American History

Written by: The Independence Hall Association

An American History website and textbook in one. was created by the Independence Hall Association in Philadelphia.

Students can learn American History from the eve of British colonization until the end of the 20th century. It’s a huge work and one that, I think, suffers slightly from an attempt to cover it all in one place. And, I’m not really a fan of the pessimistic ending or more modern approach to presenting our culture.

Some things are covered lightly and others are left out completely. I was particularly disappointed that the 1980s section focussed more on what the authors saw as greed. Comments like “YUPPIES replaced the socially conscious hippie of the previous generation” are unfair to both groups. It’s also a comment indicative of authors straying from a straight reporting of events into sharing their opinions on people and events. Additionally, events that changed who we are and how the world saw us like the space shuttle program, Geraldine Ferraro’s historical vice-presidential run, the designation of Martin-Luther King’s birthday as a holiday, Hands Across America and Live Aid aren’t even mentioned.

And, Apple did not introduce the first personal computer. The first personal computer was John Blankenbaker’s Kenbak-1 (1971) and the first personal computer using a microprocessor was the 1973 Micral. And, while the Apple was the first to market a commercially successful machine in 1977, the TRS80 and the Atari 400/800 dominated the market. In 1977, the TRS80 enjoyed a 70% market share among the three.

Without a doubt the invention of the personal computer changed history but implying Apple invented it and people were using them for “personal finances, quick word-processing and desktop publishing from the home” isn’t 100% accurate either. In the 1980s, very few people had personal computers in their homes, and of those that did; most were used for games or by young programmers. {My inner computer geek came out to play today. And, yes, I have a far more positive view of the 1980s than that of the authors.}


Table of Contents of American History

1. Native American Society on the Eve of British Colonization
  1. Diversity of Native American Groups
  2. The Anasazi
  3. The Algonkian Tribes
  4. The Iroquois Tribes
2. Britain in the New World
  1. Early Ventures Fail
  2. Joint-Stock Companies
  3. Jamestown Settlement and the “Starving Time”
  4. The Growth of the Tobacco Trade
  5. War and Peace with Powhatan’s People
  6. The House of Burgesses
3. The New England Colonies
  1. The Mayflower and Plymouth Colony
  2. William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving
  3. Massachusetts Bay — “The City Upon a Hill”
  4. Puritan Life
  5. Dissent in Massachusetts Bay
  6. Reaching to Connecticut
  7. Witchcraft in Salem
4. The Middle Colonies
  1. New Netherland to New York
  2. Quakers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
  3. City of Brotherly Love — Philadelphia
  4. The Ideas of Benjamin Franklin
5. The Southern Colonies
  1. Maryland — The Catholic Experiment
  2. Indentured Servants
  3. Creating the Carolinas
  4. Debtors in Georgia
  5. Life in the Plantation South
6. African Americans in the British New World
  1. West African Society at the Point of European Contact
  2. “The Middle Passage”
  3. The Growth of Slavery
  4. Slave Life on the Farm and in the Town
  5. Free African Americans in the Colonial Era
  6. “Slave Codes”
  7. A New African-American Culture
7. The Beginnings of Revolutionary Thinking
  1. The Impact of Enlightenment in Europe
  2. The Great Awakening
  3. The Trial of John Peter Zenger
  4. Smuggling
  5. A Tradition of Rebellion
  6. “What Is the American?”
8. America’s Place in the Global Struggle
  1. New France
  2. The French and Indian War
  3. George Washington’s Background and Experience
  4. The Treaty of Paris (1763) and Its Impact
9. The Events Leading to Independence
  1. The Royal Proclamation of 1763
  2. The Stamp Act Controversy
  3. The Boston Patriots
  4. The Townshend Acts
  5. The Boston Massacre
  6. The Tea Act and Tea Parties
  7. The Intolerable Acts
10. E Pluribus Unum
  1. Stamp Act Congress
  2. Sons and Daughters of Liberty
  3. Committees of Correspondence
  4. First Continental Congress
  5. Second Continental Congress
  6. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
  7. The Declaration of Independence
11. The American Revolution
  1. American and British Strengths and Weaknesses
  2. Loyalists, Fence-sitters, and Patriots
  3. Lexington and Concord
  4. Bunker Hill
  5. The Revolution on the Home Front
  6. Washington at Valley Forge
  7. The Battle of Saratoga
  8. The French Alliance
  9. Yorktown and the Treaty of Paris
12. Societal Impacts of the American Revolution
  1. The Impact of Slavery
  2. A Revolution in Social Law
  3. Political Experience
  4. “Republican Motherhood”
13. When Does the Revolution End?
  1. The Declaration of Independence and Its Legacy
  2. The War Experience: Soldiers, Officers, and Civilians
  3. The Loyalists
  4. Revolutionary Changes and Limitations: Slavery
  5. Revolutionary Changes and Limitations: Women
  6. Revolutionary Limits: Native Americans
  7. Revolutionary Achievement: Yeomen and Artisans
  8. The Age of Atlantic Revolutions
14. Making Rules
  1. State Constitutions
  2. Articles of Confederation
  3. Evaluating the Congress
  4. The Economic Crisis of the 1780s
15. Drafting the Constitution
  1. Shays’ Rebellion
  2. A Cast of National Superstars
  3. The Tough Issues
  4. Constitution Through Compromise
16. Ratifying the Constitution
  1. Federalists
  2. Antifederalists
  3. The Ratification Process: State by State
  4. After the Fact: Virginia, New York, and “The Federalist Papers”
  5. The Antifederalists’ Victory in Defeat
17. George Washington
  1. Growing up in Colonial Virginia
  2. The Force of Personality and Military Command
  3. The First Administration
  4. Farewell Address
  5. Mount Vernon and the Dilemma of a Revolutionary Slave Holder
18. Unsettled Domestic Issues
  1. The Bill of Rights
  2. Hamilton’s Financial Plan
  3. Growing Opposition
  4. U.S. Military Defeat; Indian Victory in the West
  5. Native American Resilience and Violence in the West
19. Politics in Transition: Public Conflict in the 1790s
  1. Trans-Atlantic Crisis: The French Revolution
  2. Negotiating with the Superpowers
  3. Two Parties Emerge
  4. The Adams Presidency
  5. The Alien and Sedition Acts
  6. The Life and Times of John Adams
20. Jeffersonian America: A Second Revolution?
  1. The Election of 1800
  2. Jeffersonian Ideology
  3. Westward Expansion: The Louisiana Purchase
  4. A New National Capital: Washington, D.C.
  5. A Federalist Stronghold: John Marshall’s Supreme Court
  6. Gabriel’s Rebellion: Another View of Virginia in 1800
21. The Expanding Republic and the War of 1812
  1. The Importance of the West
  2. Exploration: Lewis and Clark
  3. Diplomatic Challenges in an Age of European War
  4. Native American Resistance in the Trans-Appalachian West
  5. The Second War for American Independence
  6. Claiming Victory from Defeat
22. Social Change and National Development
  1. Economic Growth and the Early Industrial Revolution
  2. Cotton and African-American Life
  3. Religious Transformation and the Second Great Awakening
  4. Institutionalizing Religious Belief: The Benevolent Empire
  5. New Roles for White Women
  6. Early National Arts and Cultural Independence
23. Politics and the New Nation
  1. The Era of Good Feelings and the Two-Party System
  2. The Expansion of the Vote: A White Man’s Democracy
  3. The Missouri Compromise
  4. The 1824 Election and the “Corrupt Bargain”
  5. John Quincy Adams
  6. Jacksonian Democracy and Modern America
24. The Age of Jackson
  1. The Rise of the Common Man
  2. A Strong Presidency
  3. The South Carolina Nullification Controversy
  4. The War Against the Bank
  5. Jackson vs. Clay and Calhoun
  6. The Trail of Tears — The Indian Removals
25. The Rise of American Industry
  1. The Canal Era
  2. Early American Railroads
  3. Inventors and Inventions
  4. The First American Factories
  5. The Emergence of “Women’s Sphere”
  6. Irish and German Immigration
26. An Explosion of New Thought
  1. Religious Revival
  2. Experiments with Utopia
  3. Women’s Rights
  4. Prison and Asylum Reform
  5. Hudson River School Artists
  6. Transcendentalism, An American Philosophy
27. The Peculiar Institution
  1. The Crowning of King Cotton
  2. Slave Life and Slave Codes
  3. The Plantation & Chivalry
  4. Free(?) African-Americans
  5. Rebellions on and off the Plantation
  6. The Southern Argument for Slavery
28. Abolitionist Sentiment Grows
  1. William Lloyd Garrison and The Liberator
  2. African-American Abolitionists
  3. The Underground Railroad
  4. Harriet Beecher Stowe — Uncle Tom’s Cabin
29. Manifest Destiny
  1. The Lone Star Republic
  2. 54° 40′ or Fight
  3. “American Blood on American Soil”
  4. The Mexican-American War
  5. Gold in California
30. An Uneasy Peace
  1. Wilmot’s Proviso
  2. Popular Sovereignty
  3. Three Senatorial Giants: Clay, Calhoun and Webster
  4. The Compromise of 1850
31. “Bloody Kansas”
  1. The Kansas-Nebraska Act
  2. Border Ruffians
  3. The Sack of Lawrence
  4. The Pottawatomie Creek Massacre
  5. Canefight! Preston Brooks and Charles Sumner
32. From Uneasy Peace to Bitter Conflict
  1. The Dred Scott Decision
  2. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  3. John Brown’s Raid
  4. The Election of 1860
  5. The South Secedes
33. A House Divided
  1. Fort Sumter
  2. Strengths and Weaknesses: North vs. South
  3. First Blood and Its Aftermath
  4. Sacred Beliefs
  5. Bloody Antietam
  6. Of Generals and Soldiers
  7. Gettysburg: High Watermark of the Confederacy
  8. Northern Plans to End the War
  9. The Road to Appomattox
34. The War Behind the Lines
  1. The Emancipation Proclamation
  2. Wartime Diplomacy
  3. The Northern Homefront
  4. The Southern Homefront
  5. The Election of 1864
  6. The Assassination of the President
35. Reconstruction
  1. Presidential Reconstruction
  2. Radical Reconstruction
  3. A President Impeached
  4. Rebuilding the Old Order
36. The Gilded Age
  1. Binding the Nation by Rail
  2. The New Tycoons: John D. Rockefeller
  3. The New Tycoons: Andrew Carnegie
  4. The New Tycoons: J. Pierpont Morgan
  5. New Attitudes Toward Wealth
  6. Politics of the Gilded Age
37. Organized Labor
  1. The Great Upheaval
  2. Labor vs. Management
  3. Early National Organizations
  4. American Federation of Labor
  5. Eugene V. Debs and American Socialism
38. From the Countryside to the City
  1. The Glamour of American Cities
  2. The Underside of Urban Life
  3. The Rush of Immigrants
  4. Corruption Runs Wild
  5. Religious Revival: The “Social Gospel”
  6. Artistic and Literary Trends
39. New Dimensions in Everyday Life
  1. Education
  2. Sports and Leisure
  3. Women in the Gilded Age
  4. Victorian Values in a New Age
  5. The Print Revolution
40. Closing the Frontier
  1. The Massacre at Sand Creek
  2. Custer’s Last Stand
  3. The End of Resistance
  4. Life on the Reservations
  5. The Wounded Knee Massacre
41. Western Folkways
  1. The Mining Boom
  2. The Ways of the Cowboy
  3. Life on the Farm
  4. The Growth of Populism
  5. The Election of 1896
42. Progressivism Sweeps the Nation
  1. Roots of the Movement
  2. Muckrakers
  3. Women’s Suffrage at Last
  4. Booker T. Washington
  5. W. E. B. DuBois
43. Progressives in the White House
  1. Teddy Roosevelt: The Rough Rider in the White House
  2. The Trust Buster
  3. A Helping Hand for Labor
  4. Preserving the Wilderness
  5. Passing the Torch
  6. The Election of 1912
  7. Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom
44. Seeking Empire
  1. Early Stirrings
  2. Hawaiian Annexation
  3. “Remember the Maine!”
  4. The Spanish-American War and Its Consequences
  5. The Roosevelt Corollary and Latin America
  6. Reaching to Asia
  7. The Panama Canal
45. America in the First World War
  1. Farewell to Isolation
  2. Over There
  3. Over Here
  4. The Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations
46. The Decade That Roared
  1. The Age of the Automobile
  2. The Fight Against “Demon Rum”
  3. The Invention of the Teenager
  4. Flappers
  5. The Harlem Renaissance
  6. A Consumer Economy
  7. Radio Fever
  8. Fads and Heroes
47. Old Values vs. New Values
  1. The Red Scare
  2. The Monkey Trial
  3. Intolerance
  4. Books and Movies
  5. Domestic and International Politics
48. The Great Depression
  1. The Market Crashes
  2. Sinking Deeper and Deeper: 1929-33
  3. The Bonus March
  4. Hoover’s Last Stand
  5. Social and Cultural Effects of the Depression
49. The New Deal
  1. A Bank Holiday
  2. Putting People Back to Work
  3. The Farming Problem
  4. Social Security
  5. FDR’s Alphabet Soup
  6. Roosevelt’s Critics
  7. An Evaluation of the New Deal
50. The Road to Pearl Harbor
  1. 1930s Isolationism
  2. Reactions to a Troubled World
  3. War Breaks Out
  4. The Arsenal of Democracy
  5. Pearl Harbor
51. America in the Second World War
  1. Wartime Strategy
  2. The American Homefront
  3. D-Day and the German Surrender
  4. War in the Pacific
  5. Japanese-American Internment
  6. The Manhattan Project
  7. The Decision to Drop the Bomb
52. Postwar Challenges
  1. The Cold War Erupts
  2. The United Nations
  3. Containment and the Marshall Plan
  4. The Berlin Airlift and NATO
  5. The Korean War
  6. Domestic Challenges
53. The 1950s: Happy Days
  1. McCarthyism
  2. Suburban Growth
  3. Land of Television
  4. America Rocks and Rolls
  5. The Cold War Continues
  6. Voices against Conformity
54. A New Civil Rights Movement
  1. Separate No Longer?
  2. Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  3. Showdown in Little Rock
  4. The Sit-In Movement
  5. Gains and Pains
  6. Martin Luther King Jr.
  7. The Long, Hot Summers
  8. Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam
  9. Black Power
55. The Vietnam War
  1. Early Involvement
  2. Years of Escalation: 1965-68
  3. The Tet Offensive
  4. The Antiwar Movement
  5. Years of Withdrawal
56. Politics from Camelot to Watergate
  1. The Election of 1960
  2. Kennedy’s New Frontier
  3. Kennedy’s Global Challenges
  4. Kennedy Assassination
  5. Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society”
  6. 1968: Year of Unraveling
  7. Triangular Diplomacy: U.S., USSR, and China
57. Shaping a New America
  1. Modern Feminism
  2. The Fight for Reproductive Rights
  3. The Equal Rights Amendment
  4. Roe v. Wade and Its Impact
  5. Environmental Reform
  6. Others Demand Equality
  7. Student Activism
  8. Flower Power
58. A Time of Malaise
  1. Undoing a President
  2. The Sickened Economy
  3. Foreign Woes
  4. Finding Oneself
  5. The New Right
59. The Reagan Years
  1. “Morning in America”
  2. Reaganomics
  3. Foreign and Domestic Entanglements
  4. Life in the 1980s
  5. The End of the Cold War
60. Toward a New Millennium
  1. Operation Desert Storm
  2. A Baby Boomer in the White House
  3. Republicans vs. Democrats
  4. Living in the Information Age
  5. The End of the American Century

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American History

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