U.S. History Mini Simulations

In this series of historical mini simulations, students step into the shoes of policymakers to advise the U.S. president on how to respond to major foreign policy moments in U.S. history. These eight historical simulations cover crucial U.S. decisions from the 19th to 21st centuries. 

CFR Education mini simulations help students develop critical thinking, persuasive speaking and writing, and collaboration skills while giving them hands-on experience grappling with the challenges of addressing yesterday’s and today’s most pressing issues in the United States and abroad. 

Designed with a U.S. history survey course in mind, the simulations can fuel a lively discussion to supplement your curriculum and encourage civic engagement.


Learning Objectives for Eight Historical Simulations

  • Sovereignty and Neutrality in 1807: Students will understand that although the United States won the American Revolutionary War, it was not fully free from Europe.
  • Oregon Boundary Dispute in 1845: Students will understand that, in negotiations, presidents often have to manage foreign policy risks while satisfying public opinion.
  • Explosion of the USS Maine in 1898: Students will understand that intervention inevitably shapes future relations with a country.
  • The Zimmerman Telegram in 1917: Students will understand that the decision to enter World War I involved prioritizing short- and long-term threats at home and abroad.
  • Influenza and War in 1918: Students will understand that fighting World War I and responding to the 1918 influenza pandemic at the same time required trade-offs in policymaking.
  • Opposing Communism in 1947: Students will understand the origins of containment and U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War.
  • Cuban Immigration 1980: Students will understand that the United States struggled to manage the influx of Cubans in 1980, revealing the limits of the U.S. asylum system.
  • Response to 9/11: Students will understand that the 9/11 attacks represented a new brand of terrorism that could require a new brand of counterterrorism policy in response.