Pittsford Central Schools


The seventh grade curriculum includes a study of United States history from the colonial period to the 1850’s, with an emphasis on New York State and the United States Constitution and government.


  • Mercantile theory
  • Monopoly
  • Economy
  • Market
  • Trade
  • Tariff
  • Import
  • Export
  • Cash crops
  • Self-sufficient
  • Excise tax
  • Direct tax
  • U.S. bonds (as part of Hamilton’s financial plan)
  • Agriculture
  • Industrial revolution


Introduction: Types of Government & Key Terms

  • Monarchy
  • Tyranny
  • Dictatorship
  • Majority rule
  • Suffrage
  • Constitution
  • Reform

Government in Colonial America

  • Mayflower Compact
  • House of Burgesses
  • British Parliament
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Terms: revolution; legislature; representation; democracy; representative government

The Articles of the Confederation

  • What is a confederacy? Pros and cons?
  • What were the advantages and disadvantages of the Articles? Strengths and weaknesses?

The U.S. Constitution

1. Constitutional Convention

Key compromises (bicameral vs. unicameral/large vs. small);

3/5ths Compromise

2. Five Key Principles

        a. Popular sovereignty

        b. Limited government

        c. Federalism

                - Delegated powers

                - Reserved powers

                - Concurrent powers

        d. Separation of powers

                - What are the three branches of government and the role of each

                - Executive branch - powers, terms, electoral college, cabinet

                - Legislative branch - Congress, terms, powers, Senate, House

                - Judicial branch - terms, powers

           e. Checks and balances    - What powers does each branch hold over the other two i.e. veto/override)

3. Other Key Constitutional Questions/Issues

            a. How was the Constitution to be ratified?

            b. Who was for the Constitution? Against? What were the arguments of the federalists?
                The antifederalists?

            c. How can the Constitution be changed? (Amendment process)

            d. Bill of Rights (What were they? Why were they written?)

            e. How does a bill become a law?

Early Governmental Precedents & Controversies

  • Origins of political parties
  • Marbury vs. Madison & judicial review
  • State’s rights; nullification and secession
  • Abolition


  • New York State — boundaries / rivers / lakes / mountains / major cities
  • Use maps to demonstrate an understanding of the following:
  • Early exploration and land claims
  • Colonial settlements of major European nations in the New World
  • Conflicts between rival European nations in the New World
  • Manifest Destiny/ Territorial Expansion of the U.S.


Age of Exploration

1. Key Explorers

2. Countries involved in Exploration

3. Causes

4. Effects

Colonial America - the English Colonies

1. Reasons for settling

2. Regional differences - North, South and Middle colonies

American Revolution

1. Causes

2. British Actions and Colonial Responses

3. Revolutionary War

a. Declaration of Independence

b. Key Battles

c. Viewpoints

d. Factors which influenced the outcome

4. Effects of the Revolutionary War

American Government

1. Second Continental Congress

2. Articles of Confederation

a. Organizational structure

b. Successes and weaknesses

3. US Constitution * See also Civics strand

America in the 1800s

1. Early Presidents - 1789-1824

a. Economic and domestic policy

b. Foreign policy

2. Age of Jackson

a. Expansion of Democracy

b. Political changes

c. Economic changes

d. Beginning of sectional differences

e. Impact on Native Americans

3. Life in America

a. Family

b. Impact of industrialization

c. Reform movements

d. Culture

4. Contrasting Lifestyles of North and South

5. Territorial Expansion - Manifest Destiny


  • Interpret graphs and tables
  • Read and interpret historical documents
  • Become familiar with the interpretation of political cartoons
  • Effectively communicate in written form short answer responses
  • Using the writing process, compose an expository essay
  • Using multiple resources, gather information relevant to a research topic
  • Identify pertinent information in a reading
  • Understand and identify historical cause and effect relationships

Library Component:

  • Use indexes in library reference books and sets to locate specific information on an American history topic.
  • Cite sources using proper bibliographic forms.
  • Select pertinent American history information from library resources and take organized notes.



home  |  K-5  |  6-8  |  9-12

archived project by Peter Pappas 
Former Social Studies Coordinator Pittsford Central Schools

 Peter Pappas 

Twitter: edteck
Blog: www.peterpappas.com 

Copyright 1999-2014, Peter Pappas

All content licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.