State Standard - Social Studies

Grade 8
Standard 4.0 Economics: Students will develop economic reasoning to understand the historical development and current status of economic principles, institutions, and processes needed to be effective citizens, consumers, and workers participating in local communities, the nation, and the world.
A. Scarcity and Economic Decision-making
1. Analyze the decisions that people made because resources were limited relative to economic wants for goods and services in America
a. Describe the opportunity cost of economic decisions by individuals, businesses, and governments in the U.S. through 1877, such as the decision about territorial acquisition
2. Analyze how scarcity affected economic choices prior to 1877
a. Compare how scarce resources affected the decisions of consumers and producers in different regions of the United States
b. Describe the importance of economic freedom and economic equity on growth in the North and South prior to 1860
c. Evaluate socio-economic goals in the North and South after to the Civil War
3. Analyze how technological changes affected production in the United States prior to 1877
a. Describe the effects of new technology and resource use on economic growth, such as factories, machinery, roads and the telegraph
b. Examine why and how technology and production in the industrial North influenced the outcome of the Civil War
4. Analyze economic activities, economic decisions, and specialization before and after the Civil War
a. Describe how differences between the agrarian South and the industrial North heightened tensions
b. Examine the importance of population growth, specialization and trade to economic development prior to the Civil War
c. Describe the economic opportunities and obstacles faced by different individuals and groups of people before and after the Civil War
B. Economic Systems and the Role of Government in the Economy
1. Evaluate the types of economic systems prior to 1877
a. Analyze how 19th century societies answered the basic question of what, how, and for whom to produce
b. Analyze how the characteristics of a market economy affected the economic development of the 19th century such as the role of entrepreneurs, markets, and competition
2. Analyze the role of government in the U.S. economy prior to 1877
a. Give examples of how government spending and taxation influenced the U.S economy's ability to grow and provide jobs, such as the expansion of the railroad system
b. Explain how the protection of private property rights, regulation of trade, imposition of taxes, and creation of a monetary system are included in the Constitution
c. Examine ways in which the government influenced the economy such as spending, taxing and acquisition of territories
3. Describe the effects of government actions on the banking system prior to 1877
a. Explain the effects of the boom and bust cycles on economic growth and stability
b. Describe the effects of the absence of a national banking system on economic stability, such as the effects of the Panic of 1837


MSDE has developed a toolkit for these standards which can be found online at:


Date: 1/27/2015