction over another in order to promote a more democratic policy and in an attempt to contain communism. By engaging in this policy the U.S. hopes to create an ally and promote the basic premises of democracy through persuasion. U.S. support comes in a variety of forms that may include economic packages, goods or political and military training. Like nation building, this policy has seen mixed successes.

In the late 1970's and 1980's, the United States offered financial aid to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua to minimize the threat of the Soviet Union and Cuba influence. When it was clear that Nicaragua favored Soviet support, President Reagan revoked aid to the country and began to support the Contras, a rival political faction in hopes that they would regain control of the country. After U.S. legislation stopped funding to the Contras, President Reagan's administration began funding them secretly using proceeds from arms sales to Tran leading to the Iran-Contra Affair in 1986. Ultimately a cease-fire was negotiated and a free election was held where the Sandinistas were victorious.

In the 1950's, the United States backed a coup of the Iranian Government and the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza. It turned out that though the Shah was pro-Westernization, he made changes in a way that violated basic human rights, thus causing an Islamic revolution and anti-American resentment that resulted in the Tehran hostage crisis in 1979. Similarly, in the Iran-Iraq War of 1979, the United States supported Saddam Hussein. While many Americans have forgotten this fact, they became keenly aware that he turned out to be a dictator concerned only with expansion of power at the expense of individual rights and the sovereignty of other nations. Evidence of this can be found in his invasion of Kuwait in 1990, as well as a long list of human rights violations, including continued attacks on Kurdish peoples beginning in 1988. It was not until 2003 that joint forces were able to depose Hussein. Eventually, Hussein was put to trial, found guilty of crimes against humanity, and put to death. History is currently being written, as this round of spreading democracy is still in its infancy, and we have no way of knowing which category it will fall under, ultimately.

Economic Sanctions

A less invasive form of global American influence, in promoting security and democracy, is the application of economic sanctions. The U.S. institutes sanctions on countries which engage in activities that pose a threat to our country or its beliefs. Typical sanctions are those that limit, restrict or prohibit trade. Typical offenses for which sanctions are instituted are for drug trafficking, support of terroristic activity, and human rights abuses. The idea behind this procedure is to guide global policy in order to promote American ideals, by providing negative economic incentives. Economic sanctions can include but are not limited to: trade barriers, tariffs, import and export duties, quotas or embargos.

International economic sanctions are partially credited with the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Sanctions force a country to become more self-sufficient in an interdependent global economy and drive up the costs of goods and production. Though there are few examples of extremely successful political changes contributed to this type of policy, it is a very diplomatic and non-violent measure to attempt to facilitate change.

Cuba is an example of one the longest lasting U.S. economic sanctions, as well as one of the most easily recognized, and most talked about. In the last presidential election, now President Barack Obama even made campaign promises regarding Cuba, thus renewing interest and discussion on the embargo. Beginning in the 1960's, this trade embargo was enacted because Cuba refused to abandon communism and make progress toward a more democratic process. The sanction policy in this instance has failed to produce any democratic changes thus far and is still in effect, though President Obama did ease restrictions and some of the sanctions. Long lasting embargos that have failed to make any progress are not uncommon. Approximately two thirds of economic sanctions fail to see any improvement in their policy goals. 1 0


The United States has spent millions of dollars and two hundred years spreading its own unique form of democracy, first across North America and then across the globe. Outside U.S. borders, this democracy has met with varied success. The entire world is currently fixated on the success or failure of democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, our current nation building experiments, with news stations providing each gory detail 24 hours a day. Though, arguably, the coverage is spreading awareness, and in turn moving others to action.

The last year has seen a spread of grassroots movements to overthrow dictatorial governments in North Africa and the Middle East. These movements exist in countries like Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and are also seeing widespread media coverage. They seem to be fueled by educated factions and the spread of ideas and information made open and accessible to many, via the Internet and other electronic media. Those coordinating these movements, as well as those participating, can now see the support they have from the U.S., and it would appear that the cheerleading is working. The next test in exporting in the idea of America will be the ability of these countries to maintain democratic governments that protect individual rights, allow for open and free voting, and consist of a strong party system.

The United States must revisit its foreign policy as it relates to promoting democracy around the world to determine if the benefit of protecting democracy externally is worth the cost to US taxpayer and lives of American soldiers. Is democracy the best form of government for every country? Should everyone have freedom to vote for their political leadership? Should the spread and protection of democracy be the responsibility of the U.S. alone? Will promoting global democratic movements ensure the safety of American democracy? Is there a better way?


The first step is to allow students to create their own definition of American democracy and define their identity as citizens or residents. This should be done by analyzing founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. After their analysis, the class should discuss and come to a consensus on the basic elements to use for analysis in Part II and determine why democracy continues to have success in the U.S.. The next step is to analyze the success of American ideas and values in other countries of the world. Included should be a mix of the three ways that the United States typically influences democracy in other countries. Finally students research responses to US intervention and potential counties that may benefit from United States influence. Students should also address the questions asked in the closing to formulate their own opinion on exporting the idea of America.


Lesson I: Owning Your Ideas of America

Opening Activity: allow students five minutes to define the following terms in their own words: democracy, freedom, equality, opportunity, popular sovereignty, and independence. As a whole class, using poster paper or the board, have the class discuss their individual definitions of each term, come to a consensus and writing the key elements for each term and write it on the poster paper. Have students compile one list titled "Our Idea of America," with an abbreviated definition of each term. Note: there are three elements of American Democracy that need to be discussed, included or added; two party system, protection of rights and free elections.

Lesson: Ask students to name countries around the world that share the same values or ideas of democracy and create a list. Assign each student one country from the list (create a list that you would like to explore, include also: Japan, South Africa, Cuba, Iraq, Nicaragua, and Germany) and allow them to choose two more to research. Have students find information regarding their countries in the CIA Fact book, see Appendix A.

Closing: Create a political spectrum on the board with "government by the people" on one end and "government controlled by one" on the other. Have students choose one of the countries they researched and place it on the spectrum explaining why they believe it should be placed where it is relative to other countries. To begin, the teacher should choose a country to place at either end of the spectrum so students have something to reference. After every student has participated, they should individually answer the following journal prompt in no less than five sentences.

Part II: Researching the Spread of American Ideas

Opening Activity: Display Table 1 on page four of the Policy Brief "Lessons from the Past: The American Record on Nation Building." 1 1 Have students individually write a minimum of 5 sentences on their analysis of the data displayed. After writing, discuss observations in small groups and then each group will summarize their findings to the whole class. Prompt a discussion with the following question: If nation building has only worked four times, why continue in this line of action?

Lesson: Split the class into three groups and assign each group one of the three US foreign policy interventions: nation building, economic sanctions and supporting political factions. Each group is responsible for researching and presenting information on their assigned US Policy, see Appendix B. Students may use PowerPoint, moviemaker, or Prezi.com in their presentations. Presentations will be graded equally from the following categories: Content, Presentation, Creativity and Participation. During presentations, have each students answer the questions from Appendix B based on the presentations from the other groups.

Closing: Have students create a double bubble thinking map comparing two of the following examples of US intervention: Japan, South Africa and Iraq, see Appendix C. Students should begin with a basic bulleted description of each example, then they will sort and categorize the information trying to determine similarities and differences.

Part III: The Idea in the Mirror, Does this Action Make Me Look Fat?

Opening Activity: Have students complete a quick write comparison essay based on the following question: Compare and contrast U.S. influence in the two countries in your double bubble map based on the type of intervention and the success of that intervention. Students should write an essay that: has a relevant thesis, supports that thesis with relevant information, that addresses the question, analyzes either similarity or difference and that directly compares a similarity and difference between the countries. Allow students at least ten minutes to write the essay, and then allow them to pair grade essays based on the College Board rubric for an AP World History Comparison Essay.

Lesson: Assign one of the following countries to students in groups of two or three and allow them to search the CNN and Newseum websites to gain an understanding of the political changes and issues taking place: Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, North Korea, China, Venezuela and Haiti. Groups should answer the following questions: What are the basic political problems this country is facing? Is there evidence of human rights violations or conflict with other countries? Is the unrest in this country a threat to the United States? If so explain. Once everyone has completed these questions, the teacher will facilitate an inner/outer circle discussion on the following question: Based on your research of US Policy Intervention, what should US action be in this country? Choose four countries for discussion first. Students who researched those countries will sit in the inner circle and participate in a discussion that answers the prompt. Inner circle students will earn credit for participating in the discussion with relevant thoughtful analysis. Outer circle students earn credit by taking notes on inner circle discussion and by forming their own opinion on US Policy Intervention. After at least twenty minutes, discussion should conclude and the next four countries will become the subject of the prompt, inner and outer circle students should swap places and the same rubric will apply. At the end of the activity, students write a response to the following question: When should the U.S. use each of the three Policy Interventions?

Closing: Allow students to create a Document Based Question that analyzes global attitudes toward US influence and intervention. See Appendix D.


Appendix A: Searching for the Idea of America

Chosen Country:_______________

Answer the following questions about your chosen country in complete sentences.

1-Describe the name and location of your country

2-Name and define this country's government type.

3-Describe the main elements of this economy in four sentences or less. (main exports, industry or agriculture, per capital GDP, unemployment)

4-Describe any transnational or human rights issues this country faces.

Appendix B: Analyzing the Global Application of American Ideals

1-Explain the goals and application of the US Policy that you were assigned.

2-Describe in detail two examples of this policy in action. (the following must be one of the choices for the respective policy: Japan for nation building, South Africa for economic sanctions, and Iraq for supporting political factions)

3-What determines success or failure of this policy?

4-In your opinion, does the benefit of this policy outweigh the cost?

Appendix C: The Double Bubble Thinking Map Example


Appendix D

In small groups or pairs students will create a Document Based Essay Question. After choosing a topic, feel free to use multiple internet sources, search engines, modern magazines and newspapers. A great place to start is the Front Pages link on the Newseum website. Create essay that:

1. Analyzes global attitudes towards an important issue or topic surrounding US involvement in spreading democratic ideals globally since 1950. (Be sure the topic is neither too broad nor too narrow; consult AP Central for examples from previous exams)

2. Contains between six and ten documents that are representative of diverse opinions.

3. Excerpts must be included from several different regions from the 1950's to modern times.

4. When choosing excerpts keep the point of view of the source in mind.

5. Excerpts are limited to two paragraphs in length, and must include the author, title and date of the source.

6. Documents must include at least one visual (photograph, political cartoon, etc.)

7. Essay must include College Board instructions for the AP World History DBQ which can be found at AP Central on the AP World History Exam Page.

Student Resources


This is a dynamic, easy to use new presentation style. It is completely online to create and display and free for students and teachers.


This interactive museum allows students access to front page news from hundreds of newspapers all over the world. Students can sort by region or peruse archives by topic or date.


The CIA World Factbook gives students up to date access on basic relevant political, economic, geographic and cultural data on every country in the world.


AP Central is a site created by the College Board to provide information about AP courses to students, parents and teachers. Course Homepages contain course descriptions, free response questions from previous years and information regarding scoring.

Implementing Standards

Georgia Performance Standards

SSWH18 The student will demonstrate an understanding of the global political, economic, and social impact of World War II.

c. Explain the military and diplomatic negotiations between the leaders of Great Britain (Churchill), the Soviet Union (Stalin), and the United States (Roosevelt/Truman) from Teheran to Yalta and Potsdam and the impact on the nations of Eastern Europe.

d. Explain allied Post-World War II policies; include formation of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan for Europe, and MacArthur's plan for Japan.

SSWH19 The student will demonstrate an understanding of the global social, economic, and political impact of the Cold War and decolonization from 1945 to 1989.

a. Analyze the revolutionary movements in India (Gandhi, Nehru), China (Mao Zedong, Chiang Kai-shek), and Ghana (Kwame Nkrumah).

b. Describe the formation of the state of Israel and the importance of geography in its development.

e. Analyze efforts in the pursuit of freedom; include anti-apartheid, Tiananmen Square, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

SSWH20 The student will examine change and continuity in the world since the 1960s.

a. Identify ethnic conflicts and new nationalisms; include pan-Africanism, pan- Arabism, and the conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda.

b. Describe the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 that produced independent countries; include Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the Baltic States.

c. Analyze terrorism as a form of warfare in the 20th century; include Shining Path, Red Brigade, Hamas, and Al Qaeda; and analyze the impact of terrorism on daily life; include travel, world energy supplies, and financial markets.

SSWH21 The student will analyze globalization in the contemporary world.

a. Describe the cultural and intellectual integration of countries into the world economy through the development of television, satellites, and computers.

b. Analyze global economic and political connections; include multinational corporations, the United Nations, OPEC, and the World Trade Organization.

c. Explain how governments cooperate through treaties and organizations, to minimize the negative effects of human actions on the environment.

College Board Advanced Placement World History Themes and Key Concepts

Theme 2: Development and Interaction of Cultures

Theme 3: State-Building, Expansion, and Conflict

Theme 4: Creation, Expansion, and Economic Systems

Period 6: Accelerating Global Change and Realignments, c. 1900 to the Present

Key Concept 6.2 Global Conflicts and Their Consequences

Key concept 6.3 New Conceptualizations of Global Economy, Society and Culture

Annotated Bibliography

"AP World History 2011 Free Response Questions." College Board: AP Central. apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/ap11_frq_world_history.pdf (accessed August 1, 2011).

These are the latest released free response questions and students instructions for the AP World History Exam.

Blasier, Cole. The hovering giant: U.S. responses to revolutionary change in Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976.

This book explains US response to revolutions in Latin America including countries such as Mexico and Chile. It also explains US interest in these revolutions.

Dobbins, James. The beginner's guide to nation-building . Santa Monica, CA: RAND National Security Research Division, 2007.

This book not only defines the basic elements of nation building and US involvement, it also gives financial estimates for these actions.

Elliott, Kimberly, Gary Hufbauer, and Barbara Oegg. "Sanctions: The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics | Library of Economics and Liberty." Library of Economics and Liberty. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Sanctions.html (accessed July 5, 2011).

This article analyzes the success of US levied economic sanctions since World War II.

"Experts: Sanctions Partially Successful as Diplomatic Tool." Voice of America. www.voanews.com/english/news/a-13-2008-03-10-voa20-66635467.html (accessed July 18, 2011).

This article briefly discusses the effectiveness of economic sanctions as a nonviolent means of forcing political change.

Foner, Eric. The Story of American Freedom . New York: W.W. Norton, 1998.

This book details the change of the American ideals of freedom, equality and democracy from the creation of the United States to Reagan's Presidency.

Kagan, Robert. Dangerous Nation . New York: Knopf, 2006.

Kagan takes a critical look at U.S. foreign policy, outlining a history of US expansion and international aggression.

Locke, John, and Peter Laslett. Two Treatises of Government. Student ed. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

In book two of this publication Locke describes his ideas on the nature of government and the rights of man.

O'Sullivan, John. "The Great Nation of Futurity." The United States Democratic Review 6, no. 23 (1839): 426-430. http://web.utk.edu/~mfitzge1/docs/374/GNF1839.pdf (accessed July 10, 2011).

In this article, journalist John O'Sullivan first uses the term "Manifest Destiny" to describe the annexation of Texas and acquiring land to the Pacific.

Pei, Minxin, and Sara Kasper. "Lessons from the Past: The American Record on Nation Building." Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Policybrief24.pdf (accessed July 13, 2011).

This Policy Brief details U.S. involvement in nation building. It gives several facts and figures regarding the sixteen countries in which the US has involved itself in this activity and gives suggested objectives that would ensure success.

"Resource Center: Financial Sanctions." US Department of the Treasury. www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx (accessed July 17, 2011).

This site lists the current types of sanctions levied by the United States. Clicking on a sanction program gives more detail as to the specifics of the sanction and the countries affected.

Rosenberg, Jerry Martin. Nation-building: a Middle East recovery program. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2352003.

This book describes US efforts at democratic support in the Middle East since the Marshall Plan. It also analyzes the possible future of these feuding countries.


  1. The Declaration of Independence. 1776.
  2. The Constitution of the United States. 1787.
  3. First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
  4. O'Sullivan, John L.. "The Great Nation of Futurity." The United States Democratic Review. V6. Issue 23. Pp.426-430. New York: J. and H.G. Langley. 1839.
  5. Monroe, James. Monroe Doctrine. 1823.
  6. Roosevelt, Theodore. Roosevelt Corollary. 1904.
  7. Truman, Harry S. Truman Doctrine. 1947.
  8. Pei, Minxin, and Sara Kasper. "Lessons from the Past: The American Record on Nation Building." Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Policybrief24.pdf (accessed July 13, 2011).
  9. Dobbins, James et al. The Beginner's Guide to Nation-Building. RAND Corporation. Santa Monica. 2007.
  10. Elliot, Kimbery A. etal. "Sanctions." The Library of Economics and Liberty. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Sanctions.html. July 17, 2011.
  11. Pei, Minxin, and Sara Kasper. "Lessons from the Past: The American Record on Nation Building." Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. www.carnegieendowment.org/files/Policybrief24.pdf (accessed July 13, 2011).

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