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History

The Pacifica history department maintains a commitment to the enduring principles that have provided the foundation for our Western culture. This approach is based on the belief that students must develop a solid grasp of the historical, spiritual, and philosophical underpinnings of our society as they seek to become responsible, literate, and fair-minded citizens. It is with this grasp of our common heritage that students can begin to understand the intersection of thought and the unique qualities of world cultures.

We believe that history not only enlightens students but is a useful tool in the development of written and oral expression, analytical thought, character, and leadership skills. Students will be given the tools necessary to become independent learners of history in the years to come. They will become familiar with primary sources, historiography, and research.

We believe in order for students to think about history they need to know history. With that in mind, classroom instruction will be tied to assigned readings. Students will be expected to come to class prepared to participate in discussion, interpretation, analysis, and debate surrounding the events, personalities, ideas, and themes of history. Pacifica teachers will engage students through lecture, the Socratic Method, and group projects. Teachers will be available to students individually and in groups during the student’s advisory period to work through questions of content and analysis.

The Pacifica history curriculum will be closely aligned and integrated with the English curriculum. It is the integration of these subjects that will give literature a contextual backdrop and history another source for the expression of the human spirit.


History Courses

Graduation requirement: 3 years (3.5 years for AP European History students)

Ancient / Medieval History

Grade 9 (Semester Course)

In this course, we will emphasize the important events, major texts and works of art that represent and clearly illustrate what is unique and central to the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman traditions taken separately, then come to grips with the synthesis and opposition to synthesis between these traditions that occurred in antiquity. In addition, students will explore the Byzantine Empire and the spread of Islam as they transition to study of the Middle Ages. The course is designed to establish the religious, philosophical, and political contexts most crucial to the study of Western history and literature. Students will explore texts from Aristotle, Herodotus, Plato, Tacitus, Thucydides, Augustine, and the Bible.

Honors Ancient / Medieval History

Grade 9 (Semester Course)
Prerequisite: 8th grade History with a B or better and an 8th grade overall GPA of 3.5 or higher.

This honors level course prepares students for the 10th grade AP European History class. In this course, we will emphasize the important events, major texts, and works of art that represent and clearly illustrate what is unique and central to the Judeo-Christian and Greco-Roman traditions taken separately, then come to grips with the synthesis and opposition to synthesis between these traditions that occurred in antiquity. In addition, students will explore the Byzantine Empire and the spread of Islam as they transition to study of the Middle Ages. The course is designed to establish the religious, philosophical, and political contexts most crucial to the study of Western history and literature. Students will explore texts from Aristotle, Herodotus, Plato, Tacitus, Thucydides, Augustine, and the Bible.

Modern World History

Grade 10 (Semester Course)

Students will study the major events, people, places, and intellectual trends that are foundational to an understanding of Western civilization as it developed during this time period. This course begins with an overview of the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, and continues the study of the Age of Reason, the Industrial Revolution, the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, romanticism, nationalism, and the 20th century struggle between democracy and totalitarianism. Students will be introduced to examples of the art, literature, and music from this six hundred year time period. Students will explore texts from Aquinas, Machiavelli, Erasmus, Dante, Luther, Calvin, Hobbes, Descartes, Newton, Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Burke, Smith, and Marx.

US History

Grade 11 (Year Course)

This course examines the narrative of American history with particular attention to the uniquely American understanding of rights and duties. It asks what it means to be an American. In answering that question, it seeks to provide a better understanding of the meaning of the “self-evident truths” on which this nation was founded. Students will explore political, diplomatic, social, intellectual, and cultural trends of our nations past as they seek literacy and understanding of current domestic and world affairs. Students will explore texts from Bradford, Winthrop, Edwards, Franklin, Paine, Jefferson, Washington, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The U.S. Constitution, Hawthrone, Crevecoeur, Toqueville, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglas, Stowe, Lincoln, Dubois, Turner, Sinclair, T.R. Roosevelt, Wilson, Locke, Hughes, Steinbeck, F.D. Roosevelt, Kennen, Kennedy, Friedan, and King.

AP US History

Grade 11 (Year Course)
Prerequisite: A grade of an A in 10th grade History, or a B or better in AP European History and instructor approval

This course examines the narrative of American history with particular attention to the uniquely American understanding of rights and duties. It asks what it means to be an American. In answering that question, it seeks to provide a better understanding of the meaning of the “self-evident truths” on which this nation was founded. Students will explore political, diplomatic, social, intellectual, and cultural trends of our nations past as they seek literacy and understanding of current domestic and world affairs. Students will explore texts from Bradford, Winthrop, Edwards, Franklin, Paine, Jefferson, Washington, The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, The U.S. Constitution, Hawthrone, Crevecoeur, Toqueville, Emerson, Thoreau, Douglas, Stowe, Lincoln, Dubois, Turner, Sinclair, T.R. Roosevelt, Wilson, Locke, Hughes, Steinbeck, F.D. Roosevelt, Kennen, Kennedy, Friedan, and King. Students will be prepared to take the AP exam in May. This course will require meetings outside of the normal class time arranged by the teacher.

US Government / Honors US Government

Grade 12 (Semester Course)
Prerequisite for Honors: A grade of an A in regular 11th grade History, or a B or better in AP US History and instructor approval

“Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families.” This 1773 statement, by the American patriot Benjamin Rush, is an apt point of departure for the capstone course of the Pacifica history sequence. The first quarter of the class engages a study of the history of political philosophy that includes: Pericles, Plato, Aristotle, Machiavelli, Locke, Hobbes, Montesquieu and Rousseau. The themes of duty, freedom and justice are developed throughout the quarter. The second quarter focuses on the application of the political philosophies and themes studied in the American system. Students will explore texts from The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of the Confederation, The Constitution, and The Federalist Papers and determine their roles as citizens in the American Republic.

Foundations of the 20th Century / Honors Foundations of the 20th Century

Grade 12 (Semester Course)
Prerequisite for Honors: A grade of an A in regular 11th grade History, or a B or better in AP US History and instructor approval

Foundations of the 20th Century is a seminar style class that explores the evolution of ideas such as identity, morality, beauty, truth, goodness, and death through the ancient, Christian, modern and post-modern eras. Each idea will be examined through analysis of its historical context and the literature of the time. The class also serves as the platform for the presentation of the senior research project. Students are required to teach the class for two days on the topic they have researched.

Honors US Government and Honors Foundations of the 20th Century additional info: Students enrolled in Honors Government and Honors Foundation of the Twentieth Century are entered into the Polemikon. The Polemikon is an honors designation that includes the senior research paper, a thesis defense and an oral examination. This project will begin first semester and culminate in the Foundations class.