The primary source documents on this website can be used to address several of the K-12 History and Social Science standards established by the California Department of Education.  In the boxes below, you will find the skill and content standards that are most relevant.

ABOUT THE STANDARDS (from the California Department of Education)

The recommended history-social science standards build on the work of exemplary documents from both within and outside California, most notably the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, a document strengthened by the consensus that elicited it and nationally recognized for its emphasis on historical events presented within a chronological and geographic context. 

The standards reflect guidance and input from countless members of the California teaching community and other citizens who attended the meetings of the State Board and Standards Commission.

Their input contributed substantively to the discussions and the drafts, as did the input gathered from the nine directed community input meetings hosted by the Standards Commission throughout the state in January 1998 and from the five field hearings held by the State Board throughout the state in August 1998. At those forums, parents, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders helped define key issues. Current practice and the state of history-social science instruction in California were also given special consideration during the process. In addition, history-social science experts from around the nation reviewed and submitted formal comments on the first and second drafts. The more than 70 reviewers included eminent historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists. Their input helped immeasurably to strengthen the rigor and quality of the standards.

Source:  The two preceding paragraphs and all text that follows come from the "History-Social Science Content Standards for California Public Schools," published by the California Department of Education in 1998.

General Skill Standards


Research, Evidence, and Point of View

  • Students construct and test hypotheses; collect, evaluate, and employ information from multiple primary and secondary sources; and apply it in oral and written presentations.

Historical Interpretation

  • Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.
  • Students recognize the complexity of historical causes and effects, including the limitations on determining cause and effect. 
  • Students interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than solely in terms of present-day norms and values.


Research, Evidence, and Point of View

  • Students frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research.
  • Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories.
  • Students distinguish relevant from irrelevant information, essential from incidental information, and verifiable from unverifiable information in historical narratives and stories.
  • Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them.
  • Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources used, author's perspectives).

United States History Content Standards


11.1 Students analyze the significant events in the founding of the nation and its attempts to realize the philosophy of government described in the Declaration of Independence.

  • 11.1.3 Understand the history of the Constitution after 1787 with emphasis on federal versus state authority and growing democratization.

11.3 Students analyze the role religion played in the founding of America, its lasting moral, social, and political impacts, and issues regarding religious liberty.

  • 11.3.1 Describe the contributions of various religious groups to American civic principles and social reform movements (e.g., civil and human rights, individual responsibility and the work ethic, antimonarchy and self-rule, worker protection, family-centered communities).
  • 11.3.2 Analyze the great religious revivals and the leaders involved in them, including the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening, the Civil War revivals, the Social Gospel Movement, the rise of Christian liberal theology in the nineteenth century, the impact of the Second Vatican Council, and the rise of Christian fundamentalism in current times.


8.4 Students analyze the aspirations and ideals of the people of the new nation.

  • 8.4.1Describe the country's physical landscapes, political divisions, and territorial expansion during the terms of the first four presidents.
  • 8.4.2 Explain the policy significance of famous speeches (e.g., Washington's Farewell Address, Jefferson's 1801 Inaugural Address, John Q. Adams's Fourth of July 1821 Address).

8.5 Students analyze U.S. foreign policy in the early Republic

  • 8.5.2 Know the changing boundaries of the United States and describe the relationships the country had with its neighbors (current Mexico and Canada) and Europe, including the influence of the Monroe Doctrine, and how those relationships influenced westward expansion and the Mexican-American War

8.6 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced, with emphasis on the Northeast.

  • 8.6.4 Study the lives of black Americans who gained freedom in the North and founded schools and churches to advance their rights and communities.

8.7 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the South from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.

  • 8.7.2 Trace the origins and development of slavery; its effects on black Americans and on the region's political, social, religious, economic, and cultural development; and identify the strategies that were tried to both overturn and preserve it (e.g., through the writings and historical documents on Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey).
  • 8.7.3 Examine the characteristics of white Southern society and how the physical environment influenced events and conditions prior to the Civil War. 
  • 8.7.4 Compare the lives of and opportunities for free blacks in the North with those of free blacks in the South.

8.8 Students analyze the divergent paths of the American people in the West from 1800 to the mid-1800s and the challenges they faced.

  • 8.8.2 Describe the purpose, challenges, and economic incentives associated with westward expansion, including the concept of Manifest Destiny (e.g., the Lewis and Clark expedition, accounts of the removal of Indians, the Cherokees' "Trail of Tears," settlement of the Great Plains) and the territorial acquisitions that spanned numerous decades.
  • 8.8.6 Describe the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican-American War, including territorial settlements, the aftermath of the wars, and the effects the wars had on the lives of Americans, including Mexican Americans today.

8.9 Students analyze the early and steady attempts to abolish slavery and to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.

  • 8.9.1 Describe the leaders of the movement (e.g., John Quincy Adams and his proposed constitutional amendment, John Brown and the armed resistance, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass).
  • 8.9.4 Discuss the importance of the slavery issue as raised by the annexation of Texas and California's admission to the union as a free state under the Compromise of 1850.
  • 8.9.5 Analyze the significance of the States' Rights Doctrine, the Missouri Compromise (1820), the Wilmot Proviso (1846), the Compromise of 1850, Henry Clay's role in the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision (1857), and the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858). 
  • 8.9.6 Describe the lives of free blacks and the laws that limited their freedom and economic opportunities.

8.10 Students analyze the multiple causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War.

  • 8.10.1 Compare the conflicting interpretations of state and federal authority as emphasized in the speeches and writings of statesmen such as Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun.
  • 8.10.2 Trace the boundaries constituting the North and the South, the geographical differences between the two regions, and the differences between agrarians and industrialists.


5.6 Students understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution

  • 5.6.7 Understand how the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence changed the way people viewed slavery