What are some other turning points in American history that historians have emphasized or should emphasize?  How might these other turning points influence where new American history surveys begin and end?


Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Reexamining Turning Points in American History: Broadening Perspectives

Thesis Statement

In addition to traditionally emphasized turning points in American history, such as the American Revolution and the Civil Rights Movement, historians should also highlight events like the Women’s Suffrage Movement, the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, and the Environmental Movement to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the nation’s development. These diverse turning points can reshape where new American history surveys begin and end by incorporating a broader range of perspectives and experiences.


The study of American history is often framed around key turning points that have shaped the nation’s development and identity. While traditional narratives tend to focus on events like wars and political movements, there is a growing recognition among historians of the importance of broadening perspectives to encompass a more inclusive and diverse range of turning points in American history.

Broadening Perspectives on Turning Points

Women’s Suffrage Movement

The fight for women’s suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th centuries marked a significant turning point in American history, leading to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. By emphasizing the Women’s Suffrage Movement, historians can highlight the struggle for gender equality and the contributions of women to American society and politics.

LGBTQ+ Rights Movement

The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, encompassing events like the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the push for marriage equality in the 21st century, represents a pivotal turning point in American history. By exploring this movement, historians can illuminate the ongoing fight for LGBTQ+ rights and recognition, shaping the nation’s understanding of diversity and inclusion.

Environmental Movement

The Environmental Movement, emerging in the mid-20th century with events like the first Earth Day in 1970 and the creation of landmark environmental legislation, has had a profound impact on American society and policy. By highlighting this movement, historians can underscore the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability in shaping the nation’s future.

Influence on American History Surveys

Revisiting Where American History Surveys Begin

By incorporating a broader range of turning points, new American history surveys can redefine where the narrative begins. Rather than starting solely with colonial settlements or the Founding Fathers, surveys could include Indigenous histories, early resistance movements, and diverse cultural contributions to provide a more comprehensive foundation for understanding American history.

Redefining Where American History Surveys End

Similarly, by expanding the scope of turning points to include events like the Women’s Suffrage Movement, LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, and Environmental Movement, new surveys can reshape where the narrative concludes. Instead of focusing solely on political milestones or military conflicts, surveys could explore ongoing struggles for social justice, environmental sustainability, and human rights to offer a more nuanced view of America’s past and future.


In conclusion, by reexamining and broadening perspectives on turning points in American history, historians can create a more inclusive and dynamic narrative that reflects the diverse experiences and contributions of individuals across the nation. By emphasizing events like the Women’s Suffrage Movement, LGBTQ+ Rights Movement, and Environmental Movement alongside traditional turning points, new American history surveys can provide a richer understanding of the nation’s past and present. This holistic approach to studying American history can foster greater empathy, awareness, and engagement with the complexities of the nation’s development and influence where surveys begin and end to reflect a more comprehensive view of American history.

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