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A guide for using Made by History content in the classroom

Our pieces divided into units for an American history survey course

Made by History pieces cover a broad range of historical topics to present diverse historical perspectives on all periods of American and global history. Because our pieces are written for general readers, they are also valuable classroom resources to help students unpack the history behind breakneck news, analyze the origins of current political and cultural issues, and examine the parallels between the past and the present. In this first effort to integrate MBH into the classroom, we have selected the pieces that most clearly fit into broadly defined topics for a high school or college American history survey course.

We hope you will share what pieces you find effective in the classroom and any assignments that you use to help students employ historical thinking to understand our contemporary landscape. Please email us at with your ideas! As we collect assignments, syllabi and reading recommendations, we will continue to expand our MBH in the Classroom resource page.

Politics and culture in early American history

Ben Railton, “How two Massachusetts slaves won their freedom — and then abolished slavery.”

Daniel Crown, “Voter suppression is ingrained in our national DNA.”

Katyln Marie Carter, “Secrecy in the Senate.”

Jordan E. Taylor, “Why Trump’s assault on NBC and ‘fake news’ threatens freedom of the press — and his political future.”

Patrick Rael, What Trump — and his critics — get wrong about George Washington and Robert E. Lee.”

Johann N. Neem, “The Founding Fathers made our schools public. We should keep them that way.”

Ibram X. Kendi, “What would Jefferson say about white supremacist descending upon his university?”

Laura Ellyn Smith, “What Donald Trump can learn from Andrew Jackson’s reelection.”

The Civil War era

Joshua D. Rothman, “When the war on the press turns violent, democracy itself is at risk.”

Tisa Wanger “Discriminating in the name of religion? Segregationists and slaveholders did it too.”

Kevin Waite, “Robert E. Lee WAS a man of honor. That’s the problem.”

Frank J. Cirillo, “John Kelly is wrong: Slavery, not lack of compromise, caused the Civil War.

Elizabeth R. Varon, “No, Mr. President, both sides aren’t to blame for Charlottesville — or the Civil War.”

Martha S. Jones, “The 14th Amendment solved one citizenship crisis, but it created a new one.”

Gregory P. Downs, “Why the second American Revolution deserves as much attention as the first.”

William R. Black, “Untangling the Lost Cause myth from the American story will be hard.”

Progressivism and imperialism

Katy Long, “Don’t count on the Supreme Court to stop Trump’s travel ban.”

R. Joseph Parrott, “How white supremacy went global.”

Christopher Petrella, “The ugly history of the Pledge of Allegiance — and why it matters.”

Caleb Elfenbein, “More Americans have a positive view of Muslims today than two years ago. So why are anti-Muslim hate crimes on the rise?”

Kimberly A. Hamlin, “Roy Moore and the revolution to come.”

Julia Bowes, “Make school lunches great again.”

Bruce J. Schulman, “The United States needs more bureaucracy, not less.”

Christine Sismondo, “How capitalism cornered the market on authenticity.”

Marc-William Palen. “Protectionism 100 years ago helped ignite a world war. Could it happen again?”

Benjamin Coates, “How a WWI-era law set the stage for the Trump-Russia controversy.”

Sam Lebovic, “Want to end the war on whistleblowers? Revise the Espionage Act.”

Lauren Maclvor Thompson, “A century ago, women fought for access to contraception. The Trump administration threatens to undo their work.”

Race and economic development 

Calvin Schermerhorn, “Racial divides have been holding American workers back for more than a century.”

Keisha N. Blain, “Ida B. Wells offered the solution to police violence more than 100 years ago.”

Brian Purnell and Jeanne Theoharis, “How New York City became the capital of the Jim Crow North.”

Elizabeth A. Herbin-Traint, “The forgotten civil rights case that stopped the spread of Jim Crow.”

Victoria W. Wolcott, “Six Flags has taken down its Confederate flag. But that’s not the only legacy of Jim Crow at the park.”

Kevin Waite, “The largest Confederate monument in America can’t be taken down.”

Andrew W. Kahrl, “The cost of coastal capitalism: How greedy developers left Miami ripe for destruction.”

Depression and war

Andrew Hartman, “The millennial left’s war against liberalism.”

Laurence R. Jurdem, “Fighting his party in Congress didn’t work for FDR.  IT won’t work for Trump.” 

Nina Silber, “Worshipping the Confederacy is about white supremacy — even the Nazis thought so.”

Victoria Saker Woeste, “The anti-Semitic origins of the war on ‘fake news.’ ”

Steven J. Ross, “The Hollywood Nazi who spied for America.”

Thomas Weber, “What Russian collusion with Hitler reveals about interference in the 2016 election.”

Jason Petrulis, “How do you make 5,000 people disappear?”

David N. Schwartz “The immigrants who saved America- and the rest of the free world.”

Alexandra Levy, “The test that changed the world.”

Cold War America

Jeffrey A. Engel, “President Trump is ignoring the lesson of two world wars.”

William Hitchcock, “Trump threatened to nuke North Korea. Did Ike do the same?”

Se Young Jang, “How the Korean War put presidents in charge of nuclear weapons.”

Andrew Paul, “The antifa of 1940s Hollywood.”

Patryk Babiracki, “Why Americans keep falling for Russian propaganda. 

Margaret O’Mara, “Winning the Amazon sweepstakes will give one city a big boost — if it happens the right way.”

Benjamin Davidson, How our appetite for cheap food drove rural America to Trump.”

Jennifer Delton, “When ‘free speech’ becomes a political weapon.”

Marisa Chappell, “The false promise of homeownership.”

Marc J. Selverstone, “What Donald Trump can learn from the two most dangerous weeks in history.”

Mitchell Lerner, “We won’t go to war with North Korea on purpose. But we might by accident.”

David Kieran, “Why Americans still can’t move past Vietnam.”

The Sixties and the limits of American liberalism

Kyle Longley, “Even in the 1960s, the NRA dominated gun control debates.”

Christy Ford Chapin, “Medicare for all sounds great, but BernieCare is a political flop.”

Carly Goodman, “For 50 years, keeping families together has been central to U.S. immigration policy. Now Trump wants to tear them apart.”

Ibram X. Kendi, “The Civil Rights Act was a victory against racism. But racists also won.”

Mehrsa Baradaran, “We need more government, not less, in the War on Poverty.”

Christopher B. Daly, “2017 had nothing on 1968.”

Bruce J. Schulman, “Can’t escape politics today? Blame Rolling Stone.”

Heather Ann Thompson, “The new Detroit’s fatal flaw.” 

Civil rights

Cornelius L. Bynum, “How a stroke of the pen changed the Army forever.” 

David Stein, “Want to combat inequality? Look to the Fed.”

Seth Tannenbaum, “Athletes are fighting for equality. They shouldn’t ignore their own sports.”

N. D. B. Connolly.  “Charlottesville showed that liberalism can’t defeat white supremacy. Only direct action can.” 

Christopher W. Schmidt, “Yes, there is a right to discriminate.”

James Zarsadiaz, “Elaine Chao is sticking by President Trump. That shouldn’t be a surprise.”

Theodore R. Johnson, “How American racism aids our adversaries.”

Justin Gomer, Christopher Petrella, “How the Reagan administration stoked fears of anti-white racism”

Modern feminism

Kathryn J. McGarr, “No one should be surprised by journalism’s sexual harassment problem.”

Kathryn Cramer Brownell, “Harvey Weinstein exposes Hollywood’s real politics- sexist and exploitive, not liberal.”

Gillian Frank and Lauren Gutterman. “Why the courts had to force the Trump administration to let a 17-year-old have an abortion.”

Claire Potter, “Harvey Weinstein and the problem of collaborators.”

Wendy Kline, “Trump’s Latest Assault on Women.”

Anne M. Blaschke, “#MeToo is undoing the devil’s bargain of the 1990s.”

The “Me Decade”

Bruce J. Schulman, “Blue states already subsidize red states. Now red states want even more.” 

Oscar Winberg, “When it comes to harassing the media, Trump is no Nixon.”

Carter Hathaway, “The surprising origins of reality TV.”

Sarah E. Igo, “The Equifax breach has potentially catastrophic consequences. But we can’t obscure the even bigger problem.” 

Steven M. Gillon, “Why are so many white men so angry?”

Leif Fredrickson, “Scott Pruitt is wrong about the origins of the EPA.”

Kim Phillips-Fein, “How the 1977 blackout unleashed New York City’s tough-on-crime politics.”

Josh Zeitz,  “The night liberalism failed.”

Sarah B. Snyder, “Is the Trump administration abandoning human rights?”

Peter L. Hahn, “How Jimmy Carter lost Iran.”

Political polarization in recent American history

Kevin M. Kruse, “Partisans often try to claim July 4 as their own. It usually backfires.”

Sarah A. Seo, “How the fight over civil forfeiture lays bare the contradictions in modern conservatism. 

Stacie Taranto, “The Senate health-care battle isn’t what you think.”

Molly Michelmore, “How the GOP uses ‘family values’ to slash taxes.”

Michelle Nickerson, “The end of the conservative Republican.”

Elizabeth Gillespie McRae, “White women overwhelmingly supported Roy Moore. We shouldn’t be surprised.”

Brian Rosenwald, “After Charlottesville, Republicans must grapple with their history on race.”

Matthew Dallek, “The Bannon style of American politics.”

Stacie Taranto, “Why abortion — not sexual misconduct — is likely to decide the Alabama Senate race.”

Andrew Hartman, “How the culture wars destroyed public education.” 

Max Felker-Kantor, “The 1984 Olympics fueled L.A.’s war on crime. Will the 2028 Games do the same?”

Jennifer Delton, “The Left’s grand delusion.” 

Josh Zeitz, “As the sexual assault scandal grows, Congress must clean its own house.”

Jeremi Suri, “How 9/11 triggered democracy’s decline.”