Ch 20: Overview of American History

About This Chapter

From the arrival of the Puritans to the War on Terror, this chapter covers major events in American history that have shaped the nation. Use our video lessons to review colonial America, the founding of the United States, the causes of U.S. involvement in wars and more.

Overview of American History - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, our experienced instructors take you on a tour of key developments in U.S. history. The video lessons delve into early American history, including colonial life and what led to the creation of the Declaration of Independence. You'll also study the contents of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, you will examine America's role in the World Wars and take a look at African Americans' struggle for civil rights. Once you finish this chapter, you'll be able to:

  • Recognize the role of the Puritans in the New England colonies
  • Describe life in colonial America
  • Discuss the events that led to the First Continental Congress
  • Understand the Declaration of Independence's contents and impact
  • Identify the key components of the U.S. Constitution
  • List the causes and outcomes of WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War
  • Address the causes and significance of the 1960s civil rights movement
  • Discuss President Bush's response to the 9/11 terrorist attack

Our short videos contain historical images and clear-cut analysis to make this U.S. history material engaging. The videos, which you can watch on your mobile devices, contain tags so you jump to important points. To maximize your study time, we also provide lesson transcripts and self-assessment quizzes.

12 Lessons in Chapter 20: Overview of American History
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Puritans and the Founding of the New England Colonies

1. The Puritans and the Founding of the New England Colonies

Learn about the people and motives that led to the founding of Massachusetts Bay Colony, as well as the growth and internal dissent that led to the establishment of Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

The 13 Colonies: Life in Early America

2. The 13 Colonies: Life in Early America

What was it like to live in America during the colonial period? Just like today, it depended where you were. Learn about the factors that categorized all of the American colonies, as well as the differences between the northern, middle and southern colonies.

The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress

3. The Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts & First Continental Congress

Three years of calm followed the Boston Massacre and the repeal of most Townshend duties. But no sooner had Parliament passed a new tax on tea than the colonies were in an uproar again about taxation without representation. What followed were the Boston Tea Party and the fateful last steps leading to war.

The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy

4. The Declaration of Independence: Text, Signers and Legacy

After 12 years of tension and fighting, the colonists and their leaders were ready to declare themselves a new country, independent of Great Britain. This lesson examines the motives, the text, and the legacy of America's Declaration of Independence.

Creating State Constitutions After the American Revolution

5. Creating State Constitutions After the American Revolution

After the revolution, the states had to figure out what the rule of the people would be like. The early state constitutions and how they were drafted would inform the process and the resulting document that would become the U.S. Constitution.

The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments

6. The US Constitution: Preamble, Articles and Amendments

The U.S. Constitution is one of the most important documents in history. It establishes the government of the United States, and its first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, assures every U.S. citizen the rights we have all come to hold dear.

Causes of World War I: Factors That Led to War

7. Causes of World War I: Factors That Led to War

Although World War I began in Europe, it is important to take a look at World War I in relation to U.S. history as well. The U.S. was greatly affected by the war. In this lesson, we'll take a quick and direct look at the causes that led up the war and the assassination that was the final catalyst.

End of WWI: the Treaty of Versailles & the League of Nations

8. End of WWI: the Treaty of Versailles & the League of Nations

In this lesson, we will examine the Treaty of Versailles. We will explore the treaty's negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference, take a look at the treaty's terms, and discuss Germany's reaction to the treaty.

World War II: The Start of the Second World War

9. World War II: The Start of the Second World War

Learn all about the start of World War II and why the League of Nations could not stop aggression by Italy, Germany and Japan in the 1930s, which led to the outbreak of this second global conflict.

The Vietnam War: Causes, Conflicts & Effects

10. The Vietnam War: Causes, Conflicts & Effects

The Vietnam War was the longest and most polarizing conflict in the history of the United States. Learn about the causes of the war as well as its effects on the United States.

The Civil Rights Movement During the 1960s

11. The Civil Rights Movement During the 1960s

The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was an extension of the progress made during the 1950s. Learn about the movement's landmark achievements, its fracturing and its legacies.

George W. Bush: the 9/11 Terrorist Attack & War on Terror

12. George W. Bush: the 9/11 Terrorist Attack & War on Terror

The September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States forced President George W. Bush to reappraise his foreign policy. Learn about the tragic day, the Bush Doctrine and the ensuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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