FEATURED LESSON – The United States: An Open Ended History

The United States: An Open Ended History is a free online history textbook adapted and expanded upon from open sources.  Its chapters are designed to address most state standards, splitting the difference between overarching themes, concise summary, and the kinds of vivid, personal details that make history memorable to the average student.  Please use and share freely – to supplement or replace what you have at hand.

One – A Not So-Distant Past: Native America (Until 1600)
  1. North America’s First People
  2. The Pristine Myth: How Native Americans Shaped Their World
  3. A Collision of Worlds: The Legacy of Columbus
Two – A New World: Colonial America (1600 – 1754)
  1. Jamestown: English Settlers in the Land of the Powhatan
  2. Massachusetts: Church and State in the Land of the Wampanoag
  3. An Overview of the English Colonies in America
  4. The Origins of Servitude and Slavery in Colonial America
Three – Common Sense and Independence: The Revolutionary Era (1754 – 1788)
  1. Join, or Die: The French and Indian War
  2. Agitation, Taxation, and Representation by Other Means
  3. The Shot Heard Round the World, Common Sense, and Independence
  4. The Revolutionary War: With a Little Help from our Friends
  5. A New Nation in Crisis: Shays Rebellion and the U.S. Under the Articles
  6. The Constitution: A Second Draft of American Democracy
Four – A More Perfect Union: The Early Republic (1788-1824)
  1. President Washington and the Origins of Party Politics
  2. Adams, Jefferson, and Competing Visions for the New Republic
  3. Foreign Adventures in the New Republic
  4. The Era of Good Feelings and Others Who Were Not So Lucky
Five – New Frontiers: Economic, Social, and Westward Expansion (1824-1850)
  1. Andrew Jackson, For and Against the Common Man
  2. I Will Not Retreat a Single Inch: Reformers Make Themselves Heard
  3. Manifest Destiny, Westward Expansion, and the Conquest of Mexico
Six – The Gathering Storm: Sectionalism and a Nation in Crisis (1850-1865)
    1. Sectionalism in the Fractured 1850s
    2. A Nation Divided Against Itself
    3. To Break Our Bonds of Affection: The Coming of the Civil War
    4. Gettysburg to Appomattox and Beyond: A New Birth of Freedom
Appendix – Student Activities


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Browse by country and region

Every lesson on Open Ended Social Studies features a free online text suited for middle or high school classroom use, guided reading questions, and suggested activities.  Use this page to navigate by country or region through our catalog of lessons.

These are the chapters your other world history textbook is missing:

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Become a Contributor

In this era of uninspired and tepid textbooks – when paint-by-numbers course materials generate big bucks for corporations with no real stake in fostering a new generation of curious, critical learners – the best way to ensure a good social studies curriculum is to write it ourselves.

Have a social studies lesson plan that would fit in well here?  Consider sharing it here for the benefit of students, teachers, and interested readers all over the world.  Openendedsocialstudies generates no profit – it exists solely to spread high quality lessons as far and as wide as possible.  You can make an important contribution to that mission.

Thanks for sharing so generously!