America The Story of Us Study Guides

America The Story of Us tells the extraordinary story of how America was invented, focusing on moments in which everyday people harnessed technology to advance human progress. HISTORY Classroom has created a series of viewing guides, including a Teacher’s Idea Book, America the Story of Us Activity Guide, a Family Viewing Guide and individual episode guides designed for students.

Episode 1: Rebels
This is the story of how, over seven generations, a group of European settlers survive against all odds, claw themselves up and then turn against their colonial masters. A diverse group of men, women and children are about to become truly American.
PDF Episode 1 Study Guide

Episode 2: Revolution
July 9, 1776. The Declaration of Independence is read to crowds in New York. America’s 13 colonies have taken on the might of the world’s leading superpower, and by 1783, America is free.  As the British leave, a new nation, the United States of America, is born.
PDF Episode 2 Study Guide

Episode 3: Westward
As the American nation is born, a vast continent lies to the west of the mountains, waiting to be explored and exploited. For the pioneers who set out to confront these lands, following trailblazers like Daniel Boone, the conquest of the West is a story of courage and hardship that forges the character of America. America now stretches from “sea to shining sea.”
PDF Episode 3 Study Guide

Episode 4: Division
America becomes a nation at the moment a revolution in commerce and industry sweeps across the western world. This vast new country, rich in resources, experiences a rapid change–in trade, transport and manufacturing–quickly turning America into one of the wealthiest nations on earth. Now two different Americas, united in prosperity, but divided by culture, face each other across a growing gulf. The issue is slavery.
PDF Episode 4 Study Guide

Episode 5: Civil War
The Civil War rages. It is 20th century technology meeting 18th century tactics and the result is a death toll never before seen on American soil. After General William Sherman’s March to the Sea, the South is definitively crushed, and the industrial might that allows the Union to prevail leaves America poised to explode into the 20th century as a global superpower.
PDF Episode 5 Study Guide

Episode 6: Heartland
The Transcontinental Railroad doesn’t just change the lives of Americans, it alters the entire ecology of the continent. It’s the railroad that creates a new American icon–the cowboy–who drives cattle thousands of miles to meet the railheads and bring food to the East. In less than a quarter of a century, the heartland is transformed–not by the gun, but by railroad, fence and plough.
PDF Episode 6 Study Guide

Episode 7: Cities
Between 1880 and 1930, nearly 24 million new immigrants arrive in America. Many go to work building a new frontier: the modern city, one of America’s greatest inventions.  This new urban frontier draws rural migrants and newly arrived immigrant workers. Powered by steel and electricity, the city begins to be tamed and defined by mass transportation, stunning skylines, electric light…and the innovative, industrious American spirit.
PDF Episode 7 Study Guide

Episode 8: Boom
In 1910 in California, a column of oil nearly 200 feet high explodes out of a derrick and sets off a chain of events that will turn America into a superpower. Mass production and job opportunities prompted by the First World War draw African Americans to northern cities like Chicago, but racial conflict follows. A popular campaign to ban alcohol succeeds, yet when it comes, Prohibition triggers a wave of organized crime.
PDF Episode 8 Study Guide

Episode 9: Bust
In October 1929, the economic boom of the 1920s ends with a crash on Wall Street. The American Dream has become a nightmare. The stock market crash coincides with the start of the Great Depression. The New Deal and public works projects aim to save America from despair and destitution.  However, world conflict is brewing in Europe, and it is brought home to Americans by the symbolic boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling.
PDF Episode 9 Study Guide

Episode 10: WWII
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brings America into another world war, changing the nation from an isolationist continent to a global player–and ensuring economic prosperity once more. America launches a war effort, and as always, bigger is better. The might of America’s strategy and supplies turns the tide of war. A new world order has been created–and America has changed forever.
PDF Episode 10 Study Guide

Episodes 11 & 12: Superpower/Millennium
The country becomes enmeshed in a second Civil War of sorts-until, at long last, the Civil Rights Movement brings the words of the Declaration of Independence home to all Americans. America is united once again, but a new threat is on the horizon: Communism. The conflicts of the late 1960s and 1970s remind America of the rifts that divided the nation before the Civil War, but the boom of the 1980s heralds better times. America’s confidence is rocked by 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, but the country remains the world’s superpower. As the nation launches into the 21st century, what does the future hold?
PDF Episodes 11 & 12