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Dialectic Stage History
for 9th Grade: the Modern World

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9th Grade: The Modern World

The books suggested for the Modern World history study in the dialectic stage are listed below in the order in which they should be studied. Any deviations are mentioned in the description. Extra Reading suggestions listed throughout are additional, and not a required part of the history curriculum, but which are included because they present a fuller picture of the events, people, and times under study. If a child becomes fascinated with a particular aspect of history, these extra readings will help him satisfy his own interest.

The 16th - 18th Centuries
While the Reformation and the wars that followed continued to rack Europe, the colonization of the New World went on. Spain first conquered Central and South America in search of gold, while the French and English gradually settled North America. The Reformation wars brought about many changes which we identify with the Modern era. While Europe learned to survive by separating the church and the state, resulting in the rise of nationalism, a new nation was being forged in the New World that was not only solidly established on the principles of Christianity, but dependent upon them for her survival.

The 19th Century
As nations in the Old World continued to struggle for individual liberty and a national identity, the colonies in the New World fought for independence, and the nation that inspired them all, the United States, was christened with the blood of her sons to keep her name true. The increasing influence of the Enlightenment and the decreasing influence of the Bible in the lives and the affairs of men set the stage for the entrance and acceptance of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, the most influential book written in the past two hundred years bar none.

The 20th Century
Secularism in every arena of human affairs characterizes the twentieth century more than anything else. That secularism has given rise to a whole host of other “isms” and as a result the worst totalitarian regimes in human history have had their place in this century - the Soviet Union under Stalin, and the Third Reich under Hitler. As we stand in the dawn of the twenty-first century, what have the lessons of the twentieth century taught us?

Modern World Teacher’s Resources
Essential materials to help the homeschool parent understand, not only the events, but also the philosophies and worldviews, that shaped the modern world.

The 16th - 18th Centuries

Extra Reading:

Conquest of New Spain by Bernal Díaz del Castillo, translated by J. M. Cohen. “This is the most comprehensive work on the conquest of America, though it speaks only of New Spain. It contains a wealth of information, and details of all orders, that we do not find in posterior writings on related events--not even adding them together. It was written in Antigua Guatemala, where Díaz del Castillo took up residence in 1545 at the age of forty-nine, and where he died in 1584 after having lived there for about thirty-nine years. He was an old man when he wrote his Conquest, nearly half a century after the siege of Mexico Tenochtitlan and the conquest of Guatemala. Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s chronicle is the most important and engaging of all, the most truthful and comprehensive account of the conquest of America. He wrote it not only in his quest for truth, to refute the chronicles of Cortés's chaplain, Gómara, and his followers, but out of a need to relive the conquest, out of the same hunger that engendered Don Quixote in Cervantes. Old wounds were opened as he wrote: he himself confesses that he slept with his arms loaded, and that in his old age, he slept fully dressed, accustomed to the exhausting days he spent in Mexico. He was twice conqueror, but the true conquest was the one he carried out seated at his desk, still wearing armor, but no longer wielding the saber.” - Guatelmalan poet Luis Cardoza y Aragón on Díaz del Castillo’s Conquest of New Spain.

Of Plymouth Plantation: 1620-1647
William Bradford, edited by Samuel Eliot Morison

Click to order Of Plymouth Plantation “In his history of the Pilgrim settlement, Plymouth’s governor aspired to ‘a plain style, with singular regard unto the simple truth in all things.’”The prose is easier reading than Shakespeare, and similar to the King James Bible. Governor Bradford wrote of the Plymouth Plantation, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and, as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation.” Bradford begins his history with a description of a Separatist, and continues with the Separatists’ persecution in England, their immigration and life in Holland, their decision to emigrate to America, and their journey, discovery, settlement of Plymouth through the year 1647.

The Life and Diary of David Brainerd
David Brainerd, edited by Jonathan Edwards, forward by Philip E. Howard, Jr.

Click to order The Life and Diary of David Brainerd David Brainerd (1718-1747) was an early American missionary to the Native Americans whose selfless life of prayer and devotion saw the gospel come to the natives of New Jersey, and whose life has been an inspiration to Christians since. This edition of David Brainerd’s diary is taken from Jonathan Edwards edited verions of Brainerd’s Diary and Journal, making it a fairly complete record of the self-denying life and strenuous labors of David Brainerd as he presented the gospel to Native Americans. It was originally published as one of the titles in the Wycliffe series of Christian classics. In this newly reprinted edition, the first 40 pages of the text include a biography of Jonathan Edwards by Philip E. Howard, Jr.

Benjamin Franklin

Click to order Autobiography “Benjamin Franklin’s writings represent a long career of literary, scientific, and political efforts over a lifetime which extended nearly the entire eighteenth century. Franklin’s achievements range from inventing the lightning rod to publishing Poor Richard’s Almanack to signing the Declaration of Independence. In his own lifetime he knew prominence not only in America but in Britain and France as well. This volume includes Franklin’s reflections on such diverse questions as philosophy and religion, social status, electricity, American national characteristics, war, and the status of women. Nearly sixty years separate the earliest writings from the latest, an interval during which Franklin was continually balancing between the puritan values of his upbringing and the modern American world to which his career served as prologue. This edition provides a new text of the Autobiography, established with close reference to Franklin’s original manuscript. It also includes a new transcription of the 1726 journal, and several pieces which have recently been identified as Franklin’s own work.”

George Washington: A Biography
Washington Irving, edited by Charles Neider

Click to order George Washington: A Biography Washington Irving was America’s first great writer, and not only was he named after the President, he met him when he was a boy. Writing about the man and the history that he was very close to, his “Life of Washington” was, he felt, his greatest work. Originally in three volumes, this abridgement admirably chronicles Washington’s life, military career, and political thought. George Washington’s Diaries: An Abridgement by George Washington and Dorothy Twohig is another excellent volume of fascinating primary source history from the great man himself.

Extra Reading:

Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 by James Madison is Madison’s own detailed and painstakingly accurate account of the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention, when in the summer of 1787 the delegates from the 13 colonies (minus Rhode Island, who remained skeptical) spent a sweltering summer in Philadelphia to hammer out the Constitution of the United States. Madison, by the way, later the fourth President, was the only delegate to keep a record of the day to day proceedings of the Constitutional debates.

Explorations of Captain James Cook in the Pacific As Told by Selections of His Own Journals, 1768-1779 by James Cook and A. Grenfell Price is the great British captain’s own account of the voyages and discoveries of Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and more. “Although Cook’s journals will prove of inestimable value to historians, anthropologists and students of the history of science, they can be enjoyed equally as lively narratives of high adventure and discovery. Any sympathetically roving imagination will take unbounded delight in this great classic of exploration by a most ‘curious and restless son of earth.’”

The 19th Century

Journals of Lewis and Clark
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, edited by Bernard DeVoto

Click to order Journals of Lewis and Clark In 1803, when the United States purchased Louisiana from France, the great expanse of the new American territory was a blank--not only on the map but in our knowledge. President Jefferson keenly understood that the course of the nation’s destiny lay westward and that a national “Voyage of Discovery” must be mounted to determine the nature and accessibility of the frontier. He commissioned his young secretary, Meriwether Lewis, to lead an intelligence-gathering expedition from the Missouri River to the northern Pacific coast and back. From 1804 to 1806, Lewis, accompanied by co-captain William Clark, the Shoshone guide Sacajawea, and some 30 men, made the first trek across the Louisiana Purchase, mapping the rivers as he went, tracing the principal waterways to the sea, and establishing the American claim to the territories of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Together the captains kept a journal, a richly detailed record of the flora and fauna they sighted, the Indian tribes they encountered, and the awe-inspiring landscape they traversed, from their base camp near present-day St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. Bernard DeVoto’s expert editing of the Journals has left all of the exciting narrative intact to be enjoyed by modern readers, and much of the natural history. DeVoto, who lived from 1897-1955, was one of America’s greatest men of letters. His historical trilogy on America’s westward expansion, The Year of Decision, Across the Wide Missouri, and The Course of Empire, belongs, in the words of Wallace Stegner, “on the shelf that contains only Prescott, Bancroft, Motley, Adams, and Parkman.”

Extra Reading:

A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee by David Crockett. In his own inimitable style (which includes creative punctuation and spelling), Davy Crockett describes his earliest days in Tennessee, his two marriages, his career as an Indian fighter, his bear hunts, and his electioneering. He was elected senator of the state of Tennessee, and after his term, went on to fight for Texas independence at the Alamo, where he died. Readers “should find this carefully researched and authoritative edition, which extricates the man from the myth, a valuable addition to the frontier history, biography, and literature of Tennessee and America.” --Robert E. Dalton, Tennessee History Quarterly.

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain. He wrote of the great river, “The Mississippi is well worth reading about. It is not a commonplace river but on the contrary is in all ways remarkable.” The book begins with a brief history of the Mississippi beginning with its discovery by Hernando de Soto in 1541. It follows with Twain’s own adventures as a Mississippi steamboat pilot before the Civil War, and ends with “Twain’s return, many years after, to travel the river from St. Louis to New Orleans. By then the competition from railroads had made steamboats passe, in spite of improvements in navigation and boat construction. Twain sees new, large cities on the river, and records his observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture.” An American classic.

Abraham Lincoln
Carl Sandburg

Click to order Sandburg’s Lincoln This edition is a one-volume compilation of Carl Sandburg’s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Prairie Years and The War Years. Carl Sandburg was the only person ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for both history and poetry, and both the poet and the historian combine to weave this enthralling, accurate biography of Abraham Lincoln. But it is more than a biography of our sixteenth president -- it is more properly the biography of an era. A fitting companion to Sandburg’s Lincoln is the definitive one-volume edition of Abraham Lincoln’s Speeches and Writings edited by Roy Basler, for primary source material by one of our greatest Presidents.

Up From Slavery
Booker T. Washington

Click to order Up From Slavery Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) was born into slavery. After the Civil War he obtained a basic education through great hardship while working as a coal miner and other jobs. After many difficulties, he studied at Hampton Institute in Virginia (1872-1875). He became an instructor at Hampton and in 1881 was asked to start a Negro normal school at Tuskegee, Alabama. He started Tuskegee Institute with one instructor, himself, and 30 students in borrowed quarters. Later, the school was moved just outside the town to an old plantation where it remains to this day. “In telling the story of going from a child of slavery to the founder and president of the Tuskegee Institute, Mr. Washington illustrates for us the life-lessons which can empower any individual or race in our free society today. Namely, look to your neighbor in love, not anger; recognize the nobility in working hard for something rather than expecting charity; be willing to give yourself to a greater cause; believe that people are capable of great things and they will live up to your expectations; recognize the importance of education, not just of the mind, but of the body and soul as well; recognize that any man who provides value to the community in which he lives will be accepted and even welcomed into that community; and above all, trust in God to care for your needs.” This book, in centuries to come, will undoubtedly be added to the Western Canon.

Extra Reading:

My Life on the Plains: Or Personal Experiences with the Indians by George Armstrong Custer. Custer, before his fateful meeting with the Plains Indians at Little Big Horn in 1876, here wrote of his experiences with the Seventh Cavalry from 1867 through 1869, which includes a detailed account of his famous Winter Campaign of 1868. This work was originally published in 1874, two years prior to his death.

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The 20th Century

Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography
Theodore Roosevelt

Click to order Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography Theodore Roosevelt was our twenty-sixth president, serving from 1901-1909. Roosevelt was a naturalist, legislator, cowboy, businessman, soldier, author, conservationist, U.S. President, world explorer, and above all an inspirational “doer of deeds.” “Along with being completely inspired by a man of such high moral values, the factual anecdotes related in this book comfort you in the knowledge that this hero practiced what he preached. In a speech by his own hand, Roosevelt embodied his own life: ‘The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;...who strives valiantly...who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.’”

Extra Reading:

My Experiences in the First World War by John J. Pershing. First published in 1931 as My Experiences in the World War without this edition’s black and white photographs and the foreword by Frank E. Vandiver, in this otherwise unchanged reprint, Pershing (1860-1948) provides a historical memoir of his role and performance as Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. It remains a unique first-hand view, from the headquarters to the trenches, of the struggle that humanity vainly hoped would be the ‘war to end all wars.’

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
William L. Shirer

Click to order The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich William L. Shirer was a famous CBS foreign correspondant who lived in Berlin from 1934-1940, and documented the rise of the National Socialist party, or Nazis. After the war, but before the Nazis could destroy the files, Shirer sifted through the massive self-documentation of the Third Reich, to create this monumental study that has been widely acclaimed as the definitive record of one of the most frightening chapters in the history of mankind. The Rise and Fall traces the rise of the Nazis, the events of World War II, the Holocaust, the Nuremberg Trials, and post-war Germany in 1100+ pages, but it goes quickly as it reads like a gripping novel rather than a dry history. If 1100+ pages is just too much for your curriculum plans, however, try Shirer’s Berlin Diary detailing the events of the rise of the National Socialists from 1934-1940. It is unfortunately out of print, but it might be found through AddAll.com or interlibrary loan.

Extra Reading:

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. The true story of how the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during World War II affected one family, and also how the Christian faith of one family affected the people, both Nazi, Jewish, Christian, and unbelieving, that this family encountered daily during the occupation, and later, during life in a concentration camp. A life-changing book.

Black Like Me John Howard Griffin. “What was it like, really like, to be a black in the Deep South? [White] novelist John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and set out to discover by personal experience the night side of American life. This is his startling report.” The year was 1961, at the height of the civil rights movement.

Architects of Victory: Six Heroes of the Cold War by Joseph Shattan. Rather than a narrative of the events of the Cold War, the event that influenced all other events of importance in the last fifty years of the twentieth century, this new book is a collection of biographical vignettes of the six world leaders that have seen Communism for it what it is and who have worked tirelessly to defeat it as a political power in this century by winning the Cold War. These six include: Harry S. Truman, Winston Churchill, Konrad Adenauer, Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, Pope John Paul II, and of course, President Ronald Reagan. A reference such as Cold War : An Illustrated History, 1945-1991 will help fill in any gaps. (This reference is not my first choice for my children to read, as, while the events of the Cold War are all there, the interpretation of those events are colored, I believe, by a tolerance for communism as a progressive and viable politcal option.) Read an excerpt from Architects of Victory.

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Modern World Teacher’s Resources

On the Use of Real Books in the Secondary Curriculum

I highly recommend those teacher’s resources listed in the study of the American world in 5th grade and the the Modern world in 6th grade, (especially The Long War Against God by Dr. Henry Morris, which traces the devastating effects of Darwinism on our modern society and the events of the 20th century) to help give a fuller picture of the history of the modern era, along with these resources which help illuminate the underlying worldviews which informed the actions and events of the modern era.

The Universe Next Door
James W. Sire

Click to order The Universe Next Door Subtitled: A Basic Worldview Catalog. Sire begins with the worldview of Christian Theism, and shows how a departure from that worldview in different ways has produced the various worldviews most common in the modern era: Deism, Naturalism, Nihilism, Existentialism, Eastern Pantheistic Monism, New Agism, and Postmodernism.

Understanding the Times
Dr. David Noebel

Click to order Understanding the Times Dr. Noebel takes a different tack in this epic work than Sire does in his. He identifies the three major worldviews underlying and giving rise to all others as Christianity, Secular Humanism, and Marxism. Using a wide variety of topics, he compares the three, showing the foundations of each and the relationships among them, and how each of these worldviews interprets the world around it. Sire’s work is extensive but probably more of an introduction to the topic; Noebel’s work is deeper and more intensive. Reading both gives the homeschool teacher a deeper dimension to their understanding than just reading one or the other would.

Thales to Dewey
Gordon H. Clark

Click to order Thales to Dewey This wonderful history of philosophy is probably the most important teacher’s resource offered for this level. “There are very few histories of philosophy written by Christians, and it is fair to say that the book you hold in your hands is the only such history in English that has escaped the corroding influence of secular philosophy, especially the philosophy of empiricism. ... [Clark is both] familiar with the subject [and] rigorous in [his] understanding of Christianity. ... [The book] is eminently readable, consistently entertaining, unfailingly accurate, and uncompromisingly Christian.” Chapters seven through eleven are devoted to modern philosophy, beginning with seventeenth century Rationalism and Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz; British Empiricism and Locke, Berkeley, and Hume; Immanuel Kant; G. W. F. Hegel; and contemporary Irrationalism and Pragmatism with Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Comte, Dewey, and others.

The Black Book of Communism
Stephane Courtois, translated by Mark Kramer and Jonathan Murphy

Click to order The Black Book of Communism This new book is an invaluable teacher’s resource because it sheds light on something that you don’t normally see, which usually gets quietly swept under the rug: the fruit of communist philosophy and governments. The fact is that the fruit of communism has been atheism, poverty, totalitarianism, oppression, and large-scale genocide. If Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit,” then what does that fruit say about its root philosophical system? This is not an engaging narrative history, but a recounting of the effects of communism in the Soviet Union, during the October Revolution through the Stalinization of the empire in all its areas, from the collectivization of the farms to the establishment of the gulags, in Spain, in Eastern Europe, in China, in North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, in Latin America, and in Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, and Afghanistan.

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