New Digital Textbook
Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness
A free online U.S. History resource for high school students. This textbook is the first entirely free U.S. History resource that aligns with AP standards.
Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness
A History of the American Experiment
A Free Online U.S. History Resource for High School Students.
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Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness—Overview
Learning about history helps people—teens in particular—develop a sense of identity. Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness is an online digital U.S. History textbook for high school students that is based on compelling stories that bring American history to life. This resource is:
- adaptable for AP U.S. History and college prep U.S. History.
- full of adaptive features like text highlighting, online note-taking, and text-to-speech.
- perfect for in class or remote learning.
- hosted on OpenStax's Tutor platform.
Click here to see the Table of Contents
The text is divided into chronological units. Each unit is divided into chapters that contain components critical to understanding each time period. Each component includes review and stimulus-based (primary and secondary source) multiple-choice questions. In addition, each unit has a summative essay activity. The components included in each chapter are as follows:
Inside the Inquiry Organizer, students will find the learning objectives for the unit and chapter, as well as any resources needed to complete assignments.
Chapter Introductory Essay
Each chapter has an introductory essay which gives an in-depth overview of significant events in a particular time period. This essay is in narrative form which helps students understand the human experience through story and assists in placing important turning points and events during that time period.
Throughout the chapter, shorter narrative stories further an understanding of history as the connection of people and events in a timeline affected by experiences.
These decision points are pulled out for students to study more closely as narratives that fit into the bigger stories they’ve been reading about. Each decision point is an excellent way to help students understand actions, consequences, and a chain of events.
Here students will find differing sides of an argument presented by scholars. Practicing debate or written argument is an excellent way for students to prepare for AP tests and to develop their own belief systems.
Look no further to fill out your curriculum with primary sources for students to study. Here students will be able to easily click on primary sources to use for building out background or facts for an argument.
Instructions and handouts can be found in each of the lessons. They are designed to engage students and get them to understand the context of events and people in history, as well as develop their own knowledge base.
Unit Essay Activity
Each unit has a culminating activity designed to assess chapter objectives. These are perfectly aligned to students on an AP track, but may also be very useful for differentiation in a college prep high school history course.
- Allitt, Patrick, Cahoon Family Professor of American History, Emory University
- Badger, Anthony, Emeritus Paul Mellon Professor of American History and Emeritus Master of Clare College, Cambridge University
- Bailey, Jeremy D., Professor of Political Science and the Honors College, University of Houston
- Bartl, Anthony D., Professor of Political Science and Philosophy, Angelo State University
- Berkin, Carol, Presidential Professor of History, Emerita (Core Reviewer of Units 1-8), Baruch College & The Graduate Center, CUNY
- Billings, Mathieu, Professor of History, University of Indianapolis
- Birzer, Brad, Russell Amos Kirk Chair in History, Hillsdale College
- Bodnar, John, Distinguished and Chancellor's Professor of History, Indiana University
- Brannon, Rebecca, Professor of History, James Madison University
- Breen, Patrick, Associate Professor of History, Providence College
- Brennan, Mary, Professor of History (Reviewer of Unit 7, 1945-1980 & Unit 8, 1980-Present Day), Texas State University
- Broadwater, Jeff, Professor of History, Barton College
- Burns, Stewart, Professor of Ethical & Creative Leadership and Martin Luther King Jr. Studies, Union Institute & University
- Burstein, Andrew, Charles P. Manship Professor of History, Louisiana State University
- Busch, Andrew, Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, Claremont McKenna College
- Cannato, Vincent, Associate Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Cheek, H. Lee, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Political Science, East Georgia State College
- Chemerinsky, Erwin, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, UC Berkeley Law School
- Christensen, Mark, Associate Professor of History, Brigham Young University
- Clinton, Catherine, Denman Endowed Professor of American History, University of Texas, San Antonio
- Cole, Nicholas, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford University
- Den Hartog, Jonathan, Professor of History, Chair, Samford University
- Dickson, Paul, author and popular historian
- Domitrovic, Brian, Associate Professor of History, Sam Houston State University
- Downs, Jim, Professor of History and Director of American Studies Program, Connecticut College
- Dubofsky, Melvyn, Emeritus Professor of History, Binghamton University
- Estes, Todd, Department Chair and Professor of History, Oakland University
- Feller, Daniel, Distinguished Professor of History and Director of the Papers of Andrew Jackson (Unit 3 Reviewer, 1800-1844), University of Tennessee
- Fisher, Andy, Associate Professor of History and Director of Environment Science and Policy, William & Mary
- Fuller, James, Professor of History, University of Indianapolis
- Garmon, Jr., Frank W., Visiting Faculty at the Center for American Studies, Christopher Newport University
- Gaskill, Malcolm, Professor of Early Modern History, University of East Anglia
- Gilmore, Glenda, Peter V. and C. Vann Woodward Professor of History Emerita, Yale University
- Gordon, John Steele, author and popular historian
- Guelzo, Allen, Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities, Lincoln Prize winner (2000, 2005, 2014), Princeton University
- Gutzman, Kevin, Professor of History, Western Connecticut State University
- Hamilton, David E., Professor of History, University of Kentucky
- Hamilton, Phil, Professor of History. Christopher Newport University
- Haynes, John, Library of Congress
- Hayward, Steven, Senior Resident Scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley
- Heineman, Kenneth J., Professor of History, Angelo State University
- Heinrichs, Rebeccah, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
- Hinnershitz, Stephanie, Professor of History, Cleveland State University
- Isserman, Maurice, Professor of History, Hamilton College
- Jeansonne, Glen, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Wisconsin
- Kazin, Michael, Professor of History, Georgetown University
- Keene, Jennifer D., Department Chair and Professor of History, Chapman University
- Keith, LeeAnna, The Collegiate School
- Kidd, Thomas, Distinguished Professor of History, Baylor University
- Klehr, Harvey, Professor of Political Science, Emory University
- Lambert, Frank, Professor Emeritus of History, Purdue University
- Leibiger, Stuart, Department Chair and Professor of History (Unit 1 Reviewer, 1491-1763), La Salle University
- Lengel, Ed, National Humanities Medal Winner (2005), The National World War II Museum
- Lloyd, Gordon, Dockson Emeritus Professor of Public Policy; The Ashbrook Center, Pepperdine University
- McDonald, Rob, Professor of History (Core Reviewer of Units 1-8), U.S. Military Academy at West Point
- McMahon, Robert, Ralph D. Mershon Distinguished Professor, Emeritus Faculty, Ohio State University
- Miller, Bonnie M., Associate Professor of American Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Monroe, Dan, Associate Professor and John C. Griswold Distinguished Professor of History, Millikin University
- Moreno, Paul, William and Berniece Grewcock Chair in Constitutional History, Professor of History, Dean of Social Sciences (Unit 6 Reviewer, 1898-1945), Hillsdale College
- Moser, John E., Professor of History & Political Science, Ashland University
- Myers, Barton A., Associate Professor of History, Washington and Lee University
- Myers, Peter C., Professor of Political Science, Visiting Scholar, Heritage Foundation, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
- Nolan, Cathal J., Associate Professor of History and Executive Director of the International History Institute, Boston University
- O'Neill, Johnathan, Professor of History, Georgia Southern University
- Owens, Mackubin, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Pach, Chester, Associate Professor of History, Ohio University
- Parrish, Michael, Professor of History, UC San Diego
- Pierce, Jason, Associate Professor of History, Angelo State University
- Pietrusza, David, author and popular historian
- Pinsker, Matthew, Professor of History and Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History (Unit 4 Reviewer, 1844-1877), Dickinson College
- Postell, Joe, Professor of Political Science, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
- Puleo, Steve, author and popular historian
- Quitt, Martin H., Professor Emeritus of History, University of Massachusetts Boston
- Rakove, Jack, Professor of History and American Studies, Pulitzer Prize winner (1997), Stanford University
- Read, James H., Professor of Political Science, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University
- Schneider, Gregory L., Professor of History, Emporia State University
- Shannon, Timothy J., Department Chair and Professor of History, Gettysburg College
- Shlaes, Amity, Board Chair and author, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation
- Silverbrook, Julie, Senior Director of Growth Initiatives, iCivics
- Simpson, Brooks D., ASU Foundation Professor of History and faculty head of the Interdisciplinary Humanities and Communication faculty, Arizona State University
- Staloff, Darren, Professor of History (Unit 2 Reviewer, 1763-1800), The City College of New York
- Summers, Mark, Professor of History, University of Kentucky
- Suri, Jeremi, Professor of Public Affairs and History (Unit 8 Reviewer, 1980-Present Day), University of Texas at Austin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
- Tate, Adam, Department Chair of Humanities and Professor of History, Clayton State University
- Taylor, Alan, Thomas Jefferson Foundation Chair, Pulitzer Prize winner (1996, 2014), Bancroft Prize winner (1996), and Beveridge Award winner (1996), University of Virginia
- Thomas, Mark, Professor of History, University of Virginia
- Tootle, Stephen, Professor of History, College of the Sequoias
- Tougias, Michael, author and popular historian
- van Atta, John, Oaklawn Chair of American History, The Brunswick School
- Ward, Artemus, Professor of Political Science and Faculty Associate of Public Law, Northern Illinois University
- Waterhouse, Benjamin, Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina
- Waugh, John C., independent historian
- White, Jonathan W., Associate Professor of American Studies, Christopher Newport University
- White, W.E., Associate Professor of Leadership and American Studies, Christopher Newport University
- Zonderman, David, Department Head and Alumni Distinguished Professor of History (Unit 5 Reviewer, 1877-1898), North Carolina State University
- Zuckert, Michael, Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Science, Emeritus, University of Notre Dame and Visiting Professor, Arizona State University’s School of Civic & Economic Thought and Leadership
My district chooses my textbook for me. How can I still use Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness in my classroom?
This resource is designed so that it can serve as the primary textbook for a U.S. History classroom or as a supportive resource. It is also fully aligned to the College Board’s AP U.S. History framework.
Who wrote the content for this resource?
Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness was written, edited, and reviewed by distinguished scholars from nearly 100 universities and historical organizations, including Yale, Stanford, the University of California-Berkeley, Notre Dame, and Georgetown. Experienced teachers have piloted and helped create the textbook’s content and assessments.
What makes Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Happiness different from other textbooks?
This digital resource invites students to investigate the text as a secondary source. The diverse scholars and types of narratives mean that each component is an opportunity to question and to learn. We want the student to be in a constant mindset of historical investigation. In addition, the resource provides a wealth of supplementary materials and is fully adaptable and customizable to the needs of your classroom. As a teacher, you can choose the appropriate assignments and assessments that fit your classroom and pacing, and you can review student and class learning metrics in real time. Students can also see their own learning metrics and practice questions that align to their weakest topics. These tools allow students to take ownership of their own learning and instructors to teach more efficiently. Click here to check out the special features of this text book.
How much will this resource cost my district?
This textbook is the first entirely free U.S. History resource that aligns with AP standards. It is available to any student or educator, and it’s also openly licensed for use. Plus, since it’s digital, it means no more heavy books to carry around!
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New Digital Textbook