How Do I Learn American History?

Are you interested in learning about American history but don’t know where to start? With so many events, people, and movements to cover, it can be overwhelming. However, there are several ways to approach studying American history that can make the process more manageable and enjoyable.

1. Start with a General Overview

Before diving into specific events or time periods, it’s essential to have a general understanding of American history. This can include major themes like colonization, the American Revolution, westward expansion, and civil rights movements. Starting with an overview will provide context for any other topics you study and allow you to see how they fit into the larger narrative of American history.

Tip: A great way to get started is by watching documentaries or reading books that provide a broad overview of American history. The History Channel has many accessible documentaries on its website that cover various eras in American history.

2. Find Your Interests

Once you have a general understanding of American history, it’s time to find what interests you the most. Whether it’s the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement, finding a topic that sparks your curiosity will make learning about it much more enjoyable.

Tip: If you’re not sure what interests you yet, try browsing through different historical events or movements on websites like You may be surprised at what catches your attention!

3. Read Primary Sources

To get a deeper understanding of historical events and figures, reading primary sources is essential. Primary sources are documents or artifacts created during a particular time period by someone who witnessed or experienced an event firsthand.

Tip: Many primary sources are available online through websites like The National Archives or Library of Congress.

4. Visit Historical Sites

Visiting historical sites can bring history alive for you in ways that reading cannot do justice to. Walking in the footsteps of historical figures or experiencing a location where a significant event occurred can provide a unique perspective on history.

Tip: Many historical sites offer guided tours or have self-guided audio tours available. Check their websites for more information.

5. Join Online Communities

Joining online communities that are focused on American history can be an excellent way to learn from others who share your interests. You can ask questions, share resources, and engage in discussions with people who are also interested in learning about American history.

Tip: Check out subreddits like r/AskHistorians or r/history for active communities focused on American history.

6. Take Courses

Taking courses, whether online or in-person, can provide a structured approach to learning about American history. You’ll have access to knowledgeable instructors and be able to interact with other students who share your interests.

Tip: Check out websites like Coursera or edX for free online courses on American history.

In Conclusion

Studying American history may seem daunting at first, but there are many ways to approach it that can make the process more manageable and enjoyable. Starting with a general overview, finding your interests, reading primary sources, visiting historical sites, joining online communities, and taking courses are all excellent ways to learn about American history. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert on American history!