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William Doonan taught history in public schools in New York for many years. Throughout his years of teaching, William was able to gain knowledge and perspective from his students– even though he was the teacher. Although these are ranked in no particularly order, today he highlights 5 of the most popular topics that are taught in history classes.

Civil Rights in the USA

Still a highly controversial topic in America today, civil rights taught within history classes capture the attention of students. Race and diversity are heavy topics for students because it still actively involves them in their daily lives, even though the African-American Civil Rights Movement began in 1954.

The journey to freedom and equality that African-Americans embarked on opens the eyes of students as they learn about Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and more. People put their lives at risk, and some even lost their lives during this movement. It was a dangerous yet pivotal time in American history.

WWII – German/Russian Dictatorship

One of the most jampacked with events and information wars that we teach today is World War II. Known as the deadliest, and most widespread wars, World War II a fascinating, yet heartbreaking time in world history. More than 30 countries involved with over 50 million deaths worldwide, WWII lasted from 1939 to 1945.

While teaching on the topic of WWII, students get caught up in the German and Russian dictatorship, and how two men ruled two countries with some of the most inhumane values. Although students may cry when watching movies like “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”, it opens their eyes and emotions to the cruelty of war, and the importance of human lives– no matter their ethnicity.

The Revolutionary War

Known as the war of independence, the Revolutionary war is when America fought for freedom from the British. Events like the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill, the and signing of the Declaration of Independence are the founding moments to our country as we know it. The historical moments within the American Revolution are details of how our country was founded, and fought for with blood, sweat, and tears.

George Washington was a great leader during this time, leading a team of colonial forces and eventually became a hero. It is because of his actions and leadership during this time that he became America’s first president.

Medieval Times

Although Medieval times are not a part of American history in particular, they’re an intriguing topic that Americans have always been fascinated with. The New York Renaissance Faire has been running for a total of 40 seasons, taking Americans back to the age of medieval times. New York is not the only state with a Renaissance Faire, as Pennsylvania, Maryland and other states have them as well. Although the Renaissance began towards the end of Medieval times, it’s still a great way to imerge yourself in history and go back in time.

The Great Depression

After the stock market crashed in 1929, America slowly hunkered down into what history knows as The Great Depression. This was a time of tragedy and terror for Americans who struggled to find jobs, food, and provide a good life for their family. As banks were failing, the price of normal items were selling for much more than their value. Although it was a long road to recovery in 1993, the Great Depression came to an end as World War II began.