Here is a list of the National History Day topics covered in this LibGuide.
- Abigail Smith Adams
- John Adams
- Samuel Adams
- Susan B. Anthony
- Leonard Bernstein
- Ted Bundy
- Lucy Burns
- Andrew Carnagie
- Rachel Carson
- Carrie Chapman Catt
- Christopher Columbus
- General George Custer
- John Dillinger
- Dorothea Lynde Dix
- Frederick Douglass
- Henry Ford
- Benjamin Franklin
- Emma Goldman
- John Hancock
- John Edgar Hoover
- Andrew Jackson
- Thomas Jefferson
- John F. Kennedy
- Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
- Martin Luther King
- General Robert Edward Lee
- Lewis and Clark
- Abraham Lincoln
- Logging in New Hampshire
- Dolly Madison
- General Douglas MacArthur
- Christa McAuliffe
- Harvey Bernard Milk
- John Muir
- Carry Amelia Moore Nation
- Annie Oakley
- General George Smith Patton, Jr.
- Alice Paul
- Franklin Pierce
- James Polk
- Joseph Pulitzer
- Paul Revere
- Jacob Riis
- John Rolfe
- Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Jonas Salk
- John Smith
- Elizabeth C. Stanton
- Harry S. Truman
- Vietnam War
- George Washington
- White Mountains Art
- Wright Brothers
Citation and Plagiarism Resources on the Internet
Jamestown Colony is an authoritative and thorough treatment of all aspects of life in Jamestown, the first successful British colony in the New World.
Abigail Adams, née Abigail Smith (born November 22 [November 11, Old Style], 1744, Weymouth, Massachusetts [U.S.]—died October 28, 1818, Quincy, Massachusetts, U.S.), American first lady (1797–1801), the wife of John Adams, second president of the United States, and mother of John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States. She was a prolific letter writer whose correspondence gives an intimate and vivid portrayal of life in the young republic.
John Adams, (born October 30 [October 19, Old Style], 1735, Braintree [now in Quincy], Massachusetts—died July 4, 1826, Quincy), early advocate of American independence from Great Britain, major figure in the Continental Congress (1774–77), author of the Massachusetts constitution (1780), signer of the Treaty of Paris (1783), first American ambassador to the Court of St. James (1785–88), first vice president (1789–97) and second president (1797–1801) of the United States. Although Adams was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the most significant statesmen of the revolutionary era, his reputation faded in the 19th century, only to ascend again during the last half of the 20th century. The modern edition of his correspondence prompted a rediscovery of his bracing honesty and pungent way with words, his importance as a political thinker, his realistic perspective on American foreign policy, and his patriarchal role as founder of one of the most prominent families in American history.
A second cousin of John Adams, second president of the United States, Samuel Adams was graduated from Harvard College in 1740 and briefly studied law; he failed in several business ventures. As a tax collector in Boston, he neglected to collect the public levies and to keep proper accounts, thus exposing himself to suit.
Although unsuccessful in conducting personal or public business, Adams took an active and influential part in local politics. By the time the English Parliament passed the Sugar Act (1764) taxing molasses for revenue, Adams was a powerful figure in the opposition to British authority in the Colonies. He denounced the act, being one of the first of the colonials to cry out against taxation without representation. He played an important part in instigating the Stamp Act riots in Boston that were directed against the new requirement to pay taxes on all legal and commercial documents, newspapers, and college diplomas.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony, a leading nineteenth-century feminist activist, devoted almost all of her adult life to social reform. As a leader of the women's rights movement for more than 50 years, she formed a dynamic partnership with fellow activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Together they focused primarily on advancing the cause of women's suffrage.
From Biography in Context: Leonard Bernstein was an immensely talented American conductor, composer, pianist, and educator who has made significant contributions to the realms of both classical and popular music through numerous concerts, compositions, recordings, television appearances, and classes. He was one of the best-known American composers and the first American-born conductor to regularly conduct European orchestras.
Handsome, articulate Theodore (Ted) Bundy did not fit the accepted picture of a serial killer. With a Jekyl-and-Hyde personality, he seduced women into trusting him and subsequently raped, mutilated, and murdered at least twenty women in the Northwestern states and Florida. He was eventually apprehended, convicted, and put to death in Florida's electric chair.
Lucy Burns, (born July 28, 1879, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.—died Dec. 22, 1966, Brooklyn), American suffragist whose zealous political organizing and militant tactics helped forge support for a federal constitutional amendment guaranteeing women the vote.
Andrew Carnegie, (born November 25, 1835, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland—died August 11, 1919, Lenox, Massachusetts, U.S.), Scottish-born American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry n the late 19th century. He was also one of the most important philanthropists of his era.
From Biography in Context: Born May 27, 1907, in Springdale, Pennsylvania, Rachel Carson died on April 14, 1964. Carson was a biologist known for her influential book on pesticides, Silent Spring.
Carrie Chapman Catt
An American reformer, Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) designed the strategy for the final victory of the woman's suffrage movement in 1920 and founded the League of Women Voters.
Christopher Columbus (born between Aug. 26 and Oct. 31?, 1451, Genoa [Italy]—died May 20, 1506, Valladolid, Spain) was a master navigator and admiral whose four transatlantic voyages (1492–93, 1493–96, 1498–1500, and 1502–04) opened the way for European exploration, exploitation, and colonization of the Americas. He has long been called the “discoverer” of the New World, although Vikings such as Leif Eriksson had visited North America five centuries earlier. Columbus made his transatlantic voyages under the sponsorship of Ferdinand II and Isabella I, the Catholic Monarchs of Aragon, Castile, and Leon in Spain. He was at first full of hope and ambition, an ambition partly gratified by his title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” awarded to him in April 1492, and by the grants enrolled in the Book of Privileges (a record of his titles and claims); however, he died a disappointed man.
George Armstrong Custer (born December 5, 1839, New Rumley, Ohio, U.S.—died June 25, 1876, Little Bighorn River, Montana Territory), U.S. cavalry officer who distinguished himself in the American Civil War (1861–65) but later led his men to death in one of the most controversial battles in U.S. history, the Battle of the Little Bighorn.
From Biography in Context: John Dillinger (1903-1934) was the most famous modern American criminal. During the Depression of the 1930s his bank robberies were generally regarded as revenge on society's financial institutions that were unfairly exploiting the economically distressed.
Dorothea Lynde Dix
Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-1887) was an American reformer whose pioneer efforts to improve treatment of mental patients stimulated broad reforms in hospitals, jails, and asylums in the United States and abroad
Frederick Douglass, original name Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey (born February 1818?, Tuckahoe, Md., U.S.—died Feb. 20, 1895, Washington, D.C.), African American who was one of the most eminent human rights leaders of the 19th century. His oratorical and literary brilliance thrust him into the forefront of the U.S. abolition movement, and he became the first black citizen to hold high rank in the U.S. government.
Henry Ford (1863-1947) launched the era of the mass-produced automobile. He provided tools such as the moving assembly line to enable the fast mass-production of cars and other consumer goods.
Benjamin Franklin, also called Ben Franklin, pseudonym Richard Saunders (born Jan. 17 [Jan. 6, Old Style], 1706, Boston, Mass. [U.S.]—died April 17, 1790, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.), American printer and publisher, author, inventor and scientist, and diplomat. One of the foremost of the Founding Fathers, Franklin helped draft the Declaration of Independence and was one of its signers, represented the United States in France during the American Revolution, and was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He made important contributions to science, especially in the understanding of electricity, and is remembered for the wit, wisdom, and elegance of his writing.
As an anarchist writer, lecturer, and agitator, Emma Goldman was one of the most outstanding rebels in American history. "Red Emma," as she became known, boldly championedd individual freedom in the United States despite prison terms and eventual deportation.
John Hancock, (born Jan. 12, 1737, Braintree (now in Quincy), Mass.—died Oct. 8, 1793, Quincy, Mass., U.S.), American Revolutionary leader and first signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.
John Edgar Hoover
In 1924, at the age of 29, John Edgar Hoover became the third director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). By the time he died in office 48 years later, he had created a powerful federal government crime-fighting agency.
Andrew Jackson, byname Old Hickory (born March 15, 1767, Waxhaws region, South Carolina [U.S.]—died June 8, 1845, the Hermitage, near Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.), military hero and seventh president of the United States (1829–37). He was the first U.S. president to come from the area west of the Appalachians and the first to gain office by a direct appeal to the mass of voters. His political movement has since been known as Jacksonian Democracy.
Thomas Jefferson, (born April 2 [April 13, New Style], 1743, Shadwell, Va. [U.S.]—died July 4, 1826, Monticello, Va., U.S.), draftsman of the Declaration of Independence of the United States and the nation’s first secretary of state (1789–94), second vice president (1797–1801), and, as the third president (1801–09), the statesman responsible for the Louisiana Purchase. An early advocate of total separation of church and state, he also was the founder and architect of the University of Virginia and the most eloquent American proponent of individual freedom as the core meaning of the American Revolution.
John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy, in full John Fitzgerald Kennedy, byname JFK (born May 29, 1917, Brookline, Massachusetts, U.S.—died November 22, 1963, Dallas, Texas), 35th president of the United States (1961–63), who faced a number of foreign crises, especially in Cuba and Berlin, but managed to secure such achievements as the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty and the Alliance for Progress. He was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy
Only 34 years old when her husband, President John F. Kennedy, was assassinated in Dallas, Jackie Kennedy was declared public property after guiding the country through a dignified mourning for their lost leader.
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King Jr. led the African-American struggle to achieve full rights of U.S. citizenship and showed how mass peaceful action could solve intractable social and political problems. He eloquently voiced the hopes and grievances of African Americans, persuading the majority of them to take him as their leader.
General Robert Edward Lee
General in chief of the Confederate armies in the American Civil War, Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) displayed strategic sense and tactical skill that rank him among the great military captains of history.
Lewis and Clark
Meriwether Lewis, (born Aug. 18, 1774, near Charlottesville, Va. — died Oct. 11, 1809, near Nashville, Tenn., U.S.), American explorer, who with William Clark led the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the uncharted American interior to the Pacific Northwest in 1804–06. He later served as governor of Upper Louisiana Territory.
William Clark, (born Aug. 1, 1770, Caroline county, Va. — died Sept. 1, 1838, St. Louis, Mo.), American frontiersman who won fame as an explorer by sharing with Meriwether Lewis the leadership of their epic expedition to the Pacific Northwest (1804–06). He later played an essential role in the development of the Missouri Territory and was superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis.
From ABC-CLIO: Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the most loved of all the U.S. presidents. His words, always simple and eloquent, exhorting preservation of the Union, then asking forgiveness and peace for all who fought and suffered in the war, are equally familiar and moving. For most people, Lincoln personifies the American spirit of freedom and equality.
Logging in New Hampshire
Dolley Payne Todd Madison was married James Madison, the President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. Known for her social abilities and presence, she saved the White House's art collection from looting and burning during the War of 1812.
General Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur, (born January 26, 1880, Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.—died April 5, 1964, Washington, D.C.), U.S. general who commanded the Southwest Pacific Theatre iin World War II, administered postwar Japan during the Allied occupation that followed, and led United Nations forces during the first nine months of the Korean War.
Teacher Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986) was the first private citizen to be included in a space mission. Her space flight was meant to inspire students to study science, and she was scheduled to teach lessons to classrooms on earth from space. She died in a fiery explosion mere seconds after the launch of the space shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986.
Harvey Bernard Milk
Harvey Milk (1930-1978), a San Francisco city politician, helped open the door for gays and lesbians in the United States by bringing civil rights for homosexuals, among many other issues, to the political table.
The writings of John Muir (1838-1914), American naturalist and explorer, are important for their scientific observations and their contributions to the cause of conservation. Muir also cofounded the Sierra Club environmental organization.
Carry Amelia Moore Nation
Carrie Amelia Moore Nation was an American woman who was a radical member of the temperance movement, which opposed alcohol before the advent of Prohibition.
Annie Oakley was known for her amazing speed and accuracy with rifles and pistols.
General George Smith Patton, Jr.
George Smith Patton, Jr. (1885-1945), was one of the outstanding tactical commanders of World War II. His campaigns in Sicily, France, and Germany were distinguished by boldness and an imaginative use of armor.
Credited with revitalizing the movement for women's suffrage, Alice Paul (1885-1977) mobilized a generation of women who had grown impatient with the incremental measures being taken toward gaining the vote.
Chosen as a candidate from the North who could please the South, Franklin Pierce, as 14th president of the United States, tried to find the way to compromise during the fateful years of the 1850s but succeeded only in splitting the country further apart.
Pocahontas (Rebecca Rolfe)
Pocahontas, also called Matoaka and Amonute, Christian name Rebecca (born c. 1596, near present-day Jamestown, Virginia, U.S.—died March 1617, Gravesend, Kent, England), Powhatan Indian woman who fostered peace between English colonists and Native Americans by befriending the settlers at the Jamestown Colony in Virginia and eventually marrying one of them.
James K. Polk, in full James Knox Polk (born November 2, 1795, Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, U.S.—died June 15, 1849, Nashville, Tennessee), 11th president of the United States (1845–49). Under his leadership the United States fought the Mexican War (1846–48) and acquired vast territories along the Pacific coast and in the Southwest.
From PBS.org: Prohibition was intended to improve, even to ennoble, the lives of all Americans, to protect individuals, families, and society at large from the devastating effects of alcohol abuse. But the enshrining of a faith-driven moral code in the Constitution paradoxically caused millions of Americans to rethink their definition of morality.
Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), Hungarian-born editor and publisher, was instrumental in developing yellow journalism in the United States.
Paul Revere (born January 1, 1735, Boston, Massachusetts [U.S.]—died May 10, 1818, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.), folk hero of the American Revolution whose dramatic horseback ride on the night of April 18, 1775, warning Boston-area residents that the British were coming, was immortalized in a ballad by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Jacob August Riis's startling print and photographic exposés of conditions in New York City's slums influenced a generation of investigative reporters, known as muckrakers, and set the standard for future photojournalists.
John Rolfe, (baptized May 6, 1585, Norfolk, England—died 1622?, Virginia [U.S.]), Virginia planter and colonial official who was the husband of Pocahontas, daughter of the Indian chief Powhatan.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt, in full Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (born Oct. 11, 1884, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died Nov. 7, 1962, New York City), American first lady (1933–45), the wife ofFranklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States, and a United Nations diplomat and humanitarian. She was, in her time, one of the world’s most widely admired and powerful women.
Although largely opposed by the political establishment, Theodore Roosevelt fought to give the common citizen "a square deal." Many of his ideas for reform, considered radical in their day, have become accepted. An avowed nationalist with imperialist leanings, he also transformed the United States into a major international and military power. He brought both the presidency and the nation into the 20th century.
Jonas Salk, in full Jonas Edward Salk (born October 28, 1914, New York, New York, U.S.—died June 23, 1995, La Jolla, California), American physician and medical researcher who developed the first safe and effective vaccine for polio.
John Smith, (baptized January 6, 1580, Willoughby, Lincolnshire, England—died June 21, 1631, London), English explorer and early leader of the Jamestown Colony, the first permanent English settlement in North America. Smith played an equally important role as a cartographer and a prolific writer who vividly depicted the natural abundance of the New World, whetting the colonizing appetite of prospective English settlers.
Elizabeth C. Stanton
American leader in the women's rights movement who in 1848 formulated the first organized demand for woman suffrage in the United States.
Harry S. Truman
From Britannica: Harry S. Truman, (born May 8, 1884, Lamar, Missouri, U.S.—died December 26, 1972, Kansas City, Missouri), 33rd president of the United States (1945–53), who led his nation through the final stages of World War II and through the early years of the Cold War, vigorously opposing Soviet expansionism in Europe and sending U.S. forces to turn back a communist invasion of South Korea.
The Vietnam War involved many protagonists, including the United States, South Vietnam, North Vietnam, and the Viet Cong.
George Washington, also called Father of His Country (born February 22, 1732, Westmoreland county, Virginia [U.S.]—died December 14, 1799, Mount Vernon, Virginia, U.S.), American general and commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775–83) and subsequently first president of the United States (1789–97).
White Mountains Art (influence on environmentalism)
Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright changed the course of the nineteenth century and beyond with their revolutionary invention, the airplane. There is no area of political or social life that remains untouched by the airplane, a technological concept conceived and developed by two inventors with little formal training.