Modern America

The Teach Tennessee History website is designed to assist teachers in implementing the 2015 Tennessee State Social Studies Standards.  Please use the menu links to the left to access the following resources for Modern America:

ETHS Teaching Materials:  Click on ETHS Teaching Materials to find student-friendly essays and classroom activities developed by ETHS staff.  The essays and activities are designed based on the Tennessee Social Studies Standards. The downloadable teacher packets also include primary sources and images when available.

ETHS Articles:  Click on ETHS Articles to find articles from ETHS publications to enrich your content knowledge and supplement textbook resources.

Additional Resources: Click on Additional Resources to find additional activites and links to useful websites.


Standards 5.64-5.68

5.64 Refer to details and examples about the significance of Tennessee in popular music, including Sun Studios, Stax Records, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Memphis, Tennessee. (C, TN)

5.65 Analyze the key events and struggles during the Civil Rights Movement, including: (C, E, H, P)

5.66 Explain the effect President Kennedy’s assassination had on the country, including passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, and continuing the space program. (H, P)

5.67 Integrate information from a variety of texts to explain the cause, controversy of, and outcome of the Vietnam War. (C, E, G, H, P)

5.68 Determine the main ideas surrounding the presidency of Nixon, including the end of the Vietnam War, the trip to China, Watergate, and resignation. (E, H, P) 

Standards US.82-US.103

Modern United States 1945-1979

Students analyze the economic boom and social transformation of post–World War II America. Students examine the origins, goals, key events, and accomplishments of Civil Rights movement in the United States, and important events and trends in the 1960s and 1970s.

US.82 Analyze the impact of prosperity and consumerism in the 1950s, including the growth of white-collar jobs, the suburban ideal, the impact of the G.I. Bill, and increased reliance on foreign oil. (C, E, G)

US.83 Examine multiple sources presented in different media and formats to explain the impact of the baby boom generation on the American economy and culture. (C, E, G, P)

US.84 Describe the effects of technological developments, including advances in medicine, improvements in agricultural technology such as pesticides and fertilizers, the environmental impact of these advances, and the development of the interstate highway system. (C, E, G)

US.85 Analyze the increasing impact of television and mass media on the American home, American politics, and the American economy. (C, E, P)

US.86 Describe the emergence of a youth culture, including beatniks and the progression of popular music from swing to rhythm and blues to rock ‘n roll and the significance of Tennessee, including Sun Studios, Stax Records, and Elvis Presley. (C, E, TN)

US.87 Explain the events related to labor unions, including the merger of the AFL-CIO, the Taft-Hartley Act, and the roles played by Estes Kefauver, Robert Kennedy, and Jimmy Hoffa. (E, H, P, TN)

US.88 Describe President Kennedy’s New Frontier programs to improve education, end racial discrimination, create the Peace Corps, and propel the United States to superiority in the Space Race. (C, E, H, P)

US.89 Examine court cases in the evolution of civil rights, including Brown v. Board of Education and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. (C, H, P)

US.90 Examine the roles of civil rights advocates, including the following: (C, H, P, TN)

  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Malcolm X
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Rosa Parks
  • Stokely Carmichael
  • President John Kennedy
  • Robert Kennedy
  • President Lyndon Johnson
  • James Meredith
  • Jim Lawson

US.91 Examine the roles of civil rights opponents, including Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, Orval Faubus, Bull Connor, and the KKK. (C, H, P)

US.92 Describe significant events in the struggle to secure civil rights for African Americans, including the following: (C, H, P, TN)

US.93 Cite textual evidence, determine the central meaning, and evaluate the explanations offered for various events by examining excerpts from the following texts: Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and “I Have a Dream” speech) and Malcolm X (“The Ballot or the Bullet”). (C, P)

US.94 Analyze the civil rights and voting rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the 24th Amendment. (C, E, H, P)

US.95 Describe the Chicano Movement, the American Indian Movement, and Feminist Movement and their purposes and goals. (C, E, P)

US.96 Evaluate the impact of Johnson’s Great Society programs, including Medicare, urban renewal, and the War on Poverty. (C, P)

US.97 Interpret different points of view that reflect the rise of social activism and the counterculture, hippies, generation gap, and Woodstock. (C, P)

US.98 Identify and explain significant achievements of the Nixon administration, including his appeal to the “silent majority” and his successes in foreign affairs. (E, H, P)

US.99 Analyze the Watergate scandal, including the background of the break-in, the importance of the court case United States v. Nixon, the changing role of media and journalism, the controversy surrounding Ford’s pardon of Nixon, and the legacy of distrust left in its wake. (H, P)

US.100 Describe the causes and outcomes of the energy crisis of the 1970’s. (E, P)

US.101 Investigate the life and works of Alex Haley and his influence on American Culture, including The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Roots: The Saga of An American Family. (C, TN)

US.102 Explain the emergence of environmentalism, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, and disasters such as Love Canal, Three Mile Island, and the Exxon Valdez. (G, C, P)

US.103 Identify and explain significant events of the Carter administration, including the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaty, poor economy, SALT treaties, and the Iran Hostage Crisis. (G, H, P)

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” and the “I Have a Dream” speech, Martin Luther King, Jr.; excerpts from “The Ballot or the Bullet” speech, Malcolm X; excerpts from Silent Spring, Rachel Carson; excerpts from Feminine Mystique; excerpts from The Autobiography of Malcolm X and Roots: The Saga of An American Family, Alex Haley; speeches by Cesar Chavez

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Consider: Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the 24th Amendment; excerpts from “The Great Silent Majority” speech, Richard Nixon