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BRI's free, online U.S. History resource for high schoolers

BRI's Landmark Textbook Resource

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Textbook Overview

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:

Design & Features

How is this resource designed? 

The text is divided into 16 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. Every component works together to help students gain insight into the American experiment - the ongoing quest for a more perfect union. 

It delves into the core principles that shaped the United States of America. It explores the historical journey, from the Founders' vision to the challenges faced by the nation throughout the last 250 years. 

How does this resource encourage student dialogue?

The curriculum fosters active student participation. Opportunities for dialogue, critical thinking, and informed discussions are at the core of the lessons and activities.

By engaging with primary sources and narratives, students will develop a deeper understanding of historical events and their impact on the country over time. 

What are point-counterpoint Debates: 

This curriculum does not shy away from controversial topics. It presents different perspectives through a scholarly lens and encourages students to engage in respectful debates with their classmates. 

Use these debates to discuss constitutional issues, rights, and social movements and give your students tools to analyze arguments and form their own opinions. 

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Chapter Components:

Inside the Inquiry Organizer, students will find the learning objectives for the unit and chapter, as well as any resources needed to complete assignments.

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.

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.

Scope and Sequence

Bill of Rights Institute has developed a scope and sequence using Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness content to cover a one school year U.S. History or AP U.S. History course.

See our sample scope & sequence