Foreword

Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History is the most comprehensive set of instructional activities ever published to teach U.S. economic history in high school. Focus: Understanding Economics in U.S. History helps U.S. History teachers and students gain a better understanding of events in our history by using basic economic reasoning. That reasoning - which means applying principles reflected in the Guide to Economic Reasoning - is used throughout the lessons to illuminate our past. The Guide to Economic Reasoning stresses six key principles of economic reasoning:

New insights emerge as students apply economic analysis to the events covered in traditional high school history courses. For example, students use economic reasoning to understand the first Americans, exploration and settlement, the road to revolution, the constitutional period, the founding of a new nation, the booms and busts of the early and late 1800s, the trauma of the Civil War, the homesteading period, the Industrial Revolution, racial segregation, the Great Depression, the New Deal and recent events in our history, including the knowledge economy and immigration.

Mysteries abound in U.S. history. Students, acting like detectives, solve these mysteries by searching for clues and sifting through evidence in an effort to gain new insights into familiar subjects. For example:

I thank especially Mark Schug, who served as the project director and co-author of this project, and his highly capable co-authors, Jean Caldwell and Tawni Hunt Ferrarini. I wish to thank Gerald Gunderson, a respected economic historian, who carefully reviewed these lessons, and the field-test teachers, who gave generously of their time and expertise. Special thanks go to the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, Inc., for its encouragement in undertaking this project and generous financial support.

Robert F. Duvall, Ph.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer