Why America Is Free
Theme 1—Our national history and heritage is a treasure owned equally by all Americans.
It is this shared history and heritage of evolving civic values and principles that binds us together as a people, despite all our individual differences. This heritage is unique in all the world – unique in all the history of the world – and it is ours to preserve and learn from only because those who came before preserved, protected, improved, and passed it to us. We, in turn, hold it in trust for the future generations. We cannot uphold that trust if we do not know our history and put into practice the civic principles and values upon which our democratic republic depends.
Theme 2—All Americans own this legacy and the rights and duties of citizenship equally, without regard to race, gender, religion, origin, financial status, or how or when a person or his ancestors became citizens.
For the purpose of qualifying this equality of rights and responsibilities, only citizenship matters.
Theme 3—History is a weaving of personal stories, the lives of people and beliefs and great ideas and events by which their lives were influenced.
There are far too many people at all periods of history for everyone to be mentioned in a history study, so the people who are mentioned are generally people who because of their character, decisions, the principles that guided their actions, and the circumstances in which they found themselves have great impact or change the pattern of events of a time.
Theme 4—History provides character training and role models
Some historical figures accomplished great good and are revered. Others are remembered negatively for the harm they caused. We can learn from both to discern which character traits are good and admirable. For each person admired through the centuries, there are many more people of outstanding character who may not be in history books, but unless a person develops admirable character traits, there is little chance that he or she will be remembered long past his own life as an outstanding person.
Theme 5—Every child is capable of growing into a person of great character.
It is a matter of deciding to live according to noble principles and then doing so, one principle-based decision at a time throughout one's lifetime. In every classroom of students, there is a very good chance that many will become people of great character.
Theme 6—Understanding the American Revolution, Founding, and the foundational civic principles of the nation is critically important.
This history and these civic principles form the bedrock of our national identity, form of government, civic responsibilities, rights, and unity.
Theme 7—Events can only be truly understood in the context in which they take place.
To really understand the events of the American Revolution and the founding of the United States, it is necessary to understand what the world was like for the diverse peoples who lived then, the physical and political realities of daily life, how they thought, their world views, their social structures, government and civic principles, attitudes, beliefs, aspirations, problems, art, music, interests, and how they saw themselves and treated others.
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