How Economics Can Strengthen
the Teaching of U.S. History
Overview
   Problems teaching
   history
   How economic
   thinking might help
   Features of Focus:
   Understanding
   ...
Problems Teaching U.S. History

   Schools rely on U.S. history to teach
     Our national identify
     An academic under...
Problems Teaching U.S. History

   Students usually take 6 semesters
   of U.S. history:
      Grade 5: 2 semesters
      ...
U.S. History Achievement Levels:
1994, 2001, NAEP
                   GRADE 4       GRADE 8       GRADE 12
  Level
        ...
What Can Economics Contribute?

                   Economics
                   stresses the idea
                   that ...
Individual Choices

   All social
   phenomena
   emerge from the
   choices that
   individuals make in
   response to
  ...
John Maynard Keynes

   The inevitable never
   happens. It is
   always the
   unexpected.
Who Would Have Predicted in
1980?
   The collapse of the
   Soviet Union.
   The reunification of
   Germany.
   Nelson Ma...
Who Would Have Predicted in
1980?
   Record U.S. economic
   expansion in the 1990s.
   An attack on the World
   Trade Ce...
They Didn’t Know How It Would All
Turn Out
   In writing history or biography, you must
   remember that nothing was on tr...
They Didn’t Know How It Would
Turn Out
   The difference is that it was their
   present. They were just as alive and full...
The Economic Way of Thinking

   Focus: Understanding Economics in U.
   S. History introduces students to the
   economic...
History Matters: Douglass North

   History matters not
   only because we
   can learn from the
   past but because
   th...
Fostering Cooperation
   Human cooperation allows for gains
   from trade.
   Economic growth depends upon the
   institut...
What Explains Different Outcomes?

   Sustained economic growth in the
   United States and western Europe?
   The spectac...
Institutions Matter

   Choices made by our ancestors have
   fundamentally shaped the institutions
   with which we live ...
Teaching Matters, Too

   “With its explicit
   emphasis on
   choices, costs,
   incentives, rules of
   the game and
   ...
Citation

           Authors
              Jean Caldwell
              Tawni Hunt
              Ferrarini
              Ma...
Features

   Linked to NCEE
   Standards
   Essay by Professor
   Douglass North
   Introductory essay on
   the economic ...
The Guide to Economic Reasoning

    People choose .
    People’s choices involve costs .
    People respond to incentives...
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

 Unit 1 Three World Meet
 1. The New World Was an Old World
 2. Property Rights Among North American
 I...
Table of Contents

 Unit Two: Colonization and Settlement
 3. Why Do Economies Grow?
 4. Understanding the Colonial Econom...
Table of Contents

 Unit 3: Revolution and the New Nation
 7. The Costs and Benefits of American
 Independence
 8. Problem...
Table of Contents

 Unit Four: Expansion and Reform
 10. Rising Living Standards in the New
 Nation
 11. How Did Cotton Be...
Table of Contents

 13. Improving Transportation
 14. Investing in American Growth
 15. Why Did the Indians of the Great
 ...
Table of Contents

 Unit Five: Civil War and Reconstruction
 18. Why Did the South Secede?
 19. Economic Analysis of the C...
Table of Contents

 Unit Six: The Development of the
 Industrial United States
 20. Was Free Land a Good Deal?
 21. The Ch...
Table of Contents

 24. Industrial Entrepreneurs or Robber
 Barons?
 25. The Economic Effects of the 19th
 Century Monopol...
Table of Contents

 Unit Seven: The Emergence of Modern
 America
 28. Money Panics and the Establishment
 of the Federal R...
Table of Contents

 Unit Eight: The Great Depression and
 World War II
 30. Whatdunit? The Great Depression
 Mystery
 31. ...
Table of Contents

 32. We Shall Not Be Moved
 33. When the Boys Came Marching Home
 34. Women in the US Workforce
Table of Contents

 Unit Nine: Postwar United States
 35. The Economics of Racial
 Discrimination
 36. The No-Good Seventi...
Table of Contents

 Unit Ten: Contemporary United States
 37. The Hispanic Americans
 38. The Knowledge- and Technology-
 ...
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How Economics Can Strengthen the Teaching of History

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Teaching economics in history can make U.S. history courses more enjoyable for high school students

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How Economics Can Strengthen the Teaching of History

  1. 1. How Economics Can Strengthen the Teaching of U.S. History
  2. 2. Overview Problems teaching history How economic thinking might help Features of Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History
  3. 3. Problems Teaching U.S. History Schools rely on U.S. history to teach Our national identify An academic understanding of our past. But, history teaching is criticized as being Boring in content and pedagogy Superficial Trivial Remote
  4. 4. Problems Teaching U.S. History Students usually take 6 semesters of U.S. history: Grade 5: 2 semesters Grade 8: 2 semesters Grade 11: 2 semesters Yet, national tests show that achievement in history is low.
  5. 5. U.S. History Achievement Levels: 1994, 2001, NAEP GRADE 4 GRADE 8 GRADE 12 Level 1994 2001 1994 2001 1994 2001 Advanced 2% 2% 1% 2% 1% 1% Proficient 15% 16% 13% 15% 10% 10% Basic 47% 49% 48% 48% 32% 32% Below 36% 33%* 39% 36%* 57% 57% Basic
  6. 6. What Can Economics Contribute? Economics stresses the idea that all people make choices. But, they don’t know at the time what the consequences of their choices will be.
  7. 7. Individual Choices All social phenomena emerge from the choices that individuals make in response to expected costs and benefits to themselves . Paul Heyne
  8. 8. John Maynard Keynes The inevitable never happens. It is always the unexpected.
  9. 9. Who Would Have Predicted in 1980? The collapse of the Soviet Union. The reunification of Germany. Nelson Mandela becoming president of South Africa. Economic stagnation in Japan in the 1990s.
  10. 10. Who Would Have Predicted in 1980? Record U.S. economic expansion in the 1990s. An attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. All-out war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  11. 11. They Didn’t Know How It Would All Turn Out In writing history or biography, you must remember that nothing was on track. Things could have gone any way at any point. As soon as you say “was” it seems to fix an event in the past. But nobody ever lived in the past, only the present.
  12. 12. They Didn’t Know How It Would Turn Out The difference is that it was their present. They were just as alive and full of ambition, fear, hope and all the emotions of life. And, just like us, they didn’t know how it would all turn out. The challenge is to get the reader [student] beyond the thinking that things had to be the way they turned out and to see the range of possibilities of how it could have been otherwise. David McCullough
  13. 13. The Economic Way of Thinking Focus: Understanding Economics in U. S. History introduces students to the economic way of thinking. It stresses how people at the time were making choices in response to anticipated benefits and costs. This approach allows students to be “present-minded” about the past.
  14. 14. History Matters: Douglass North History matters not only because we can learn from the past but because the present and the past are connected by the continuity of a society’s institutions.
  15. 15. Fostering Cooperation Human cooperation allows for gains from trade. Economic growth depends upon the institutions that create a hospitable environment for cooperative solutions to problems associated with trade. What institutions induce economic stagnation and decline? What institutions induce prosperity and growth?
  16. 16. What Explains Different Outcomes? Sustained economic growth in the United States and western Europe? The spectacular rise and fall of the Soviet Union? The growth of Taiwan and South Korea? The dismal record of sub-Saharan Africa? The contrasts between North America and Latin America?
  17. 17. Institutions Matter Choices made by our ancestors have fundamentally shaped the institutions with which we live today. Young people can learn to see events as outcomes produced by the choices people make every day. They can also understand how people’s choices are shaped by institutions.
  18. 18. Teaching Matters, Too “With its explicit emphasis on choices, costs, incentives, rules of the game and voluntary trade, the curriculum presented here will provide educators with a valuable source of focus and direction.”
  19. 19. Citation Authors Jean Caldwell Tawni Hunt Ferrarini Mark Schug Published by the NCEE Generous support from the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation
  20. 20. Features Linked to NCEE Standards Essay by Professor Douglass North Introductory essay on the economic way of thinking: Why Did the Colonists Fight When They Were Safe, Prosperous and Free?
  21. 21. The Guide to Economic Reasoning People choose . People’s choices involve costs . People respond to incentives in predictable ways. People create economic systems that influence individual choices and incentives. People gain when they trade voluntarily. People’s choices have consequences that lie in the future .
  22. 22. Table of Contents
  23. 23. Table of Contents Unit 1 Three World Meet 1. The New World Was an Old World 2. Property Rights Among North American Indians
  24. 24. Table of Contents Unit Two: Colonization and Settlement 3. Why Do Economies Grow? 4. Understanding the Colonial Economy in a Global Context 5. Indentured Servitude: Why Sell Yourself into Bondage? 6. Specialization and Trade in the Thirteen Colonies
  25. 25. Table of Contents Unit 3: Revolution and the New Nation 7. The Costs and Benefits of American Independence 8. Problems under the Articles of Confederation 9. The U.S. Constitution: Rules of the Game
  26. 26. Table of Contents Unit Four: Expansion and Reform 10. Rising Living Standards in the New Nation 11. How Did Cotton Become King? 12. Francis Cabot Lowell and the New England Textile Industry
  27. 27. Table of Contents 13. Improving Transportation 14. Investing in American Growth 15. Why Did the Indians of the Great Plains Invite White Americans into Their Land? 16. Andrew Jackson and the Second Bank of the United States 17. Free the Enslaved and Avoid the War
  28. 28. Table of Contents Unit Five: Civil War and Reconstruction 18. Why Did the South Secede? 19. Economic Analysis of the Civil War
  29. 29. Table of Contents Unit Six: The Development of the Industrial United States 20. Was Free Land a Good Deal? 21. The Changing U.S. Economy 22. The Demand for Immigrants 23. Bigger Is Better: The Economics of Mass Production
  30. 30. Table of Contents 24. Industrial Entrepreneurs or Robber Barons? 25. The Economic Effects of the 19th Century Monopoly 26. Could the U.S. Economy Have Grown Without the Railroads? 27. Free Silver or a Cross of Gold
  31. 31. Table of Contents Unit Seven: The Emergence of Modern America 28. Money Panics and the Establishment of the Federal Reserve System 29. Who Should Make the Food Safe?
  32. 32. Table of Contents Unit Eight: The Great Depression and World War II 30. Whatdunit? The Great Depression Mystery 31. Did the New Deal Help or Harm Recovery?
  33. 33. Table of Contents 32. We Shall Not Be Moved 33. When the Boys Came Marching Home 34. Women in the US Workforce
  34. 34. Table of Contents Unit Nine: Postwar United States 35. The Economics of Racial Discrimination 36. The No-Good Seventies
  35. 35. Table of Contents Unit Ten: Contemporary United States 37. The Hispanic Americans 38. The Knowledge- and Technology- Based Economy of Today 39. World Trade after World War II: The EU, NAFTA and the WTO

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