My curriculum map is designed to be chronological. The units tend to align closely with the NC Essential Standards, although there are some items that overlap. Additionally, each unit is built to examine a specific theme, although various other themes are also prevalent within the unit.
I do like the idea of beginning with modern history, and I chose to integrate that with a discussion of historical thinking and skills. Students are familiar with modern history, so it might be easier for them to be introduced to certain methods of historical thinking if it is a more familiar era.