The title says it all on this free early American History Textbook – History in the Making: A History of the People of the Untied States of America to 1877.
Free History Textbooks
It’s truly a shame how many history textbooks and “teachers” turn the subject into a game of trivia rather than an exploration of significant events of the past and how they shaped the future. A part-time history professor, who taught a single course each year and was a lawyer the rest of the year, was the one who finally made history something more than memorizing names, places and chronologies. He required us to “define and give the significance” of each event. That not-so-subtle change from tell me what happened to how did the event change things finally made history come alive and far more interesting.
I found by simply trying to answer “Why was this important?” made it so much easier to remember who the important players were, when the event happened and how the event changed things. It made my history exam scores go up and it helped me to become a better decision maker.
Rewriting History Textbooks
This is one of those textbook categories that I hesitated on adding to The Free Textbook List. So much of our history is being re-written to match political agendas and other such nonsense. I would strongly urge history students to seek out sites like Gutenberg.org and others that share ‘vintage’ works for source materials. First person accounts and those early public domain history textbooks offer students a wealth of information that many of today’s history textbooks either don’t have the room to cover or opt not to share.
I am a firm believer that students should be presented with a topic and encouraged to decide for themselves how they feel about the event or people involved. The free online history textbooks that I am recommending here will be those that tell the story without adding an excessive amount of editorialized content.