The History Themes for Nineteenth Century United States History

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The History Themes for Nineteenth Century United States History

The content standards and benchmarks for social studies in the Michigan Curriculum Framework describe the use of historical knowledge by students. The four Michigan History Content Standards that reflect the National History Standards require students:

  • use time and chronology of important historical events in the history of the United States to explain cause and effect

  • to show a comprehension of the past by being able to tell the story of the past using important events, places and people from the past

  • to use primary and secondary source documents to analyze the past from a variety of points of view

  • to judge decisions from the past

A historical event, person, or idea is important and could stand on its own, if it is a rich example of most of the following criterion:

  • Transcends time and place,

  • Helps students understand and explain causal relationships in history,

  • Influences many subsequent events,

  • Affects a large number of people,

  • Helps us discern patterns to explain the world around us,

  • Has many clear and related examples,

  • Helps students see history from many different perspectives,

  • Helps students understand the past motivations and actions within the historical context of the time the event occurred, and

  • Illustrates that many different narratives or stories can be told in United States and Michigan History.

The following is the list of historical events, persons, or ideas that are important for every student of Nineteenth Century United States History to know.

1690 to 1776

Development of Revolutionary Ideas

  • Intolerable Acts

  • Thomas Paine

  • John Locke

  • Declaration of Independence

1781 to 1791

Documents for the New Nation

  • United States Constitution

  • Adoption of the Bill of Rights

1794 to 1834

Technology and Mechanization

  • Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin

  • Lowell Textiles

  • McCormick Reaper

1790 to 1796

Competing Visions for the New Nation

  • The Jefferson Hamilton Debate: Strict and Loose Constructionists

  • National Bank

1804 to1848


  • Migration of Settlers West

  • Indian Removal Act

  • Mexican War

1833 to 1865

Reforms and Expressions of Equality:

  • The Abolition Movement

  • Seneca Falls

  • Horace Mann

1825 to 1869

Uniting the Nation

  • Erie Canal

  • Telegraph

1619 to1860

Causes of the Civil War

  • Institution of Slavery

  • Compromise of 1850

1861 to 1865

Civil War

  • Emancipation Proclamation

  • Battle of Gettysburg

  • Gettysburg Address

1865 to 1877

Reconstruction and Civil Rights for Formerly Enslaved Persons

  • Challenges of the Freedman’s Bureau

  • Constitutional Amendments 13, 14, and 15

  • Withdrawal of Federal Troops

1890 to 1900

Rise of Big Business and Responses

  • Railroads

  • Panic and Depression of 1893

  • Populism

All dates provided are for general reference purposes only. Students should use dates to construct an understanding of the chronology of events focusing their attention on examining relationships and explaining cause and effect.

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