Change Versus Continuity

Historians talk often about interpreting any period of time (especially times of reform and/or change) in terms of change versus continuity. How much did the United States change from 1763 to 1790? From 1850 to 1876? From 1920 to 1933? From 1960 until 1975? In this assignment I have students make a brochure where they look at the big picture and seek to judge how much change actually took place versus how much stayed the same.

Sometimes students complain the assignment smacks a bit of busywork, but I remind them it is exactly these kinds of concerns that become AP US History questions at the end of the year.

Graduate students in history focus obsessively on change versus continuity, but high school students did not care much, it would seem.

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