History Day 2023
Each year, National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. The 2022-2023 theme is Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.
Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas.
Our magazine’s topic lists can help you find articles for your research.
Native people were differently situated than European settlers. Daniel Richter’s book Facing East from Indian Country argues that to understand Native perspectives, students need to look eastward, not westward. If one faced east, how would a frontier look? John Bowes, in his book Exiles and Pioneers, analyzes the westward movement of Native people from the east. Were Connecticut’s indigenous people who moved with the Brothertown movement exiles, pioneers, or something else?
Many people know that Connecticans became westward pioneers to Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley and Ohio’s Western Reserve. Fewer are aware that before Connecticans went west, many thousands migrated north, following the Connecticut River to what became the states of Vermont and New Hampshire.
What happened to indigenous people in Connecticut when the beaver population they relied on was hunted to extinction? How do animals shape frontiers?
Connecticut people–indigenous, white, African American–moved westward like many others. And they took their goods with them. Some people stayed put and just invested in the west, like Samuel Colt.
You could also consider conceptual frontiers like those many civil rights activists crossed, or those medical frontiers that offered new treatment or discoveries. Imagine an Election Day without African American or women voters, or surgery without anesthesia.