openstax ally

U.S. History: Since Reconstruction

Junction U.S. History: Since Reconstruction is designed to provide students with an overview of United States history since Reconstruction-era America. The course creates an understanding of the major forces and events that have shaped the history of the United States, and examines how Americans from different backgrounds have experienced that history, with particular attention paid to issues concerning race, class, and gender.

Engaging Content

Topics are introduced with short, engaging videos. Text readings and practice activities provide detail and enable applied learning.

Meaningful Analytics

You’ll know how much time your students are spending learning, what material they’re working with, and when they lose engagement, so you can keep them on-track.

Easy to Use

All material is loaded and ready-to-go, including video, textbook, discussion boards, in-class presentation, quizzes and practice activities.


Junction courses are 80+% less expensive than alternatives. No extras needed. Honest.

Meet the Subject Matter Expert

Paul Ringel, Ph.D. is a Professor of History with 15 years experience teaching and developing U.S. history courses at Harvard University, Brandeis University, Emmanuel College, and High Point University. He has helped develop the history curriculum at High Point University, with much emphasis on shifting toward a more diverse approach to instruction that includes a focus on film, fiction, material artifacts and other non-traditional forms of historical texts in order to engage a wide variety of types of learners. Paul has a Ph.D. from Brandeis University, a J.D. from Boston College and an A.B. from Princeton University.

Paul Ringel, Ph.D.

Professor of History, High Point University

Course Details

Suitable for: Courses covering the history of the United States since Reconstruction. We will customize to fit your class.

Great for: In-person, online or blended learning.

  • Developed by a Professor of History and an expert in the field
  • Includes primary source documents
  • Lessons are built around the way students learn today – video first, reinforced by content and assessment
  • 17 lessons with curated and sequenced activities
  • Each lesson contains introductory video, textbook readings from OpenStax, one discussion-board, one in-class presentation and one quiz
  • Students can take notes and message peers right in the application
  • Web-based and accessible through our iPad app
  • Professor gradebook and student engagement reports
  • Student notifications about upcoming quizzes
  • All-in-one design means no distracting pop-ups, plug-ins, installing components or extra windows
  • Instructor resources are incorporated into the instructors course- no need for CD’s, DVD’s or downloads

Junction knows that the way you teach is unique. That’s why we allow you to take what we’ve built and use it as-is, or modify as needed to fit your syllabus. Our simple editing process allows you to rearrange, add or remove content, embed videos, links or change quiz questions to better match your course. Need to collaborate with other instructors? With Junction you can share your content with colleagues. Life just got a lot easier.

Accessible: Available on the web, iPad app or as a direct link from your LMS. No downloads, plug-ins or pop-ups necessary.

Onboarding Support: Training videos and access to actual humans to get your course launched smoothly.

Easy to Purchase: Students simply register and buy, and we can work with your bookstore as needed.


Lesson 1 — The Era of Reconstruction, 1865-1877

Learning Objectives

  • Describe Lincoln’s plan to restore the Union at the end of the Civil War and the tenets of Radical Republicanism.
  • Analyze the success or failure of the Thirteenth Amendment.
  • Describe the efforts made by Congress in 1865 and 1866 to bring to life its vision of Reconstruction.
  • Explain the second phase of Reconstruction and the key legislation put forward by Congress.
  • Describe the impeachment of President Johnson.
  • Explain the reasons for the collapse of Reconstruction.
Lesson 2 — Go West Young Man! Westward Expansion, 1840-1900

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the evolution of American views about westward migration in the mid- nineteenth century and analyze the ways in which the Federal government facilitated Americans’ westward migration.
  • Describe the challenges farmers faced as they settled west of the Mississippi River.
  • Identify the major discoveries and developments in western gold, silver, and copper mining.
  • Explain why the cattle industry was paramount to the development of the West.
  • Describe the methods that the U.S. government used to address the “Indian threat” during the settlement of the West.
  • Explain the process of “Americanization” as it applied to Indians.
Lesson 3 — Industrialization and the Rise of Big Business, 1870-1900

Learning Objectives

  • Explain how the ideas and products of late nineteenth-century inventors contributed to the rise of big business and changed everyday life in America.
  • Explain how the inventions of the late nineteenth century contributed directly to industrial growth in America.
  • Identify the contributions of Andrew Carnegie, John Rockefeller, and J. P. Morgan to the new industrial order.
  • Explain the qualities of industrial working-class life in the late nineteenth century.
  • Analyze both workers’ desire for labor unions and the reasons for unions’ inability to achieve their goals.
Lesson 4 — The Growing Pains of Urbanization, 1870-1900

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the growth of American cities in the late nineteenth century and identify the key challenges that Americans faced due to urbanization.
  • Identify the factors that prompted African American and European immigration to American cities in the late nineteenth century.
  • Explain the discrimination and anti-immigration legislation that immigrants faced.
  • Explain the process of machine politics and how it brought relief to working-class Americans.
Lesson 5 — Politics in the Gilded Age, 1870-1900

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the national political scene during the Gilded Age and analyze why many critics considered it a period of ineffective national leadership.
  • Understand how the economic and political climate of the day promoted the formation of the farmers’ protest movement.
  • Understand the forces that contributed to the Populist Party’s rise and discuss the outcome of the 1896 presidential election.
Lesson 6 — Leading the Way: The Progressive Movement, 1890-1920

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the role that muckrakers played in catalyzing the Progressive Era and explain the main features of Progressivism.
  • Understand the origins and growth of the women’s rights movement.
  • Identify the different strands of the early African American civil rights movement.
  • Explain the key features of Theodore Roosevelt’s “Square Deal”, William Howard Taft’s Progressive agenda, and Woodrow Wilson’s “New Freedom” agenda.
Lesson 7 — Age of Empire: American Foreign Policy, 1890-1914

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the evolution of American interest in foreign affairs and the conscious creation of an American empire.
  • Describe how the Spanish-American War intersected with other American expansions to solidify the nation’s new position as an empire.
  • Describe how the foreign partitioning of China in the last decade of the nineteenth century influenced American policy.
  • Describe Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” Foreign Policy and compare it to Taft’s “Dollar Diplomacy”.
Lesson 8 — Americans and the Great War, 1914-1919

Learning Objectives

  • Explain Woodrow Wilson’s foreign policy and the difficulties of maintaining American neutrality at the outset of World War I.
  • Identify the key factors that led to the U.S. declaration of war on Germany in April 1917.
  • Describe how the lives of women and African Americans changed as a result of American participation in World War I.
  • Identify the role that the United States played at the end of World War I.
  • Describe Woodrow Wilson’s vision for the postwar world.
  • Identify the challenges that the United States faced following the conclusion of World War I.
Lesson 9 — The Jazz Age: Redefining the Nation, 1919-1929

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the rise of prosperity in the 1920s.
  • Describe the conflict between urban Americans and rural fundamentalists.
  • Explain the issues in question in the Scopes trial.
  • Discuss the changing role of women in the United States during the 1920s.
  • Describe the “new Negro” and the influence of the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Analyze the effects of prohibition on American society and culture.
  • Discuss Warren G. Harding’s strengths and weaknesses as president.
  • Explain what Calvin Coolidge meant by “the business of America is business.”
Lesson 10 — Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? The Great Depression, 1929-1932

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the causes of the stock market crash of 1929.
  • Assess the underlying weaknesses in the economy that resulted in America’s spiraling from prosperity to depression so quickly.
  • Explain Hoover’s responses to the Great Depression and how they reflected his political philosophy.
  • Identify the challenges that everyday Americans faced as a result of the Great Depression.
  • Identify the successes and failures of Hoover’s presidency and determine the fairness and accuracy of assessments of his presidency.
Lesson 11 — Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1941

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the events of the 1932 presidential election and identify the characteristics that made Franklin Roosevelt a desirable candidate.
  • Identify the key pieces of legislation included in Roosevelt’s “First New Deal” and assess its strengths, weaknesses, and general effectiveness.
  • Identify key pieces of legislation from the Second New Deal and assess the entire New Deal, especially in terms of its impact on women, African Americans, and Native Americans.
Lesson 12 — Fighting the Good Fight in World War II, 1941-1945

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the economic and political pressures that drew the United States into World War II.
  • Evaluate how the war changed the lives of Americans who remained at home.
  • Assess why the Allies won the war and what consequences that victory had for the international political system in the Cold War Era.
  • Discuss the strategy employed against the Japanese and describe the effects of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Lesson 13 — Post-War Prosperity and Cold War Fears, 1945-1960

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the issues that the nation faced during demobilization.
  • Explain the goals and objectives of the Truman administration.
  • Explain how and why the Cold War emerged in the wake of World War II.
  • Describe the steps taken by the U.S. government to oppose Communist expansion in Europe and Asia and discuss the efforts to root out Communist influences in the United States.
  • Describe Eisenhower’s domestic and foreign policies.
  • Discuss the growth of the suburbs and the effect of suburbanization on American society.
  • Describe Americans’ different responses to rock and roll music.
  • Discuss the way contemporary movies and television reflected postwar American society.
  • Discuss efforts by African Americans to end discrimination and segregation as well as southern whites’ response to the civil rights movement.
Lesson 14 — Contesting Futures: America in the 1960's

Learning Objectives

  • Explain Kennedy’s impact on the progressive agenda.
  • Describe Kennedy’s contribution to the civil rights movement.
  • Describe the major accomplishments of Johnson’s Great Society.
  • Identify the legal advances made in the area of civil rights.
  • Explain the strategies of the African American civil rights movement in the 1960s, including the rise and philosophy of Black Power.
  • Identify achievements of the Mexican American civil rights movement in the 1960s.
  • Describe the goals and activities of SDS, the Free Speech Movement, and the antiwar movement.
  • Explain the rise, goals, and activities of the women’s movement.
Lesson 15 — Political Storms at Home and Abroad, 1968-1980

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the counterculture and identity politics of the 1960s.
  • Explain the factors responsible for Richard Nixon’s election in 1968 and the splintering of the Democratic Party in 1968.
  • Describe the events that fueled anti-war sentiment in the Vietnam era and explain Nixon’s steps to withdraw the United States from the conflict.
  • Explain the significance of the Watergate crisis.
  • Explain how Ford lost the election of 1976.
  • Describe Carter’s domestic and foreign policy achievements and how the Iranian hostage crisis affected his presidency.
Lesson 16 — From Cold War to Culture Wars, 1980-2000

Learning Objectives

  • Explain Reagan’s attitude towards government and discuss his economic policies and their effects on the nation.
  • Compare the policies of Reagan with those of George H. W. Bush.
  • Explain the causes and results of the Persian Gulf War.
  • Explain political partisanship, antigovernment movements, economic developments, and foreign policy during the Clinton administration.
Lesson 17 — The Challenges of the Twenty-First Century

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss how the United States responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001
  • Explain why the United States went to war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • Identify the causes of the Great Recession of 2008 and its effect on the average citizen.
  • Describe the efforts to reduce the influence of immigrants on American culture and the evolution of twenty-first-century American attitudes towards same-sex marriage.
  • Describe how Barack Obama’s domestic policies differed from those of George W. Bush.