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American History Topics by Era - piedmont.k12.ca.us - american history topics

American History Topics by Era - piedmont.k12.ca.us-american history topics

Constitutional Issues
1. First Amendment: What have been the issues surrounding freedom of speech, press,
and/or religion?
2. Second Amendment: Why is there controversy surrounding gun control?
3. Fourth Amendment: How has the Supreme Court, through its interpretation of the
Fourth Amendment, balanced the right to privacy with the need for public safety?
4. Thirteenth Amendment: Although the Thirteenth Amendment freed the slaves, how
were African American still denied their freedom?
5. Fourteenth Amendment: How did the Black Codes, Jim Crow laws, and Plessy v.
Ferguson take away the rights guaranteed to African Americans by the Fourteenth
6. Fifteenth Amendment: Although the Fifteenth Amendment was supposed to
guarantee African Americans the right to vote, what obstacles were put in the way to
keep them from voting for 100 years?
7. Nineteenth Amendment: What struggles did women have to go through to get the
Nineteenth Amendment, women's right to vote?
8. Eighteenth and Twenty-First Amendments: What were the reasons for the Eighteenth
Amendment--Prohibition--and why was it repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment?
9. John Marshall is considered one of our nation's most influential Supreme Court Chief
Justices. What impact did three of his most important decisions have on the United
The Origins of a Nation, 1300-1776
10. Some European settlers used the term "savage" to describe the indigenous peoples of
North America. Choose three different American Indian peoples and show how this label
is untrue and unjust.
11. How did the Quakers stand up for their convictions despite prevailing attitudes?
12. Despite the challenges, how did the Jamestown colony survive?
13. What do the Salem Witch Trials reflect abut the social, political, and religious
tensions of the day?
14 .How did Roger Williams, Anne Hutchison, Peter Zenger, and Nathanial Bacon
embody the spirit of rebellion?
15. How did the French-Indian War create tensions that led to the Revolution? (Consider
fighting experience, the Proclamation of 1763, war debt.)
16. What three events were most important in building tensions between the Colonists
and the British leading to the American Revolutionary War?
17. How did George Washington's leadership at Trenton, Valley Forge, and Yorktown
bring about the victory of the American Patriots over the British in the Revolutionary
18. In what ways might the American Revolution be characterized as a rebellious act of
ungrateful children against a caring and concerned parent?
An Expanding Nation, 1790-1850
19. In what ways can the War of 1812 be considered a coming of age story for the
United States?
20. How did the United States justify and achieve Manifest Destiny?
21. What were the positive and negative effects of the Transcontinental Railroad?
22. How did the Gold Rush impact the miners, entrepreneurs, and Chinese who all came
to California to find gold, and which group was most successful?
23. How did the Oklahoma Land Rush of the 1890's affect white settlers and Native
24. What role did the Alamo play in the Texas Revolution?
25. How did the cowboy experience help define the culture of the West? (work, lifestyle,
experience of the cattle drive, conflict with farmers)
26. How did Mormons overcome the challenges they faced?
27. What was the impact of the Silver Rush on the West?
28. What was the importance of the Lewis and Clark expedition as defined by the
challenges they faced, the encounters they had with Native Americans, and the
knowledge gained about the newly acquired Louisiana Territory?
29. What significance did the development of roads and canals have on the growth of
specific regions of the United States?
30. How did living conditions, working conditions, and religion affect the lives of slaves
in the Antebellum South?
31. How can Eli Whitney be blamed for the Civil War?
A Nation Breaks Apart, 1840-1877
32. How successful were Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, and Denmark Vesey's attempts at
slave rebellion?
33. What were the various forms of slave resistance and rebellion, and in what ways
were they effective?
34. What was Harriet Tubman's role in the Underground Railroad?
35. How did African Americans help the Union cause in the Civil War?
36. What role did Frederick Douglass play in the struggle for African American rights?
37. How did Radical Reconstruction impact the lives of African Americans?
38. Was John Brown a hero or a terrorist?
39. What were the economic, political, and moral issues that caused the Civil War?
40. How did compromises postpone conflict between North and South before the Civil
41. What were the goals of Reconstruction, how were they implemented, and why was it
given up in 1877?
42. Why could Mexicans claim that the Mexican War was a "Yankee war of
aggression", and what did the United States gain from this war?
43. How did women contribute to the war effort during the Civil War?
44. What was the typical soldier's life like during the Civil War in terms of training,
weaponry, camp life, and access to medical treatment?
45. Compare the leadership of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Which was the
superior military leader?

Why should I study American history? Why should you study history? The Past Teaches Us About the Present. ... History Builds Empathy Through Studying the Lives and Struggles of Others. ... History Can Be Intensely Personal. ... “Doing” History is Like Completing a Puzzle or Solving a Mystery. ... Everything Has a History. ...