Questions about the 2013 Theme: Rights and Responsibilities

We have been receiving lots of questions about this year’s theme (and figured you might be getting similar questions at the regional level), so we thought we would send a clarification (we will also publish this in the October teacher newsletter):

 Question:  Do projects need to address BOTH rights and responsibilities within a single topic?  Based on the sample topics list for this year, it looks to me like some topics just address rights OR responsibilities, not both.

 Answer:  There is no single interpretation of any of the NHD themes – the goal is to create a lens through which students can analyze their topics.  Realistically, many topics will touch on both rights and responsibilities, but that is NOT a requirement. 

 A student might choose to study the case of Curt Flood, the baseball player who sued for the right to become a free agent, and argue how the right of free agency became a key right for professional athletes.  Another student might focus on the Pure Food and Drug Act, and how it created a government that became responsible for food safety.

 Most students will find that while their topic may have a primary focus, the other half of the theme begins to creep in as they further their research.  For example, a student studying Alice Paul and the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment might find sources arguing as to whether the government has a legal responsibility to accord certain considerations to women under the law.

 When considering a topic, here are some questions to consider:

 -What is the struggle between those who have power and those who don’t?

-What are we required to give to the community?  What are we entitled to be given?

-How do we balance the rights of the individual with the rights of the group? 

-What responsibilities do we have to protect those who cannot protect themselves?

-What are the limits to rights?  Where should the lines be drawn?


Here are some Delaware related topics to consider for your project this year!

Women’s Suffrage in Delaware (Should a woman be able to vote and what responsibilities does she have to her community and country)

Helen Thomas, modern woman’s rights movement, National Organization of Women

New Sweden (Did the Swedish have the right to claim Delaware? An abandoned colony, what rights do colonies have and what is the responsibility of the home country?)

Separation Day (The rights and responsibility of being a free state (from Britain and the Penn family))

Wilmington Riots (Keeping the National Guard in Wilmington so long, did it infringe on citizens’ rights? What was the responsibility of the city government to protect its citizens?)

Abolition in Delaware (What rights did the freed slave have after abolition? What responsibility did Delaware have to the freed slave?)

Arden (What rights and responsibilities did the community members have? What rights did they fight for?)

Delaware Coastal Zone Act (What responsibility does the government have in this matter? What rights do the citizens have?)

African American Education & Pierre S. du Pont, 1920s (What responsibility did the state have to educate the African American population? Were they failing? What rights did African Americans have to education? What responsibility did P.S. Dupont feel?)

Louis Redding, Brown vs. The Board of Education

African American religious freedom, Peter Spencer (Rights to form their own church)

Prisons of War, Fort Delaware, Prisoners rights

Child Labor

Returns Day (The right and responsibility to vote and the responsibility to accept the outcome)

Works Progress Administration projects in Delaware during the Great Depression, Edward Loper (What responsibilities did the government have to its citizens?)

The DuPont Company, Workman’s Comp?

Participatory politics of the 1960s, rallies, marches and riots (What rights and responsibilities do citizens have to their government and protesting their government?)

Construction of I-95 (Taking away the rights of the homeowners of Wilmington)

LGBT Community Rights

Illegal Immigration into Delaware, Farm/Plant workers

Delaware’s Constitution


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Way to Go Delaware!!

I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate all the Delaware students, teachers and families that participated in this year’s National History Day competition. I saw many of you there wearing your Delaware shirts with pride and trading buttons like crazy! Although we did not come home with a first, second, or third place finish, we had several Delaware students take home prizes. Check out some of the highlights from this years competition below. Also, for anyone competing next year, there are exciting changes on the horizon so check back often for the updates.Kathryne

Naval History Winner 2

Maria Sutton, Winner of the Naval History Special Prize

Delaware Students come together for an Ice Cream Social

Delaware Students come together for an Ice Cream Social

Delaware students come together for an Ice Cream Social

Delaware students come together for an Ice Cream Social

Delaware student exhibit - Jr Group outstanding entry winner

Exhibit board from Delaware Students. Winner of the Outstanding entry award for the Junior Division.

DE Students in front of their exhibit

Delaware students in front of their exhibit board.

Delaware student exhibit- Sr Group outstanding entry winner 2

Exhibit board from Delaware Students. Winner of the Outstanding entry award for the Senior Division.

DE Students being interviewed 5

Delaware students competing in the Documentary Category.

DE Student in front of his exhibit 2

Delaware student standing in front of his exhibit board.

DE Student exhibit displayed at the National Museum of American History 3

Delaware student displaying her exhibit at the National American History Museum.

Award Ceremony 34

Delaware students at the award ceremony.

Award Ceremony 28

Delaware students marching in the award ceremony parade.

Award Ceremony 24

Delaware students marching in the award ceremony parade.

Award Ceremony 19

Delaware students marching in the award ceremony parade.

Award Ceremony 2

Delaware students at the award ceremony.

Outstanding Entries winners 3

Delaware winners of outstanding entry prizes.


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Filed under For Parents, For Students, For Teachers, National Contest

Are you interested in an Aeronautics topic?

The Delaware Historical Society is partnering with the Air Mobility Command Museum (Dover Air Force Base) to bring you a great program! There will be representatives there from Bellanca Air Field, New Castle Army Air Base, Dover Air Force Base and ILC inc (the maker of the spacesuit). They will be talking about how each institution influenced travel and transportation of materials. This would be a great event to take notes, get new information, and to find some new sources for your project!

The program will be on Sunday, October 21st at 2pm. It is completely free to attend. You can RSVP at 302-295-2388 or at I hope to see you there!

Air Mobility Command Museum

1301 Heritage Road

Dover Air Force Base, DE 19902


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Filed under For Parents, For Students, For Teachers, Theme/Topic Ideas

How is your research going?

Hello Students!

So we are in the midst of National History Day season and I just wanted to check in to see how your research is coming? Has anyone found something really interesting that you weren’t expecting to find? Where is the coolest place you have gone to do research? I just can’t wait to see all your projects this year at the State competition!

Also, I want to remind everyone that our national history day facebook page and twitter accounts are up and running. Please like/follow them so that we can all support each other as we go through the year.


Twitter: @NHDinDE

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Some Turnign Points in History: People, Ideas, Events

  • Reign of Terror: Radicalization of the French Revolution
  • The Treaty of Versailles in 1918 and its Consequences
  • Valley Forge and the Development of the Continental Army
  • The Continental Association and the Coming of the American Revolution
  • John Maynard and Keynes and the influence of Keynesian Economics
  • Brown v. Board of Education and the integration of American schools
  • Federal Power and the Case of McCulloch v. Maryland
  • Plessy v. Ferguson and the Growth of Jim Crow
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine’s Pivotal Role in the High Middle Ages
  • Ronald Reagan and the Resurgence of Conservatism in America
  • The Effects of the Fall of Constantinople
  • William the Conqueror and the Course of English History
  • The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 and the Growth of Suburban America
  • Martin Luther’s 95 Theses and the Coming of the Protestant Reformation
  • Turning Points of the Korean War: China’s Entry
  • The International Women’s Day Strike in Petrograd: Spark of the Russian Revolution
  • The Impact of Buddha’s Teaching on India
  • Ptolemy’s Conquest of Egypt and the Growth of Kushite Civilization
  • Consequences of the Recapture of Jerusalem by Salah ad Din
  • Television in the 1950s and the Transformation of American Entertainment
  • Invention of the Spinning Jenny and the Rise of the Textile Industry
  • The Great Migration of African-Americans to the North and its Consequences
  • First Victory of the Women’s Suffrage Movement: Norwegian Women Gain the Right to Vote
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Decline of the Soviet Empire
  • Effects of the Crusades on Medieval Europe
  • Ms.Magazine and the growth of the Feminist Movement
  • Irish Potato Famine and the Irish Diaspora
  • Walter Reed and the Conquest of Yellow Fever
  • The Impact of the Erie Canal
  • Changing Middle East Politics: The Rise of OPEC
  • The Great Railroad Strike of 1877 and the American Labor Movement
  • Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse: A Cultural Transformation
  • The Beatles and the British Invasion
  • Roger Williams and the Separation of Church and State
  • Watergate and the Weakening of the Presidency
  • breaking the Barrier: Jackie Robinson
  • Birth of a Sugar-Plainting Colony: The Dutch Occupation of Brazil
  • The Homestead Act and the Settlement of the West
  • Henry Ford: Changing the Production Model
  • Sears Roebuck Catalogue and the Rise of Mass Consumerism
  • The Impact of Sigmund Freud on Psychiatric Practice
  • Harry Truman: Changing the Way We Fight War and the Dropping of the Bomb
  • Curt Flood and Free Agency Baseball
  • Rachael Carson’s Silent Spring and the Growth of the Environmental Movement
  • Midway: Turning the Tide in the Pacific War


Filed under For Students, For Teachers, Research Suggestions, Theme/Topic Ideas

Finding the right topic

I have an idea for a topic, now what? Narrow down the topic and connect it to the theme…

Selecting a National History Day topic is a process of gradually narrowing down the area of history (period or event) that interests you to a manageable subject. For example, if you’re interested in Native Americans and the theme is Rights and Responsibilities in History, a natural topic would be treaty rights. Now from there, you would consider the resources you have available to you—perhaps your local historical society—and possibly choose a Native American/U.S. treaty based in your state’s history. Your process might look something like this:

Theme: Rights and Responsibilities in History
Interest: Native Americans
Topic: Treaty Rights
Issue: 1788 Fort Schuyler Treaty

Or, if you’re interested in Women’s Rights and the theme is the Individual in History, you might choose voting rights. Next, consider where you might find further information on voting rights like a public library. After a library search and reading several texts about the era, you identify the women’s suffrage movement as a topic, and then a leader in the struggle for the vote, Alice Paul. In this case, your process looks like this:

Theme: Individual in History
Interest: Women’s Rights
Topic: Suffrage Movement
Issue/Individual: Alice Paul

Or what if you are interested in The Civil War and the theme is Turning Points in History? You might read about the different battles. Utilizing the internet, you can take virtual tours and learn about different battles through the National Park Service. For instance, takes you to The Battle of Gettysburg or will take you to the battle of Bull Run. Pay close attention to other recommended resources as you read. They may point you to further reading on your topic. After reading the websites, you decide the turning point in The Civil War is The Battle of Gettysburg. The process looks like this:

Theme: Turning Points in History
Interest: The Civil War
Topic: Battles
Issue/Events: The Battle of Gettysburg

Or what if you are interested in science and the theme is Innovation in History? You might research medical discoveries that changed the world like the discovery of penicillin or isolating DNA. Look for resources in libraries, excellent web sites and history of science museums. The process for narrowing your topic and connecting with the theme might follow this sequence:

Theme: Innovation in History
Interest: Science
Topic: Medical Discoveries
Issue/Discovery: Penicillin

Sometimes just looking through the local paper can give you a great idea for a topic! Check out today’s Headline from The New Journal, can you come up with a topic from this article? Leave your idea in the comment section below!

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Filed under For Students, For Teachers, How-Tos, Research Suggestions, Theme/Topic Ideas

Welcome to the 2012-2013 NHD Program!

Hello Students, Teachers & Parents! Welcome to the 2012-2013 program! I can’t wait to see all the interesting ways you will be interpreting this year’s theme! This year, I will be writing bi-weekly posts and there might even be interactive chat sessions (stay tuned to find out when and where). I want to be able to get you all the information you need to make this a great year for National History Day in Delaware!

In the meantime, here is some important information you will need to keep you up-to-date!

This year’s state compeition will be on April 20, 2013 at the Stanton Campus, Del Tech

Our Twitter Account: @NHDinDelaware

Our Facebook page: NationalHistoryDayin DE (be careful, there are actually two pages out there, look for the most recent one, unfortunately I don’t have access to the other one to make changes or take it down!)

My contact information if you have any questions: Kathryne Peterson, 302-295-2388,

Also, I am looking for a student (or a group of students) to document their work on their NHD project through pictures, writing and video. I woudl like to get one submission from each category. If you are interested, please contact me and let me know what category you will be working on.

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