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The objective of this historical analysis is to determine the origins of the American elementary history/social studies curriculum and to determine how nationalism affected the curriculum as it progressed in the early twentieth century. The Committee of Eight (Co8), established by the American Historical Association in 1905, created the first national report on the teaching of elementary history and civics. Factors influencing the resultant curriculum, such as the pressure for diverse membership, the curriculum established in European countries, the growth and development of American identity and pride, the massive expansion of public schooling, and regulations on teacher certification are examined. A combination of demands resulted in an elementary history curriculum that was nationalistic in perspective, as the report recommended American history to be the sole focus of study in grades one through eight. Comparisons and implications for the present day elementary history curriculum are discussed.


Author accepted manuscript version on an article published in:

Bohan, C. H. (2005). Digging trenches: Nationalism and the first national report on the elementary history curriculum. Theory and Research in Social Education, 33(2), 266–291. doi: 10.1080/00933104.2005.10473282