8th Grade-US History

Mr. Colby Cormack

Social Studies – Hanover, KS:

8th United States History: Constitutional Age to International Expansion

Contact Information:

                          Email: jccormack@yahoo.com

Course Description:

The eighth grade course of study begins with a review of the major ideas, issues, and events of the founding of the nation and Constitutional Period. Students will then concentrate on the critical events, people, groups, ideas, and issues of the period from 1800 to 1900 - including Westward expansion, sectionalism, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Populism, and Imperialism. The course should be rigorous and relevant with instruction that integrates thinking skills, historical processes, and content so that students are able to apply the learning to their own lives. Instruction should include the integration of concepts and principles from history, economics, geography, civics, and the humanities.


  1. Establishing America (1787—1830s)
  2. Regionalism and Expansion (1800s—1850s)
  3. March to War (1850s—1861)
  4. Toward a More Perfect Union (1861—1877)
  5. The Rise of America (1870s—1900)


1. Choices have consequences.

2. Individuals have rights and responsibilities.

3. Societies are shaped by beliefs, idea, and diversity.

4. Societies experience continuity and change over time.

5. Relationships between people, place, idea, and environments are dynamic.

Connect with Past Learning:

From their experience in fifth grade, students should possess a general understanding of the exploration and colonization of North America and the establishment of the United States prior to 1800. They should be familiar with ancient and medieval civilizations from instruction received during 6th grade. They should have experience with the Best Practices and Literacy Expectations and be able to integrate those into their own learning.

This course will build on prior student learning with a brief review of the major events and ideas leading to the American War for Independence. This review will also include the Declaration of Independence and the decisions made during the Constitutional Convention with a focus on their impact on the new nation.

Class Expectations/Rules:

          All students are expected to be

  1. Polite (respectful of others and the learning process);
  2. Prompt;
  3. Prepared;
  4. Proud (always do your best and don’t cheat!); and

Students are encouraged to conference with the instructor at an appropriate time to discuss any problems or concerns they may be experiencing in class. 

Warning:  Cheating on a test or most of an assignment will result in:  (1) 1st offense – A “0” on the assignment; (2) 2nd offense – A referral, and a 10% reduction in your academic grade; and (3) 3rd offense – An “F” in this class.

Grading Policy:

Academic grades will be determined by a number of factors including: tests, classwork, homework, projects, written essays, oral presentations, participation in advisory period, etc.  Points will be earned by the students for each assignment, and grades will follow the school’s grading policy.  No notes or books can be used during a test.  Your Final Exam grade affects your overall grade as follows: an “A” on the Final Exam raises your grade by 5%; a “B” raises it by 3%; a “C” keeps your grade the same; a “D” lowers your grade by 3%; and an “F” lowers your grade by 5%. 

The teacher never gives students extra or “bail out” assignments to help them pass this class or improve their grade!

  • Any late work will be automatically docked 10%. You must clearly write “Late” at the top of the assignment or in the email if you are sending it electronically. If you do not and I have to find out you will lose 20%
  • If you were absent, you must clearly write “Absent” at the top of the assignment. If you do not, and I have to find out you, will lose 10%
  • Notes will be taken through docs.google.com. Students will share their notes with their teacher so he can check their progress as they write and offer suggestions, critiques, guidelines, etc.
  • Bell Ringers will be done through google.docs as well. Days where we do not have a bell ringer should be marked as such on the document. If you are absent you need to get the bell ringer from a classmate. If this proves impossible please see me before or after school.



HW/Late Assignments:

*****If you are absent, make sure your absence is excused within 72 hours, get lecture notes (if any) from another student (NOT the teacher!) and any missing assignments from another student (ahead of time if possible) or make arrangements with the teacher.  If your absence is not officially excused within 72 hours of the date of your absence, no credit will be given for assignments given during your absence!  Excused late work will be accepted if you write “Absent” on your paper and turn it in no later than the number of days for which your absence was excused.  Excused late work may be graded or simply “excused” at the teacher’s discretion.****


Course Outline:

            Text: United States History: Beginnings to 1877: by Deeverell and White

  1. Early America (Beginnings to 1776)
    1. Chapter 1
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 3
    4. Chapter 4
  2. Establishing America (1787—1830s)
    1. Chapter 5
    2. Chapter 6
    3. Chapter 7
  3. Regionalism and Expansion (1800s—1850s)
    1. Chapter 8
    2. Chapter 9
    3. Chapter 10
    4. Chapter 11
    5. Chapter 12
    6. Chapter 13
    7. Chapter 14
  4. March to War (1850s—1861)
    1. Chapter 15
  5. Toward a More Perfect Union (1861—1877)
    1. Chapter 16
  6. The Rise of America (1870s—1900)
    1. Chapter 17
    2. Additional Readings



            Students will develop a routine throughout the semester and the year that will help them to organize their work and how they approach it. I like to keep a routine that gives students an opportunity to catch up and feel comfortable with the pace the class is going. I will, however, occasional change the routine for structural and aesthetic purposes. The real world constantly balances the consistency and change and this class will reflect the same way.


**************Syllabus Subject to Change at Instructors Discretion************