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HIST 021/136 U.S. History 1 & HIST 022/137 U.S. History 2: Develop Your Topic - US HIST 1

US HIST 1 = HIST 021 / 136 and US HIST 2 = HIST 022 / 137

Which Topic Should I Research?

Which topic should I research?       

Look through your textbook and at the suggested topics on this page...
  • what theme, era or event seems to capture you or speak to you personally?
  • what is your personal history?  Can you creatively connect it with a topic or event in American history?
  • so far what do you know about the topic or event you choose?
  • what do you wonder about the topic or event that you would like to learn more about through research?

American History Themes

Some Possible Themes for US HIST 1

American Diversity

The diversity of the American people and the relationships among different groups. The roles of race, class, ethnicity, and gender in the history of the United States.


American Identity

Views of the American national character and ideas about American exceptionalism. Recognizing regional differences within the context of what it means to be an American.



Diverse individual and collective expressions through literature, art, philosophy, music, theater, and film throughout U.S. history. Popular culture and the dimensions of cultural conflict within American society.


Demographic Changes

Changes in birth, marriage, and death rates; life expectancy and family patterns; population size and density. The economic, social, and political effects of immigration, internal migration, and migration networks.


Economic Transformations

Changes in trade, commerce, and technology across time. The effects of capitalist development, labor and unions, and consumerism.



Ideas about the consumption and conservation of natural resources. The impact of population growth, industrialization, pollution, and urban and suburban expansion.



Engagement with the rest of the world from the fifteenth century to the present: colonialism, mercantilism, global hegemony, development of markets, imperialism, and cultural exchange.


Politics and Citizenship

Colonial and revolutionary legacies, American political traditions, growth of democracy, and the development of the modern state. Defining citizenship; struggles for civil rights.



Diverse movements focusing on a broad range of issues, including antislavery, education, labor, temperance, women’s rights, civil rights, gay rights, war, public health, and government.



The variety of religious beliefs and practices in America from prehistory to the twenty-first century; influence of religion on politics, economics, and society.


Slavery and Its Legacies in North America

Systems of slave labor and other forms of unfree labor (e.g., indentured servitude, contract labor) in Native American societies, the Atlantic World, and the American South and West. The economics of slavery and its racial dimensions. Patterns of resistance and the long-term economic, political, and social effects of slavery.


War and Diplomacy

Armed conflict from the precolonial period to the twenty-first century; impact of war on American foreign policy and on politics, economy, and society.

American History Eras

Some Possible Eras for US HIST 1

Pre-Columbian Societies

Early inhabitants of the Americas

  • American Indian empires in Mesoamerica, the Southwest, and the Mississippi Valley
  • American Indian cultures of North America at the time of European contact


Transatlantic Encounters and Colonial Beginnings, 1492–1690
  • First European contacts with Native Americans
  • Spain’s empire in North America
  • French colonization of Canada
  • English settlement of New England, the Mid-Atlantic region, and the South
  • From servitude to slavery in the Chesapeake region
  • Religious diversity in the American colonies
  • Resistance to colonial authority: Bacon’s Rebellion, the Glorious Revolution, and the Pueblo Revolt


Colonial North America, 1690–1754
  • Population growth and immigration
  • Transatlantic trade and the growth of seaports
  • The eighteenth-century back country
  • Growth of plantation economies and slave societies
  • The Enlightenment and the Great Awakening
  • Colonial governments and imperial policy in British North America


The American Revolutionary Era, 1754–1789
  • The French and Indian War
  • The Imperial Crisis and resistance to Britain
  • The War for Independence
  • State constitutions and the Articles of Confederation
  • The federal Constitution


The Early Republic, 1789–1815
  • Washington, Hamilton, and the shaping of the national government
  • Emergence of political parties: Federalists and Republicans
  • Republican Motherhood and education for women
  • Beginnings of the Second Great Awakening
  • Significance of Jefferson’s presidency
  • Expansion into the trans-Appalachian West; American Indian resistance
  • Growth of slavery and free Black communities
  • The War of 1812 and its consequences


The Transformation of Economy and Society in Antebellum America
  • The transportation revolution and creation of a national market economy
  • Beginnings of industrialization and changes in social and class structures
  • Immigration and nativist reaction
  • Planters, yeoman farmers, and slaves in the cotton South


The Transformation of Politics in Antebellum America
  • Emergence of the second party system
  • Federal authority and its opponents: judicial federalism, the Bank War, tariff controversy, and states’
  • rights debates
  • Jacksonian democracy and its successes and limitations


Religion, Reform, and Renaissance in Antebellum America
  • Evangelical Protestant revivalism
  • Social reforms
  • Ideals of domesticity
  • Transcendentalism and utopian communities
  • American Renaissance: literary and artistic expressions


Territorial Expansion and Manifest Destiny
  • Forced removal of American Indians to the trans-Mississippi West
  • Western migration and cultural interactions
  • Territorial acquisitions
  • Early U.S. imperialism: the Mexican War


The Crisis of the Union
  • Pro- and antislavery arguments and conflicts
  • Compromise of 1850 and popular sovereignty
  • The Kansas–Nebraska Act and the emergence of the Republican Party
  • Abraham Lincoln, the election of 1860, and secession
  • Chapter 1


Civil War
  • Two societies at war: mobilization, resources, and internal dissent
  • Military strategies and foreign diplomacy
  • Emancipation and the role of African Americans in the war
  • Social, political, and economic effects of war in the North, South, and West


  • Presidential and Radical Reconstruction
  • Southern state governments: aspirations, achievements, failures
  • Role of African Americans in politics, education, and the economy
  • Compromise of 1877
  • Impact of Reconstruction

American History Events

Some Possible Events for US HIST 1

1500s - 1600s
  • Roanoke, Virginia, "The Lost Colony," is founded (1584-1590)
  • Spanish conquistadors establish St. Augustine (1585)
  • Spanish colonize New Mexico (1598)
  • Fur trade leads to native dependency on european goods (1600 on)
  • England establishes the first permanent North American settlement at Jamestown, Virginia ((1607)
  • Samuel de Champlain instigates hostilities between New France and the Iroquois (1609)
  • John Rolfe introduces tobacco to Virginia (1616)
  • Marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe ushers in a brief period of peace in Virginia (1616)
  • Smallpox among the New England indians depopulates the region (1616)
  • Dutch import the first African slaves to Jamestown, Virginia (1620)
  • Pilgrims establish Plymouth Bay Colony (1620)
  • Opechancanough and the Virginia-Powhatan War (1622)
  • Dutch establish American colonies at New Amsterdam and Fort Orange (1626)
  • English puritans begin their "great migration" and establish Massachusetts Bay Colony (1630)
  • France regains Quebec and Jesuits attempt to convert Native Americans (1632)
  • Maryland is established as a haven for English Catholics (1634)
  • Roger Williams is expelled from Massachusetts for his dissenting religious views and founds the colony of   Rhode Island (1636)
  • Harvard College is established (1636)
  • Pequot War (1637)
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony banishes Anne Hutchinson for her dissenting religious views (1638)
  • John Eliot establishes "praying towns" to convert the native peoples of New England to Christianity (1640s)
  • Miantonomi urges New England's native peoples to unite (1642)
  • Opechancanough leads a second war against colonists in Virginia (1644-1646)
  • Iroquois initiate the "Beaver Wars" (1649)
  • English parliament institutes the Navigation Acts (1650s)
  • Massachusetts Bay Colony persecutes Quakers (1657-1659)
  • Slave codes are developed (1660s-1700)
  • Massachusetts churches approve the Halfway Covenant (1662)
  • Maryland makes slavery an inheritable status (1664)
  • English capture New Amsterdam (1664)
  • John Locke writes the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina (1669)
  • English merchants establish Hudson's Bay Company (1670)
  • Carolina is founded and soon becomes only mainland colony where slaves outnumber free men (1670s)
  • King Philip's War in New England (1675-1676)
  • Bacon's Rebellion in Virginia (1676)
  • Pueblo Revolt (1680)
  • William Penn establishes the colony of Pennsylvania (1682)
  • Robert LaSalle explores the Mississippi and names the region "Louisiana" (1682)
  • Robert LaSalle leads an expedition by ship that attempts to find the mouth of the Mississippi River (1684)
  • James II establishes the Dominion of New England in an attempt to tighten royal control of the colonies (1685)
  • Massachusetts colonists revolt against the Dominion of New England (1688)
  • King William's War (1689-1697)
  • Leisler's insurrection in New York (1689)
  • Coode's Rebellion in Maryland (1689)
  • Salem witchcraft trials (1692)
  • Spain reestablishes control over the Pueblos (1692-1696)

Some Possible Events for US HIST 1

  • The Iroquois Great Peace with New France and New York (1701)
  • Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)
  • Deerfield Massacre (1704)
  • First successful colonial newspaper established in Boston (1704)
  • Tuscarora War (1711)
  • New York slave uprising (1712)
  • Yamasee War in the Carolinas (1715-1716)
  • French establish New Orleans, gaining control of the Mississippi River (1718)
  • Beginnings of the Plains Indian horse and gun culture (1720s-1750)
  • Sieur de la Vérendrye explores the Northern Plains (1727)
  • Natchez Wars (1729)
  • James Oglethorpe establishes the colony of Georgia as a buffer between Spanish Florida and English colonies (1732)
  • Printer John Peter Zenger stands trial for "seditious libel" (1734-1735)
  • "Walking Purchase" (1737)
  • Stono Rebellion in South Carolina (1739)
  • George Whitfield begins his first tour of the colonies (1739)
  • Russians make contact with Aleutian peoples (1740s)
  • Jonathan Edwards delivers sermon entitled "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" (1741)
  • New York Slave Conspiracy (1741)
  • Treaty of Lancaster (1744)
  • King George's War begins (1744)
  • New Englanders capture the French post at Louisbourg (1745)
  • Benjamin Franklin publishes essay on population (1751)
  • Benjamin Franklin publishes experiments with electricity (1751)
  • George Washington builds Fort Necessity (1754)
  • Albany Congress (1754)
  • Braddock's defeat (1755)
  • Battle of Fort William Henry (1757)
  • William Pitt becomes Prime Minister (1757)
  • Battle of Quebec (1759)
  • Cherokee War (1759)
  • France cedes all of its North American possessions in the Treaty of Paris (1763)
  • Pontiac's Rebellion (1763)
  • Paxton boys attack Native Americans in Pennsylvania (1763)
  • Proclamation of 1763
  • Beginnings of the Regulator Movement in the Carolina backcountry (1760s)
  • Russians and Spaniards explore and settle the pacific coast (1760s)
  • Stamp Act (1765)
  • Townshend Acts (1767)
  • Spanish build missions in California (1768)
  • Tea Act (1773)
  • Coercive Acts (1774)
  • First Continental Congress (1774)
  • Skirmishes at Lexington and Concord (1775)
  • Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense (1776)
  • Declaration of Independence (1776)
  • American victory at Saratoga results in an alliance with France (1777)
  • Congress adopts the Articles of Confederation (1781)
  • Battle of Yorktown (1781)
  • Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolution (1783)
  • Spain interferes with U.S. navigation of the Mississippi River (1785)
  • Shay's Rebellion (1786)
  • Constitutional Convention (1787)
  • Constitution is ratified (1787-1791). 

Some Possible Events for US HIST 1

  • Presidential election of 1800
  • Barbary Pirate Wars (1801-1815)
  • Innovations and Inventions (1801-1807)
  • The Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson connection (1802)
  • Robert Fulton and the steamboat (1803)
  • The Lewis and Clark expedition (1803-1806)
  • Louisiana Purchase (1803)
  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • Fall of Aaron Burr (1804-1807)
  • Slave Trade Act (1807)
  • War of 1812 catalysts (1807-1809)
  • John Jacob Astor and the fur trade (1808)
  • Tecumseh and "the Prophet" (1811)
  • War of 1812
  • Hartford Convention (1814)
  • Francis Cabot Lowell and early industrialization (1815)
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church founded (1816)
  • Erie Canal (1817)
  • Seminole Wars (1817-1858)
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Missouri Compromise (1820)
  • Land Act of 1820
  • Survival on the Essex (1820) and mutiny on the Globe (1824)
  • Santa Fe Trail (1821)
  • American Colonization Society and the founding of Liberia (1822)
  • Monroe Doctrine (1823)
  • Presidential election of 1824, "a corrupt bargain"
  • New Harmony, Indiana, founded (1825)
  • Jacksonian democracy and the spoils system (1829-1837)
  • Davy Crockett "Frontier Hero"
  • Abolitionist Movement (1830s)
  • Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (1830)
  • Indian Removal Act (1830)
  • Nat Turner's slave rebellion (1831)
  • Nullification crisis (1832-1833)
  • Democracy in America (1835 and 1840) by Alexis de Tocqueville
  • Texas revolution (1835-1836)
  • Samuel Colt and the revolver (1836)
  • Trail of Tears (1838)
  • The Amistad mutiny (1839)
  • Immigration (1840s)
  • Dorr's Rebellion (1842)
  • Samuel F.B. Morse and the telegraph (1844)
  • Henry David Thoreau and the Transcendentalists (1846)
  • Mexican-American War (1846-1848)
  • The Donner Party ordeal (1846-1847)
  • The life and times of Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)
  • Mormon migration to Utah (1846-1847)
  • Seneca Falls Convention (1848)
  • California gold rush (1849)
  • Compromise of 1850
  • Underground Railroad (1850s-1860)
  • Rise of P.T. Barnum, burlesque, and vaudeville (1850s-1880s)
  • Know-Nothing Party (1854-1856)
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  • William Walker and Nicaragua (1856-1857)
  • Dredd Scott Case (1857)
  • Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858)
  • Black gold discovered in Pennsylvania (1859)
  • John Brown and the raid on Harper's Ferry (1859)
  • Abraham Lincoln's presidential election and secession (1860-1861)
  • Battles of Bull Run (1861 and 1862)
  • Emancipation Proclamation (1862)
  • The battles of Gettysburg, Vicksburg, and Chattanooga (1863)
  • End of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln (1865)
  • Reconstruction amendments (1865-1870)
  • Formation of the Ku Klux Klan (1866)
  • Purchase of Alaska (1867)
  • The impeachment of President Andrew Johnson (1868)
  • Construction of the Transcontinential Railroad (1869)
  • Rise of the robber barons (1870-1880s)
  • Final solution for the American Indian (1871-1879)
  • Boss Tweed's ring (1871-1872)
  • Great Chicago Fire (1871)
  • Creation of Yellowstone National Park (1872)
  • Trial of Susan B. Anthony and the rights of women (1873)
  • Red River War and Sioux Wars (1875-1877)
  • Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone (1876)
  • Great Railroad Strike (1877) 

Topic ideas are taken from the following sources.