Introduction to

Year Four: Modern

U.S. and World History from 1850 - 2000
with Missionary Highlights

Year Four covers:
  • Victorian Britain, British India and the Crimean War.
  • The secession of the American South and the U.S. Civil War.
  • Reconstruction and westward expansion.
  • The Gilded Age and the Great Depression.
  • The European powers' Scramble for Africa, King Leopold II of Belgium's personal conquest of the Congo and Boer War in South Africa.
  • German Kaiser Wilhelm II and Word War I.
  • German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler and World War II.
  • Struggles against Communism in the Cold War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
  • Many other topics from Russia, China, Japan, Australia, Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Africa and more.

Year Four begins with the Golden Age of the mighty British Empire under Queen Victoria. Early in the year, students will watch thriving Britain join forces with France and the tottering Ottoman Empire to thwart an ambitious Russia in the Crimean War.

Over in the USA, long-brewing conflicts over slavery and states' rights will boil over into the secession of the South and the terrible U.S. Civil War. Next will come Reconstruction, westward expansion and the Indian Wars in the West. Back East, millions of immigrants from all over the world will go to work in American factories. In time, unfettered competition in business and industry will lead to the rise of extremely wealthy "robber barons" like John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

Back in Europe, the clever Chancellor Otto van Bismarck of Prussia will organize a chaotic mass of German states into a strong, united German Empire. After defeating France in the Franco-Prussian War, Bismarck will further humiliate the French by crowning Germany's first emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm I, in the French Palace of Versailles. Another world-altering change will come when the once-isolationist USA launches the Spanish-American War, thus becoming a major world power for the first time.

Elsewhere, the continued weakness of the Ottoman Empire will lead to chaos in the Balkans, which will lead to the fateful assassination of Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Kaiser Wilhelm II, who happens to be a friend of the Arch-Duke's, will support a vengeful Austrian attack on the Balkan nation of Serbia, igniting a chain reaction that will explode into World War I.

This devastating war will bring different outcomes in different places:

  1. Far from the terrible battlefields of WWI, America will see tremendous prosperity-- until over-exuberance leads to the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression.
  2. Russia will see the overthrow of the tsars and the rise of communism under Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin.
  3. The harsh punishments imposed by the war-ending Treaty of Versailles will leave Germans impoverished and angry-- making them more susceptible to the race-proud, hyper-nationalist rantings of the fascist Adolf Hitler.

Twenty years after World War I, a second German ruler will plunge the world into a second World War. The free peoples of the world will struggle to retain their freedom, and very nearly lose.

In the aftermath of World War II, a revitalized American economy will help a protect a badly-damaged Western Europe from the grasp of communism. Eastern Europe, however, will be caught in communism's grasp, sealed behind the Iron Curtain of the USSR. After most of Asia, too, goes communist, the USA will go to war in Korea and Vietnam, striving to block communism from spreading even farther.

Year Four students will also witness several other struggles, including:

  • The Jews' struggle to survive Hitler's Holocaust.
  • The struggle to establish a Jewish homeland in Israel.
  • The Cold War and nuclear arms race between the USA and the USSR.
  • The struggle for Civil Rights in the U.S.
  • Struggles against terrorism in the Middle East and around the world

Most weeks' lessons also include Missionary Highlights-- brief, inspiring biographies of church leaders and missionaries of the Gospel like:

  • George Muller
  • David Livingstone
  • Mary Slessor
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • Abraham Kuyper
  • Hudson Taylor
  • Lottie Moon
  • Nate Saint
  • Billy Graham
  • and many others

A sampling of the age-appropriate literature selections outlined in the Family Guide for Year Four:

If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War (Moore)
Follow the Drinking Gourd (Winter)
Make Your Mark, Franklin Roosevelt (George)
The Story of Ruby Bridges (Coles)
Courage to Run: A Story Based on the Life of Harriet Tubman (Lawton)
Twenty-One Balloons (Pene du Bois)
The Hidden Jewel (Jackson)
Martin Luther King, Jr. (Adler)
Anne of Green Gables (Montgomery)
Around the World in 80 Days (Verne)
Corrie Ten Boom: Keeper of the Angel’s Den (Benge)
America and Vietnam: The Elephant and the Tiger (Beautiful Feet- Marrin)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)
Family Read-Alouds
Shoes for Everyone (Mitchell)
The Winged Watchman (Van Stockum)
Nate Saint: On a Wing and a Prayer (Benge)


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