Classroom Materials: United States History

  • Sixteen Months to Sumter

    This site provides access to over 1,000 newspaper editorials detailing the shifting tides of emotion and opinion in the 16 months leading to Southern secession and the American Civil War. The site is intended primarily as a teaching resource, to enrich students’ exploration and understanding of the period and assist history teachers by expanding the available primary sources.

  • Online Course in American Indian History

    A set of links to valuable public domain sites about American Indian History for undergraduate students, compiled by James W. Oberly as part of the 2004 project Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age.

  • Migration and the American South

    A guide on teaching migration in the American South with digital sources, compiled by John Beck as part of the 2004 project Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age.

  • Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World

    A project compiled by Jim Leloudis which focuses on the evolution of Piedmont mill towns presented in Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. In each section, students and instructors can read a historical overview of the issues addressed, view photographs, listen to audio clips of interviews with mill workers, and access ideas for lesson plans based on the unit.

  • Web Modules for Teaching American History

    David Huehner developed these web modules for use in a two-semester survey course of United States history. They may be used together or individually. The modules may be used as supplementary readings and materials for historical analysis that try to closely resemble the actual process of historical investigation.

  • The United States since the Civil War

    Compiled by Mary Beth Emmerichs, this site contains links to groups of documents that can be used to generate discussions in the second half of the US history survey.

  • The 19th Century US Survey and American Religions through the Civil War

    David Hoeveler provides reviews of web resources teachers might use in teaching either a 19th century US histoey survey or a course on American religion through the Civil War.

  • Sample Assignments from Globalized US History Courses

    As part of her work in the Bridging Cultures program, Amy Forss employed wide-ranging techniques such as PechaKucha presentations, oral history research, and greater study of maps to engage her students in their globalized US history courses. She even had her students find historical recipes and try them out.

  • Honors 2111 US History Survey Course Description and Syllabus

    Shannon Bontrager not only incorporated global contexts into his survey, but he also used non-traditional and digital pedagogical tools to engage his students.

  • Foundations of American History Syllabus

    Sarah Grunder offers a detailed syllabus and two sample assignments, in which students use primary and secondary sources to connect American history with the Atlantic and Pacific worlds and write a paper that focuses on the circulation of commodities, peoples, and ideas throughout those worlds.

  • Paper Assignment: Encountering Commodities in the Atlantic and the Pacific Worlds

    This sample assignment requires students to use primary and secondary sources to connect American history with the Atlantic and Pacific worlds and write a paper that focuses on the circulation of commodities, peoples, and ideas throughout those worlds. This paper assignment has three major parts: a list of sources for students to read and study along with guiding questions on each reading; a mapping exercise; and the five page paper.

  • Paper Assignment: Localizing Global Encounters, Case Study: New Netherland/New York (Suffolk County Community College)

    This sample assignment requires students to use primary and secondary sources to connect American history with the Atlantic and Pacific worlds and write a paper that focuses on encounters between different groups of Europeans in New Netherland/New York. This paper assignment has three major parts: a list of sources for students to read and study along with guiding questions on each reading; a mapping exercise; and the five page paper.

  • Infusing the Pacific World into the US History Survey Courses: Recommended Reading

    In this guide, Allison Frickert-Murashige provides reading recommendations for faculty looking to learn more themselves about the Pacific World before teaching it in their US history courses. She provides readings Bridging Cultures participants used to begin thinking about bringing the Pacific World into their courses, as well as recommended topics where this approach is useful.

  • Ideas for Conceptualizing the Pacific World within the US Survey Course, 1400-1850

    In this guide, Allison Frickert-Murashige provides ideas of topics to include in a US history survey course incorporating the Pacific World.

  • Teaching Environmental History in the US and World History Surveys: Overview of Topics and Resources

    This guide provides an overview of topics that faculty can consider in their US history survey courses in taking an environmental view of US and world history. It also provides a thorough list of recent scholarship on environmental history.

  • Lecture Topics for First Half of American History Survey

    Brittany Adams focuses on incorporating more regional history into the early survey. She also emphasizes the importance of de-centering the British colonial narrative when teaching students who identify more with western US history, as do many of her students at UC Irvine.

  • Assignment: Social History of the Atlantic Slave Trade

    Shannon Bontrager not only incorporated global contexts into his survey, but he also used non-traditional and digital pedagogical tools to engage his students.

  • Chinese Immigrants in America in the 19th Century: A Study Module

    These materials, produced by Vincent A. Clark as a result of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, consist of an illustrated introduction, excerpts from four contemporaneous articles, an online quiz (not included in these materials), and an assignment for an e-mail discussion. The introduction describes not only the life of the immigrants in the United States but their economic and cultural background in China. The goal is to expand the students’ knowledge to include the China from which these immigrants came. Two of the articles oppose Chinese immigrants; two praise them. They are designed to let students see the varying perceptions of the immigrants, the arguments for and against Chinese immigration, and the complex class and ethnic dimensions of this controversy.

  • Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Extra Credit Assignment

    As part of her work in the Bridging Cultures program, Cheryll Cody designed a course assignment using the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database. It requires students to answer a series of questions by looking at the database’s extensive collection of maps and charts.

  • The US Becomes an Empire, Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions focuses on the expansion of the US as it becomes an imperial power and has students critically examine the US-Caribbean relationship, Hawaii and the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • Discussion Questions on the Film Manifest Destiny

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions focuses on the expansion of the US as it becomes an imperial power and has students critically examine the US-Caribbean relationship, Hawaii and the Philippines in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  • US Environmental History Course Topics through the Civil War (Santa Monica Coll.)

  • Resources for Teaching American and Hawaiian History

    This course revises traditional understandings of American history and examines issues of race, gender, and class in understanding the histories and contemporary experiences of Native Hawaiians, Asians, and Pacific Islanders to foster greater multi-cultural respect and understanding.

  • Video Assignment Based on Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune

    Oscar Cañedo crafted this creative assignment about the California Gold Rush and the experiences of people traveling from South America to get to California. He used a story from prominent Latin American novelist Isabel Allende as a backdrop for the assignment. Students craft their own characters based on Isabelle Allende's novel Daughter of Fortune and produce videos to explain why they wished to make the arduous journey to California

  • Teaching World War One History through Food

    This page provides five videos that explore the history of World War One through food. It is intended as a teaching resource to deepen students' knowledge and understanding of Americans' experience of World War One and to offer history teachers materials for their classroom use.

  • Revolutions, Independence and New Nations: The Great Transformation

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions helps students consider the implications of revolution in the Atlantic world.

  • Films and Readings on the African Slave Trade and the Atlantic World

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions helps students consider the complexities of the Transatlantic slave trade and the broader Atlantic world during the colonial era.

  • Africans in the Americas: Discussion Questions from Lepore, Benjamin, Articles, and Film

    As part of his work in the Bridging Cultures program, Carlos Contreras provided some classroom assignments and activities that challenge students to think "Atlantically" and "Pacifically" as they think broadly about American history. This set of discussion questions helps students consider the complexities of the Transatlantic slave trade and the broader Atlantic world during the colonial era.

  • Teaching the American Civil War from a Transoceanic Perspective

    In the following, Timothy Draper and Amy Powers provide ideas for ways of bringing global contexts into a unit or course on the American Civil War. They include useful topics to cover, along with primary and secondary source readings. Topics include Karl Marx on the Civil War, the war's impact on Hawaii, and the experience of various immigrant groups during the war.

  • Themes in the Social History of the United States: Migration and American Civilization, 1830s to 1960s

    Syllabus for a survey of social history, focusing upon the American experience. The course explores changes in the family, work, sex roles, mobility, migration, urbanization, and industrialization.

  • United States History I: US History to the Civil War

    An introduction to the methods of historical inquiry focusing on the study of American history from the beginnings through the American Civil War.

  • Ethnicity and American Cultures Topics Through the 19th Century

    A syllabus by Leslie Kawaguchi that begins with the peopling of North America and ends with the establishment of the U.S. and the 1790 immigration policy that provided naturalization to “free white persons” despite the cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity of the colonial period.

  • Introduction to Ethnic Studies: Course Description and Syllabus

    A course description and syllabus for an Intro to Ethnic Studies course taught by Kelli Nakamura at Kapi'olani Community Coll. that explores basic concepts and theories for analyzing dynamics of ethnic group experiences, particularly those represented in Hawai‘i, and their relation to colonization, immigration, gender, problems of identity, racism, and social class.

  • Introduction to Ethnic Studies: Lecture and Assignment Schedule

    Details about the readings and lectures included in an Introduction to Ethnic Studies class taught by Kelli Nakamura at Kapi'olani Community College. The course revises traditional understandings of American history and examines issues of race, gender, and class in understanding the histories and contemporary experiences of Native Hawaiians, Asians, and Pacific Islanders to foster greater multi-cultural respect and understanding.

  • Discovering American Social History on the Web

    Dan Kallgren developed several sample assignments for use in his undergraduate survey course "United States History Since the Civil War," in the spring of 2000. Assignments can be used inidividually or in series, as each is accompanied by suggested reading and primary sources.

  • The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Students read a section from "Out of Many; A History of the American People" by John Mack Faragher, et al., to contextualize primary source documents about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. After analyzing the sources, the students write a short report.

  • The Anti-Saloon League

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Students analyze digital primary sources in order to contextualize and understand the motivation of the Anti-Saloon League members.

  • Mapping Suburbanization

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Using topographical maps from the University of New Hampshire, students explore how the landscape surrounding a 1950s New Hampshire city changed over time. Students are asked to consider how sociopolitical factors such as the Cold War might have affected the development of the United States.

  • Teaching Difficult Legal or Political Concepts: Using Online Primary Sources in Writing Assignments

    Sue C. Patrick's shares syllabi from her United States History and Western Civilization courses, which include assignments and links to digital primary sources. She also reviews a number of digital primary sources for the benefit of other instructors interested in using them in the classroom.

  • Imperialism: European, American, and Japanese

    A multi-part project compiled by Thomas Reins that considers the causes and consequences of modern imperialism, using China as a case study, by asking students to analyze a diverse set of primary sources.

  • JFK's Executive Orders and the New Frontier

    One of Dan Kallgren's assignments. Students analyze executive orders from President Kennedy to draw out themes and place them in the context of Kennedy's agenda.

  • Syllabus: United States History Since the Civil War

    Syllabus from Dan Kallgren's survey of American history since the end of the Civil War. The syllabus includes several digital primary source projects, all of which are hosted on separate pages as part of Kallgren's "Discovering America Social History on the Web" module.

  • United States History through the Civil War Syllabus

    Sue C. Patrick's syllabus for a United States History through the Civil War course. The syllabus includes assignments and links to digital primary sources.

  • United States History from the Civil War to the Present Syllabus

    Sue C. Patrick's syllabus for her United States History from the Civil War to the Present course, which includes assignments and links to digital primary sources.

  • New Perspectives on 19th-Century America [Assignment]

    John Rosinbum uses American Panorama, a digital atlas created by the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, to teach students about the economic, cultural, and territorial transformations that changed America during the 19th century. In this assignment, students must create their own visualization of changes in 19th-century America. Students must also develop a guide that defends their research choices in the creation of the visualization, explains how the visualization extends our current understanding of the period, and distinguishes their visualization from American Panorama.

  • Analyzing Visual Depictions of America's Expansion with American Panorama

    John Rosinbum uses American Panorama, a digital atlas created by the University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab, to teach students about the economic, cultural, and territorial transformations that changed America during the 19th century. In this sample assignment, he asks students to compare two maps from American Panorama dealing with the 19th century and explore how each map presents American expansion differently.