Candy's picks  - 30 sites of value for teachers of American History, particularly at the secondary level

Lesson plans and helps


Reference material
   Primary resources
   Also for students
Time periods of American History
Fun to surf
Other sites for students
And more


An information service for social studies educators from National Council for the Social Studies
This National Council for the Social Studies site includes links to information of awards and grants, internet resources and links, professional development, standards and position statements, and teaching resources.

Interesting Education Links of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
This site contains a list of links to information on a variety of topics of interest to teachers or to general reference materials such as dictionaries.

Busy Teachers' WebSite K-12: History
The busy teachers' history site lists web locations for references and search tools; historical exhibits and collections, both global and US; and lesson plans / classroom activities.  The Teachers' Reference Section of the same site has links to resources on cultural diversity, general and cross-subject area references / sites, Internet search tools for the surfing educator, personal reference tools, and teacher-to-teacher & student-to-student links.

Lesson plans and helps

Mr Donn's  U.S. History:  Lesson Plans & Activities  for K-12 teachers & students
This site has links to other sites where the activities are to be found.  For instance following a linkage through Mr Donn's index of the 13 colonies to the colonial puritan period, takes one to a Trackstar page with nine links to web sites about this time period.  Trackstar includes a suggested activity in association with each of these links.  Mr Donn's U.S. History site includes multiple links within sections on Native Americans,  13 Colonies/Pilgrims, American Revolution, Western Expansion, Civil War/Reconstruction, Modern America Emerges, Depression/New Deal, Civil Rights Movement, Other 20th Century, US Current Events, Primary Documents, Geography/Maps, Government, Economics, Wars & Actions, Presidents, American Women,  Explorers, AP Lessons, and many more.  It is an excellent resource for a teacher planning lessons since he has selected sites with suggestions for teachers.

Lesson Plans and Resources for Social Studies Teachers
This attractive interface provides access to sites with lesson plans and teaching strategies, online activities, teaching current events, and other social studies resources.  Each listing includes a one or two sentence description. lesson bank  -  Lessons Category: History
Lesson plans for history lessons have been submitted by different teachers.  Each item states the age group for which it would be appropriate and the name of the author.

National Archives and Records Administration: The Digital Classroom
This web page includes primary sources, activities, and training for educators and students.  To encourage teachers of students at all levels to use archival documents in the classroom, the Digital Classroom provides materials from the National Archives and methods for teaching with primary sources.  Many of the lessons include annotations on standards correlations and cross-curricular connections.  Excellent unusual lessons.

The History Channel Classroom study guides
Each guide is designed to go with a specific program which aired on the history channel.  There is a short synopsis of the program, but the students will not have seen most of these.  However, there are vocabulary lists with links to definitions in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, vocabulary and discussion questions, and sometimes extended activities.  These items could be valuable to a teacher planning a lesson on a topic which was covered in a history channel program.

The Gateway to educational materials
There are links from this site to lesson plans, instructional units, and other texts and information.  Each entry has a full paragraph description.  The disadvantage is that the page is long and organized alphabetically rather than topically or by type of site.  It also takes inordinately long to load.

Ball State University Secondary Social Studies Teachers' Home Pages
This site includes the home pages developed by students in Dr. Dean Cantu's Secondary Social Studies Methods classes, at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Included on the home pages are student generated lesson plans, assessment rubrics, power point presentations, and other curricular and instructional materials.  The lesson plans span all of the disciplines of the social sciences.

Reference material on American History

Primary Sources

USA: index to primary sources
This page is an index on the primary sources and transcripts contained in the links.  The following is a sample of the original texts which can be accessed from this page: Magna Charta; Columbus - Letter to the King and Queen of Spain, 1494; Mayflower Compact, 1620; The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin; The Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress, October 19, 1765; Second Continental Congress, Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms, July 6 1775; The Monroe Doctrine, 1823; Excerpts from "The Fugitive Slave Act" 1850; and The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863.

Library of Congress - American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library
This site provides access to collections of manuscripts, printed texts,  sheet music,  maps, motion pictures, photos and prints, and sound recordings which are in digital format and can be viewed or otherwise accessed from a computer.  These are excellent original source materials to supplement a lesson.  There is a search engine to look for items which exist in various collections.  Here is a listing of some of the collections indexed to show the variety in the collections.
African American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A. P. Murray Collection, 1818-1907; Baseball Cards, 1887-1914;  Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers at the Library of Congress; Civil War Maps, Selected Civil War Photographs; Inventing Entertainment: the Early Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies; The New Deal Stage: Selections from the Federal Theatre Project, 1935-1939; Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941; Hispano Music & Culture from the Northern Rio Grande: The Juan B. Rael Collection; Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress;  Mapping the National Parks; The Nineteenth Century in Print: Books;  The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals; By Popular Demand: Portraits of the Presidents and First Ladies, 1789-Present ; Small-Town America: Stereoscopic Views from the Robert Dennis Collection, 1850-1920; America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets;  and Votes for Women: Selections from the National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection, 1848-1921.

U.S. Historical Documents Archive
This site has indexed and stored a variety of government and other documents including federalist papers, inaugural and farewell addresses, state of the union speeches, and others such as:   the Iroquois constitution , the Massachusetts Bay charter (1629), the northwest ordinance (July 13, 1787),  the constitution of the Confederate States of America,  declaration of war on Japan (december 8, 1941), the Truman doctrine (March 12, 1947), the war powers resolution (November 7, 1973), and the civil rights act of 1991 (January 3, 1991).


The Internet Public Library: United States Reference
This site contains annotated references to other sites.  For instance, the following is their listing for a site on the presidents:
 American Presidents: Life Portraits
This site presents brief facts about each United States President. You can also search by state or President for landmarks--birthplaces, gravesites, museums, etc.--associated with each President.
Author: National Cable Satellite Corporation (
Reference--Biographies--Politicians & Rulers
Arts & Humanities--History--United States
As an example of the breadth of this site, the first links listed include: African American History, Alcatraz: The Warden Johnston Years, American Currency Exhibit, The American Experience, The American Experience: Meltdown at Three Mile Island, American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library, American Originals, American Presidents: Life Portraits, American Women's History: A Research Guide, Architecture and Interior Design for 20th Century America (1935-1955), Arlington National Cemetery, Bikini Atoll, Birds and Mammals Observed by Lewis and Clark, Black Facts Online, Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI), Costume History, Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls, Famous American Trials, Gateway to African-American History, Great American Speeches, The Great Chicago Fire and The Web of Memory,  and Hispanic America USA.

American and British History Resources on the Internet
This site is designed to provide access to scholarly resources of American and British history available on the Internet.  They are working towards turning the site into a searchable database.  Some of the links are listed only by name, others have a short description such as:  FBI Headquarters Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Home Page: FBI records dealing with individuals from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Under reference, the sites are categorized as: documents, treaties, maps, statistics, bibliographies, electronic journals, book reviews, biographies,  curricula and syllabi, and general/miscellaneous.  Under history gateways and text sites, they are listed as  general sites, sites by subject, and sites organized by time period.  There are also listings of Titles by Historic Period,  Archival and MSS. Guides,  Other Internet Resources, Library and Publisher Catalogs, and Indexes to Periodicals and Other Publications.

American Studies
Within each time period there are links to sites on specific topics.  One sentence to one paragraph identifies the type of material on the site.  These sites have been chosen with the teacher in mind.  For example, the following are listed under World War I:
  Eyewitness - Assassination of an Archduke.  This site provides information about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which was a major incident that sparked W.W.I. There are images and text.
     Mademoiselle Miss.  This site contains letters from an American girl serving with the rank of lieutenant in a French army hospital at the front. These letters are similar to diary entries and expose students to not only first person point of view, but also to a woman's perspective of the horrors of the war.
     Propaganda Analysis Home Page.  The Home Page provides a brief definition/description of propaganda.  Students can then go to the Table of Contents and scroll down to Wartime Propaganda for examples and information.

Links for Students of History and the Social Sciences
This is one of the best sites for finding specific pages which fit the category of history exhibit, museum, or photographic or art collection.  Most of the links connect to a site which contains not only text but images of the topic under consideration.  The collections are much more inclusive than just American history.

U.S. History and Historical Research Links
This is a very useful list of both specific sites and other sites with listings of links on a specific topic in U.S. history.  This is an older web page so a number of the links are no longer active.

History/Social Studies Teachers' Online Almanac or
The links to information are arranged chronologically.  There is no description of the site being accessed, but they all look as if they are very relevant to the topic.

Also for students 

History Online Project.
History comes alive on the web! This site has hundreds of links perfect for studying major eras in history. Categories include ancient civilizations Greek and Roman history, the Middle Ages, exploration, and early American history. Maintained by Oregon teacher Jim Perry, the site includes a database for students to do work online.

Washington Social Studies Site
This is a good source for sites which provide reference materials, particularly on a specific subject.  There are also lesson plans.  The listing is organized by broad time periods.  Within these the material is grouped by subject matter, e.g. articles on immigration and working conditions from 1876 to the present are grouped together.  Most references have a one or two sentence description of the site.  Many of the sites listed are excellent resources for students.


Historical Maps of the United States: The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
The maps listed on this site are all in the University of Texas collection.  They are arranged in roughly chronological order and are easy to access.

United States: Historical Maps
This is a more complete set of maps as it contains links to many collections.  However, the listing is arranged alphabetically by the name of the map, so finding a particular topic or era requires scanning the complete list.  This list is one category of a more complete list of maps sorted by broad categories, so this site has greater applicability than just to US history.


MLA Citation Examples  by HCC Library
This cites gives examples of using the Modern Language Association (MLA) style for identifying research sources. In MLA style a source is briefly credited with parenthetical citations in the text of a paper.  The complete description of each source is included in the Works Cited list. The Works Cited list, or Bibliography, is a list of all the sources used in a paper, arranged alphabetically by author's last name, or when there is no author, by the first word of the title. This listing includes examples of citations of internet sources.
A Brief Citation Guide for Internet Sources in History and the Humanities
These suggestions for citations of Internet sources in history and the historically based humanities are derived from the essential principles of academic citation in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 5th ed. (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1987).  Since the Internet is an evolving institution, this guide is not intended to be definitive.

Time periods of American History - for the student or teacher 

U.S. History Index
The U.S. History Index is a means of finding articles on a specific time period.  It starts with some very broad categories, 1400's-1600's, 1700's, 1800's, and 1900's and general.  Within each time period it has a few carefully selected sites which cover that time period.  These sites vary greatly, since they are all maintained and hosted by different people.  This is an excellent starting place for any research which is focussing on a specific time period.

An Outline of American History
This site outlines and provides a method of finding out about a specific time period.  For instance, from the colonial period one could choose to view a short article on the witches of Salem.  The material is somewhat similar to what might be found in an encyclopedia.  The organization by time period makes it quick and easy to use for short reports.

American History Timeline
This site consists of graphics, summaries, and detailed timelines for each decade from 1900-1999.  Follow the links from the main page to travel to each decade.

United States of America Chronology
This is a very basic list of the major events of each period in American history listed by date.  Some of these events are linked to an article about what happened.

Fun to surf

HyperHistory Online
HyperHistory Online navigates through 3,000 years of World History with links to important persons of world historical importance, civilization timelines, events and facts, and historical maps.

The History Place: The Past into the Future
This site contains text on different topics in history as well as some online exhibits: World War 2, Lincoln, Kennedy, Ansel Adams pictures, plus more!

Press coverage of events in American history
This site is devoted to press coverage of events in American history. It includes an extensive, searchable library with the categories Civil War, Baseball, Engravings, Journalism Hoaxes, Old West including Billy the Kid, Jesse James, Crime figures such as Bonnie & Clyde, Lizzie Borden and over a dozen other categories.  The Presidential Library includes the inaugural addresses of all U.S. presidents.  This site is a very easy to use and fun to browse.

Other sites for students 

Helpful links from Greg Feldmeth's Advanced Placement U.S. History course offered to juniors and seniors at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, California:

Chronologies (
Helpful links (
Key Terms in American History  (
U.S. History Outlines & Charts  (

Sean McAtee Web Sites for Students
This  site was compiled by a teacher.  It contains links to sites he thought it would be fun for a student to browse.  The listing is arranged by major topics in U.S. history.

Spice up your reports:

History clip art
Conventional Wisdom: Selected quotations illustrating the illusions of popular  history.

Reference: Encyclopedias, Almanacs, Dictionaries
Links to Almanacs; Atlases/Countries; Calendars, Dates, and Time; Citation Guides for Electronic Documents; Phone Numbers and Addresses; Databases; Dictionaries and Thesaurus; Encyclopedias; Libraries; Names; Ready Reference Sites and Zip Code LookUp

And more: 

Many of these are gateways leading to other sites with other links.

For Teachers

  • Class room activities in social studies
  • Social studies school service (commercial)
  • History/Social Studies for K-12 Teachers
  • Magpie: The Internet Educational Resources Guide
  • Blue Ribbon learning sites on the web
  • Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators: American History Sites
  • ED's Oasis Teachers' Guild Lesson Plan Library
  • Awesome Library Social Studies Lesson Plans
  • Academy Curricular Exchange Social Studies 
  • StudyWeb: Homework Help: General Resources - American History
  • TOP 10 Learner Characteristics for High School Students
  • Reference

  • U.S. History web sites
  • History
  • Education Planet: The education web-guide
  • Map collections, 1544 to 1996
  • A Chronology of US Historical Documents
  • Historical Text Archive
  • StudyWeb: US Studies 
  • Scholars' Guide to WWW
  • The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School:

  •        Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
  • Historic Documents and Resources
  • Back to Vale High School US History home page