Using these themes* in your classroom will give your lessons focus and your students a working paradigm from which to create and construct meaning to the large amount of content that is covered in a US History course. We have decided to use these “5 Themes of US History” for their dual ability to allow students to engage the content and probe for deeper understanding and connections.
To review the AP US History Themes, click here.
For student created theme projects, click here.
Growth of Democracy
This theme encompasses the struggle of individuals and groups to define, exercise and ensure civil rights and political freedom for all members of American society.
This theme refers to the desire and effort of individuals and groups to improve personal, political, and economic standing within American society.
Expanding Borders and Influence
This theme addresses the role of geographical, political, and economic expansion in American history, from pre-Columbian times to modern globalization.
Technology, Industrial and Technological Change
This theme refers to the liberating and limiting effects of innovations and inventions, and their impact on our nation’s social, economic, and environmental condition.
Cultural Contact and Conflict
This theme examines the consequences, postive and negative, that the friciton amongst different ethnic, social, and cultural groups have had on American History.
*The “5 Themes of US History” were developed by CATE, the Center for Advanced Technology and Education at the University of Oregon for a previously funded TAH Grant.