The Great Conversation: A History of Western Thought (9th grade)
The overriding objective of this course is to provide students with a vocabulary for understanding the classics and classical education. Students will be taught the Socratic Method and exposed to age appropriate selections from Greek mythology and the writings of Plato, Aristotle and Cicero. These include Platoʹs The Apology, the Allegory of the Cave and Aristotleʹs The Politics. Another objective of this course is to help students understand the contemporary relevance of the classics. Selections from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Maya Angelouʹs Letters to My Daughter, Floyd Pattersonʹs Victory over Myself and Craig Kielburgerʹs Free the Children will be discussed in order satisfy this second objective. By the end of the course students will come to know and understand the values and ideals traditionally associated with Western Civilization.
Western Civilization in a Global Environment (10th grade)
The course is designed to help students better understand the values and ideals traditionally associated with Western Civilization. It seeks to help students understand how those values and ideals developed through European history. The course will focus on the development of the Judaic Christian tradition and the ancient Greek and Roman experience. Students will be become familiar with the Peloponnesian War, the importance of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and Julius Caesar in history. The decline and fall of the Roman Empire will be highlighted. The development of representative government as a product of feudalism will be highlighted as will the importance of the Italian City‐States in the development of republicanism. Careful attention will be given to the struggle with Islam, the Crusades, 14th century plague, the Investiture Crisis and the Albigensian Crusade the development of the Italian Renaissance, the Reformation, the Thirty Year War and the Peace of Westphalia and the Westphalian State system it produced. Also highlighted will be the Copernican and Scientific Revolutions, the Puritan and Glorious Revolutions, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the rise of Napoleon, the development of Nationalism, Capitalism, Liberalism, Conservatism, Romanticism, Socialism, Communism and Fascism. The conditions that gave rise to World War I, the Russian Revolution, World War II and the Holocaust will be carefully reviewed. Special attention will be given to the creation of post‐war European institutions like NATO and the European Union. Special attention will also be given to the fall of the Soviet Union, “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavian nationstate, the Syrian refugee crisis, ISIS and the War on Terror, Brexit and European nativism and populism. The aim of the course is demonstrate the contemporary relevance of history and the importance of the Western intellectual tradition in today’s world.
American History and AP US History (11th grade)
The course is a survey course of American History from the Age of Exploration to the Present Day. The goal of the first half of the year is to cover major topics up to the turn of the 20th century, starting with Englandʹs rise to power and the establishment of her colonies in North America until the rise of big corporations and trusts after the industrial revolution in the late 19th century. There will be a focus on the founding of our nation through an examination of our two founding documents and consideration that went into the Constitutionʹs ratification as outlined in selected essays taken from the Federalist Collection. Attention will be paid to the causes leading up to the Civil War and Reconstruction Amendments that followed it. The second half of the course will begin with events leading up to and causing the two world wars and our involvement in them as well as a look at the Great Depression and FDRʹs New Deal policies that were meant to address it. It will end after considering the policies of the Cold War, including the Containment and Rollback of Communism and finish with major events and players instrumental in ushering in the current ʺwar on terrorʺ in the post‐9/11 world.
American Government & Economics and AP Government and Politics (12th grade)
The senior class will study American history from 1890s until the 1990s. The goal of the course will be to focus attention on the political philosophies and economic policies prevalent during the past 100 years which have led recent administration to the policies they have pursued. Major topics will include the rise of industrialization and the formation of trusts and corporations that encouraged significant immigration from overseas and inspired reform movements including but not limited to Progressivism, Socialism, and Organized Labor. The causes of and our participation in the two World Wars of the 20th century will be covered as well as the Great Depression and New Deal programs of FDRʹs unique tenure as president between the wars. The Cold War and our involvement in the hot wars of Korea and Vietnam, along with the policies of Containment and Rollback of Communism will dominate discussion of the 1950s thru the 1980s. Influential Supreme Court cases will be discussed and used as a framework around which Americaʹs political evolution can be examined. The course includes an AP component. AP students will be expected to read and submit additional written assignments, as directed throughout the year.