The West: Environmental History

Teacher: Mr. Smith
Extra Help: Room 206  on Mon/Tue 3-4 or by appointment.

Course Overview: HS 309  Environmental History

10th Grade Capstone Project: Due May 16
  •    See Course Calendar for related electronic documents                                   
  • Link to the Opposing Viewpoints Database 
  • Go to 'Opposing Viewpoints' and then 'Energy & Environmentalism'
  • How did the environment influence the development of America in the 19th century?
  • How and why did the US expand westward?
  • Who created the Conservation & Environmental Movement of the 19th-20th Centuries ?
  • 10th Grade Capstone: What are the challenges and solutions to our environment in the 21st century?
SUMMARY:       This 10th grade American History elective will ask students to develop their own interpretations of ‘the West’ of North America [1800-1900] based on a variety of perspectives:  geographical, environmental, political, cultural and economic.  How did the US progress from a fragile and small republic on the Atlantic coast to a major world power in the 20th century?   We’ll begin in 1800 with the Jefferson era, try to re-imagine the physical boundaries and topography of the continent and examine how and why the US gained new lands west of the Mississippi (Louisiana Purchase, Treaties, Wars…) .  The effects of westward migration on the land and peoples of the West will be the dominant themes of the course. Encounters with Native groups and the evolution of US policy will be followed by the effects of expansion on the land & environment. We will examine how the Conservation movement grew out of this history, and in the final assessment for the course, you will evaluate the gains and losses of US expansion westward to the Pacific Ocean.