AMERICA

American History & Culture

Active citizenship requires a basic understanding of American government and how it works. A knowledge of American history and American culture is necessary for a broad perspective as well as a deep understanding of the complexities of American society. Study of American history and culture supports the development of critical thinking skills and enables citizens to interpret information and apply knowledge gained in the exercise of citizenship.

In fact, a number of public issues are impossible to understand without knowledge of American history and culture. Many issues facing America have a long history with important lessons to be learned. Without such an understanding, citizens are not equipped to understand discussions of important issues or evaluate candidates for political office.

Track Your Progress

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Download the Worksheet (PDF) to track your progress on the site.

“How to Be an American” Survey

Eric Liu believes that specification of knowledge needed for effective citizenship, “has to be online, crowd sourced…whose entries are added or pruned, elevated or demoted, according to the wisdom of the network.” (p61). He has initiated such a survey and reported the results to date. (“How to Be an American” survey by Eric Liu, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute’s Program on Citizenship and American Identity and founder of Citizen’s University. Reported in an article of the same name in “Democracy”, No. 38. Fall 2015, p52-63.)

Responses to his survey as of Fall, 2015 are as follows: (Note: Each term is hyperlinked to a related information source. Click on all terms to “Become an American” as defined by survey respondents.)

Stay Tuned. DEMOCRACY-CENTRAL plans to offer interactive quizzes to test your knowledge on “How to Be an American” topics.

The US Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Exam for Citizenship

The US Immigration and Naturalization Service’s exam for citizenship includes questions on American history? Click here to try a sample test. See if you can pass.

WATCH EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS

Crash Course:
The video below is a playlist. Click the three bars at the left to see all videos. Crash Course provides a comprehensive coverage of American history from ‘Natives and Spaniards’ to ‘Obama.’ Each is educational, entertaining and brief (Wikipedia).

Liberty’s Kids:
Liberty’s Kids is an educational animated television series tracing the historical process of the creation of the United State’s and its branches of government. It tells the story of the making of America from the Boston Tea Party to the completion of the Constitutional Convention through the eyes of two fictional young reporters for a local newspaper. It was originally broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) during the years 2002 through 2004. Click here to watch videos.

A compilation of American History books as evaluated by fellow citizens and others

Books on American History are sold on Amazon.com and other booksellers. Customers can rate books on a scale from zero stars to five stars. Here are books arranged by category, pre-screened for you by American citizens and others who gave them a high rating (4.5 to 5 stars) arranged by category. Each book is hyperlinked (click on the book of choice) to Amazon.com where you can read reviews.

STAY TUNED. DEMOCRACY-CENTRAL PLANS TO OFFER INTERACTIVE QUIZZES ON AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE – ONE FOR EACH CATEGORY. 

GENERAL HISTORY BOOKS

AMERICA’S BEGINNINGS BOOKS
REVOLUTIONARY ERA
BUILDING A DEMOCRACY
NATIVE AMERICANS
REVISIONIST HISTORY

BIOGRAPHY BOOKS

SPECIAL FOCUS HISTORY
HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

How to Use this Site

This site can empower your citizenship.

  1. Explore, LEARN AND DISCUSS issues important to citizens.
  2. Test yourself with QUIZZES that are designed to educate and guide you through the site.
  3. PRINT OUT the “Tracking Your Progress Sheet”.
  4. VOLUNTEER to improve and expand this site.

This site is a project of the Foundation for Educating Citizens for American Democracy About | Contribute | Volunteer | Contact